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Old 08-15-2010, 07:36 PM   #61
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I am with those who say Robert didn't really just "retire". He was much to dedicated to the people on the forums and to the company to simply walk away without any heads up. Perhaps he was volen-told to retire.... either way I wish him well. Robert would have given the forums notice if he planning on leaving therefore it leaves me conclude that he wasn't truly planning on leaving in the first place.
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:55 PM   #62
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Well, I'll just say it out loud and plainly:

Looks like Robert got screwed by Astak, and even worse during a period of illness. That doesn't make the company look good, and shows an extreme lack of foresight on their part regarding public relations.


Nothing against Jennifer - she's been placed in an untenable position of having to replace a popular company rep here, and probably not allowed to discuss the topic by the Astak powers-that-be.

I hope he got a good severance package, because otherwise he might have legal recourse against them for the method of his "retiring" during a period of disability.

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Old 08-19-2010, 06:02 AM   #63
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if he was screwed during a time of illness, remember he was injured in the line of duty working for astak.

jenifer still answers threads as briefly and impersonally as possible. could be she thinks that's best - could be astak things that's best, but the bottom line is there's a lot less reason to post on this forum or care about astak. that's what robertb did for their company - he cared, and that made us feel more involved.

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Originally Posted by Xanthe View Post
Well, I'll just say it out loud and plainly:

Looks like Robert got screwed by Astak, and even worse during a period of illness. That doesn't make the company look good, and shows an extreme lack of foresight on their part regarding public relations.


Nothing against Jennifer - she's been placed in an untenable position of having to replace a popular company rep here, and probably not allowed to discuss the topic by the Astak powers-that-be.

I hope he got a good severance package, because otherwise he might have legal recourse against them for the method of his "retiring" during a period of disability.
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:39 AM   #64
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if he was screwed during a time of illness, remember he was injured in the line of duty working for astak.

jenifer still answers threads as briefly and impersonally as possible. could be she thinks that's best - could be astak things that's best, but the bottom line is there's a lot less reason to post on this forum or care about astak. that's what robertb did for their company - he cared, and that made us feel more involved.
This forum was Robert's little baby too, and he really got to know us (and us him). I believe Jenifer has focused on using facebook as her medium. I don't use facebook so it looks like I'll be slowly dropping out of the loop (I fear less and less will get announced here and more on facebook). Regardless whether facebook is preferred or not, we here are a strong forum, I think it would be wise for every day or two a bit of active conversation from Astak.
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:35 AM   #65
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Ditto!
I do not use facebook or any other social medium, I have no time to become a "fan" of someone and read about what they had for breakfast or blog about what I had for breakfast, and frankly, the idea that lots of people sign up to follow every word you say and thing you do is just plain creepy to me - but I always find time to read a few entries here - at least every few days
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Old 08-19-2010, 12:28 PM   #66
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I am guessing that you are right.... they are trying to make this forum die out.... Jennifer has made 64 posts since she come to the forums but has viewed near 4,000 times... kind of seems odd that a company rep wouldn't take the time to reply to peoples thoughts even if they are directed towards her....
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Old 08-19-2010, 12:35 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solicitous View Post
This forum was Robert's little baby too, and he really got to know us (and us him). I believe Jenifer has focused on using facebook as her medium. I don't use facebook so it looks like I'll be slowly dropping out of the loop (I fear less and less will get announced here and more on facebook). Regardless whether facebook is preferred or not, we here are a strong forum, I think it would be wise for every day or two a bit of active conversation from Astak.

No Facebook account for me
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:04 PM   #68
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kind of seems odd that a company rep wouldn't take the time to reply to peoples thoughts even if they are directed towards her....
No, it doesn't. RobertB was, as company reps go, *weird.* Most PR people are supposed to be polite and distant, never say anything that might make people annoyed with either the company or the rep herself.

Jenifer's stuck in a hard space here--she's taking over for someone who was well-liked for reasons that have very little to do with the company. It's possible she doesn't know the details about him leaving.

Maybe he was fired. Maybe he is in a rougher spot physically than it seemed. Maybe he was tired of endlessly hyping a product that he knows is going to be constantly compared to the now-cheaper competition with more bells-and-whistles. Maybe his leaving included a "six months away from MR" clause, to let us get used to the new company rep. Maybe everything's fine, and on retiring, he immediately left for a two-month no-internet restful vacation.

Whatever his reasons for not speaking up, they aren't Jenifer's fault, nor her problem to fix. (If there's a problem at all.) And there is *nothing* she can do to make this easier.

If she were as enthusiastic as Robert, she'd be accused of trying to copy his style. If she replies to every comment that's suspicious of Astak's actions, she'd quickly find herself caught in a defensive flamewar. If she tries to cajole people into giving Astak "the benefit of the doubt," she'll be perceived as a corporate shill. (Which she is. But so was Robert, and we liked him.)

Polite & distant isn't bad; it's what we've seen from the handful of other company reps who've spoken up. It's just not what we're used to from Astak.

And, as mentioned, maybe she's focusing more on Facebook. I don't have, and am not planning to get, a Facebook account, so that part of the ad campaign will entirely skip me. Shrug.

