Such things are of course scary, but what did scare me as a marketer, was the way Dell initially ignored it from a Marketing 2.0 perspective. They finally posted something very "corporate" about it on July 13, see here. While they were launching a corporate blog Direct2Dell, to supposedly let directly their customers discuss their product experience, Dell demonstrated how not genuine consumer generated content can ruin a reputation and in the end generate more negative buzz than if nothing had been attempted. You'll see, if you follow the Direct2Dell link, that now this flaming battery episode is all over their corporate blog (we are mid August!).
This could not happen at a worse time for Dell, which reputation and stock is under pressure as highlights eWeek. As Dell Q2 results just have been released, reported by AP as "Dell Posts Disappointing 2Q Amid Probe", let's see how this computer giant can overcome this difficult time. To be continued...
Another poor hero of our Marketing 2.0 series is AOL - read here. I'm not chasing bad news, believe me, but AOL just happen to make another giant step in making sure their customers will walk away: their research division revealed a list of about 658,000 users and the Web searches they made. USA Today is asking today :"Could the end be near for America Online?", and this is only the start of a new negative buzz.
Well fellow marketers, let's hope there's a way out of ignoring Marketing 2.0 or Marketing 2.0 beginners mistakes. After all, this is part of our job as well. And don't take me wrong, I wish Dell and AOL to recover quickly.