There have been a few comments on the web regarding the release of AutoCAD 2006 information via Blog’s prior to the end of the Beta NDA period and Press embargo.
Several days ago I received notification from Autodesk that advised limited comment on specific aspects of AutoCAD 2006 was authorised for Blog’s authored by Beta testers. As far as I’m aware there were no “chosen few” or “special criteria” other than having participated in the AutoCAD 2006 Beta and authoring a Blog with CAD content. Any AutoCAD user can apply to be part of the beta and anyone can have a blog – nothing too special there.
In that notification specific aspects of the software (features or concepts) were listed and it was requested you comment only on three of those and up to three other features that you found useful during the beta. This is the reason you may notice similarity between the topics posted on the different Blogs. Due to NDA conditions there were specific things relating to release dates, pricing and other matters regarding the beta process that could not be mentioned in posts. This sort of condition applies to most beta programs even after the end of the beta NDA.
There was no direction which, if any, of the listed items you should comment on, what to say or how to say it. There was no information provided other than the list and release conditions:
- No canned quotes
- No prepared press material (screen capture etc)
- No suggested “spin” for the features, just the names.
The captures and videos you see on my blog were created by me to demonstrate things I have found useful. The words are mine except one paragraph lifted from the help file simply as it described the CUI file structure better than I could.
Every year I have to justify the cost, to myself, as I write a cheque to Autodesk for my own subscription and approve the budget for subscription upgrades at work. This year I will be more than happy to do so as the product justifies the investment.
I think it shows confidence in the strength of this release and perhaps a sign of the force that blogging is becoming that this approach was adopted. Autodesk took a risk as there was no editorial control or ability to comment on posts prior to posting. If AutoCAD 2006 was a poor release I would have posted that and Autodesk would not have known until they read it here, just like you are.
I don’t think it undermines a conventional marketing campaign, or press release, which will be covering AutoCAD 2006 throughout the year. I have commented before that Blogging is a great way for a corporate to break through the barriers of Press and PR and talk directly to the people that matter most – customers and partners. Both have their place but both are needed.
The blogging world is fairly new and CAD Blog’s are a tiny part of that world but perhaps they are making an impact. I certainly saw a significant jump in traffic coming to the AutoCAD 2006 posts from a variety of sources.
When you see & use AutoCAD 2006 you’ll see that the product earned these positive comments and they were not the result of a crafted PR campaign.