Hoosgot: The Lazyweb is Back! [en]

[fr] Hoosgot, réincarnation du lazyweb d'antan, est en ligne. Merci à Dave Sifry, fondateur de Technorati!

One of the great things about the internet is that it brings people and ideas closer. One of the ways I (and many others) use it is to find things, or make sure the great idea we just had hasn’t already been implemented somewhere before we start building it.

Many years ago, when trackbacks were young and the [the Internet Topic Exchange was hot](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/07/19/easier-topicexchange-trackbacks-for-wordpress/), some brave folks [put their heads and fingers together](http://www.lazyweb.org/about.html) to give birth to [The Lazyweb](http://www.lazyweb.org/archives/010257.html). If you had a request or a question, you would blog about it, send a trackback and a small prayer to the lazyweb, and maybe the lazyweb would answer with a solution. (As you’ve understood, the “lazyweb” is the community of people sending requests and keeping an eye on those from their brethren.)

I sent [a few requests](http://climbtothestars.org/tags/lazyweb) its way at the time.

Unfortunately,spam [killed](http://www.lazyweb.org/archives/010257.html) the lazyweb.

Yesterday, [Dave Sifry announced](http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/2007/12/announcing_hoos.html) the birth of [hoosgot](http://www.hoosgot.com/), reincarnation of the lazyweb.

So, [how do you send your requests](http://www.hoosgot.com/index.php/about/) over to hoosgot? Simply mention hoosgot in post or Twitter message, and it will appear [on the website](http://www.hoosgot.com/) and in the associated RSS feed — which you should definitely subscribe to and keep an eye on.

Thanks, Dave!

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Bunny's Language Linker: New WordPress Plugin [en]

[fr] Un nouveau plugin WordPress que je viens d'écrire. Celui-ci vous permet de gérer les liens entre pages équivalentes de deux versions linguistiques d'un site. Par exemple, si vous avez http://stephanie-booth.com/en et http://stephanie-booth.com/fr (deux installations WordPress séparées!), le plugin vous aidera à faire en sorte qu'il y ait des liens entre http://stephanie-booth.com/en/about et http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/a-propos.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m proud to announce the WordPress plugin [Bunny’s Language Linker](/code/language-linker.tgz) ([zip](/code/language-linker.zip), [phps](/code/language-linker.phps)).

I’ve been wanting to write this plugin for ages, and I’ve finally done it this evening. This is a plugin for people who have a WordPress site with content duplicated in more than one language, like I’m going to have with [stephanie-booth.com](http://stephanie-booth.com). For example, you have an “about” page in English, and another “about” page in German. This plugin helps you create and manage links between such “sister” pages. (“Pages”, not “posts”. It doesn’t work with posts at all.)

The plugin adds an extra field to the page editing form, inviting you to input the *page slug* of the sister page:

Bunny's Language Linker - Admin view

The screenshot is a bit small, but there on the right, there is a little box with “a-propos” — the slug of the French sister page. It works with more than one other language, too. You just need to edit the settings in the plugin file to specify which languages you’re playing with (instructions are in the plugin file). If I had sites in 3 other languages, say French, Spanish, and German, my settings line in the plugin file would look like this:

$bll_other_languages=array(‘fr’, ‘es’, ‘de’);

And the little box would provide three different fields for the page slugs of the different localized sites. (OK, I’m making this sound complicated, sorry.)

The plugin then automatically adds links to the sister pages you’ve indicated. Here’s what it could look like:

Bunny's Language Linker - Page view

There’s a readme file with the plugin which will give you some more details. I’ll soon have a client site in production using that plugin, so if these explanations weren’t very clear, hopefully the demonstration will help.

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Browser Language Detection and Redirection [en]

[fr] Une explication de la méthode que j'ai suivie pour que http://stephanie-booth.com redirige le visiteur soit vers la version anglaise du site, soit la française, en fonction des préférences linguistiques définies dans son navigateur.

**Update, 29.12.2007: scroll to the bottom of this post for a more straightforward solution, using Multiviews.**

I’ve been working on [stephanie-booth.com](http://stephanie-booth.com) today. One of my objectives is the add an [English version](http://stephanie-booth.com/en/) to the previously [French-only site](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/).

I’m doing this by using two separate installations of WordPress. The content in both languages should be roughly equivalent, and I’ll write a WordPress plugin which allows to “automate” the process of linking back and forth from equivalent content in different languages.

What I did today is solve a problem I’ve been wanting to attack for some time now: use people’s browser settings to direct them to the “correct” language for the site. Here is what I learnt in the process, and how I did it. It’s certainly not the most elegant way to do things, so let me know if you have a better solution by using the comments below.

First, what I needed to know was that the browser language preferences are sent in the HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE header (HTTP header). First, I thought of [capturing the information through PHP](http://www.webdeveloper.com/forum/showpost.php?s=d989341270ceae8820a3bc1c6273dc9e&p=217863&postcount=2), but I discovered that Apache (logical, if you think of it) could handle it directly.

[This tutorial was useful in getting me started](http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/wa-apac.html), though I think it references an older version of Apache. Out of the horses mouth, [Apache content negotiation](http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.0/content-negotiation.html) had the final information I needed.

I’ll first explain the brief attempt I did with Multiviews (because it can come in handy) before going through the setup I currently have.

### Multiviews

In this example, you request a file, e.g. test.html which doesn’t physically exist, and Apache uses either test.html.en or test.html.fr depending on your language preferences. You’ll still see test.html in your browser bar, though.

To do this, add the line:

Options +Multiviews

to your .htaccess file. Create the files test.html.en and test.html.fr with sample text (“English” and “French” will do if you’re just trying it out).

Then, request the file test.html in your browser. You should see the test content of the file corresponding to your language settings appear. Change your browser language prefs and reload to see what happens.

This is pretty neat, but it forces you to open a file — and I wanted / to redirect either to /en/ or to /fr/.

It’s explained pretty well in [this tutorial I already linked to](http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/wa-apac.html), and [this page has some useful information](http://unix.org.ua/orelly/linux/apache/ch06_03.htm) too.

### Type maps

I used a type map and some PHP redirection magic to achieve my aim. A type map is not limited to languages, but this is what we’re going to use it for here. It’s a text file which you can name menu.var for example. In that case, you need to add the following line to your .htaccess so that the file is dealth with as a type map:

AddHandler type-map .var

Here is the content of my type-map, which I named menu.var:

URI: en.php
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Language: en, en-us, en-gb

URI: fr.php
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Language: fr, fr-ch, fr-qc

Based on my tests, I concluded that the value for URI in the type map cannot be a directory, so I used a little workaround. This means that if you load menu.var in the browser, Apache will serve either en.php or fr.php depending on the content-language the browser accepts, and these two PHP files redirect to the correct URL of the localized sites. Here is what en.php looks like:

And fr.php, logically:

Just in case somebody came by with a browser providing neither English nor French in the HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE header, I added this line to my .htaccess to catch [any 406 errors (“not acceptable”)](http://www.checkupdown.com/status/E406.html):

ErrorDocument 406 /en.php

So, if something goes wrong, we’re redirected to the English version of the site.

