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This is a long-ish message…so the “one-liners” here are (1) on certain commuter lines, we are reverting to the original Clever Commute approach by showing your whole name (2) we are exploring new business models…none of which compromise your privacy and (3) good news on growth. Please read on…
(1) Back to the future: For some of our commuter-train/bus lists, the messages sent have their “From” e-mail address automatically changed to something generic like “Clever-Yourline” (instead of showing the name of the person who sent it). In the next few weeks, we’ll move to a consistent model that no longer “masks” the sender. Note that mass-transit communities are not affected (El, PATH, BART, etc)
How to think about this: For starters, this approach gives all of us the ability to recognize our colleagues who provide the most-helpful information. This is crucial in an on-line community. Here is more food for thought:
- The vast majority of messages sent come from just a handful of people (80/20 is an understatement). Statistically speaking, there is no impact to most people.
- This pending “change” to how messages are handled is actually a return to the way things used to be for all Clever Commute routes. Most of our commuter lines are already configured in this “new” approach.
- Many e-mails sent to the group today have an e-mail “signature” or footer which usually does a decent job of identifying the sender to the list anyway.
- …and of course the fact that each list consists of neighbors helping each other, so the benefits of anonymizing are quite muted
For those of you that do post messages: if you do feel the desire to make a change, you do have flexibility here. You may use Clever Commute with an e-mail address of your choosing…and that includes your cell phone.
We plan to phase in this change throughout January, so please let us know if you want to make a update your “posting” address.
(2) New Year brings new models: Clever Commute turns 2 years old next month. The growth has been fantastic…and we thank each of your for being a part of it. I’m sure you’d agree that running Clever Commute as a business means we need to continue to explore new models to offset the growing costs of running this system. To that end, we’ll be exploring several new business models in 2008.
We plan to keep it free to use…and will continue to protect your interests…as well as your privacy. As you can imagine, many outlets (e.g., transit providers, traffic-info providers, and new/traditional media companies) are covetous of the wisdom and demographics of this crowd. They want to leverage the insight we provide…as well as connect with you on offers which we feel would be of interest to you. To be clear: what Clever Commute won’t do with your information:
- Share any personally-identifiable information about you
- Attribute your name to any info you shared with your commuting community
- Give (sell, lend, etc) your e-mail address to a third party
Again – it’s still early stages…and the models are still evolving. But, I think it’s important to be upfront with you that there will be changes…and they are reflected in the Terms and Conditions as posted at the website.
(3) Hello Boston, Chicago, San Fran, DC…: Lots of growth and innovation. We are now live in Boston, and are making progress on deployments in Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco and London. Feel free to Google us to see some of the great press we’ve been getting. Also, please help share the news about Clever Commute if you know people in those cities.
Finally, we’re building up our presence on communities such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Would love to connect with you there. Feel free to search us out.
My in-box is always open…and I hope that your 2008 is a great year…
– Conductor Josh