A few days ago, I posted a Tweet on Twitter: “Just got an email from GoDaddy offering me an Akisment activation key ‘for just $5/mo’. Um, I got mine for free when I set up Akismet.” I didn’t complain to GoDaddy or anything, just pointed out the absurdity of charging for something that’s free.
The next day, I got another email from GoDaddy saying:
“You recently received an email with directions for activating the Akismet spam filter built in to WordPress. You were told that the activation key was available at Go Daddy for $5/mo.
“It is important to note that this message pertained to the Akismet (Pro Blogger Version), a paid product. The Standard version of Akismet, included with the installation of WordPress, is available for personal use at no charge to all WordPress customers.…”
A bit of damage control that wouldn’t have been needed if they’d been clear in the first place.
That same day, a friend sent me a reply on Twitter. The friend said GoDaddy was too expensive, and I replied that at the time it was the cheapest available to me.
Then another friend replied to me saying: “I switched most all of my GoDaddy business to Aplus.net - I don't want to reward sexism any more.”
This refers to the blatantly sexist marketing by GoDaddy, which features scantily-clad nubile young women in virtually all their marketing efforts. Obviously useless on me, those materials would’ve driven me to a competitor if a good alternative had been recommended to me at the time (I need testimonials from people I know).
Today, Alpus.net re-tweeted that reply, adding “- thanks for the biz! Welcome!” Trouble is, they didn’t send it to the friend who sent the “@” reply to me or even include his username; that made it look like I’m the one who was the customer. I have nothing against Alpus.net—in fact, they look pretty good and when I get the chance I’m going to talk with my friend a little more about them.
Still, I didn’t like the implied endorsement, so I Tweeted back: “Um, if you want testimonials, you may want to get them from customers, which I'm not. That was an @ TO me, nothing FROM me.” (my reply was more private because the only people who’ll see it are them and people who follow us both (because my updates are protected).
These examples show the need for more time and attention in marketing efforts. Online marketing seems to tempt folks to send things through immediately, but they should receive the same care and attention to detail as with traditional media. Missteps online can have all the same negative repercussions as ones in old-line media.
Both these mistakes are stupid, not evil, but ones that could and should’ve been avoided. The also show how anything that happens online can instantly be connected to many things and people—including more mistakes.
Update 02 February 2010: Ironically, this post has been attracting spam comments today. Since I don't want to turn on comment moderation—which I've never really needed before—I decided to try changing the title (putting an "@" instead of the "a" in "marketing" to see if that fends off the spam. We'll see.