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Old 08-08-2009, 01:23 AM   #1
UncleDuke
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Cool Astak representative sales pitches

Moved from this thread

ok, there are over 3,100 posts in this thread and i have had a hard time seperatng the shuck and jive, it seems, and correct me if i'm wrong, that the astak is a rebranded hamlin with a bunch of funky colors

what makes it unique from the bebook and all of the other hanlin clones?
can i use the other hanlin clones with the astak firmware?
can i use the bebook firmware on the astak?
what is the relationship between astak and mobileread?
given the space given over to astak in the forum, is mobileread the sales agent for astak?
if the unit is so good, as you say, why the hard sell? you come across as a used car salesman in a loud plaid suit and two-tone spectator shoes

oh, and robertb, never dis the doughnut and learn to spell it right

Last edited by Alexander Turcic; 08-09-2009 at 02:39 AM. Reason: moved discussion
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:33 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by UncleDuke View Post
given the space given over to astak in the forum, is mobileread the sales agent for astak?
I'll be the first to agree that lately Robert's been a bit overenthusiastic and maybe even a little whiny when people comment about other readers, but it seems a bit disingenuous to ask whether Mobileread is a "sales agent" for Astak...

We have lots and lots (and lots) of posts about the Kindles and Sonys, and continuing covering of the iLiad and eBookwise and others. The Astak device has as much right to be here as the others.

Given people's response to this thread, the Astak device will meet a need that wasn't being met by the Sony (my personal fave) or the Kindle. Even I'm interested in the promised-but-not-yet-delivered eReader support.
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:46 AM   #3
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There are entire sections on this forum dedicated to the Kindle and the Sony Reader (and some other devices as well). Does that mean Mobileread is an agent for those devices? Of course not.

There really was one Astak thread (this one) but with the flurry of excitement around the release of the Pocket Pro has increased activity and discussion of the company's products. Since there is no dedicated forum for discussion of the device, it might seem as though there is a lot of discussion in the News forum. Well, I guess there is. I would imagine the "announcements" threads were to bring attention to news that might be of interest to Mobilereaders who don't follow the big monster thread.

I have no affiliation with Astak. My current ebook reading device is a Cybook Gen3, which I've had since January 2008, and which I like very much. However, I'm ready for something new and a little more portable, and I decided when the news came out that Hanlin was releasing the V3 that if Astak offered a rebranding, I would buy one. Why? Because the format support is so broad (I have lots of ebooks from the "old days" when pdb and lit were the only games in town); because it's a U.S. company and I live in the U.S., which just seemed logical; because when Robert announced they would be selling the Pocket Pro and I asked for a blue one, all of a sudden a blue one was added to the list. Where the heck else does that happen? Do you think Jeff Bezos would give me a blue Kindle? As I said, I was pretty sure I was already going to order one. That the color selection was crowdsourced just adds to the appeal for me. It was a great example of the personal touch that having a representative of the company available here brings to the device, which I've observed in this thread since the EZReader Basic came out. If Astak had decided against carrying the V3, I probably would have bought the BeBook, but I do prefer working with a company that is at least on the same continent as I am.

Don't get me wrong--I think each person needs to pick the device that is best for him or herself, and for many, many people the Kindle or Sony Reader are the best device. I've recommended them to people based on what they want to do with an ebook reader. My co-worker bought Kindles for herself and her husband based on my recommendation. They don't re-read books, so a proprietary format doesn't matter; they don't like to deal with the computer transfer; and the husband at least likes to download the Wall Street Journal. I had no hesitation in recommending the Kindle. It's perfect for them. I like something different. From reading about the Hanlin device and keeping an eye on this thread for the past few months, I think I'll really like the Pocket Pro, and I can't wait to get it. I'm sorry if my excitement, and my co-posters on this thread, offended you somehow. I personally think it's a shame that some of the less-well-known devices aren't better known so that people buying a device can make a really informed decision.

And yeah, Robert's a PR guy. I should think that would be fairly obvious. Also that any reasonable adult can take it into consideration when reading his posts.

I'll leave it to others on this forum who no doubt will be able to answer your questions about the firmware--but I think the firmware for the various Hanlin rebrands are pretty swappable. OpenInkpot seems to be pretty popular with the hackers around here. I don't know if the Epson controller will have an impact on that, however; I simply don't know enough about it.
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:57 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by MaggieScratch View Post
And yeah, Robert's a PR guy. I should think that would be fairly obvious. Also that any reasonable adult can take it into consideration when reading his posts.
If he were a good PR guy, he'd know how important it is to clearly differentiate professional, open and ethical communications from weasely propagandizing. I have the feeling that Robertb is blundering into this community, desperate to get a piece of the action, without really understanding what he is doing. I wish he would take the time to understand how this community works to be fully welcomed by the audiences he is trying to reach.
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:10 AM   #5
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*user deleted* The post makes no sense when moved to a new thread.

