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Readers V. Viewers

Readers vs. viewers, which is better for blog stats? Upon discovery of “Feed Stats” now a part of the WordPress service offerings, I am curious. In the feed stats it tells Luke and I how many people read our blog each day through a particular service, like the ever so handy Bloglines. As a future PR-pro, I would think knowing how many people read a blog might be more valuable than viewers. But who is to say that “viewers” are not reading our blog just because they do not do so through a feed. Any thoughts or further insight?


Turning a blind eye from CIBA Vision

Update V: (3/6) I really appreciate how often people have stopped by to share experiences and stories with all of us. In light of CIBA Vision’s lack of communication, it’s good to have a place to converse about our problems and fill that void. I do want to caution everyone, though, about checking sources and verifying information before taking any advice shared on this site. I’m a communicator, not a medical person, and I can’t speak for any of the people who leave comments on this blog. Before taking any advice, check with a professional. The Internet is a great resource, but can be abused, use caution.

That said, I just want to point out a new story I read on CNN Today. Baush & Lomb is still having problems, as well. What the heck is going on with eye care products? For so many months we’ve been seeing this industry suffer unexplained accidents. Keep your eyes and ears open for news and continue to share it here. Peace. [end update]

Update IV: (6/2) We have product stocked in NE Ohio. Another reader left this comment, which I wanted to bring to attention.

Got their email today, May 31, 2006 @ 8AM PST (California)

Hi Bruce,

Thank you again for contacting CIBA Vision. This is the latest list of retailers to carry CLEAR CARE. Due to a manufacturing facility upgrade, it has put us in a backorder situation. The upgrade took longer than anticipated.

Albertsons, Bergen Brunswick, CVS, Drugs Store.com, Duane Reade Corp., Fred Meyer, H.E. Butt Grocery, Harmon Stores, Harris Teeter, Inc, HY Vee Food Stores, Imperial Distributors, Kinney Drug Companyu, K-Mart, Kroger,Marsh Supermarkets, Maxi Drugs,McKesson, Meijer, Inc, Progressive Distributors, Pulix Supermarkets, Raleys Supermarkets, Rite Aid, Roundy’s, Safewaty, Shopko, Sparten Stores, Supervalue, Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Wegmans, Weis Markets, and Winn Dixie. We started shipping March 22, 2006, to their distribution centers for allocation to their locations. Once it reaches their distribution center they tell us the turn around is 7 to 14 days to get it out to the stores. We are continually shipping to these centers and we hope that they can get it into the stores in a timely fashion. We do not have a schedule of the stores are distribution times as we do not deliver to the stores themselves, just to their warehouses. Softwear Saline will be available again in September.
Please ask your eye care professional what he or she would recommend in the interim.
Again thank you for contacting CIBA Vision.

Kind regards,
CIBA Vision Consultation

Update III: CIBA Vision in more trouble…

UPDATE II: A kind reader named Jessica just left a comment on this post and on this post which I will cut and paste for your information. It reads:

Hi Jessica,
Thank you for contacting CIBA Vision. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers’ with their concerns and comments. Due to a manufacturing upgrade our products are on backorder. AO Sept will be available the second week of April and Clear Care will be back on the shelves at Wal-Mart, Target, CVS and Walgreens the first week of April. Please ask you eye care professional what you can use in the interim.We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. Again, thank you for contacting CIBA Vision.

Kind Regards Sherry Vanore Product Consultant

So at least now we know that CIBA Vision has actual people working there instead of CIBA Vision Consultation Specialists. I wish there were a way to express to CIBA Vision how mistreated we all felt, but they seem to have the market cornered on this type of product. I’m open to suggestions, an organization shouldn’t be able to treat customers this way and get away with it. Thanks, Jessica, now we know what we can expect.

Update: This post has generated a lot of interest. Apparently, I’m the only one spreading the word on the Internet about this situation. CIBA Vision ought to be paying me for covering their lousy communication. If you’re interested in information, be sure to check out the comments section as readers have posted quite a bit of information regarding this. Leave a note, tell me how outraged and irritated you are.

This may come as a shock to you, but as a public relations student, I feel it’s important for businesses to communicate with their publics. I know, it’s crazy, but that’s just how I feel – call me a rebel. So why is it that when a company has problems getting product to customers, they don’t feel it’s all that important to tell someone. Someone like me, a customer.

