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June 05, 2009

Fix The Problem, Not the Blame

Jun

05

2009

So, some of you might have read about the recent FTC settlement with Sears http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/06/sears.shtm. There have been a number of questions about this and since we believe in being open and honest in our community, I thought it would be helpful to give a little more background on this story as well as give you all a sense of where we stand.

 

The history – about two years ago, we ran a research project on consumer web behavior. We wanted to understand more about the patterns of web surfing and how people search for products and services online so we could figure how to better serve our customers (what are issues they have when shopping online, what do they look for, where do they like to shop). So, we recruited a small group of consumers to participate in a panel through one of our research vendors and gave them a small amount of money for their participation. As part of the study we asked participants to download software that would anonymously follow their behavior online.

 

Sounds ominous, and for some people it would seem very big brother, but we tried to be as open and sensitive as possible given that a lot of the rules and best practices on the web are still evolving. In fact, we actually thought we were doing all the right things: notifying participants of the terms of the study upfront, warning them that they would need to download software that would monitor their web behavior, assuring them it was anonymous, making it clear that they could terminate their participation at any time, giving them instructions on how to remove any software and providing help if they needed it. And when bloggers first questioned the project, we even worked with web watchdog Stopbadware.org to revise all of our notifications and messaging to participants to make sure we were transparent http://www.stopbadware.org/reports/reportdisplay?reportname=myschcomm01082008

 

The facts are that we went to extremes to protect any personal information and no personal information was ever compromised: participation was anonymous, no personal information was ever viewed directly by/shared with anyone, and all information was encrypted. And when the study was over, all software was removed and all data was destroyed long before anyone told us to.

 

Okay, we wanted to learn more about consumers online, but we never intended to “dupe” or “spy” on people. In truth the FTC’s issue was focused more when and how we notified participants that we were tracking.  It was not that we failed to notify participants.  We have taken their criticisms to heart. As a result we are all better for it. I don’t think this is a bad lesson to learn and I think it focuses attention on the more general need to improve the way we all handle personal information. At a time when so much data is collected and distributed about us, privacy seems to be at a premium these days. The pace of technology is also accelerating and it is often difficult for our institutions and lawmakers to stay ahead of it all. A good place to get involved and discuss such issues by the way is BadwareBusters.org.

 

I think I saw in one of the articles on this topic that stated that  “Sears was unapologetic”. I don’t think that is the case at all. Whenever you mess up you should say so. I definitely would apologize for any concern or appearance of impropriety. Integrity is essential when building relationships. So, let me say unequivocally that we are sorry for any breach of trust that this may have caused. It wasn’t our intention to do anything that would damage our credibility with customers, and that is why we now have a place for people to voice their concerns, issues and ideas. We want to keep the dialog going, so please keep the feedback coming (even when it is something that is tough to hear). Our commitment is that if we do something wrong (and let’s face it we will make mistakes), we will fix it.

Cheers


Rob Harles, VP Community

 

P.S. I thought this was an interesting article and sums up some of the issues

Government Privacy Hearings

 

May 07, 2009

An Excellent Source of Information!

May

07

2009

BluecrewguyinMA It's time to announce our Simple Thanks Winner! BlueCrewGuyInMa is the recipient this month.  I know many of you have benefited from his wide range of knowledge!  The MySears Community is lucky to have such an informative poster.  His advice about appliances and electronics have been especially helpful.  Even our onsite customer service team is consistently impressed with the vast amount of insight BlueCrewGuy has doled out.   Check out some of his suggestions:

Advantages of a Front Loader Washer

Gas or Electric Dryer?

Convection Oven

Stop by BlueCrewGuy's MySears page to congratulate him!  Thanks, BlueManCrewGuyInMa-Your contributions are truly appreciated by all who visit MySears!

Julie

March 26, 2009

Exciting new launch of MySears!

Mar

26

2009

Hi Everyone!

 

We have some exciting news to share! Like always, we are working hard to make your experience in the community better and more enjoyable. Based on the communities input, we are launching a series of site changes over the coming month!