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Old 08-08-2009, 03:11 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post
If he were a good PR guy, he'd know how important it is to clearly differentiate professional, open and ethical communications from weasely propagandizing. I have the feeling that Robertb is blundering into this community, desperate to get a piece of the action, without really understanding what he is doing. I wish he would take the time to understand how this community works to be fully welcomed by the audiences he is trying to reach.
While I dislike too much of a sales spiel, it is really nice to have a direct line of communication with an ebook reader producer, especially when there seems to be genuine responsiveness (e.g. the choice of the colours by the Mobileread membership). I think the term "weasely propagandizing" is a bit much and rather ad hominem. If he were that annoying to the general membership, would this thread have grown to thousands of posts? If there is an issue with the content of his posts shouldn't this be addressed in the form of policy regarding commercial posting?

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:31 AM   #7
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While I dislike too much of a sales spiel, it is really nice to have a direct line of communication with an ebook reader producer,
I agree.

Quote:
I think the term "weasely propagandizing" is a bit much and rather ad hominem.
I apologize if I offended anyone. But it is how I feel about it. How else would you categorize language such as

"This is YOUR device!!", "Cannot even give you a hint; but please do not buy until tomorrow. " (after someone inquired about a competing product), "a landmark new device that is so crammed with features that there is no other 5 inch truly competing with it!", "PLEASE, spread the word!!"

Most of us know that there are other devices that can very well compete with the Pocket Pro; if a PR guy who has enjoyed the hospitality of this community comes in and propagates the opposite, then he is no longer acting professional nor ethical.

Quote:
If he were that annoying to the general membership, would this thread have grown to thousands of posts?
We have thousands of members. I am not saying that there is no interest in Astak products. I am saying that it's highly questionable how Robertb is using this community to continue and amplify his sales pitch.

Quote:
If there is an issue with the content of his posts shouldn't this be addressed in the form of policy regarding commercial posting?
Yes, I agree. We are going to work on a set of policies that will also address commercial postings. Until then I appeal to common sense.
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post
"Cannot even give you a hint; but please do not buy until tomorrow. " (after someone inquired about a competing product)
While I do find some of the language Robertb uses a little over-the-top, to be fair to him on this instance - he knew that a price drop on the Pocket PRO from $229 to $199 was going to be announced the next day, but was unable to say so. I think that was a pretty good comment in the circumstances.
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:57 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post
If he were a good PR guy, he'd know how important it is to clearly differentiate professional, open and ethical communications from weasely propagandizing. I have the feeling that Robertb is blundering into this community, desperate to get a piece of the action, without really understanding what he is doing. I wish he would take the time to understand how this community works to be fully welcomed by the audiences he is trying to reach.
I have a certain sympathy with both sides of this argument. I find the constant prominence of multiple threads about one relatively small distributor of clones a little irritating. I sometimes find the presentation (and seeming acceptance) of Astak hype as if it were unbiased information mildly distasteful. But hey, the guy is trying to make a living.

The real problem, it seems to me, is not with Robert but with the failure of the structure of Mobileread to adapt quickly enough to changing needs. That is NOT meant as a criticism of the powers that be – I deeply appreciate the work that is done to maintain this invaluable community.

It would appear that the present forum structure is cumbersome to maintain – Alexander has implied as much in response to the understandable griping over the absence of a Jetbook forum. I have no way of knowing what changes are planned but I wonder if sometimes it would be better to respond quickly with second-best solutions rather than counsel patience while perfect solutions are implemented.

If nothing else the original Astak thread, with its thousands of posts, has demonstrated that a thread can act very effectively as a mini-forum. So why not forums with much broader topics, containing larger threads with greater use of coloured labels – as in the Lounge – to distinguish different themes. Would the utility of Mobileread really be diminished if there were, for instance, one Irex forum, using coloured labelling for subject areas and different devices rather than multiple sub-forums. Such a strategy would allow instant response to the launch of new devices and everyone would know where to go to find discussion on a new device.

I am not saying that this would be a better structure than the carefully-constructed framework of threads within forums within forums that exists at the moment – provided that elegant structure can actually be maintained, which it seems that it can’t. A less structured approach, with broader forum themes, could respond more quickly and even find space – such as a manufacturer’s contact forum – for the Robertb’s of this world to peddle their wares without irritating the hell out of people like Alexander.
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post

Most of us know that there are other devices that can very well compete with the Pocket Pro; if a PR guy who has enjoyed the hospitality of this community comes in and propagates the opposite, then he is no longer acting professional nor ethical.

We have thousands of members. I am not saying that there is no interest in Astak products. I am saying that it's highly questionable how Robertb is using this community to continue and amplify his sales pitch.
I beg to disagree. Bob have already stated clearly that he is an Astak employee many times. As it was already said, any adult (or even reasonable teenager) can read Bob's post and take that into account. He is being passionate about his products, that is fine. If he were not a official employee of Astak we would not bother. I believe we should bother even less in the case of an official representative of a company, as the status is clear from the start and we can take that into account when reading his posts.