CIBA Vision is that contact lens and lens care manufacturer that makes, for one, Clear Care a lens cleaning solution. I use Clear Care, I like it. It makes my eyes feel moist and comfortable. But lately the stores in my area have had giant gaps on the shelves where my Clear Care should be. I first noticed in my town, but then scoured the area looking in any place that sells contact lens solution. No dice. “Why,” I thought, “why is there no product on the shelves?” Well surely the website will tell me. But in fact, that’s not the case.

I check the website on February 26 and saw nothing. No mention of any recalls, distribution problems, manufacturing problems. I even asked a pharmacist at a Target who said, “uh, I think it was recalled, I don’t know.” Then I searched online to see if I could find anything. I’m a graduate student, so I feel I had exhaustively researched the topic online. If there had been anything, I’m pretty sure I would have found mention of it. So I finally sent CIBA Vision a little note from their website contact page asking what the problem was, why I couldn’t find any information online about the problem, and why they weren’t communicating any of this information to their consumers. I live in Ohio, they are HQed in Georgia, I’m sure I’m not the only one having this problem. Here is the response:

Dear Luke,

Thank you for your e-mail. We would like to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced in locating the Clear Care system. Clear Care has not been discontinued or recalled. Due to a manufacturing upgrade of our manufacturing site, supplies of Clear Care may be limited on retail shelves. We are working diligently to return to full production as quickly as possible, and anticipate increased supplies of Clear Care to be available in at store shelves in early April 2006. Until then, we would recommend contacting your eye care professional for their recommendation of the best solution for your lenses in the interim.

Again, we would like to greatly apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you again for contacting CIBA Vision.

Kind regards,
CIBA Vision Consultation Services

Wow. Early April? It’s just now March. And who is “CIBA Vision Consultation Services” anyway? These people don’t have names? If you’re going to have this sort of problem getting product to consumers, wouldn’t you be more forthcoming in mentioning this? Are they afraid people will find another brand and never go back? But that’s what “CIBA Vision Consultation Services” told me, isn’t it, to find something else that would work until April? They answered my main questions pretty well, neglected to comment on why they never bothered to make this information readily available.
I guess I would have handled things differently.

By the way, I did manage to find two bottles of solution at a Target that looked like someone in the back room found them on the floor of the storeroom behind a door under a garbage can. A smart person must have noticed the shortage and said, “put them on the shelf, someone will buy it.” So, yes, I bought them. I’m like a junkie.

I’m interested in your thoughts. Should they have been more communicative? Don’t they trust their consumers with information? Maybe they could have sent out a notice before the “manufacturing upgrade”? Maybe this is how they do business. I don’t like it. Turning a blind eye on your publics is never what I would suggest. Anyone choose to offer an opinion? Maybe “CIBA Vision Consultation Services” monitors the Internet and will respond.

Bent out of Shape by Staples

Steve Rubel posts an interesting quiz for us on his website. Staples has apparently been charging customers for virus scanning on files that people come in to have printed. $2.49, Rubel reports, and it’s creating quite a stir in the blogosphere. Check out Steve’s post and we’ll create our own discussion here.

FOLLOW UP: Steve Rubel now contends that Staples is a blog winner. Recent developments indicate there was some confusion about what the fee was actually for, as Beth notes in the comment section of this post. Excellent work, Beth. Rubel notes that BoingBoing posted Staples’ response. My favorite part of this whole fiasco was what Jeremy Pepper wrote on Rubel’s follow up. This has been my complaint of the blogosphere since I started paying attention to it. And guess what? I fell into the exact same trap that I’ve been complaining about. I’m going to add “Lessons Learned” to the categories of this post…because it was a HUGE lesson for me. Pepper’s comment indicates the lack of professionalism in bloggers’ methods. Attacks are made with little fact or research and it is allowable. We’d never allow a traditional journalist to get away with this without being flayed. Somehow the electronic medium makes us forget to think or have consequences. I posted something similar in response to Tom Murphy’s Blog in his December 12th post titled Crossing the Tortoise.

I’ve learned something valuable here. I actually thought about calling my local Staples to verify this, but didn’t. The rumor mill sucked me in and I got ground up. Lesson learned.

Your Opinion: Food Marketing Attack

A new study out from the Institute of Medicine puts the marketers of certain foods under direct attack. The study is titled: Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity?

IOM Study

If you haven’t read the study, surely you’ve seen any number of the news reports generated by the study. Yahoo Finance, PR Newswire, ABC News, and many others have reported on the study, which came out on December 6th, 2005.

So, if you are a member of the communication team for the food marketing industry, or a PR person at any number of the companies under attack on this issue: What do you do? How do you stop the bleeding on this? Your comments and opinions are welcome…