I was shocked when Dell announced their first battery recall in August 2006, quickly followed by Apple. Being cynical by nature, the only reason that these companies would proactively do an expensive battery recall was to limit liability on a potentially explosive (pun intended) issue. I talked to numerous industry vets and learned that the potential exists for many more battery explosions and recalls. At PC Pitstop, I made it our mission to inform the public of the danger of battery fires, and practical tips to avoid them.
During the months of October and November, we created two blogs and one podcast simply as public service messages. Traffic was decent to these pages, and I thank the people that took the time to read the material but it was certainly not enough to raise public awareness.
Then we decided to induce a laptop to explode and record on video the results. The response was amazing. Over 400,000 people have already watched the video on YouTube not including the traffic from our site. Conservatively speaking, at least half a million people, have watched the video and absorbed the message – Laptop battery fires are very dangerous so be careful. After looking at our stats, a video may not be worth a thousand blogs, but in our case it was closer to a hundred.
Given the success of our video, it’s time to reflect back on our lessons learned.
Research – I had been struggling with some time with one of our hidden treasures. Looking at so many PC’s every month gives us an inside look on the PC industry like no other company in the world. I stare at the data each month with enthusiasm, but I never bothered to write a blog, because the subject is so dry and complicated. That’s when I decided to do a video! Of course, it is not as exciting as a laptop exploding, but it was fun letting people see the PC industry through our eyes.
More importantly, it was a lot easier to do. Sure the production values are not that of a Hollywood studio, but the underlying message is correct and I was able to get it done in a fraction of the time. Look for more videos from PC Pitstop as we continue to explore video as a medium of ommunications.
YouTube – Due to our bandwidth tests, we are heavy bandwidth users. It was a little bit of a surprise when Dave gave me a call about our bandwidth bill! Yowza! Maybe YouTube has a sweetheart deal with their ISP, but we can’t afford to have 1/2 a million people watch a video on our site. We have made the decision that all of our videos will be hosted on YouTube. It seems like a win-win. They get our videos, and they pay all of the bandwidth charges.
Wild Wild West – I love the internet because of the way that it transforms our lives. It is unbelievable to me that the internet is only slightly more than 10 years old. In that short period of time, it has transformed how we read, communicate, shop, and have fun. Video is the next big wave, and we will all be fascinated to the role it plays in the internet’s progression.