Disney uses fan sites for ‘research’

The local news station ‘Local 6′ recently ran an interesting piece on how close an eye Disney keeps on its online fan community. It focuses largely on Disney podcaster Ricky Brigante of ‘Inside The Magic‘, but has clips from LaughingPlace.com and WDWMagic.com as well. Good stuff.

We in the online community have known this for some time. Back in the the infancy of the web a number of websites were sent cease & desist orders from Disney’s lawyers telling them they had to give up their domains with ‘Disney’ in the title. Even before that it was fairly well known that Disney had people reading the USENET groups. (I bumped into few of the researchers in my days at Disneyland. Both of them were Disney fans too.)

About a year ago Cartoonbrew had sourced confirmation that Disney CEO Bob Iger was looking at their website and had commented on a story they had recently posted. What’s interesting about this news story is that it’s the first time a Disney executive is quoted as confirming that they do look at websites for research purposes.

So there you are. Be careful what you say. You might make someone change their mind.

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5 Responses to Disney uses fan sites for ‘research’

  1. myob1776 says:

    I would hope that Disney is paying some attention to the fan sites. What other commercial enterprise inspires such devotion, loyalty, and passion? Six Flags? They would kill for Disney’s fan base. Why pay marketers millions to guess what your market wants when your most devoted customers are spilling their guts to the whole world each and every day?

  2. Not quite the same as corporate doing research, but once someone from Walt Disney World called the Disney Store where I worked to speak to me. I had posted to Rec.Arts.Disney.Parks about the WDW tickets available for sale at the stores at the time, but I used an inaccurate term for the guest service windows at the park entrances so he wanted to make sure I was using the right term. (The ones at the park gates are “Guest Relations”, right? The resorts had “Guest Services” desks back then if I remember correctly.)

    I wasn’t in any kind of trouble – he called back until he caught me at work (3-4 times apparently) and never asked to speak to my managers about it. I never did understand why he didn’t email me and/or post the correction, but I was glad to post the accurate info once I was set straight.

  3. whit says:

    I’m pretty sure that two of the stories I wrote for this blog were read by Disney.

    I made some suggestions for DLR that I hadn’t even heard a rumor about, and within a couple of months it was all under way.

    I’m still waiting for my check.

  4. Rick Cain says:

    I certainly expect them to be listening. We fans may be critical, but it is like a parent being critical of a child that they dearly love. If my teenage daughter made a bad fasion decision I would certainly let her know, but it is because I love her that I say anything. If I didn’t care, she would only hear my silence. I dearly love the Disney Company and all that they have brought to me and my family over the years, as well as my own childhood. I can’t imagine what life would have been like without Disney in it in a big way.

  5. Bob says:

    I think Disney is paying some attention to fan sites. it’s the best way to share idea’s… These types of websites showcase devotion, loyalty, and fan passion?
    If you have time visit a “lovebugCentral.com”.
    Fan stories about meeting, almost meeting or just being in the same vicinity as actors of Herbie the Love Bug Franchise. Talk about your favorite Love Bug actors and actresses. Please check us out at http://www.lovebugcentral.com

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