Quote:
Yes, I agree. We are going to work on a set of policies that will also address commercial postings. Until then I appeal to common sense.
I suggest that the sole action taken is to kindly ask official representative of companies to carry that status in their signatures, so even a person that reads a post from that person for the first time knows about the company relation.
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:41 AM   #11
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We have lots and lots (and lots) of posts about the Kindles and Sonys, and continuing covering of the iLiad and eBookwise and others. The Astak device has as much right to be here as the others.
Fizzywater,

You are wrong!

If you are not in the Sony or Kindle camp then the powers that be feel you are not deserving to be here.

Look at the todays front page Week in recap - Two items on the Sony - I guess Astak and the Pocket Pro had no news this week.

It makes you wonder who is really in control of what gets posted.

I want to hear about every device - If Barnes and Noble comes out with a better E-Reader, then I want to know about it!
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:11 AM   #12
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If you are not in the Sony or Kindle camp then the powers that be feel you are not deserving to be here.
I can tell you as a member of the "powers that be" (the moderation team and Alex) that this is NOT how we feel in away way shape or form.

It seems strange to me that we also have Kindle users that feel we are biased towards Sony and Sony users that feel we are biased toward Kindle and CyBook users that feel they get no respect. Everyone can't be correct, can they? (That's a rhetorical question BTW)

BOb
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:19 AM   #13
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If he were a good PR guy, he'd know how important it is to clearly differentiate professional, open and ethical communications from weasely propagandizing. I have the feeling that Robertb is blundering into this community, desperate to get a piece of the action, without really understanding what he is doing. I wish he would take the time to understand how this community works to be fully welcomed by the audiences he is trying to reach.
But the time to point that out was last year when this thread began. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, but I respectfully point out that you're doing a disservice to the membership and those interested in ebook readers by letting any resentment of forum behavior (I'm not just talking about Astak, either) fester so that it affects your editorial policy. I run a couple of forums and blogs myself, and deal with marketing people all the time, and I know it is difficult to be consistent sometimes when you're annoyed with someone's behavior.

I think it's a shame that the media doesn't seem to realize that only the Kindle and Sony exist when speaking of ebook readers. When people ask me about my ebook reader (a Cybook Gen3), I send them to this site to learn about ALL the different devices so they can make a really informed decision about what will work best for them. The knowledge of this community is so deep--it's really a great tool for someone having to make a difficult decision to spend a lot of money on a device. I know it helped me back in the day, and continues to help me. I also think competition is good for ebooks and ebook devices!
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by MaggieScratch View Post
But the time to point that out was last year when this thread began. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, but I respectfully point out that you're doing a disservice to the membership and those interested in ebook readers by letting any resentment of forum behavior (I'm not just talking about Astak, either) fester so that it affects your editorial policy. I run a couple of forums and blogs myself, and deal with marketing people all the time, and I know it is difficult to be consistent sometimes when you're annoyed with someone's behavior.

I think it's a shame that the media doesn't seem to realize that only the Kindle and Sony exist when speaking of ebook readers. When people ask me about my ebook reader (a Cybook Gen3), I send them to this site to learn about ALL the different devices so they can make a really informed decision about what will work best for them. The knowledge of this community is so deep--it's really a great tool for someone having to make a difficult decision to spend a lot of money on a device. I know it helped me back in the day, and continues to help me. I also think competition is good for ebooks and ebook devices!
We are always really glad to see representatives of the ebook industry participating on MobileRead and interacting with the community. We welcome their presence here and you can see that Robertb also received a friendly welcome when he started this thread. However it's one thing to participate in discussions in a reasonable way and give helpful information when people ask ; it's another thing to try to discredit competitors by posting misinformation and spreading FUD about them, and posting in multiple threads about competing devices to advertise your product.

We have not been confronted by this situation in the past, although we have many representatives from various companies participating here. Now we've realised we need to create some guidelines to better define what is appropriate for commercial posts and what is not. We are working on that. It is not a question of being resentful of forum behaviour ; MobileRead is growing and as the community grows we need sometimes to work on the structure in ways which were not necessary before. We are always doing our best to keep this community as open and welcoming to everyone as it has been, and also to make sure we continue to be the best place to find accurate, up to date and impartial information about *all* ebooks and devices available.

Last edited by zelda_pinwheel; 08-08-2009 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:53 PM   #15
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We have not been confronted by this situation in the past, although we have many representatives from various companies participating here. Now we've realised we need to create some guidelines to better define what is appropriate for commercial posts and what is not.
Robertb has identified himself as a representative of Astak right from the start and has his information on every post.

I have not seen this from the many representatives from various companies participating here

Are they not identifying themselves as representatives on their posts? I would like to know who the Sony and Amazon reps are posting here, so I could ask them questions about their devices.

So long as you know the person is a representative of the company it really does not matter what they say pro or con on any devices, since you know where they are coming from.

In addition, by putting yourself out there as a representative of the company, you open yourself up to criticism of your product as well.
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