The Internet Isn’t Just All Talk. PR Where it Hurts.

Mean People Suck

Today’s blog is inspired by a link (via Jim Zubkavich of SKULLKICKERS fame). Ocean Marketing, a company that makes video game controllers, had an exchange with one of their customers that is now gone viral.

And now, I will momentarily pause for you while you Read Just Wow! on Penny Arcade.

(Waiting… Waiting… Waiting…)

My problems with the article? The way the company communicates makes me want to take a red pen out and bleed all over the screen. Remember, these are supposed to be e-mails from the owner of the company. The lack of grammar and spelling immediately makes me lose respect for the company, because if I’m a customer who is paying someone money, then I expect that company to be professional.

Unprofessionalism comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, companies that are too formal can also experience negative backlash. Well, I’d rather err on that side. In this case, though? There’s a cavalier attitude that really pisses me off because it sounds like the company doesn’t value the money the customer spends. That, regardless of tone, will backfire every time. Yes, there are problem customers and entitled customers, but this is not one of those times.

The thing is, many business owners lament the power of the internet and some pass off “nerd rage” or think bad PR is good PR. Not every micro-trend will result in a substantial financial loss, which is why it’s hard to tell when it’s a *big deal.* GoDaddy lost over 37,000 domains because of their political support for SOPA and PIPA. (They later recanted their SOPA support.)

So what’s a company to do? Spending all day every day on the internet to monitor a brand is a *huge* time sink even with all the alerts you can muster. I’ve seen criticisms where people were complaining about how a company *should know* even when it’s after hours. I feel that companies should have social media policies in place to address the “What if?” scenarios. Don’t ignore the power of the internet, but understand that not everything’s a major PR blowout. Being on Twitter and Facebook will open up holes in customer service, because not everyone will go through the appropriate channels. Look at how many people who ask questions on Facebook/Twitter that can easily be Googled, for example.

In the end, there are some things money can’t buy. Word-of-mouth marketing, genuine opinions, is one of them.

    Mood: Post-Christmas recovery. Day Two!
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Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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