The last thing that needs to be done is to have menu.var (the type map) load automatically when we go to stephanie-booth.com. I first tried by adding a DirectoryIndex directive to .htaccess, but that messed up the use of index.php as the normal index file. Here’s the line for safe-keeping, if you ever need it in other circumstances, or if you want to try:

DirectoryIndex menu.var

Anyway, I used another PHP workaround. I created an index.php file with the following content:

And there we are!

### Accepted language priority and regional flavours

In my browser settings, I’ve used en-GB and fr-CH to indicate that I prefer British English and Swiss French. Unfortunately, the header matching is strict. So if the order of your languages is “en-GB, fr-CH, fr, en” you will be shown the French page (en-GB and fr-CH are ignored, and fr comes before en). It’s all explained in the Apache documentation:

> The server will also attempt to match language-subsets when no other match can be found. For example, if a client requests documents with the language en-GB for British English, the server is not normally allowed by the HTTP/1.1 standard to match that against a document that is marked as simply en. (Note that it is almost surely a configuration error to include en-GB and not en in the Accept-Language header, since it is very unlikely that a reader understands British English, but doesn’t understand English in general. Unfortunately, many current clients have default configurations that resemble this.) However, if no other language match is possible and the server is about to return a “No Acceptable Variants” error or fallback to the LanguagePriority, the server will ignore the subset specification and match en-GB against en documents. Implicitly, Apache will add the parent language to the client’s acceptable language list with a very low quality value. But note that if the client requests “en-GB; q=0.9, fr; q=0.8”, and the server has documents designated “en” and “fr”, then the “fr” document will be returned. This is necessary to maintain compliance with the HTTP/1.1 specification and to work effectively with properly configured clients.

Apache, Content Negotiation

This means that I added regional language codes to the type map (“fr, fr-ch, fr-qc”) and also that I changed the order of my language preferences in Firefox, making sure that all variations of one language were grouped together, in the order in which I prefer them:

Language Prefs in Firefox

### Catching old (now invalid) URLs

There are lots of incoming links to pages of the French site, where it used to live — at the web root. For example, the contact page address used to be http://stephanie-booth.com/contact, but it is now http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/contact. I could write a whole list of permanent redirects in my .htaccess file, but this is simpler. I just copied and modified the rewrite rules that WordPress provides, to make sure that the correct blog installation does something useful with those old URLs (**bold** is my modification):

# BEGIN WordPress

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . **/fr**/index.php [L]

# END WordPress

In this way, as you can check, [http://stephanie-booth.com/contact](http://stephanie-booth.com/contact) is not broken.

### Next steps

My next mission is to write a small plugin which I will install on both WordPress sites (I’ve got to write it for a client too, so double benefit). This plugin will do the following:

– add a field to the write/edit post field in which to type the post slug of the correponding page/post in the other language *(e.g. “particuliers” in French will be “individuals” in English)
– add a link to each post pointing to the equivalent page in the other language

It’s pretty basic, but it beats manual links, and remains very simple. (I like simple.)

As I said, if you have a better (simpler!) way of doing all this, please send it my way.

### A simpler solution **[Added 29.12.2007]**

For each language, create a file named index.php.lg where “lg” is the language code. For French, you would create index.php.fr with the following content:

Repeat for each language available.

**Do not** put an index.php file in your root directory, just the index.php.lg files.

Add the two following lines to your .htaccess:

Options +Multiviews
ErrorDocument 406 /fr/

…assuming French is the default language you want your site to show up in if your visitor’s browser doesn’t accept any of the languages you provide your site in.

You’re done!

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Qu'est-ce que je fais, au juste? [fr]

[en] Roughly the French equivalent of the post Working on My Professional Site, with an added question in the end. I'd like to provide a list of the talks I've given and clients I've had. Most of my commercial clients have been public about my involvement, so that's not the issue -- it's more the dozens of schools I've spoken in. Some were long ago, I've lost my contacts, so I'm quite tempted to simply put the list online, and remove names if I'm asked to. Do you think it's blatantly unprofessional to do so?

Je suis en train de donner un coup de peinture fraîche (enfin, plus qu’un coup de peinture, parce qu’il s’agit de contenu) à mon pauvre site professionnel. Qu’y mettre? Voilà la grande question. Donc, je brainstorme.

Voici un peu où j’en suis. Si quelqu’un a une bonne traduction pour “social media”, je suis preneuse. Pour l’instant, je vais utiliser le vaguement douteux “nouveaux médias”. Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus. Attention, c’est brouillon et redondant.

### qu’est-ce que je fais?

– j’aide les gens à comprendre des trucs au sujet d’internet (nouveaux médias)
– j’apprends aux gens comment utiliser ces nouveaux médias
– j’aide les entreprises à voir comment elles peuvent utiliser les nouveaux médias
– je donne des conférences
– je connecte les gens
– je veux donner les moyens aux gens d’avoir une voix sur internet
– je fais profiter ceux qui en ont besoin de mon expertise sur la culture internet
– j’aide les entreprises à repenser leur stratégie de communication
– j’organise des événements (journées de conférences, congrès)
– j’aide les gens à démarrer avec les blogs et outils associés
– j’initie les gens à la gestion des aspects techniques de l’installation et la maintenance d’outils comme WordPress

### qu’est-ce qui m’intéresse?

– les questions linguistiques sur internet (multilinguisme)
– les adolescents et internet
– les nouveaux médias et comment ils changent la façon dont les entreprises, institutions, et personnes communiquent
– les “social tools” (“outils socialisants”?), comment nous les utilisons, à quoi ils servent, et comment ils fonctionnent

### qui sont mes clients?

– gens normaux qui veulent en savoir plus (sur les blogs, les ados sur internet)
– écoles et associations travaillant avec les adolescents
– personnes occupant des positions-clés côté médias et communication dans de grandes entreprises
– petites entreprises ou indépendants
– médias
– gens du marketing, de la pub, ou de la comm
– webmasters ou techniciens

### qui suis-je?

– polyvalente
– je connais bien internet (de l’intérieur et de l’extérieur)
– je comprends également bien le fonctionnement des gens et des cultures
– blogueuse depuis belle lurette, citoyenne du net
– compétences: expliquer, enseigner, inspirer, assister processus de décision ou de pensée, conseiller

De là où vous êtes, j’ai raté quelque chose?

J’ai aussi commencé à compiler une liste de toutes les conférences que j’ai données (et il y en a un paquet, je peux vous dire). La part de moi qui a un peu froid au pieds me dit que je devrais demander à tous mes “clients” (surtout des écoles pour les conférences “privées”, en l’occurence) leur accord avant de mettre leur nom sur une liste publique. (La plupart de mes contrats commerciaux sont déjà publics d’une façon où d’une autre.)

Je suis cependant bien consciente d’une chose: en “demandant la permission” de rendre quelque chose public, on court bien des risques de se heurter à un “non” prenant racine dans des peurs infondées ou simplement du “on sait jamais, soyons prudents”. Alors que mis devant le fait accompli, probablement que personne ne trouverait quoi que ce soit à redire. Ce n’est pas un processus nouveau, clairement.

Que feriez-vous à ma place, sachant que bon nombre datent d’il y a lontemps, que je n’ai plus forcément les contacts de l’époque, et que je suis prête à courir le risque qu’on me demande de retirer un nom ou deux de la liste après-coup?

