Monday, November 29, 2010

BBC drives Baggs traffic

I had a look at my blog statistics the other day in Google Analytics, and noted a recent big jump:
Hunting around to see why, I checked out where the traffic had originated from and it's predominantly coming from the BBC Apprentice page which is linking to my Stuart Baggs blog:As one blog poster said, I do hope he makes it as far as the interview stage before he gets fired!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Over egged headline of the year?

Having recently blogged the dullest news 'story' ever I was quite taken by the over exaggerated (just a bit!) headline I saw of a local paper in the shop yesterday:Clicking on the image will help you understand more of the scale of this appalling 'massacre'.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back me up

We aim to ensure we are offering our customers the best products and services, and we're aware that VStuff (the backup service we offer) has had its ups and downs. I thought I'd share with you what we’re currently focusing on doing to improve it.

For example you've told us that the software is difficult to use - which we're fixing with a significantly improved look and feel and far simpler interface. The software's reliability and the VStuff online web site also needs attention - and we're improving those too.

So here's what's happening:

2010

In order to upload or download files, V Stuff users connect to a "back-end platform". A number of stability and capacity improvements are being implemented to this platform within the next month.

This will vastly improve the stability of the service along with an increase in transfer speeds when uploading or downloading files from and to your online data store.

Couple this with the upload speed improvements we're currently rolling out and you'll start to see considerable improvements.

2011

The big changes come early next year with the overhaul of the backup software interface and improvements to the website. We've made the changes after listening to feedback from customers and working with them to improve the design – so we're sure you'll find it more intuitive and simple to use.

We're also changing what we call things, updating the core software itself, simplifying some of the more complex options in the software to improve usability and rebranding the service to 'Backup & Storage' (it does what it says on the tin!) but don’t worry, the photo service will still be there.

We were hoping to have all these major improvements released this year but are taking some additional time on testing to ensure we are as confident as we can be that the experience is brilliant and we fix all issues present today.

Here's a taster of what the service will look like, we hope you agree a huge improvement….

We'll be in touch with backup & storage users shortly to let them know when exactly these changes will take place, so please bear with us while we get these improvements rolled out.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dullest news 'story' ever?

I am wondering if this - which I was sent last week - is the dullest 'news' story ever seen, highlighting what local media can be like sometimes?Needless to say I shared it with a friend who works at Amazon immediately!

Also, I don't speak Dutch but even I can work out that this is a rather unfortunate example of advertising placement in a newspaper:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Stuart Baggs (The Brand)


"Everything I touch turns to sold" (Episode One)

I love The Apprentice. And by that I don’t mean the US version where you sit there in amazement at Donald Trump's hair and the fact he can go out looking like that every day (the only hair on TV to rival Gerry Francis' appalling mullet on Sky Sports News).

I mean the Alan, sorry, 'Lord' Sugar version of it in the UK – which gets sillier by the episode and this year has been highlighted by Stuart Baggs, a 21-year-old telecoms entrepreneur from the Isle of Man who comes out with ridiculous statements, irritates the hell out of everyone with his arrogance and this week proved to be a team leader so spectacularly bad that even John Barnes would get a management job ahead of him.

He was actually growing on me over the last few weeks when he learnt to keep his mouth shut, but his inability to contain his 'extreme masculinity' along with his badgering his team members left me convinced (as Dara O'Briain said on You're Fired afterwards) that Sugar might actually change the rules and fire him this week – but with his team winning he didn't.

He's got to go next week doesn't he? Who do you think will win by the way? Got to be Liz for me – she's doing really well.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We top 15,000 Twitter followers!

Overnight we (@virginmedia) passed the landmark number of 15,000 followers on Twitter going by the 'worm' from Twittercounter:And backed up by our Twitter profile:We generally get anything from 20-60 new followers a day looking to hear news from Virgin Media or seek help from our wonderful Twitter 'Tweam' of Billy, Pete and Sam (more on them here) and the 'jump' last week (250+ new followers in 2 days) was due to the launch of 100Mb and the Gadget Show's Jason Bradbury tweeting about it ... keeping the Tweam busy with many enquiries from both customers and non customers!

As ever the team are here to help and I look forward to our followers continuing to grow :-)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Superhub!

A few months back we launched a new 'Gateway' device for customers on our non 50Mb broadband tiers - the device being a combined modem and router from Netgear that we've called the Virgin Media Hub.

And it's gone very well, with a much lower rate of customers contacting us for help with both setting it up and using it on an ongoing basis - as well as improved customer satisfaction scores with additional steps being taken at point of install by our engineers.

Combined with the new broadband activation process coming early in 2011, it's part of a whole programme of works to improve the 'join' experience - as is the 'Gateway' device for the 100Mb service that's coming soon, the 'Superhub'.

The Superhub, which will also replace the separate modem and router as part of 50Mb installs, looks like this and I think you'll agree is a very shiny piece of kit:You should be able to click on any of these for a larger version of them by the way if interested.

The Superhub is 'N' wireless capable, can do speeds of something like 400Mb (so is quite future proof!) and has been through a full product design process including plenty of usability testing with customers (along with all the other testing you would expect us to do) - so as well as looking great hopefully it'll be easy to use.

The usability testing we did enabled us to make some important changes to the stand and the port configuration to improve it, and huge thanks are very much due to all the customers who helped us with ideas on improving it at the usability sessions ... as well as on the upcoming CD activation process which we're all looking forward to having out there next year.

And on that note, I'd best keep an ear on the door as my own beta trial Superhub is due to arrive today I hope!

Update Feb 14, 2011:

Thanks to all those who have commented on the Superhub, and for the feedback on what additional features you would like to see included in a future firmware release for it in particular.

For those who have inquired about 'bridge' mode (which would enable you to use your own router with it), there is an update on our help & support forums here and there is also another thread for any other ideas on what you would like to see in future releases here.

If you can supply your thoughts there we can keep them all in one place and collate them for consideration accordingly.


Many thanks!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What a way to pitch

I just received this pitching e-mail from a company and, given the nature of the e-mail, it's quite ironic how they've started it off:
[Click on image for a larger version]

I've written back to point out that I am, in fact, a man.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Arriba Arriba

As you may know last week we opened pre-registrations for the 100Mb broadband service, which is being so ably promoted by Speedy Gonzales (who you can follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/speedy by the way) and to celebrate the launch the media relations team managed to get some very flash cars out to act as London taxis ... a Ferrari F430, a Porsche 911 Turbo and an Aston Martin DBS.

They happened to rock up outside our Covent Garden offices so I nipped out to get a few pictures:
[My colleague Ryan and Simon from our brand team, L-R]

Did anybody else spot them around London, and more importantly did anyone get a ride in one? If so, were they as much fun as they looked?

I gather we’re looking into whether we can have some elsewhere in the country too so keep your eyes peeled!