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This book was originally published in 2000, when the potential of the Internet was becoming apparent to many traditional businesses and managers. At that time, many were seeing the Internet as replacing traditional markets (at least in some areas) and millions were starting to explore the knowledge potential. Smart search engines were starting to reshape the way in which many of us obtained instant information.

That was at the end of last century: is this book still relevant today?

Yes, and no. For many of us, world-wide connectivity is still new enough that we have not fully embraced the rules of engagement For others, unfamiliar with a different way of doing business, much of what is written in this book will seem obvious and self-evident. But is it?

Much of this book is about the conversations that occur continuously in the virtual world. The spontaneity of these conversations; their breadth and instantaneous coverage is now a given. Good news and bad is disseminated instantly. Product recommendations (good and bad) can be published by anyone with an Internet connection. Of course, not all aspects of these instant connections are good. The virtual world has its own demons.

I reread this book to remind myself of where we were a decade ago (or last century, if you prefer). I also wanted to check whether the potential of so many interconnected conversations was becoming reality. My answer (there are surely others) is yes. The conversations of connectedness are changing both the business we do and the way in which we do it.
Is it still worth reading, or rereading, this book? Yes. Perhaps the ideas could have been condensed for easier digestion, but there is something in the enthusiasm of the delivery that is also part of the message.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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on August 4, 2009
The Cluetrain Manifesto was originally hosted as a website by four employees who respectively worked at IBM, Sun Microsystems, the Linux Journal, and National Public Radio (NPR). These four IT and social experts wrote "The Cluetrain Manifesto: the end of business as usual" and created a paradigm shift in the way businesses view customers, ecommerce and the Internet. Authors Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger convincingly illustrate that the freedom of expression provided by the Internet will force businesses to listen and conversate with customers on a real level or face business extinction.

The book contains a list of 95 theses. Below are my favorite 10 from the list:
1. Markets are conversations
2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors
7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy
12. There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone
18. Companies that don't realize their markets are now networked person-to-person, getting smarter as a result and deeply joined in conversation are missing their best opportunity
24. Bombastic boasts - "We are positioned to become the preeminent provider of XYZ" - do not constitute a position
50. Today, the org. chart is hyperlinked, not hierarchical. Respect for hands-on knowledge wins over respect for abstract authority
60. Markets want to talk to companies
74. We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.
75. If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change.

The heiarchical mass marketing mediums like TV ads, billboards, and planted Press Releases are rendered virtually useless because customers don't want to be interrupted and they no longer believe in a one-way business conversation. Customers can compare prices across tens of thousands of stores with a click of a mouse. User feedback and peer reviews speak truth to corporation's product and service quality claims. And activist groups are creating tribes of followers to challenge the PR statements written by tenured media relations experts.

The book encourages companies to allow employees at all levels to speak openly with customers, answer questions and personally respond to issues and complaints on blogs, email and forums. The authors contend that the traditional command and control management of employees that restricts open employee interaction with customers will ruin a company in the post web 2.0 world.

The Cluetrain Manifesto is guide for doing business in a world with thousands of collaborative social platforms in existence today and will exponentially grow tomorrow.

I personally attended Church with Doc Searls, before Dr. Searls moved to teach at Harvard, and heard Doc share that 'markets are conversations'.
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on June 16, 2009
We are living the times of change. A critical 20 years of period, which we can call "a transition period from industrial age to information age".

Within that transition, people are changing. By all means. Their consumption patterns, their reactions to life, expectations from life.. Everything is changing.

And of course their attitude to business and brands is changing.

Most of the brands that are in our lives, keep trying to communicate with us with the industrial age formula of marketing, which is unfortunately obsolete right now.

World is changing, so must the brands. This is inevitable.

Cluetrain manifesto, when first published in 1999 was a revolutionary book. Looking at the pages after 10 years, I can see how visionary the book and its content was.

In 1999, it was talking about "networked societies and its impacts on brands, as well as simple and effective recipes for brands on "how to adopt themselves to the new networked language".

Today, after 10 years, we are talking about facebook, twitter, like they came out from nowhere, and we are trying to find ways "to get in to that networked conversations with our brands"..

Thats the reason why, I was very happy to see the 10th anniversary edition on amazon. Hope it will be read by more and more marketing professionals.