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Working on my Professional Site [en]

[fr] Je suis en train de donner un coup de peinture fraîche (enfin, plus qu'un coup de peinture, parce qu'il s'agit de contenu) à mon pauvre site professionnel. Qu'y mettre? Voilà la grande question. Donc, je brainstorme. Si ceci vous inspire des réflexions, n'hésitez pas. Je vais publier la liste en français dans mon prochain billet.

So, here I am at [WPD2](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/26/wowipad1-and-wpd2-news/), giving [my poor professional site](http://stephanie-booth.com) a much-needed facelift. More than a facelift, actually — content rather than form is the subject of the day. Call it a complete overhaul.

I opened a mind-map and started brainstorming a bit. I’m really not sure what I’m going to put in this site, and how I’m going to present things. I must say I really like [Euan Semple’s professional site](http://www.euansemple.com/): simple and straight to the point.

Here’s a snapshot of the work in progress. Feedback welcome of course (which is why I’m blogging this). It’s brainstorm-like, and there are redundancies.

### what do I do?

– help people understand stuff about the internet (social media)
– teach people how to use social media
– help companies figure out what they can do with social media
– speak
– connect people
– I want to empower people to have a voice online
– I share my understanding of internet culture with those who need it
– I help companies rethink their communication strategy
– organise events
– get people started with blogging and associated tools
– introduce people to managing the technical aspects involved in installing and maintaining tools like WordPress

### what are my interests?

– languages on the internet (multilingualism)
– teenagers on the internet
– social media and how it changes the way companies and people communicate
– social tools, how we use them, what their purpose is, and how they work

### who are my clients?

– normal people who want to know more (about blogging or teenagers online)
– schools
– people in key communications/media positions in big companies
– small companies
– media corporations
– marketing/communications people
– tech people

### who am I?

– multi-faceted
– I know stuff about the internet
– I also know stuff about people and culture
– a long-term blogger and online person
– good at explaining, teaching, inspiring, assisting thought and decision-making processes

Seen from the “outside”, am I leaving stuff out?

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WoWiPAD1 and WPD2 News [en]

[fr] Le deuxième Website Pro Day aura lieu ce vendredi à Lausanne. Nous sommes 4, il y a de la place pour encore une ou deux personnes si bosser sur le canapé ne vous dérange pas.

Quant au World Wide Paperwork and Administrivial Day (WoWiPAD, le jour consacré à faire un sort à sa paperasse, chacun chez soi) le 2 janvier, je suis épatée: une dizaine de personnes se proposent de participer à cette opération de solidarité! Joignez-vous à nous. Si vous n'avez pas de compte Facebook, il suffit de laisser un mot dans les commentaires.

As dates are drawing nearer, a short update on both the first World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day (WoWiPAD) and the second Website Pro Day (WPD). (See [my previous post about these two initiatives](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/wwpad-wpd/) for background information.)

WPD2 Lausanne will take place this Friday. [Ollie](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/), [Julien](http://julienhenzelin.typepad.com/), [Anne-Paule](http://air2rien.ch/), [Carlos](http://blog.osez.ch/) and myself will spend the day (9am-6pm approx) at Julien’s place working on our professional websites. So far, no other sister-events have been announced, but I still have hope! (If you’re in Lausanne and would like to join us, we probably have space for an extra person or two, if you don’t mind working on the couch.)

WoWiPAD (renamed following [Greg](http://cascades2alps.blogspot.com/)’s [suggestion](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/wwpad-wpd/#comment-346265)) will take place all over the world (yes!) on January 2nd, 9am-6pm approx (local times). So far, [10 people have confirmed their participation on Facebook](http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=7437407283). Join us! (If you don’t use Facebook, you can sign up in the comments of this post.) I’m thinking about opening a temporary IRC channel for the day, to help give some sense of connection to the various people participating (though of course, we don’t sit in it chatting, we’ll be hacking away at our paperwork.)

Who’s in?

– me 😉
– [Elmine](http://elmine.wijnia.com/weblog/)
– [Henriette](http://henrietteweber.com/)
– [Virginie](http://www.derriere-le-hublot.com/)
– [Andrea](http://whiskeykitten.wordpress.com/)
– [James](http://www.imajes.info/)
– [Charles](http://blog.todekaproject.com/)
– [Julien](http://julienhenzelin.typepad.com/)
– [Olivier](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/)
– Sarah WH
– [Chris](http://lascribe.net/)
– [Ton](http://www.zylstra.org/blog/)

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November 2007 Recap [en]

[fr] Un résumé des divers billets que j'ai écrits en novembre 2007. Je sens que je devrais faire une version française complète de cet article... mais honnêtement, pas le courage de m'y remettre juste là!

A few days ago, I had an idea: why don’t I write a “recap” post of what I wrote during the month? Sometimes I go on writing binges and it gets a bit hard to follow, so maybe this will help. *Note that some of the links here point to older posts, I’m not being 100% strict about “November” — but everything is indeed related to that month.*

So, what was the deal for [November 2007](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/)? Looking back, it was a busy month. Mainly conferences, as I travelled to Berlin for Web2.0Expo, Serbia for BlogOpen, and Paris for ParisWeb in the space of two weeks, giving a talk each time — and [a fourth in Zurich](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/26/blogging-in-internal-communications/) when I got back. I also decided and announced that I was [starting a company](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/13/im-starting-a-company/), and [moved CTTS](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/28/server-move/) back to my server, [upgrading WordPress](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/29/upgrade-shmupgrade/) while I was at it.

### Talks and Conferences

#### Berlin, [Web2.0Expo](http://berlin.web2expo.com/)

Although I did [live-blog](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/08/01/on-liveblogging/) quite a few of the sessions that I attended, I didn’t write a “summary” post like I did for [FoWA](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/05/my-notes-of-fowa-autumn-2007/) or [WordCamp](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/07/22/a-day-at-wordcamp-2007/) earlier this year — heading off for Serbia and Paris right after, **and** being sick, I guess, didn’t exactly make for ideal conditions to be a model blogger. So, here’s a list of the sessions I blogged about:

– [Kathy Sierra: Creating Passionate Users Workshop](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/05/kathy-sierra-creating-passionate-users-web20expo-berlin/), and also [her Keynote](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/06/kathy-sierra-keynote-web20expo-berlin/) the next day (I got personal thanks from her for these notes, and many people seemed to appreciate them)
– [Jeremy Keith: The Beauty in Standards and Accessibility](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/06/jeremy-keith-the-beauty-in-standards-and-accessibility-web20expo-berlin/) (I really enjoyed his talk)
– [Jesse James Garrett: Delivering Rich Experiences](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/07/jesse-james-garrett-delivering-rich-experiences-web-20-expo-berlin/) (only got the end of the talk, unfortunately)
– [Ankur Shah & Gi Fernando: (Facebook API) Disrupting the Platform](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/07/ankur-shah-gi-fernando-facebook-api-disrupting-the-platform-web-20-expo-berlin/)
– [Lars Trieloff: i18n for Web 2.0](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/07/lars-trieloff-i18n-for-web-20-web-20-expo-berlin/)
– [Cory Doctorow: Europe’s Copyright Wars – Do We Have to Repeat the American Mistake?](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/08/cory-doctorow-copyright-wars/)

My [talk proposal](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/08/09/another-multilingual-talk-proposal-web-20-expo-berlin/) didn’t make it, but I had a chance to give [“Waiting for the Babel Fish” at Web2Open](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/05/reminder-speaking-tuesday-at-web2open-berlin/), the parallel unconference running during Web2.0Expo, in the Expo area. Somebody filmed a part of it, but unfortunately it never made it to me. It was fun, though — starting out with three people, and finishing with about 20 (the room was clearly hard to find, I myself got quite lost on the way).

