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How Not To Stay Relevant: A Lesson From KOMO

Once upon a time, KOMO-4 television delivered entertaining and informative weather updates via email. Signed by Steve Pool, they were relevant. Which is why, when I got an email on Friday afternoon with “FREEZING RAIN ADVISORY” (yes, in all-caps), I got a little freaked out and forwarded it to Mike, who had ridden to work.

I was at all all-day and into-the-evening conference, so I was not aware of what the weather was like outside. Nor did I have time to research the claim, even if it had occurred to me to research it. Because in my mind it was from Steve Pool, who I trust to be relevant. Nor did I ask myself why this landed in my inbox, since my weather emails go straight to a folder called “daily reads.”

Imagine my surprise, then, to see the “freezing” subject line again Saturday morning. This time I knew it was a bunch of bull**** as far as my life was concerned, because the temperature was in the upper 40s with no signs of dropping into the low 30s.

That’s when I realized that KOMO has outsourced weather advisories to myweather.net, which sent a fearful and irrelevant weather advisory to me not once but twice. (Today’s freezing rain? It was “until noon for the Cascade Passes.”  My guess is that’s the same for last night.)

Why? It’s not like KOMO isn’t updating the website. Had the text from the website post accompanied the alert, I would have known that it did not apply to me.

And before you say, “why didn’t you go to the KOMO website,” let me point you to the 404 error I get from the link in the email.

This is a great example (I think) of accounting-think run amok: let’s save ourselves into profitability.

I think I have unsub’ed from this service. I hope so. If not, I’ll be raising holy ****.

Of course, when I tried to sign up for KING-TV weather alerts via email, I discovered that my user name of choice and email of choice have been used, but I can’t log in … because “That account has not been confirmed” … there is no way to ask KING to re-send the confirmation email … and there does not appear to be a confirmation email in the gmail account it says is registered. Which makes sense, if it went to spam, because both Google and I regularly delete everything from the spam folder.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

One reply on “How Not To Stay Relevant: A Lesson From KOMO”

Our local TV orgs are still growing up on the Web (then again, which news org isn’t?). Some of their individual anchors do a really good job of engaging users one-to-one, but I think the corporate view is still “how do we get more clicks?” rather than, “how do we get more valuable clicks?”

Also, being TV, I think they still have a broadcast mindset that’s going to take a long time to shed. There’s really not much difference between a news broadcast and a mass e-mail, so it kind of makes sense. They need to realize that online, the real value is in niche content targeted to specific groups (and that it’s not as hard as they think to target those groups).

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