I've got no hard feelings. Maybe a touch of suspicion about the switch without warning, but only a touch. I am rather sad that we've lost our happy-friendly Astak rep; I'll get over that.
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:24 PM   #69
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No Facebook account for me
What himself said.
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:28 PM   #70
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Ok, folks. We can postulate Robert's fate until the cows come home but nothing will be established until someone hears from Robert himself (which may be never; deal with it). 'Til then, why don't we give this a rest and move on.
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:48 PM   #71
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I have of course been following this thread, and as Elfwreck posted a little earlier, I don't think there is one correct way to answer or participate in this discussion without being perceived as one-way or another-way. I also do want to make a good impression on the rest of the EZ Read Team, so it doesn't seem like I'm crossing a line in this particularly sensitive issue about Robert.

Robert was completely unique. He really loved the forum, it went much further than regular company PR, as you all know. These are impossible shoes to fill, especially because I'm somewhat new at the company, and I'm not as 'fearless' as Robert when it came to posting about the company, etc.

I don't want to scare off discussion here or promote more speculation about Robert's retirement, especially when I myself am so new.

But I do want everyone to know that while I'm at work, I am constantly monitoring the forum to see where I can help everyone. And I want you encourage everyone to visit the Facebook reviews or check out current book news on our Twitter feed, even if they hate social networking. (Trust me, not many people in this office have a Twitter)

Rather than giving you a what-sandwich-I'm-having kind of post, I try to keep everything book-related like a staff blog, with reviews and etc. Our Twitter follows authors, publishers, and professionals in the industry, so I relay writing contests and news primarily.

Anyways, this is sure to spark more comment, but I do want everyone to know that I am literally refreshing the forum page all day to see if I can help out.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:11 PM   #72
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These are impossible shoes to fill, especially because I'm somewhat new at the company, and I'm not as 'fearless' as Robert when it came to posting about the company, etc.
Advice: Be bold. We're more forgiving of mistakes than silence.

If you have an interest, and time, participate in non-Astak threads. (And if it becomes necessary, remind the people who pay you to recognize that *any* participation is PR; seeing you as a person rather than "generic PR rep" will help people think well of the company.) Nobody is going to be less likely to buy an Astak reader or Astak ebooks if you prefer romance to westerns or vice-versa, or if you ask for help converting manga from cbz to epub.

Talk with us; play with us--let us think of you as a part of the forum, rather than an observer who does occasional press releases, fact-correction or damage control.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:34 PM   #73
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I have of course been following this thread, and as Elfwreck posted a little earlier, I don't think there is one correct way to answer or participate in this discussion without being perceived as one-way or another-way. I also do want to make a good impression on the rest of the EZ Read Team, so it doesn't seem like I'm crossing a line in this particularly sensitive issue about Robert.

Robert was completely unique. He really loved the forum, it went much further than regular company PR, as you all know. These are impossible shoes to fill, especially because I'm somewhat new at the company, and I'm not as 'fearless' as Robert when it came to posting about the company, etc.

I don't want to scare off discussion here or promote more speculation about Robert's retirement, especially when I myself am so new.

But I do want everyone to know that while I'm at work, I am constantly monitoring the forum to see where I can help everyone. And I want you encourage everyone to visit the Facebook reviews or check out current book news on our Twitter feed, even if they hate social networking. (Trust me, not many people in this office have a Twitter)

Rather than giving you a what-sandwich-I'm-having kind of post, I try to keep everything book-related like a staff blog, with reviews and etc. Our Twitter follows authors, publishers, and professionals in the industry, so I relay writing contests and news primarily.

Anyways, this is sure to spark more comment, but I do want everyone to know that I am literally refreshing the forum page all day to see if I can help out.
My observation from hanging around:
Astak needs to work on Support response (not the same as *fixes*) .
While 24/7 is not warranted for a product of this class, 6 (preferably 7) day, daylight hours help is.
Since the main Territory is the USA, That means coverage of phone/e-mail by at least 9AM EST to 6 PM PST.
Stuff happens, letting it go for days without help is terrible PR (and poor service). Respond too late to a customer, and they lose another day if the unit needs to be shipped back.
Service is the MAIN card that Astak has to play with in this market.
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:44 PM   #74
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But I do want everyone to know that while I'm at work, I am constantly monitoring the forum to see where I can help everyone. And I want you encourage everyone to visit the Facebook reviews or check out current book news on our Twitter feed, even if they hate social networking. (Trust me, not many people in this office have a Twitter)

Rather than giving you a what-sandwich-I'm-having kind of post, I try to keep everything book-related like a staff blog, with reviews and etc. Our Twitter follows authors, publishers, and professionals in the industry, so I relay writing contests and news primarily.
Ok, I will say something about the EZRead Facebook page. I do have a facebook account, although I rarely use it to post anything, myself. I don't think anyone needs to know where I am every second of my day, what I'm eating for breakfast, or what TV show I'm watching. However, I've been a "fan" of the EZRead page for several weeks, and I think Jennifer is doing a good job. The EZRead posts don't fill my newsfeed with constant posts. Now and then she posts book reviews, and the occasional contest information. Although I wouldn't recommend anyone create an account just to see EZRead's page, if anyone who has an account is considering signing up to the EZRead page, I'd say give it a shot. You can always 'unlike' it down the road.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:53 PM   #75
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