I took [photos of the conference (and a few of Berlin)](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157602926000696/), of course.

#### Novi Sad (Serbia), [BlogOpen](http://blogopen.eu/)

I was [invited to Novi Sad in Serbia](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/12/blogopen-in-novi-sad-serbia/) to give a talk about [my experience as a blogging consultant](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/12/being-a-blogging-consultant/). I had a great time giving the talk (and before that, taking [silly facial expression photos](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157603111529724/) to illustrate my slides) and was taken good care of by [Sanja](http://auroraborealis.blog381.com/), who volunteered to act as my host during my stay.

Unfortunately I fell ill there (food poisoning), but did have time to go out and catch [some photos of Novi Sad](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157603111523044/), in addition of [those of the conference](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157603145532635/).

My talk got [quite a lot of coverage](http://del.icio.us/steph/coverage%2Bblogopentalk) (in Serbian!), including [two short video snippets](http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=blogopen+stephanie+booth&search=Search) (thanks again!).

My departure from Berlin had been quite hectic (wrong airport!) and I was provided with the most scary landing experience in my life, courtesy of JAT airways, when we arrived in Belgrade. Leaving through Belgrade airport to go to Paris was not exactly a fun experience, either. I tell it all in [Berlin, Belgrade: Two Contrasting Airport Experiences](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/14/berlin-belgrade-two-contrasting-airport-experiences/).

#### Paris, [ParisWeb](http://2007.paris-web.fr/)

It was nice to be in Paris, see my friend [Steph](http://unadorned.org/dandruff/) again after many years, and meet all the fine people behind ParisWeb and the francophone web standards movement — some of whom I’ve known online for years through their involvement in [Pompage.net](http://pompage.net), a [web standards-oriented translation magazine I founded](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2001/03/21/faire-part/) way back in 2001.

I was pretty ill though and just wanted to go home — no live-blogging, and not many photos. More than half of the photos in my [ParisWeb set](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157603546219446/) were kindly taken by [Fabien](http://arkhi.org/blog/) while I was pretending to be a window for [Chris Heilmann’s demonstration of Javascript event listeners](http://www.wait-till-i.com/2007/11/18/minified-metro-sticky-event-handling-and-and-great-new-encounters-that-was-parisweb-2007/) ((http://www.dailymotion.com/ennui/video/x3irwh_chris-heilmanns-javascript-workshop_fun)). You should definitely check out [Fabien’s photos](http://www.23hq.com/an.archi/paris%20web%202007) rather than mine if you want some visuals from the conference.

A video of the talk I gave should be available in a few weeks.

#### Zurich, ASCI

After the success of my talk [How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/24/how-blogging-brings-dialogue-to-corporate-communications/) in September, I was invited to Zurich again to give a similar talk focused on internal communications: [Blogging in Internal Communications](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/26/blogging-in-internal-communications/).

### Starting a Company

November was a busy month not only because of all the speaking and the travelling, but also because I took the decision to become a full-fledged business woman and create my own company. I [announced this](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/13/im-starting-a-company/) and also blogged some of my first musings as an entrepreneur: [Competition, Colleagues, or Partners?](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/19/competition-colleagues-or-partners/). Way more about this in December or under the [Going Solo tag](http://climbtothestars.org/tags/going-solo/).

### Geeky and Other Stuff

I didn’t just blog about conferences and business stuff. As I mentioned, I also [changed servers](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/28/server-move/) and [upgraded WordPress](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/29/upgrade-shmupgrade/) on this blog, leading to [an update of my Basic Bilingual plugin](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/30/basic-bilingual-03-for-multilingual-blogging/) (update which was actually [broken, but has since then been fixed](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/18/nasty-problem-with-basic-bilingual-plugin/) — please upgrade if you haven’t), and some [tortured thoughts about cleaning up categories on CTTS](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/30/tags-and-categories-oh-my/) (I still haven’t done anything about this).

I also [tried creating a Netvibes widget](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/17/netvibes-widget-of-my-shared-items/) (a rather disappointing experience, in hindsight, though it was some fun geeking out).

Last but not least, I [created a focus page on experiential marketing](http://climbtothestars.org/focus/experiential-marketing/) after a [quick round-up of Stowe Boyd’s writings on the topic](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/20/stowe-boyd-on-experiential-marketing/). (I’ve done some more thinking since then and need to update the page, by the way).

### Selection

If you were to read only three posts?

– [Kathy Sierra: Creating Passionate Users (Web2.0Expo, Berlin)](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/05/kathy-sierra-creating-passionate-users-web20expo-berlin/)
– [Being a Blogging Consultant](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/12/being-a-blogging-consultant/)
– [Experiential Marketing](http://climbtothestars.org/focus/experiential-marketing/)

Five? Add these two:

– [Blogging in Internal Communications](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/26/blogging-in-internal-communications/)
– [I’m Starting a Company](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/13/im-starting-a-company/)

Similar Posts:

Granular Privacy Control (GPC) [en]

[fr] Google Reader permet maintenant à vos contacts GTalk d'avoir un accès facile à vos "shared items" (articles lus dans votre newsreader et que vous avez partagés). Il semblerait que beaucoup de personnes ont mal interprété cette nouvelle fonction, imaginant que leurs éléments partagés étaient privés, et qu'ils sont maintenant devenus publics. Nous voilà encore une fois face au même problème: l'internaute moyen (et même le pas-si-moyen) surestime complètement à quel point les informations qu'il publie ou partage en ligne sont confidentielles. Au risque de me répéter: internet est un espace public.

Cet incident nous montre aussi, à nouveau, à quel point nous avons besoin de pouvoir structurer de façon fine (Granular Privacy Control = GPC) les accès à nos données à l'intérieur d'un réseau social. Facebook est sur la bonne piste avec ses "listes d'amis", mais on ne peut pas encore les utiliser pour gérer les droits d'accès.

In response to [Robert Scoble](http://scobleizer.com)’s post about how [Google Reader needs to implement finer privacy controls](http://scobleizer.com/2007/12/26/google-reader-needs-gpc/). Let’s see what Robert says, first:

> Oh, man, is the Google Reader team under attack for its new social networking features.

> There’s a few ways I could take this.

> 1. I could call people idiots for not understanding the meaning of the word “public.”
> 2. I could call the Google Reader team idiots for not putting GPC into its social networking and sharing features.
> 3. I could call the media idiots for not explaining these features better and for even making it sound like stuff that isn’t shared at all is being shared (which absolutely isn’t true).

> I’m going to take #2: that the Google Reader team screwed up here and needs to implement GPC as soon as possible. What’s GPC? Granular Privacy Controls.

