Sxip the PR babble 12 May 2005

18 comments Latest by ERE

I like the folks I’ve met who work at Sxip, but come on, what’s with this opening statement [emphasis mine]…

Sxip Identity provides identity management solutions that leverage the Sxip Network and drive Identity 2.0 infrastructure. Sxip empowers individuals to create and manage their online digital identities and enables enterprises to instantly provision and manage their users.

Indentity 2.0, 1998. Lose the PR-speak and get clear. The focus on a big text message up top is great, but these words lack meaning.

From the glossary:

The Sxip Network is a simple, open and secure digital identity network. By joining, Internet users are able to create, share and protect the privacy of their online personal information. Websites and portals can establish deeper relationships with their users and comply with privacy legislation, while facilitating single sign-on and easy data release for their users.

That’s better already. Why is the clearer language buried in the glossary while the confusing duckspeak is front and center on the home page?

18 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Dave 13 May 05

It’s now pretty clear from these last two posts (a skeptical eye could see more than two) that 37signals is gunning for something bigger than a KISS shop. Comparing ourselves to IBM? Random swings at other companies’ marketing?

What’s really going on here? Is the consultancy-to-apps move just an avenue for a more credible consultacy offering? I may agree with you on your, erm, critique, or I may not. It just really seems out-of-place for a small business to take a swing at another random small business that’s not even a competitor (or is it?) or a too-big-to-care supercompany.

greg z 13 May 05

um. wait. so does that make Microsoft Passport a web 2.0 solution? Or are only “open source” solutions considered 2.0 now? I’m confused.

Bryan 13 May 05

Not really sure what Angle Dave is coming from, but 37 signals is all about usability and making things easier. All they did in this case was take a look at the intro this SXIP has and tried to clear it up because it made little sense to the avg user/consumer.

The point was that the PR firm/marketing department gets their hands on something and twists the hell out of the words to make them sound professional. There already a professional company, they just need to get the meaning of their company out to the consumer.

So I don’t see it as ‘swining’ at other marketing firms. 37 Signals is in the business of making things easier for people (cough, basecamp, backpack, tada)

Tom 13 May 05

I haven’t been able to get to their site all day

JF 13 May 05

Dave, we’ve always been pointing out things that we think are complex, confusing, or not clear — whether it be design, copywriting, or business models. Back in 2000 we put out eNormicom which was all about how siilly and me-too company names, taglines, and logos were at the time.

Mike F. 13 May 05

Recently I’ve been writing emails and copy meant for sales and marketing. Sometimes I feel this weird mist descend upon me that somehow conspires to transform my voice into one dangerously close to the ‘what not to write’ paragraph.

[on one shoulder] I’m supposed to sell something, so that means that I need to say these things in this way.

[on the other shoulder] But you hate that vapid marketese. You laughed with fleeting feelings of superiority at those ‘buzzword generators’ years ago. So, now sell without slime.

Before, I was the one writing things such as the glossary content. We could be free to be clear. The readers’ expectation is that the glossary clarifies, whereas the marketese takes a different kind of poetic license — all in the effort to leverage the customer’s empowerment to partner with our funding repository.

There’s hope, and I’m hoping. However, as I’m sort of fond of saying “Life’s too short to be concise.”

Dan Boland 13 May 05

Why is the clearer language buried in the glossary while the confusing duckspeak is front and center on the home page?

Argh, I’m totally with you on this one. I never understand why marketers equate pouring over a thesaurus and a list of buzzwords to good copywriting. It isn’t difficult to sound professional and make sense.

Itís now pretty clear from these last two posts (a skeptical eye could see more than two) that 37signals is gunning for something bigger than a KISS shop. Comparing ourselves to IBM? Random swings at other companiesí marketing?

It was actually the guest author who made the IBM reference, not 37Signals. And besides, you can post whatever you want on your own blog.

kev 13 May 05

Having worked with digital/federated identity clients in the past, they all have the same problem, it seems: to define what they are, what they do, and why it matters in clear, concise messaging. This is due partly to the fact that the technology really is very, very complicated and they use the tech to drive the message.

Sam 13 May 05

We’ve had the phrase “Integrating technology to work for you” at the top of our homepage for weeks and it irks me everytime I see it because it means nothing. Hell, its not even coherent.

But I think its a common problem for many small shops, maybe the same is true for Sxip. There are 100 things to do, someone pounds out a few sentences to fit within a design, noone contributes anything to challenge that, and it becomes memorialized on your website. That along with the pressure to sum up everything in a sentence or two leads to using buzzwords as a crutch.

Humid Haney 13 May 05

I have sat in on meetings with larger firms (ad agencies) we are working in conjunction with and had Ad Execs speak for 5 minutes without saying 1 thing that mattered. The Client is looking at them as though they just laid a golden egg OR if the client is aware they look to me for confirmation that what was said meant anything. It usually does not.

I am glad that my studio educates its clients and tells them what it will do, why, how and for whom. They understand and can be engaged in the dialogue rather than confused and pulled blindly through an expensive process. Where all they can do is trust that who they hired is smarter than they are. Even though they usually are not. They just speak that way.

Matt Turner 15 May 05

From eNormicom:
Process, process, process. Why process is more important than results.

Fom Incomplete Manifesto
3. Process is more important than outcome.

Well it made me smile!

copongcopong 16 May 05

possibly, the content was designed for target-keywords in google? as in …

indentify the indentity of the identification of the indetified indetifier. (loop to infinity)

Matt Turner 16 May 05

No, eNormicom was a pretty amusing spoof website by 37signals. I just found it funny that one of their spoof ‘bullet points’ is actually a part of the manifesto for progress recently alluded to.

noise 17 May 05

agree matt. hypocrites. second time in the last six months they’ve taken positions or points of view that directly conflict with earlier posts or positions. early dementia? or just convenient repositioning?

ERE 26 Nov 05


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