Oracle launches charm offensive

Oracle is set to launch a major customer-feedback effort titled "Oracle Listens".

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Oracle is set to launch a major customer-feedback effort titled "Oracle Listens".

It will see the Oracle.com landing page transformed into a "simple UI that has one purpose: to gather ideas from the user community, about any aspect of Oracle," wrote Justin Kestelyn, editor of the Oracle Technology Network, in a blog post.

Oracle executives will be answering questions from visitors directly during the run-up to the vendor's annual OpenWorld conference, which starts 21 September, Kestelyn said.

Site visitors can skip through to the normal homepage if they wish. The campaign, which will also employ Oracle's Mix social-networking platform, is set to officially start sometime this week.

"To me, this is the most audacious part of the programme -- that they are hijacking ALL traffic to the Oracle.com and diverting them to Oracle Listens," said analyst Charlene Li, who covers social media technologies, in a blog post. "It's a bold move that highlights how serious Oracle is about listening to and embracing their customers and partners."

"But I think the biggest risk is that Oracle as an organization does not sustain the effort over the long term," Li added. "Once Oracle's customers/partners get a taste of this 'new' Oracle, they are going to want more, and the risk is that Oracle executives and employees will go back to their daily routines. But I suspect that some executives and employees -- not all, but some -- will also get hooked and will stay engaged."

After the promotion ends on 21 September, Oracle plans to "transform this experience into a permanent fixture of Oracle's brand-to-community-to-brand conversation," Kestelyn said.

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