Yesterday, we began an experiment here at HubSpot when we shut down Inbound Marketing University as a part of an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) that will be running over the next couple of weeks. A day later, we have a lot to think about, considering reactions ranging from the very excited to the very upset.
This is the first ARG ever done in the B2B and software world, and breaking new ground is always risky. But we also believe that constantly experimenting is important. In fact, taking risks and sharing our results with the community has helped us build that trust in the first place. We would not be doing our jobs if we stopped taking risks, and we will make more mistakes in the future, for sure.
Did this go as well as we had planned? No way! It was not, and will never be, our goal to break the trust of our customers and fans.
We apologize for misleading IMU community members. Please understand that we never meant to break anyone's trust or waste anyone's time. The game was meant to be a fun marketing experiment.
For those who are completing IMU education and certification, the www.InboundMarketing.com website is now back up.
We also want to apologize to the ARGing community for posting this article, potentially breaking the suspension of disbelief. At this point, it is much more important to acknowledge our community and explain what's going on.
So, now that everything is on the table and we've learned from this experience, we invite everyone to play the game for what it is! You can join the game at www.CaptainInbound.com if you want to check it out. I hope you will!
Added June 9, 2010: The below video is the June 4th episode of HubSpot TV when Mike and Karen discuss the ARG at length. It occurs toward the second half of the episode.