I read this really disturbing news. Companies are employing agencies to clean-up negative feedback online. Their target is “crazy blogs”. The definition of crazy is at best undefined. Who will be defining crazy? If I narrate my experiences about some product or service which I bought or experienced and if that helps someone to make a better decision, what’s wrong with that.
This is a direct stab at our democracy and freedom of speech. India is more becoming like China. A police state. Through official and sometimes not so official channels, India slowly but surely is becoming a police state. Yesterday was the ban on smoking in public places where the definition of public place is debatable.
Now this is underground Internet Mafia Style Company !
Companies who are offering these services are eBrandz, Communicate2, Value Pitch, and Id8lab.
Other blogs and bloggers are next in line. Their strategy is to either pull the ‘problem’ site down or produce more content to confuse the search engines and the pull the problem site’s ranking down. Wow. I think these companies should be commended for creating a disruptive business model. This they would be doing for a charge. Imagine if this strategy should be employed by the angry bloggers whose site would otherwise enjoy a good Google page rank. That would just be the start of a vicious circle.
Companies are spending crores to clean up the ‘negativity’ on the web. It is already a 200 crore industry. This really amazes me. Why not spend the same amount in taking the feedback seriously and work on it. Why not invest in training your personnel and ask them to smile at the customer.
This tirade is not because I am a blogger. But because the premise of the argument that bloggers are trashing a company’s reputation is just stupid. Funny thing is based on the feedback (or negative feedback), the companies are not considering about improving their products. Instead they chose to play cops online.
Now, let me narrate a personal experience. I have subscribed to Reliance Broadband back in 2006 and paid 500/- via cheque in favour of Reliance. The cheque was duly submitted and the amount was deducted. It’s almost 2 years and I am still waiting for Reliance Broadband connection. Should this experience help you or should I just keep my fingers shut? Would this qualify as negative feedback and am I a crazy blogger? This is at best Indian consumer sharing his/her experience so that other Indians can benefit from it before putting their hard earned money on any particular service and only to find that its crap. Have a look at some of the comments that have come on one of our posts earlier by fed-up Reliance Big TV customers.
I can understand this if the reason was genuine. If someone was purposefully vilifying your company’s reputation, please go ahead and do this. If you were targeting the whole web to resurrect your image then it would be like downloading the Internet. Only difference is Google became a company by starting with a crazy idea of downloading the Internet and your company will become just another company hidden deep inside the google’s page ranks.
I wish I were living in China. At least I don’t have to worry about blogging and expressing my opinion and just enjoy the excellent progress and keep my mouth shut.
Is expressing honest opinions about bad services crime or what? What do you think?