One of the many wonders of the ‘Net is that not only do you get direct messages from companies, but you also have easy access to the opinions of disgruntled customers.
Sites like IHateStarbucks.com, BoycottWalmart.org, and LoewsSucks.com have been created for consumers to voice their not-so-flattering opinions of major companies. And, recently, the Wall Street Journal reported the results of a survey that details company responses to such so-called “bad” publicity.
Buy All Uncomplimentary Domain Names
Xerox has done this, nabbing xeroxstinks.com, xeroxcorporationsucks.com, and ihatexerox.net, among approximately twenty others. In this way, they prevent angry consumers from registering the domain names themselves, thereby forcing them to voice their opinions elsewhere: on forums, in blogs, etc. However, this sort of “strangulation” method seems almost the worst thing Xerox could do, as it reduces the possible outlets for expression and thus has the potential to just frustrate the consumers more.
Let the Consumers Do What They Want
Dell hasn’t made any attempts to grab the anti-Dell domain names, and does not have any plans to do so. Currently a few of these domains do exist, like DellIsEvil.com, but as yet the sites are merely parked and full of links to – you guessed it – the Dell corporate site. Dell knows of its floundering reputation amongst some consumers, but is allowing them the freedom of expressing their opinions should they choose to do so.
Turn the Angry Domain Name into a Useful Tool
AMC Theatres turned the Loewssucks.com site into an educational resource and added a customer satisfaction survey. BankofAmericaSucks.com has been modified from a strict text-only, single-consumer complaint page to a forum that is now known as “The Official Bank of America Consumer Opinion Site.” Companies that use “bash” domain names as a means of funneling complaints about their products or services are actually taken advantage of a tremendous marketing opportunity. By allowing such freedom of expression within a tight, managed format, companies can use the comments that come in to improve themselves in a way that appeals to extremely targeted individuals: people who are actually purchasing their products and services.