MVC 2 TekPub Video Series Giveaway – The Results

Last week I decided to do a little Giveaway for TekPub's MVC 2 Video Series. If you are an Open Source WebForms developer, you could win one coupon from me and 4 coupons from TekPub.

Now that the Giveaway is over, here are the Winners:

  1. Sean Patterson for HackSaw, a Log4Net Viewer

Yup, that's it. Only one entry at all. When I wrote "Okay, here is a little experiment. No idea if it works, but one can try" I meant that honestly: I really didn't know if this would be a success or not. As it turned out, it wasn't one. But this is science, so I still declare it a success because it yielded results.

I will of course keep my promise, so Sean should receive a coupon today or tomorrow - Have fun with it 🙂

But let's see what went wrong here. Let's take the perfectly logical approach here and start with...

Blaming the others
So one theory is that there are simply no Webforms OSS developers. If I would have opened this for PHP developers, I'm fairly certain I would actually have to write a Randomizer to pick 5 Winners. I can't think of many Webforms OSS projects apart from med-profile 2 blogging engines (SubText and dasBlog). Are there really none? I can't think of a single high profile one.

Did WebForms miss the push to Open Source?
Between November 2007 and today, Open Source became relatively big in the .net world. Sure, most code is still written internally, but there is a significant amount of mid-to-high profile open source .net applications. But WebForms traditionally lived within companies, due to the relative complexity of deployment. Could it be that WebForms (Which I consider a Legacy Technology, despite all counter-claims by Microsoft) simply missed the OSS train?

I don't know, but I remember my (abandoned) WebForms Photo Album and how painful deployment was, with manually editing web.config and stuff. It really felt hard to make a WebForms application open source.

Granted, MVC has many of the same problems, but it's target audience is different. WebForms is a great technology for internal apps where it is more important to have it working quickly rather than achieving an exact look or getting an A Grade in Y!Slow, but I'm guessing the people who use it are not exactly into contributing to OSS. Of course, I am generalizing here, but in my mind there are two Venn Diagrams: One with "WebForms and Open Source" and one with " MVC and Open Source". Both will have overlaps, but I strongly believe that the overlap is much bigger in the MVC one.

That was one part of the experiment, I wanted to find out if there are some high profile projects and hoped to collect some of them in this blog post. The second part of this experiment involves...

Blaming myself
I've started blogging again in November 2007, funnily enough with a posting about Open Source and .net. However, I never really tried to build a profile and advertise the blog, also I blog too infrequently. Analytics tells me I have about 100 Visitors a day, which is tiny compared to the high profile blogs. If I am lucky enough to be retweeted or even linked, I might reach 200 Visitors. My all time high is 234 visitors.

However, 2009 saw a more of less steady increase. This is partially due to StackOverflow, which helped me gain a little profile by leading the Scoreboard for quite some time, eventually being the first user to reach 10.000 reputation. Also, my Twitter activity helped me expand my reach a bit. But it is still rather insignificant, because I am not producing enough interesting content yet.

So the part of this experiment was a) to see how many people I can reach and b) see if I can increase my reach.

The Giveaway article is the most read article in the blog, thanks to several ReTweets by people with a much higher profile than me, so there is certainly no reason to believe the article was "buried".

But still, 484 reads isn't much. I've tried reaching out to some websites and podcasts for a mention, but that was badly planned. Many podcasts are produced weeks in advance, so I should have thought about that before. And many Websites want real money for their ad space, which is perfectly understandable (but I still had to try asking them, right?)

Goals for 2010 and future Giveaways
So what did I learn out of this experiment? I learned that my reach isn't there yet. But I also learned that I can increase my reach by posting more and making sure my posts get mentioned (For more exciting and totally unexpected statements, read this article).

This is logical, but it was worth for me experimenting just what works best, and I found that RTs and Mentions on Twitter are about 10 times more useful than Pingbacks/Links in other people's blog comments. This is not surprising - when I read a blog posting, I never read the "300 Pingbacks for this article" section, and I rarely read more than 10 or so comments. But on Twitter, I click on many links simply because they are "fed" to me.