> Here’s how Google screwed up: Google didn’t understand that some users thought that their shared items feeds were private and didn’t know that they were going to be turned totally public. The users who are complaining about this feature assumed that since their feed had a weird URL (here’s mine so you can see that the URL isn’t easy to figure out the way other URLs are) that their feed couldn’t be found by search engines or by people who they didn’t explicitly give the URL to, etc. In other words, that their feed and page would, really, be private, even though it was shared in a public way without a password required or anything like that.

Robert Scoble, Google Reader needs GPC

Wow, I really didn’t think that this feature was going to create trouble. I was personally thrilled to see it implemented. So, here are two thoughts following what Robert wrote:

– I’ve noticed time and time again that you can tell people something is “public” as much as you like, they still don’t really grasp what “public” means. Because things are not “automatically found” on the internet, they still tend to consider public stuff as being “somewhat private”. This is a general “media education” problem (with adults as much as teenagers). So, Robert is completely right to point this out.
– GPC is a very important thing we need much more of online (see my SPSN and Ethics and Privacy posts) but I disagree with Robert when he says that Facebook has it. Facebook isn’t there yet, though they are on “the right path”. I can’t yet use my [friend lists](http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=7831767130) to decide who gets to see what on my profile. That would truly be GPC (in addition to that, their friends list interface is clunky — I need to blog about it, btw).

Similar Posts:

Marketing expérientiel vs. publireportage [fr]

[en] A post by a French blogger made me realise the fundamental difference between being "paid to blog" (à la PayPerPost, to take the worst cases) and experiential marketing. In EM, publication of the post is a means, not an end. It is a "small" part of the mandate. The mandate itself is using the service/product and giving account of the experience in a transparent way.

A side-effect of this is that I'm actually doing work for the client in an EM campaign. If I'm just paid to blog about a topic n times a month, I'm not doing any work for them. Chances are, too, that I'm not really adding much value for my readers (witness to that the endless justifications some "paid" bloggers seem to feel the need to get into, and the tendancy to "bury" sponsored posts under "real" ones).

Chez [Mercenaire](http://www.mercenaire.net/blog/), le blog d’un consultant web freelance que je viens de découvrir ([via Ollie](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/?p=2279), qui nous envoie y lire [quelques bons conseils pour freelancers](http://www.mercenaire.net/blog/?p=65)), je trouve [un article sur les articles de blog payés — publireportages](http://www.mercenaire.net/blog/?p=64) qui m’interpelle.

*Vous connaissez le refrain: un commentaire qui prend trop d’importance et qui finit par émigrer ici sous forme d’un billet de plein droit.*

Ce billet m’a donc fait prendre conscience de quelque chose d’important. Commençons ici:

> Si un éditeur de Blog veut faire du publi reportage, ce n’est pas pour le bien de sa ligne éditorial ou de son audience mais pour gagner de l’argent avec ce contenu et monétiser son audience.

Thierry Bézier, C’est super d’être honnête avec son audience… alors pourquoi ne pas l’être avec son sponsor ?

Il y a quelque temps, j’ai essayé de mettre en avant mes services de marketing expérientiel, non sans une petite crise de conscience. Je me disais: mais où est la ligne avec le “publireportage” ou le “paid to post”, que je ne franchirai pas? J’ai toujours été assez férocement contre ce genre de pratique ([Pay per post](http://payperpost.com/), en particulier, me hérisse le poil), et maintenant je comprends pourquoi, et en quoi ce que je fais s’en différencie.

Dans le marketing expérientiel, je rends compte d’une expérience utilisateur qui a une valeur en tant que telle, que ce soit pour le client ou pour mes lecteurs. La visibilité est un effet de bord — recherché bien entendu — mais le contenu n’est pas un simple prétexte pour celle-ci, comme dans le cas du “publireportage”. (Notons, dans un souci d’équité, qu’il y a sans doute publireportage et publireportage: de la pub de bas étage à peine déguisée à l’article qui apporte vraiment une information utile en soi.)

Ce qui m’a amenée au marketing expérientiel il y a un mois environ, c’est le fait que j’étais en discussion avec plusieurs clients potentiels qui voulaient tous que je “blogue pour eux”. J’avais d’ailleurs fait ma petite enquête pour tenter de déterminer combien étaient payés ceux qui “bloguent pour de l’argent”, et grosso modo, ça variait de $5 à plus de $500 par article. [Voici un billet intéressant sur le sujet](http://marshallk.com/introducing-bloggers-and-companies-to-hire-them), et un autre [concernant les tarifs](http://www.bloggersforhire.com/hiring-bloggers-gaining-steam/), en passant. Mais dans l’ensemble, les sommes qu’on se proposait de me payer étaient vraiment très basses, compte tenu du temps à investir, de la prise de risque pour ma réputation, et… mes compétences (quand même!)

Donc, je n’aimais pas l’idée “d’écrire sur commande” (je ne suis pas *copywriter*), mais je sentais qu’il y avait tout de même quelque chose de valable à proposer à ces clients qui s’adressaient à moi pour que je leur fasse un peu profiter de ma visibilité.

Je gardais toujours à l’esprit le genre d’opération-test menée (gratuitement à l’époque) pour [les blogs de Romandie.com](http://web.archive.org/web/20060626105812/http://stephanie.romandie.com/) (on m’avait d’ailleurs dit que j’aurais dû me faire payer pour ça), [mes tests de plate-forme de blogs hébergées en 2004](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/12/11/hosted-blog-platform-test-write-up/), et quantité d’autres billets écrits sur [Dopplr](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/05/02/dopplr-more-fuzziness-wanted/), [vPod.tv](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/01/21/why-i-got-lost-in-leweb3-videos/), [coComment](http://climbtothestars.org/categories/cocomment/) bien sûr, et hier, [Kayak](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/22/being-my-own-travel-agent-with-kayak/) (il y en a d’autres, mais voilà ceux qui me viennent à l’esprit). En même temps, je parlais avec mon ami [Stowe Boyd](http://stoweboyd.com/message) (qui a [recyclé/inventé le terme “experiential marketing” dans notre contexte](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/20/stowe-boyd-on-experiential-marketing/)) qui me disait “tu devrais leur proposer une campagne de marketing expérientiel”.

Eh bien oui. Il s’agirait simplement de formaliser (et de me faire payer pour!) ce que je fais naturellement, spontanément, sur un coup de tête.

> The basic idea is the following: a typical “customer” uses a service or product and chronicles their experience in public.

Focus > Experiential Marketing

En clair, le client paie [le blogueur] pour qu’il utilise son service/produit et rende compte régulièrement de l’expérience sur son blog durant une période donnée, en toute transparence. Ce qu’il y a d’artificiel dans cette démarche, c’est qu’on paie une personne pour consacrer une partie de son temps et de son énergie à l’utilisation d’un produit ou d’un service, partant du principe qu’il ne le ferait pas forcément autrement. On détermine également la fréquence à laquelle cette personne rendra compte de son expérience (positive ou négative!) avec le produit/service en question.

