Friday, July 20, 2007

Blogs, identity management and brands - an illuminating story

I'm a 'connections' kind of person. Everything is more or less enmeshed and connected to everything else, everything is recursive and emergent. It's not necessarily a strength -- complexity can be paralyzing. Reality is overrated. This connection, though, is hard to avoid. It's a connection between brands, blogs, why blog, and identity management, and the odd emergent consequences of Google.

The story is quickly told. I ran into some operational issues with a software vendor suffering from a successful product release and I wrote about in my ultra-low subscription mildly pseudonymous tech blog. The blog has low subscription numbers, but Google seems to like it; it appears in searches and gets read. I've had some interesting experiences with posting about corporate issues -- not infrequently I get a comment back from the CEO.

As usual, a company that searches the web for bad reviews (an industry spawned by Google and brand management, in this case the search might have been internal) found the review and sent it on to the vendor's sales organization. The twist this time was that I'd also complained directly to the vendor, under my true name (John Gordon F.). The details and timings of the problems were sufficiently similar, and my pseudonym shield sufficiently mild, that I received a direct phone call from the head of sales. She admitted their sales process was bunged up, and I said if she submitted a comment to that effect and said they were addressing the problem that I'd willingly add an addendum to my post. (She didn't actually post a comment, so I've left the post unchanged.)

I wasn't bothered by the exposure (see a later post), but I was amused. It's a story that illuminates the modern connections between blogs, brand management (reputation management for a vendor), identity (reputation management for a person) and emergence. All favorite themes of mine.

Incidentally, I ought to update my why blog post -- the tech blog is an amazing way to get very direct feedback to vendors.

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