30 August 2007

Hello Peter vs. Amazing Discounts

Or better titled: What NOT to do when managing a community.


It's funny what happens when things go south on the Internet. And they do go south. Why have people not realised by now that ... golly gosh chaps ... it's the Internet - nothing is secret anymore. Yet us clever humans persist in covering up and trying to fool the system. It's the single greatest strength, and single greatest weakness of social networks - and social media. While 80% of the information out there is being rapidly reduced to dribble - 20% is true. And it's reported by consumers. And it's reported instantaneously. And everyone reads it.

Scary place, the media world.

Anyhoo. I watched a fairly interesting series of events unfold yesterday after my quick post on the Hello Peter "Name 'n Shame" newsletter.

Firstly. A very quick comment from Anonymous (was this Mr. Peter himself?) showed the beginnings of some public backlash to the newsletter. This was quickly followed up with some scathing posts at Hello Petter (yes, as far as I can tell, sigh, that is its name).

The post starts:

The disgusting newsletter Peter sent around was simply disgusting.

Rrrr. I love it when tempers flare :)

It seems that Mr. Peter is accusing multiple companies, including one Amazing Vouchers, of soliciting compliments on his site from customers and staff members. Skandaal.

Secondly. I received a series of 3 emails from Karmen Flemming of Amazing Vouchers. The first one, presenting an attachment of "evidence" - 5 or 6 comments that have allegedly been removed from Hello Peter - moderating a free forum of discussion!? No!? The second email said I could publish them - and that their company was completely transparent (and I shouldn't worry!). And the third... No. Wait. Sorry. We've chatted with our lawyers and would appreciate you NOT publishing them.

Then a stream of comments and traffic.

Groot skandaal.

It looks like lawyers are getting involved, and some feelings have been hurt. Just add some passionate bloggers in the mix and you've got the ingrediants for a RSS CIRCUS!

But the true value in all these things only arrives when you take a step back. There are a lot of lessons to be learnt from the public spat going on.

Next post 12 noon. What marketeres and social media chaps can learn from these horrendous faux bollocks ups.