Prenons un exemple (tout à fait fictif, car je n’ai jamais eu de conversation à ce sujet avec eux): je n’utilise pas [netvibes](http://www.netvibes.com/), même si je connais le service, lui préférant Google Reader comme lecteur RSS. Dans le cadre d’une campagne de marketing expérientiel, mon mandat serait d’utiliser netvibes et d’écrire, par exemple, un article par semaine sur mon blog pour en parler. On se rend tout de suite compte de l’investissement en temps (et aussi, en changement d’habitudes!) que cela requiert.

Le client y gagne du feedback utilisateur détaillé, un point de vue professionel externe sur son produit qu’on peut assimiler à du consulting (parce que j’ai aussi une casquette d’experte des outils du web, sociaux ou autres), de la visibilité (d’où “marketing”, une première fois) via les articles sur mon blog, et du “capital social” (très important, ça, et deuxième pour le “marketing”) pour avoir accepté de laisser le contrôle éditorial entre mes mains et de discuter ouvertement forces et faiblesses. (Il va sans dire qu’on va pas être extrémiste, si je découvre un gros problème de sécurité ou autre, je les avertis directement, comme je le ferais dans n’importe quelle autre circonstance.)

C’est donc bien une opération qui dépasse le simple “bloguer pour le client” et qui lui apporte véritablement quelque chose. Le contenu des articles que j’écris dans le cadre d’une campagne de marketing expérientiel a de la valeur pour le client **et** pour les lecteurs, qui ont l’occasion de découvrir un service/produit via une expérience authentique — sans la couche de fond de teint et le maquillage habituel de beaucoup d’opérations marketing traditionnelles.

Pour boucler la boucle: on ne peut pas vraiment dire que “être payé pour bloguer” soit populaire dans la blogosphère — [voir cet article chez Embruns par exemple](http://embruns.net/logbook/2007/11/12.html#005830). Pour le blogueur qui envisage d’une façon ou d’une autre de tirer un profit financier de son lectorat, il est primordial de garder à l’esprit que ce ne peut être la seule composante dans le contrat avec son “sponsor/client”, sous peine que son lectorat se sente (à juste titre) utilisé.

C’est le problème que j’ai avec les opérations de publireportage: il n’y a pas tellement de valeur là-dedans pour le lecteur. Le fait que le billet pour lequel le blogueur a été payé offre du “contenu de valeur” au lecteur est à mon avis une faible tentative de justification. Thierry relève d’ailleurs deux attitudes de blogueurs qui le confirment à mes yeux (même si ce n’est probablement pas deans ce sens-là qu’il les partage avec ses lecteurs: les justifications à n’en plus finir, et la tendance à enterrer les billets sponsorisés au plus vite.

> […] En tant que communicant je dois dire que je suis contre ses pratiques de “déversement de justifications” qui vont tuer le publi reportage…

> […]

> Ce qui est nuisible, c’est cette justification permanente

> ce qui est borderline : la justification

> Peu importe si c’est la version techcrunch, presse citron ou autre… tout ce que je lis concerne le saint lecteur, “je garderais mon intégrité” “je ne changerais pas mon ton” “j’en ferais pas beaucoup” “je ne te trahirais pas lecteur”….

Thierry Bézier, C’est super d’être honnête avec son audience… alors pourquoi ne pas l’être avec son sponsor ?

Je suis consciente que je sors un petit peu cette citation de son contexte. Thierry a raison d’être contre les justifications, mais peut-être pas pour les raisons qu’il donne. Il a raison d’être contre, parce qu’en général (au risque de faire de la psycho à deux balles) quand on ressent le besoin de se justifier encore et encore, c’est qu’on n’est pas tout à fait tranquille avec ce que l’on est en train de faire.

(On pourrait d’ailleurs retourner cette réflexion contre moi, et suggérer que cet article témoigne de mon malaise face au marketing expérientiel — c’est vrai, je ne suis pas 100% à l’aise avec l’idée. Reste ensuite à voir si c’est un souci légitime ou si c’est le fruit de mes angoisses personnelles internes et de mes sentiments de culpabilité souvent mal placés. Je penche pour la seconde. Du coup, le lecteur peut être assuré que je mets tout en oeuvre pour être certaine de ne pas “l’exploiter”, ça c’est sûr.)

> Je l’ais vu avec Monabanq par exemple, qui n’est pas un mauvais produit, avec des retours positifs d’expériences, qui a laissé une grande liberté d’expression… beaucoup de ces publis ont été publiés hier dans la soirée 18h-21h et même plus tard…. et le lendemain à midi?

> ben les billets ne sont pas en haut de page! très souvent ils ne le sont jamais et arrivent direct à la 2e ou 3e place et en fin de journée on ne les remarque plus, deux jours plus tard ils sont plus en home…

Thierry Bézier, C’est super d’être honnête avec son audience… alors pourquoi ne pas l’être avec son sponsor ?

A mon avis, si les blogueurs qui se font payer pour écrire des articles ressentent le besoin de se justifier à outrance, et ne sont pas à l’aise de laisser en haut de page ou bien en évidence ces “articles sponsorisés”, il y a un problème fondamental avec le modèle que l’on essaie d’appliquer.

Ce problème fondamental, pour être claire, c’est que le blogueur “vend” au client son lectorat, sans vraiment donner quoi que ce soit de valeur à celui-ci en échange. On a donc une situation où l’une des parties (au moins!) est “lésée” — je dis “au moins” parce que je pense qu’en fin de compte, le client l’est aussi. Le malaise dans la relation entre le blogueur et ses lecteurs va rejaillir (négativement) sur le client.

Le contrat est focalisé sur la publication et le lectorat. Le blogueur essaie de faire de l’argent “avec” le blog, au lieu de “parce qu’il a” un blog, ne tenant aucun compte du fameux [“Because Effect”](http://confusedofcalcutta.com/2007/07/08/prince-ly-returns-from-the-because-effect/).

Ce genre de pratique est vouée à l’échec, à long terme, car il est une simple tentative de transposer dans le monde des blogs, avec un faible déguisement pour tenter de faire passer la pilule, la fameuse “pub”. Je ne dis pas que personne ne peut se faire d’argent comme ça (ce n’est clairement pas vrai, et ça va continuer encore) — mais j’affirme par contre que ce n’est pas un modèle économique qui tiendra. Quand on parle de [la façon dont les blogs bouleversent la communication](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/07/blogs-en-entreprise-un-peu-en-vrac/) (et donc le marketing et la pub), des *social media* (en anglais), il ne s’agit pas de payer des blogueurs pour écrire ses pubs à sa place et les servir à leurs lecteurs.

On se déplace par contre vers des modèles de collaboration entre vendeurs, blogueurs, et lecteurs qui sont beaucoup plus complexes, car ils prennent en compte une plus grande part de la richesse des relations humaines et des interactions sociales. Le marketing expérientiel en est un exemple — il y a d’autres formules à créer. Elles auront en commun deux des leçons fondamentales du [Cluetrain Manifesto](http://www.cluetrain.com/book/index.html) (au risque de me répéter, à lire absolument si ça n’est pas déjà fait, oui, même si “vous connaissez”):

– **il n’y a pas de marché pour les “messages”** *(“pas de marché” dans le sens où personne n’a activement envie de les écouter; et hop, ça règle le sort d’une bonne partie de la pub)*
– **nos décisions (d’achat, en particulier) se basent sur nos conversations humaines** plus que sur n’importe quelle opération publicitaire ou marketing.