Overall, I do not feel that I just wasted $28. I knew it was an experiment, I wanted to know my reach, and now I know it.

So I'll increase my blogging output during 2010, Sean will have fun with the MVC 2 Videos, WebForms will always be a legacy technology in my eyes, and I do plan another Giveaway for another series sometime this year, although with proper preparation this time.

Move on people, nothing more to see here 🙂

Comments (8)

[...] Dieser Eintrag wurde auf Twitter von Rob Conery und Michael Stum, Larry King erwähnt. Larry King sagte: Not Rocket Science » MVC 2 TekPub Video Series Giveaway ... #MVC [...]

Mark NashJanuary 16th, 2010 at 09:55

I would say how many fellow/likeminded professionals do you have on your Twitter account? Are you cross referencing your blog here with other social media outlets such as Facebook (Software Engineer groups?) and LinkedIn?

Also Twitter Tools for WordPress is great. Use that with some choice hashtags to get picked up by the Twitter RT bots (I do that with SharePoint all the time) and you'll extend your reach even further.

StevenJanuary 16th, 2010 at 10:08

Thought it was a great offer, just that I dont use WebForms anymore. Such a shame you didn't get more entries.

Aaron PowellJanuary 16th, 2010 at 14:09

I think you were right about the problem with it was not just WebForms and open source, but with the traffic volume of your site.

I'm a contributor on the Umbraco CMS which is one of the primary ASP.NET CMS platforms (and is open source web forms), but I wasn't familiar with your website/ blog (but consider yourself +1 subscriber ;)).
If I had been I'd have submitted as well, as you'd put out a great offer.

But I do think that Web Forms doesn't have the OS following that MVC is gaining. Web Forms isn't perceived as sexy, not in the way that MVC is.

I believe quite strongly in web forms, it's where I make a living at the moment. And I believe it can be sexy, which is why I'm a big fan of WebForms MVP, and an running the Contrib project for it.

I'd take up your Tekpub offer if it was on the table still, but most importantly I wanted to put it out there that there are other OS Web Forms developers 🙂

Sean PattersonJanuary 16th, 2010 at 16:35

Hey Michael!

Just wanted to say a quick thanks here for passing on the coupon. I would have completely understood if you decided to hold onto it, given the volume of entries.

I think you've hit the nail on the head in both regards. I first put Hacksaw up on Codeplex in April of 2007 and at the time I think the bulk of projects out there were libraries, user controls, and winforms apps. I think Hacksaw has been simple enough that I didn't have to worry about the web.config issues. If things were more complex, there would definitely be concerns about pushing it up.

But maybe it is a sign of the times. I agree that Webforms does seem to be dedicated more to the internal side of things (where I've been working for 8 years now), but this also opens the door to helping show some of my colleagues what's out there and what we can do with what .Net offers.

Many thanks again! I'll let ya know when Hacksaw makes the conversion to MVC.

StephaneJanuary 17th, 2010 at 00:04

You should try to get retweeted by guys with a lot of followers... I found out that giveaway now, when Rob Connery retweeted this blog post... :/

mstumJanuary 17th, 2010 at 00:29

Yes, I'm mainly faulting myself. The marketing side sucked. I did have Retweets by Rob Conery, James Avery, TekPub and Elijah Manor (which did make an on the visits), but only 1 RT isn't enough I guess, also due to time zone differences and a Tweet getting buried. I'm currently thinking on how to do a better Giveaway: Who to target, What they will have to do, How Advertising should be handled etc.

KiyoshiNovember 27th, 2012 at 23:04

Couldn't agree more! I was initially exetid when I heard there was some jQuery *helpers* from Telerik, but they are really just an unnecessary abstraction so devs don't need to learn JS. I can't see any other real benefit from using them.