Following last week’s makeover of the Live Search start page, Microsoft today touted a new design and strategy for WindowsLive.com, which touts many of the company’s consumer-facing online services such as e-mail and Web storage.
The site features a cleaner look and the integration of user-generated content, such as testimonials from “people like me.”
“We’re sharing control of the site’s content with the people who know our services best — our customers,” writes Marty Collins, senior marketing manager, in a blog post announcing the update.
The content, according to the site, is from “[s]ome of the most active Windows Live users [who] have joined a group dedicated to helping you discover new ways to use Windows Live products. They use Windows Live Spaces to blog about their experiences and share their ideas with others.”
The shift, according to a note from a Microsoft spokeswoman, reflects the company’s view that consumer-generated content is more trustworthy. Citing unspecified research, the spokeswoman wrote, “consumer-generated content — which will be integrated throughout WindowsLive.com — consistently outranks professional sources in credibility.”
Collins elaborates on how the user-generated content makes its way to the site:
“Our community members are creating much of the site’s content, usually by showing how they are using various Windows Live services in everyday situations…. We’re also making it easier for members to share their experience. Once they join the community, all they have to do is post on their Windows Live Space where they’re already spending their time, and tag it for the community. Their multimedia stories, tips, advice and comments are automatically aggregated by an RSS feed into the community, where it’s shared with, and rated by, members. Content with the highest ratings is then showcased on WindowsLive.com.”
I’m trying to determine whether Microsoft exerts any editorial control over what is showcased.
“Several months ago, Microsoft sent invites to a random selection of 10,000 uber users to join the WindowsLive.com clubhouse. An uber user is a person who uses Windows Live Spaces, Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger on a regular basis. … All of our community members are volunteers and are not getting compensation from Microsoft or any other source. At launch, we have 125 customers that have signed on as members of the community. During the next several months, we expect to add approximately 2,000 to 3,000 members to our community.