Blog Posts

The Value of Customer Feedback

Some companies rock it when it comes to customer feedback. They understand that listening to the opinions of people who have spent money with them is worth more than paying for a million focus groups.

Some businesses go nearly overboard in listening and adjusting based upon customer feedback. For instance, David Perdew actually adjusts his live event (NAMS) during the three-day weekend based upon the feedback he's getting. Now that's dedication x 1000!

It's not that hard.  You've just got to listen.

If you listen, you can increase profits dramatically.

However, when you don't listen, social media and bloggers can make that really really apparent… fast. Rather than getting kudos for listening and valuing your customer feedback, they write blog posts like this one that say “DO BETTER!” as you shall see in a moment.

One such company is really screwing this up in my not so humble opinion – and I think we all can learn a lesson from it.

Barnes & Noble.

Apparently technology is increasing at a rate faster than common sense.

Barnes & Noble has several models of their NOOK which is basically the same as a Kindle. They have a black and white version and also one that's color and resembles a standard Tablet and can be used for surfing the internet.

Barnes & Noble is marketing these as gifts for children.

HOWEVER… there is next to zero parental control on these things for violence and/or porn. Yeah, that's right. Gramma's Christmas gift to Junior is a porn viewer, too.

Parents have been asking for ways to limit the access to certain books, apps, and the internet for well over a year in the B&N forums and there's been little done to help.

See this screenshot from January of 2011… where people are asking for very simple ways to help them limit their kids exposure to nastiness.

Meanwhile, kiddos and teens have access to these Nooks, in their bedrooms, alone.  Parents think “Oh, they're reading… how awesome!” Or not.

Unfortunately, when left to their own curiosity, kids will make bad choices. They may start innocently enough, but over days, weeks, months.. the searches and what they find can become pretty aggressive and dangerous.

No, we don't expect Barnes & Noble to parent our children. However, some simple options could easily be implemented that would show that they are listening to their customers. And, they could enact some safeguards to help us to encourage a love of reading in our children without giving them free access to the internet and/or inappropriate apps.

For starters…

1. Make the bookstore searchable with a filter in place.

2. Make it super easy to turn off the wifi capability so that internet can't be accessed – and then to turn it back on when we wish.

3. Make it easy to have a separate bookshelf for the kids on our accounts. If I choose to read “Fifty Shades of Grey”, I certainly don't need it on the bookshelf on my kids' Nooks.

4. Perhaps offer a parental control where, if the internet is turned on, we can view the past browsing history in our account.

5. Just a simple one-check option during setup would be great. “I am a MINOR!” (‘Nuff said?)

So, my issue here is two-fold from a business stand-point.

1. Don't market a product to kids if it's not safe for kids.

2. LISTEN to your customers. If they've been asking for a feature for over a year and a half – and it's a good recommendation, then at least meet us halfway.

Thoughts? I'd love to hear yours.


Nicole Dean

PS. Yes, this blog post is also a Public Service Announcement. If you have internet browsing on your kids' Nook, Kindle, or phone – they WILL make bad choices. Talk with them about this issue and monitor their usage. Don't trust them to do the right thing. There's just too much temptation out there. (And, don't even get me started on teen sexting… UG.)

I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Mary

    Nicole, this is such an important topic. With all the ways that kids can access inappropriate content today, parents really do need to be vigilant. I’m not a techie, per se, but it seems to me that there should be a way to mark certain materials as “blocked content.”

    When I uploaded my first self-published book to Amazon, BN, etc., I used an outside service and had to select an appropriate “rating” for it. When I look at the page on, though, I see that there is no such rating attached to it.

    I just uploaded a book for Kindle, and there was no such rating required.

    Not sure what the answer is, but there must be something that can help parents here.

  • Marya

    Thanks for writing about this. I bought a Nook for my 13 year old daughter and was startled at what came up on the 000 Free Children’s Books search! No filtering at all. We returned it and bought a Kindle instead which has better controls. I did call into corporate and let them know why we returned it.

  • debralmb

    Hey, Nicole – I’ve noticed several places on your blog that show you are familiar with the Animal Rescue Site and all the buttons you can click on for various causes. I am too and click every day and are linking to them on some sites I just started and am doing some affiliate marketing with. and animal (ditto) and and animal (ditto). The animal ones are basically just up and under construction.

    But any way, just thought I would drop by and tell you I’ve been receiving and enjoying your email updates and information for a while now and really enjoy it and find it useful. In the past it was mostly just informational purposes, but now, its to help me survive with my affiliate mktg online because I have been unable to find a job for 3 years now after being laid off. So, now, I am REALLY taking note of your valuable information and am always glad to hear that you have made a living online for a while now. Hopefully, I will too.

    Better go, I’m in Louisiana and directly in Issac’s path and its time to batten down the hatches. I know I rambled but I tend to do that.


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