 

Here’s a highlight of what’s changing—just wanted to give you a sneak peek:


                • Our name! After much debate, and input from our discussion boards, we are changing our name to MySears!  In the next few weeks, you will see that name being used all throughout the site.  As part of this change, we will be retiring the sk-YOU site and launching a new site called www.mysears.com. (don’t worry, we will automatically redirect you there if you forget!) We are also working on a site dedicated to Kmart shoppers.


                • We have integrated the community more closely with Sears.com. That means, on MySears you will see a lot MORE of “Sears” throughout the site. You will be able to see all of the Sears products, browse the site by Sears categories, read the Sears product reviews and ultimately buy Sears products.  Likewise, we will be displaying YOUR reviews on Sears.com. By the way, if you see a reviewer with a “Sears shopper” t’shirt, it means the review was written by someone on Sears.com and they haven’t joined the community yet.  


                 We will STOP syndicating content from partner sites. Everything on the site will be written and contributed by Sears customers. As part of this change, you may notice that some of your former friends are no longer active on the site. That is because they were visiting from a partner site. You can still connect with them! You will see their profile and be able to find them on the partner site that referred them.

But, that’s not all that’s in the works! In the months to follow, we are also planning to launch a new feature called, “Ideas!” We have been listening to you and want to listen more! You will now have a place to formally submit your ideas for change and watch them be put into action! We will also be launching Management Blogs. Over the coming months, management will be blogging to better engage in a dialog with you—our customers. We look forward to talking with you and getting to know you even better. Last but not least, we will be expanding our “Simple Thanks” program so that there will be more opportunities to participate in sweeps, and earn recognition for your contributions to the dialog.

 

There are a lot of changes in store at sk-YOU over the coming weeks and months. Be on the lookout for these changes.  The first of them will be happening this SATURDAY, March 28th (and the site will be down for a little while—so please bear with us!).

 

Be certain to check back and check out the new upgrades, ask us any questions… and let us know what you think!

Sincerely,

 

Rob Harles and the new MySears Team!

February 09, 2009

Marching around with Marinemom2000

Feb

09

2009

Marinemom2000  It's that time again! Time to say "Thank you" to one of our members that has gone above and beyond in the community! 

Meet Marinemom2000! It's all about family with Marinemom2000. With five kids, including two sons and a son in law in the marines, we couldn't be more excited that she has chosen to spend some of her time here in our community!

We are always interested in our members and their ideas about Sears, Kmart, shopping, the community or any other interesting topics that you can think of! Marinemom2000 and many other members shared some great feedback on topics such as what it means to be an active member as well as idea on how we can better the community. Her participation has certainly not gone unnoticed and her feedback has sparked lots of intriguing conversation. So, be sure to check out the discussion boards, a great way to send your ideas and find out what others have to say as well. Because Marinemom2000 has been such a positive contributor we thought we would send her a big "thank you!!"

We are honored to have her and her family members fighting for our country and we are honored to have her in our community!

 

One of your community leaders,

Courtney

January 20, 2009

November Sweepstakes WINNER!

Jan

20

2009

Deesqbt First of all...Happy 2009!! I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year! We certainly did and are excited to start a brand new one. So, what better way to start the new year off than with some cash! That's what Deesqbt did. She is our November sweepstakes winner and the recipient of a $500 Sears gift card! We would love to see what she plans on spending it on. At this point... I might consider buying a space heater since it has been so cold these past few days! It had actually reached -14 degrees here in Chicago! Anyone else feeling the pain? I thought I had lost an ear and possibly a toe when I was walking outside but when I finally reached the warmth of a train I realized they were still there after I a few minutes of thawing. Or, maybe a warmer coat just might do the trick!! Whatever Deesqbt plans on buying, we are excited to have her not only be new our winner but also a member of the community.

Congratulations to Deesqbt for winning. Stop by her page and congratulate her yourself! And Deesqbt, don't forget to let us know what you plan on purchasing with those glorious $500 so write a review or post us a message on the discussion board!

Also, for all of you hopeful's, we have a new January Sweepstakes running right now so all you need to do is write a review to be entered! Also, if you miss this month's (which ends on January 31) we are going to be running a new "Tell us what you love" for our Valentines themed February promotion.

January 12, 2009

Shaping the future of Sears and Kmart

Jan

12

2009

Rstinnett Our newest Simple Thanks winner, Rstinnett, has been more than just a contributor to the Sk-YOU community, he has been an enthusiastic and ever-loyal member, helping out other users as well as providing the community with updates and feedback about products and services.