J’en ai écrit bien plus que j’en avais l’intention. Je pourrais continuer encore, certainement, mais je crois que l’essentiel est dit. Si vous avez des questions sur ce que j’essaie d’expliquer ici, ou si vous n’êtes pas d’accord, les commentaires sont à vous!

Similar Posts:

Being My Own Travel Agent With Kayak [en]

[fr] En mars, je vais en Irlande, puis à Austin (Texas), puis à San Francisco. Ça fait pas mal de vols à organiser. L'agence de voyage que j'ai contactée me propose un circuit à CHF 2800. En utilisant Kayak, j'arrive (non sans mal, sueur, et heures investies) à faire le tour pour CHF 1650.

Cet article est le récit de la façon dont j'ai procédé.

I have some **serious travel** planned for March.

First, I go to Cork, Ireland, for [Blogtalk](http://2008.blogtalk.net/) and the preceding [WebCamp on Social Network Portability](http://webcamp.org/SocialNetworkPortability), from 2nd to 4th.

Then, I head for Austin, Texas for [SXSW Interactive](http://2008.sxsw.com/interactive/), from 7th-11th.

I’ll be **speaking** in both places.

As I’m in the States, I’ll then head out to spend two weeks or so in San Francisco. Here are what my travel dates and destinations look like:

– 1st: GVA-ORK (ORK is Cork, yes, funny)
– 6th: ORK-AUS
– 12th: AUS-SFO
– 25th: SFO-GVA

I chose the 25th to go back because it seems to be the cheapest day around there. The other dates are fixed by hotel or event constraints.

After fooling around with [Kayak.com](http://kayak.com) for a fair number of hours, and finding it a little confusing (I’ll detail below in what way), I caved in and **called a travel agent** in Lausanne to ask them to sort it out for them.

They got back to me, speedily and kindly, but with a surprising price tag: **2800 CHF** for the whole thing. That’s $2400 for those of you who like dollars.

Now, even though I wasn’t very happy with what I came up on Kayak, I had figured out that this trip would cost me around about 1200$. Not the double.

So, **back to Kayak**. In the process, I’m starting to get the hang of how to do searches for long, nasty, complicated journeys, so I thought I’d share it with you.

A side issue before I start, though: flights to and from the USA have a **much more generous luggage allowance** than flights elsewhere (20kg + cabin luggage). If the first leg of a journey to the USA is inside Europe, though, you still get the “US” luggage allowance for that flight. I was hoping I could make things work out to have the more generous luggage allowance for the GVA-ORK part of my trip too, as I tend to have trouble travelling light (particularly for 3 weeks). But it seems that won’t happen.

As I understand it from the kind explanations a few people have given me, the GVA-ORK part of my journey is considered a completely separate one from ORK-AUS, AUS-SFO, and then SFO-GVA. In short, I’m dealing with **four separate flights**.

So, let’s do the obvious thing first, and **ask Kayak.com to do all the work**. My dates are fixed, but I’m open to the idea of using nearby airports. This is what I gave Kayak.com:

Kayak search: GVA-ORK-AUS-SFO-GVA

And here is what I got:


Oops. It seems Geneva dropped off the map. If I select the “neighbouring” airport LYS (Lyon), I get this. Slightly more encouraging, but…


…slightly expensive. Roughly what my travel agent told me, actually. Gosh, I wonder which part of the journey is costing so much? **Let’s try and break things down.**

**First, GVA-ORK:**

Kayak.com GVA - ORK

Wow, is that their best price? $384 and 9 hours of travel to go from Switzerland to Ireland? I should be able to find something better. So, I hunted around a bit on my own. I know I can get to London for around $100 or less with [easyJet](http://easyjet.com), so what about the other low-costs? From the Cork airport site, I got a [list of airlines flying there](http://www.corkairport.com/flight_info/airlines.html). Then I went to individual airline sites — I’ll pass you the details, save to say that [RyanAir](http://ryanair.com) has got some “virtually free” flights (1 penny + taxes) but as they only allow 15kg of check-in luggage (I can make sacrifices and try to stick to 20, but 15 is really low), flight + excess luggage fee actually comes down to not-that-cheap.

Oh, wait a sec! Let’s enlist Kayak’s help for this. Here are GVA-LON flights, according to Kayak:

Kayak.com GVA - LON

That’s helpful, actually. I wouldn’t have thought to check [BA](http://ba.com). The flight is way too early, though. And Kayak.com now gives results with European low-cost airlines — I don’t recall it did this early December when I first tried.

What about LON-ORK?

Kayak.com LON - ORK

I removed RyanAir from the results (they were the cheapest, around $48 — plus extra luggage tax!), and the winner is… [Aer Lingus](http://aerlingus.com)!

So, if I manage to get the timings right, and accept that I’ll have to pick up my luggage and check in again in London, I should be able to get a better deal than the $384 Kayak suggested “out of the box”.

Oh, another idea. Let’s tell Kayak I’m flying through London, and see what happens. Here are the results for GVA-LON-ORK:

Kayak.com GVA - LON - ORK

Still no luck. The first flight is the same as the one I got when I asked for GVA-ORK. Clearly, Kayak introduces constraints (like… airlines must be working together) when asked for a trip. That probably explains why my total trip seems so horrendously expensive.

Right, now we’ve dealt (more or less — at least there seems to be hope) with the first part of the journey, let’s look at the rest.


ORK-AUS: $509

Kayak.com ORK - AUS

AUS-SFO: $125

Kayak.com AUS - SFO

SFO-GVA: $530

Adding all that up, we’re quite far from the $2400 my travel agent or Kayak suggest for the whole flight.

Now, let’s dig in a little further. How about I ask Kayak for ORK-AUS-SFO-GVA? I’ve already identified that the GVA-ORK part was problematic, so maybe… maybe:

Kayak.com ORK - AUS - SFO - GVA

$1029! And all with American Airlines! That sounds nice. Add to that a bit less than $200 for the GVA-ORK bit, and I should manage to do all this flying for roughly $1200. Much more reasonable (though still a big hole in my bank account credit card, given the sad state of my finances these days).

So, ready for the details? Because, no, in case you were wondering, the fun doesn’t stop here. Sick around, there’s still work to do.

**First, GVA-LON-ORK.**

London has a problem: it has too many airports. Aer Lingus fly out of LHR to Cork, so ideally, I should plan to arrive there. I don’t think I want to go through the fun of commuting from one airport to another if I can avoid it.

That unfortunately rules out easyJet, who don’t fly to LHR. They fly to LGW, Luton, Stansted, but not LHR. So, let’s check out BA, who were actually cheaper (though at an ungodly hour, and for LGW).


Right, so for 144 CHF, I get to fly out around 10am, which is actually quite nice. I land around 11am. Let’s look at Aer Lingus flights to ORK, then:

Aer Lingus: LHR-ORK

I’m very tempted to take the 14:05 flight instead of the 18:05 one, **but**. That would leave me with only 3 hours in LHR to get my luggage, go from terminal 1 to terminal 4, and check in again. The London crew on Twitter tells me it’s a little tight, though others seem to think it’s OK.

So, well, that would be it for the first part of the journey.

Now for the rest.

