Criticize a company online - get targeted for corporate re-education
July 8, 2000 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Criticize a company online - get targeted for corporate re-education New system developed to find and track online critics of corporate entities - including having posts or websites suddenly removed. All hail the power of the brand.
posted by gsh (6 comments total)
This does give one pause, but on the other hand, there is SO MUCH misinformation floating around out there about corporations, a lot of it quite malicious, that I can see why companies need to do something about it, in some cases. While it may seem Big Brotherish at first blush, think about it: if you PUBLISH something that is anti- a particular company or person, you've gone public. You can't really expect to be public AND anonymous at the same time, especially when what you publish might be false or libelous. The web has given all kinds of malicious people anonymous cover, and it may be a good thing that there's a remedy for this. We complain about newpapers printing misinformation, shouldn't we, as web citizens, at least check our facts before we express an opinion?
posted by davedufour at 9:33 AM on July 8, 2000


What? Do you really think for a second that this will be utilized only to filter incorrect information? Please. Are you new around here? Large companies have been throwing corporate weight around to supress legitimate client gripes on the web for quite some time.

I bought a Pontiac Sunfire GT last summer. This was against my better judgement, but it was several thousand less than the import equivalent. It has been a thoroughly crappy car, and Pontiac warranty service has been a joke, at best. If I were to fire up a web site which explained the long list of shortcomings, and the site managed to get reasonably popular, how long do you think it would be before Pontiac, with their newly discovered technology, was knocking on my metaphorical door to have the negative content removed? I have the real facts, since I've experienced them first hand on several occasions, but that's never stopped companies from doing what they can to maintain a rosy image by bullying anyone who disagrees, regardless of complaint validity.
posted by Denial of Service at 10:50 AM on July 8, 2000

Sometimes these anonymous posts are used to try to illegally manipulate stock prices.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:52 AM on July 8, 2000

buy MSFT! big news on monday!!!
posted by tomalak at 7:28 PM on July 8, 2000

Y'know it used to be you'd complain to a company and if they got a lot of similar complaints, they'd actually respond by re-examining their product or service and then improving it.

Now they just shut their customers up. Viva progress.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:06 PM on July 8, 2000

Here's what I just sent the author:

Ms Stepanek:

Interesting column (which I read through a referral on

I think this will be a self-correcting problem, though. The very use of a product like eWatch indicates a company's fundamental contempt for the customer. In other words, it won't change any dissatisfied customer's mind, it provides yet more bad publicity just through use, and it hardens the defensive attitude of the company. That way lies ruin.

It's not unlike spam. I've now seen, from one spammer, a confessed "success" rate of only .3% -- much behind even direct postal mail.

I'd almost want a list of eWatch's customers, just to short their stock... :) Certainly your article only confirms my already strong sense of aversion to Northwest Airlines (whom I've, thankfully, never flown).

Anyway, thanks for your time and efforts.

It's kind of like Viagra: Just by using it, you're admitting you're concerned about your ability to get it up. {shrug}

posted by aurelian at 11:19 PM on July 8, 2000

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