Want to know what coupons are available? Or looking for store updates? Check some of these posts!

 

Super Doubles

New Kmart Store         

Solar Conversions            

Your feedback has been greatly valued and Sears and Kmart are taking notice! We hope to continue to have your support! Thanks for helping to shape the future of Sears and Kmart and thanks for helping to keep the community thriving!

One of your community leaders,

Courtney

December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Dec

22

2008

It's holiday time... and you know what that means... lots of shopping!!! I made an attempt to do some last minute holiday shopping yesterday with little success. However, it wasn't because of the amount of people or the lack of items on the shelves... it was the cold!! At -5 degrees, with a -30 degree wind-chill, I was in some pain. When the weather is this bad... it's best to have an idea of what gifts you need so you can get in and out and get back home!

Our Holiday gift guide is always a great place to start! Whether it's gifts for him, gifts for her or ideas for kids and tweens, we can help you find it! Personally, I think finding gift for guys is the hardest so that where I went looking first!!

My mom really did always used to say that I had a CVS in my closet because I would try so many different hair products and whatever else I could find so I am always a big fan of beauty and health items too, especially since there is such a variety of items to consider in these categories, from perfume to vitamins and minerals!

While we do have a promotion going, with a chance to win $500 just for writing a review... we also would love to hear your thoughts on gifts you bought or received! Or, if you aren't the write a review type of person, tell us about your holiday and share your stories on the discussion boards! However you wish to participate, we are glad that you came to visit the community!

One of your community leaders,

Courtney

December 12, 2008

$500 October Fall Sweepstakes Winner

Dec

12

2008

What better way to end the week than with the announcement of our October Fall Sweepstakes winner!! Hopefully by now you have met Robhag, our Summer Sweepstakes winner so now let me know introduce you to ... WANDA!

Say hello and CONGRATULATIONS to Wanda for winning a $500 Sears gift card in our giveaway. This Californian was one among many who submitted some great reviews!

Stay tuned to find out who our November sweepstakes winner is in the next couple of weeks. Also, as I have previously mentioned, if you are interested in a chance to win, check out the site for our new promotions. Currently, we are running a Holiday Sweepstakes! All you need to do is write a review on whatever you want and you will be automatically entered in a chance to win.

December 09, 2008

Hold on to your golfballs... it's MadGolfer!

Dec

09

2008

Madgolfer_2One of the reasons we do Simple Thanks is to let our members know how much we appreciate their contributions and also to let them know that we are listening! Madgolfer happens to be one of those members so we absolutely wanted to let him know that our ears at both sk-YOU and Sears are open. What does it mean to be an active member? On sk-YOU, it can be whatever you want... from writing reviews to participating on our discussion boards. Madgolfer has put forth his own ideas... take a look at what gets this golfer swinging!

If you need a good laugh... take a look at his topic of Funniest Retail Stories!

On a more serious note, read what Mad Golfer has to say about How we can Improve Sears and Kmart and give us your 2 cents as well!

As our featured reviewer and Simple Thanks winner of the week, MadGolfer has earned it! Don't forget to stop by his page and let him know!

November 17, 2008

New York, New York!

Nov

17

2008

Rochesterian80Don't get me wrong, I am a Red Sox fan all the way. However, this New Yorker has been pretty fabulous in the community so it's not a problem for me to look past this possible Yankees fan (Mets maybe?). Rochesterian80 has been a member on sk-YOU since July... almost since we started!... and has been a great contributor.

After posting 6 reviews, Rochesterian80 has jumped in on the discussion boards and provided some great feedback!! What do you think about the Sears brand in general or the brands that the store carries? There are so many ideas and thoughts surrounding the subject since it really can affect a store and its success. Rochesterian80 gave us some great insight on the topic.

Check out Getting "Big Name" Apparel and Shoes to read more about consumer's viewpoints on what it means to be a successful.

Or!

There are some interesting suggestions, including Rochesterian80's,on how to improve with Kmart try this!! so be sure to take a look at what Rochesterian80 thinks and provide your feedback as well!

Congratulations to Rochesterian80 for being selected as this week's featured member and Simple Thanks winner!