**Then, ORK-AUS-SFO-GVA.**

Here are the details I get from Kayak for this multi-city journey:

Kayak.com ORK-AUS-SFO-GVA 1029$

As you can see, American Airlines seem to like Chicago airport, ORD. [Dennis Howlett](http://twitter.com/dahowlett) warns me against going through that airport, but it seems the other options are going to cost me an extra $1000.

But that’s not all. What exactly are the “layovers” here? I’d assume they are plane changes. But 55 minutes in Chicago and 1h35 in Brussels on my way back don’t really seem to allow time for that. Chances are I’d miss the connection — but then why would Kayak.com (and AA!) suggest this kind of combination?

It’s not the end of the world if I get home a day late, so I guess that for $1000, I’ll take my chances.

Let’s not stop there, though, shall we? I decided to dig a bit deeper into all this. See, for example, I tried asking Kayak.com about:

AUS-SFO-GVA: $1669

Kayak.com AUS - SFO - GVA

Why isn’t Kayak coming up with one of the (obviously cheaper) combinations for the SFO-GVA leg? Why is BA suddenly the cheapest option? I don’t get it.

See, for example, this flight option for SFO-GVA, $550, is much more exciting than the AA one via ORD and Brussels:

Kayak.com: SFO-GVA

Just one change in Newark. And it’s a shorter overall flight, too.

That means I need to get the ORK-AUS-SFO part separate. Let’s look at it now:

Kayak.com ORK-AUS-SFO

The cheapest deal is $624 with AA and Frontier, which is an immediate (and logical! what a surprise!) combination of the two cheapest deals for ORK-AUS and AUS-SFO taken separately. I don’t seem to gain anything (financially) by booking them together.

Now, the problem here is that the flight times are really long (20h). I’m quite tempted to force my journey through some European city other than London and see what happens.

A quick trip to the Austin airport site seems to say there are [no direct flights there outside the US](http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/austinairport/nonstops.htm). I can’t find that kind of information for DFW, unfortunately. I’m keeping an eye on [DFW](http://www.dfwairport.com/) because I could land there and take a road trip to Austin with a friend. It’s 3.5 hours on the road, though, so I need a flight that lands early enough.

For example, let’s take Dublin, as I’m already in Ireland.

Here are Kayak flights from DUB to AUS: most interesting deal $484 with Delta for a 19h flight:

Kayak.com: DUB-AUS

Come to think of it, you know what I’d like? I’d like to be able to place all the flights on a chart, with for example “price” on the x-axis and “total flight duration” on the y-axis. I’d be willing to pay $50 extra or so to cut of a certain number of hours of travel, but as of now there is no way to visualise this kind of thing easily. The “Matrix” tab in Kayak has a promising name, but all it does is give best price and number of stops per airline. Not very exciting.

What about ORK-DUB? Well, the fine folks at Blogtalk recommend [Aer Arann](http://2008.blogtalk.net/travelling) (they have a great “travelling” page, btw, I’ll have to take example on them for [Going Solo](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/):

Aer Arann: ORK-DUB

Cheap flight, $36. What would Kayak say?

Kayak.com: ORK-DUB

Well, RyanAir is cheaper but I don’t want them, and the Aer Arann flights are there, but a bit more expensive than what I found. Hidden costs, maybe? Or maybe just an update glitch — I’m aware it’s difficult to keep everything perfectly in sync.

Gah. This is turning into another nasty headache.

Let’s go back to letting Kayak take care of ORK-AUS-SFO. I had a look at flights from [Shannon](http://www.shannonairport.com/), but the price difference is not worth the couple of hours by bus to get there. I also considered SAT (San Antonio) but it’s really out of Austin, so not interesting. I’m willing to fly in another airport than SFO though.

Sidenote: this is where I discover I can “favorite” flights in Kayak. I should have started doing that hours ago. So, here’s the flight I’m favoriting for the ORK-AUS segment. I don’t want to land at 12:15am in Austin, so the choice is easy to make. Will have to get up early in Cork, though. Ugh.

Kayak.com: ORK-AUS favorite

You know what would be really cool? If I search for ORK-AUS-SFO, I’d like Kayak to let me know which flight combinations contain that flight I’ve favorited. I wonder if it does that. Let’s see! But before that, I’ll go and favorite the flight I want for heading over to San Francisco. So, here is what Kayak gave me for that segment, remember?

Kayak.com AUS - SFO

The cheapest flight is $125, but if you have a close look, you’ll see that all these are either dreadfully early, or quite late. I’d rather leave sometime later in the morning. Luckily, Kayak provides a “filter” that allows me to select that. (Remember, earlier on, I was wondering why Kayak was suggesting routes with 55min stopovers? Well, there’s a “stopover length” filter too that I could have used to avoid that.) Here’s what happens if I decide to leave between 8 and 10am:

Kayak.com: AUS-SFO Flight Time filter

For roughly $200, I get to sleep a bit more. This is another case where the price/something-or-other graph would come in handy: it would help me visualise how much I have to pay to leave later. (I’m learning to factor in cab fares and stuff like that when making flight decisions.)

So, back to our combined ORK-AUS-SFO trip:

Kayak.com: ORK-AUS-SFO best choice

By playing with the time sliders for flights 1 and 2, I managed to filter out the flights that didn’t contain my two favourites (at no surprise, Kayak doesn’t tell me that this “multiple flight” actually contains a single flight that I favourited… too bad). Result: $695 and decent flying times.

**So, let’s recap.** (I’m going to be doing the actual booking tomorrow, it’s getting late and I’m tired, which is usually a recipe for mistakes. Also, the prices the airlines and Kayak give could be slightly different, so this is an approximation.)

GVA-LHR: BA, $125
LHR-ORK: Aer Lingus, $60

That’s $185 for me to go to Cork.

ORK-AUS-SFO: AA and Frontier, $695

SFO-GVA: United and Qatar, $550

Total: $1430 = 1650CHF

That’s a bit more than what it seemed I’d get away with at first, but there are less stopovers and the flying times are nicer than the cheapest deal. That’s worth a couple hundred $.

So, thanks Kayak. That’s more than 1000CHF less than my travel agent came up with. But God, did I have to work hard for it. There is definitely room for improvement in the business of helping people sort out their travels.

While I was writing this post and [twittering about my trials](http://twitter.com/stephtara), [Bill O’Donnel](http://egopoly.com/) (find him [on Twitter](http://twitter.com/agentbillo), he’s the Chief Architect at Kayak!) sent me a message saying he [wanted to read my post](http://twitter.com/agentbillo/statuses/524594472) when I was done. He also added that he was [forwarding my twitters to the UI team](http://twitter.com/agentbillo/statuses/524596032). So, guys, hope you enjoy the free [experiential marketing](http://climbtothestars.org/focus/experiential-marketing/)! In a way, only — it’s not really an experiential marketing campaign because nobody asked me to do anything, but this is typically the kind of stuff I *would* write up in such a campaign, and an example of *authentic user behaviour* that experiential marketing “re-creates”.

So anyway, hope you enjoy this tale of user experience. And I also hope my fellow travellers will find useful input here to help them sort out their travels.

Thanks to everybody who answered or simply put up with my numerous questions and tweets during the process of sorting out this trip.

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