First Capital Connect: CrapMaster Q&As
Well hello there. Right, while you've been kind enough to show an interest, I'll answer a few common questions and generally introduce myself:
Q: What the hell are you wasting time doing a stupid website like this for?
A: I have to get to work you know and unfortunately I have no choice but to go via First Capital Connect. I can't put up with the deterioration in service and increasing costs any more. I am a nerd and this website is the only way I have to fight back. However, why I am bothering I don't know. Let's just put that down as one of life's great mysteries, like scaffolding*.
Q: What do you think you're going to achieve?
A: Just more of what I have achieved already, which is providing some measure of therapy for me and other people who have to put up with this service. My overall remit is to highlight the flaws in the franchise model in relation to Train Operating Companies. Remember: franchise for pizza delivery = YES, franchise for Train Operating Company = NO.
Q: Haven't you got anything better to do?
A: Yes, of course I have, lots of things. That doesn't mean i am going to do them though, prioritising has never been one of my strongest points (I am working on this). Either way, stop picking on me, this is about FCC.
Q: When did you do this site and how many people have visited it?
A: I launched in January 2009 (launched?! There wasn't exactly a fanfare. Not a single balloon was harmed nor a party popper released in anger). Anyway, 16,000 unique visitors to date (November 2009). Not a lot in the grand scheme of things as far as the Interweb overall is concerned, what with 20 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, Stephen Fry now having formed his own primitive religion via Twitter and so on.
Q: Are you making any money out of it?
A: No of course not. However, my chums at work (in a busy online marketing department) have started to take the mickey out of me because of this. I thus felt compelled to add Google Adsense. It's unlikely I am going to be retiring by replicating the 'plentyoffish.com' success story (just ask me if you don't know what I am talking about there). However, I suppose it would be a good idea if this site at least paid for itself.
Google Adsense update after 7 days: over 10,000 page impressions served. Total revenue: 11 pence. Grrr...
Q: Do you want to organise any direct action?
A: It's not out of the question. However, I would probably tend to want to do something individually as a statement that served to highlight the issue. No - I don't mean set fire to myself - probably something more like my previous, errr... 'online awareness raising exercise' (OARE for short). A long story, which I'll not bother you with now, I'll just point you at:
What Should I put on the Fence? Be warned, it's a trip almost 10 years back in time, you DID ask though. Didn't you?
Q: Are you worried about FirstGroup taking legal action?
Q: Why not?
A: I'll tell you later.
Q: Surely FirstGroup has contacted you, at least sent a 'Cease & Desist' letter or two re: this site?
A: First Capital Connect HAS contacted me, via the magic of Twitter.
It Twatted me on 27th of November 2009 politely offering a meeting, which was nice of it.
I asked who the meeting would be with and FCC got back even more politely asking who I would like it to be with (Stephen Fry, Bridget Kelly and Morrissey?). I was impressed either way and consequently decided a PR company must be behind this sensitive outreach and tried to track down which company it might be on the basis it knows what it's doing and I might want to suggest the company I work for adds it to the five PR agencies we currently have on the roster, but I didn't spot who it may be.
I was still working out what to do about the Twittering when I was emailed by FirstGroup (7th December 2009) again in a 'calm and assertive' manner (see Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer) I have now taken in the two corrections FirstGroup was kind enough to point out re: this site. Still formulating a response in respect of the meeting request though.
Q: So FirstGroup clearly couldn't care less then.
A: No. Can I have a question mark after questions please?
Q: Yes, but that wasn't a question, it was a statement.
A: Ah right, as you were then.
Q: How come this site appears on the first page of results when I do a 'first capital connect' search?
A: I am a natural search (SEO) specialist. yes, a nerd, a great big Webternet nerd. Don't EVER get on the wrong side of a Webternet nerd. It will come back to haunt you via the magic of undesirable search engine results that lead people to annoying Websites like this one.
Q: Wow, can you do SEO for my website? I want my website to be on the first page of results for a variety of highly competitie expensive commerce-based search terms!
A: What website? I don't know if I am best-placed to help - it depends on your market, competition, targets, budget, and lots of other dependencies. There's not much competition for 'first capital connect' as a phrase really, except for media owners, FCC itself of course, and the Google's own news feed. I do work full time and have several children to taunt (in the words of Douglas Adams: 'I just want to deny them all the chances I had when I was growing up') and what I can only describe as 'various other things to do'.
Q: Where do you live?
A: A highly secret secure location in Hertfordshire.
Q: Have you got a phone number?
A: Yes thanks, I have a few. Want one? You only have to ask. Mine's a pint of Guinness.
Q: Is that it?
A: For now, yes. Mrs CrapMaster is banging on the floor...
*You don't think Scaffolding is a mystery? How the hell does it get up, stay up, then come down without causing terrible loss of life every time then?
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