Dell IdeaStorm

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Dell IdeaStorm is a website launched by Dell on February 16, 2007 to allow Dell "to gauge which ideas are most important and most relevant to" the public.[1]

After registering, users are able to add articles, promote them, demote them and comment on them. Articles can also be demoted, and a "vote half life" system[2] is used to stop older ideas which are no longer receiving votes from appearing on the popular ideas page. Dell also modifies the half life vote to prop up ideas which they feel need more exposure, as they did for the poll asking which topics Michael Dell would be more important to cover at the 2007 LinuxWorld conference. As articles are promoted, their score is increased, allowing Dell to rank which suggestions and requests are considered most important by the website's users. A page is maintained to demonstrate how Dell is acting upon the suggestions, the page is only changed when the status of an idea changes to IMPLEMENTED, no information is provided as to which ideas are being acted on till then. The idea process involves much discussion which at time leads to more ideas, yet Dell continues to remove comments (besides comments which are in bad taste) which leads to confusion as the thought process of the comments is left disjointed and nonsensical at times. Voting has come under scrutiny with some members voting with more than one account, which generated the termed "double dippers",[3] Dell has added some measures to help discourage this but is still working on preventing it.

Originally, the most popular suggestions[4] concerned the inclusion of free software and operating systems in a Dell computer system. These suggestions were numerous, but were subsequently merged into a single "article".[2][5] Due to popular demand, Dell quickly moved to survey customers on their preferred Linux distributions. On May 24, 2007, Dell started selling three computer systems with Ubuntu 7.04 preinstalled.[6] The article requesting Linux systems eventually moved down the list to be replaced by newer ideas, such as a request to sell the Ubuntu systems internationally.[7]

Other popular suggestions include requests for Dell's technical support telephone lines to be based in the USA (and other countries in which Dell computers are sold) and operated by people who speak and understand English well, as opposed to being based outside the USA or operated by foreigners who do not speak and understand English well; and that Dell's website be improved. Various improvements and changes in the style, design, and hardware of Dell's products have also been requested. Current popular suggestions also concern such issues as preinstalled software being optional[8] and reinstallation CDs being provided at no extra cost.[9]

According to Dell Ideastorm's Terms of Services, a posted idea will grant Dell royalty free license to use and implement it without compensation to the originator. Participants should be aware of this before posting any ideas.

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