The blogosphere is a paradigm shift; a change in the way people interact. One of the interesting things to observe is changes in relationship balance of power; for example, the newfound ability for a customer to talk about a satisfying (or unsatisfying) experience, and have the world hear. Combine a weblog with search engines and a consumer’s request for info, and you get some surprising results. Results that a company doesn’t always want people to hear.

Word of mouth is a hugely effective recommendation medium, and according to the pundits negative word of mouth is more telling than positive. (What’s the anecdote? You tell 3 people when you’re happy with a product, and 11 people when you’re mad? Something like that.) With the advent of blogs, people can now share their feelngs about a company with a MUCH larger audience than before. Companies…they don’t always like that. Of course they’re happy for praise; but talk smack, and they get annoyed fast.

A friend of mine just discovered this the hard way. He wrote a cautionary blogpost about a mistake he made in purchasing a product. Note: He made the mistake, and ADMITS he made the mistake. He did ask for a refund (which was denied), but dropped it quickly. (No refunds on software! No refunds! *sigh* A post for another day.)

His reason for making the blogpost was simply to remind folks to carefully read documentation for purchases before buying (he made an assumption about the product that was incorrect, which rendered it useless for his purposes). He even including a link to the website, and a positive comment about the company.

Boom.

His personal-nerd-weblog (much like this one), which normally has 0-1 comments per post, presently has 12 on this entry. The company posted to it’s own forums about it, with a (IMO) self-serving thread in which they attempt to rally their fans to go and support them (posting a link to my friend’s blog).

It’s probably not a bad product. The entire situation, however, has been handled terribly on the company’s part (from the customer service point of view). I wouldn’t buy anything from the company at this point with a 20-ft. pole…and I DO make software recommendations. Both to friends, and at work.
And hopefully, a little bit of Google juice will come into play, and my friend’s post will show up when product reviews are Googled. It’s a classic example of a company overreacting to a negative comment in this new world.

Welcome to the Blogosphere.

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