Cluetrain Manifesto is a must have for every marketeer, who wants to move himself/herself & his/her brand to the new world of marketing.
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on May 15, 2014
I really enjoyed this book. Having various subject matter experts writing seperately about the same topic, then revisiting that topic 10 years later provided interesting insights to the potential of the internet and how we function as a society.
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on February 5, 2013
This book blew my mind. It totally describes every interaction that I wish I could have with companies today. In this new internet world I wish more business people would take advantage of technology to have an open dialogue with their customers.
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on January 15, 2014
I loved the original version of this book. It talked about the importance of AUTHENTICITY long before it became the buzzword it has become in circles of corporate communications pros and social media marketing folks. The "colorful" language used set a real example and proved to me that authors could walk their talk.

If you take yourself too seriously... can't/won't lighten up and be real with prospects, customers and influencers in your market, this book may convince you to act otherwise.

Mason Duchatschek
Coauthor of the book Attract, Capture and Convert
Attract, Capture & Convert: 89 Simple Ways Entrepreneurs Make Money Online (& Offline) Using Social Media & Web Marketing Strategy (How to Make Money Online ... Using Social Media & Web Marketing Strategy)
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on April 9, 2012
I came across this book at the bookstore. As with any book, I first checked the Amazon reviews. I also tend to hold the Fast Company endorsements in high regard. I am part of a small business & have been reading various books on social media and the internet economy. This book would have been much more impressive had I read it when it came out 10 years ago. Now, I would say it is worth reading but it felt dated (for example, the Lycos story). In the new material for the revised edition, the authors also spent a good bit of time explaining that change has not occurred as quickly as they expected.

I would say that the authors did a good job of hammering a few key points throughout the book in an interesting way. In a few of the sections, the material nearly slipped into self-absorbtion; but to the authors credit they pulled it back and kept on message. The 3 new chapters added by new contributors were as good as anything in the core of the book.

This book is not a "how to" book about competing in the internet economy. It is focused instead on the philosophy that business managers need to adopt regarding less control and greater engagement with their customers and employees. We are all seeing this and so the main thesis is right on track (as predicted by the authors a decade ago). Working for a small company, I think there are better books that are geared toward smaller businesses ("Six Pixels of Separation") and provide more concrete steps and what you should be doing to achieve the ideals laid out in this book. This book would be a great introduction to senior managers for larger businesses who could use a wake up call regarding more openness and greater engagement for customers.
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on July 26, 2009
Buy this book. Seriously. If you're reading this review then you need to know more about the Cluetrain phenomenon, a meme that has bounded many people's online reality for the last ten years. There is no better way to find out more about Cluetrain than to read the book. Oh, and then you should probably read through it again.

I think that the "Cluetrain Manifesto" has a lot in common with Hawking's "A Brief History of Time." More people have purchased Hawking's book and left it unread than any other. They leave it beside the bed or in the john, or wherever they put books they intend to read, but somehow they never get around to reading it. That's what happens to popular physics, I'm afraid. And it also happens to the current trend in marketing and business books. Which Cluetrain epitomized--ten years ago.

So, yeah. You already have a copy of Cluetrain, and for gods sake it's available online for free, but the odds are you've never cracked the cover of the dead tree version or spent more than about a minute-and-a-half staring at the pixels of the online version before your commitment to continuous partial distraction drove you to click forward, a busy little internet bee pollinating a million flowers but never stopping to appreciate just one. I could be wrong.

Anyway, I've been watching this Amazon review space for a month waiting for someone to write something, anything (and that doesn't count the dude who wrote his review before the ink was dry and offered the book buying public even less substance than I offer here.)

I'm reviewing this on my blog any day now, but thought I'd put in a good word for it here before it is totally remaindered and my more serious review becomes moot.

The Cluetrain Manifesto was written by four men who had strong voices and clear vision regarding the internet. The original text is there in the tenth anniversary edition, as well as updates from each of the four authors and additional material from four other internet advocates.

Really, just buy it. And read it this time. A lot of it is still as real as it was in 1999, and some of it is even more-so.
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on April 26, 2013
Book gives you good ideas. However, tends to focus on "communication is key" , "branding is messaging", "internet empowers consumers - get with it or get lost!" and such ideas.
But it inspires thought and tone is iconoclastic
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on April 8, 2016
Good book that captures the technological mindset of the future before 9/11. Concepts are still very relevant, and much of what they predicted did come to pass.
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