How Not To Deal With Blogs: A Case Study

(Updated with an apology and explanation from Bluepulse noted in the comments.)

From time to time, I get asked by people at various companies “about blogs and stuff”, in particular how companies can best deal with blogs from a PR and marketing perspective. Two things I stress are sincerity and honesty. Companies need to be sincere in their communications with blogs, but more importantly, they need to be honest. Recent history is littered with examples of what happens when companies don’t take these lessons to heart.

Earlier this week, one of my esteemed colleagues here at MobHappy gave a really positive review to a piece of mobile software called Bluepulse. Some people, myself included, weren’t as enthusiastic — which is fine, we all can disagree — and said as much in the comments. Somebody going by “alan” from the company was happy to play along, responding to questions and criticism. That’s great, that’s what it’s all about: taking part in the conversation.

One of my criticisms was that the company’s claim of “any phone, anywhere” was dubious, which it is — how many times did people say “write once, run anywhere” about J2ME? Alan took exception to that, saying the company had never made that claim; I helpfully pointed out where on their site they had done so, in those exact words.

Now where things go off the track is when another guy, “Luke”, who lists his web site as http://www.bluepulse.com, so we’ll presume he’s an employee too (particularly since he posted from the same IP address as Alan), comes back a couple days later to say that I’ve left out a key word, that the quote is actually “Your content and applications, on almost any phone, anywhere…” Click on the link to the relevant page, and yes, it says that… now.

You see, the good folks at Bluepulse have gone back and changed the page, then it would appear that one of them couldn’t resist coming back to the site and pointing out my “error”. The problem — for them — is that they didn’t think about the good old Google cache, as you can see in the screengrab above (go ahead and click it to see the full-size image).

So instead of saying “hey, that’s some aggressive marketing copy, we’ll tone it down a bit”, they change it, then come back here in an attempt (I guess) to try to impugn my integrity, or, at the very least, make me look foolish. Funny how things like that can backfire. So there’s a lesson here in honesty for companies on the web. Well, that, or at least be smart enough to cover your tracks.

Update: Alan Jones from Bluepulse offers an apology and explanation in the comments, as does Luke. Thanks, guys.

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