I’m assuming that the belligerent writers on the 2clix or not 2clix thread etc on whirlpool.net.au are legit grumpy consumers and not some sort of sh*t-stirring competitors of 2clix:

GOING TO WAR WITH THE CONSUMER: What would happen if everyone created a blog post called 2clix sucks? Would that come top of the various search engines when you search for 2clix? What if we all linked to each other’s blog post called 2clix sucks – and Google Juice connectivity – what impact would that have on 2clix?
Like this:

Interesting question indeed. Sunshine note motivates readers to email sales@salesclix.com. Do you have a post? A call to action? Please let me know so I can list it here, for marketing research purposes.

Remember what happened to Sky Handling? Remember what happened to the AACS/HD DVD crack code fiasco? Powerful way to mobilise the consumer – to oppose you.

NOTE: For those of you who don’t know: 2clix is suing their consumers – sorry, I mean the host of a social network because their consumers said bad things against them.

Here’s the Sydney Morning Herald article:

The statement said Whirlpool, which has more than 180,000 registered users, believed the case was without merit and that it would “defend the matter vigorously, despite being a community website with little resources”.

Whirlpool users have already begun donating money to the site to help Wright cover any legal costs. Some claim to have donated more than $1000 through Paypal.

Why Telstra or Optus should underwrite Whirlpool (Simon Wright). At the moment, the Telcos are rubbing their hands together with glee, glad to be rid of Whingepool (because the forums occasionally host a flame war anti-some-poor-company). The rest of the time it’s filled with 180,000 lead influencers in the Telecommunications industry, discussing technology and telecommunications, fixing bugs, making recommendations and sharing expertise. Y’know, these are the know-it-alls in the IT department that decide how to set up the infrastructure and network for your company. 180,000 of them across Australia. If they are not in the It&T department of your law or finance firm or hospital, then they are the geeks that work at … Telstra, Optus, People Telecom, Exetel, and so on. 180,000 people who shape telecoms strategy for small, medium and large businesses across Australia. If one of the telcos don’t fund Simon, he may well shut the forums down. What happens then? These geeks/telco engineers/consumers will just shut up?

Nah, I don’t think so.

What will happen is that the community will fragment. I’ve seen this before. Forum software is cheap: VBBulletin runs at about $160 a licence. PHPBB is free. Hosting in the States (where you get anonymity) is about $7 per month. In the next 48-60 hours we will see a host of anonymous sites spring up with names like
www.telstrasux.com
www.NoOptus.com
www.giveusbroadbandnow.com
www.2clixsucks.com.au
I own NowWeAreListening.com.au so don’t bother trying for that one. There’s a million other names you can choose.

You get the picture. And these guys understand RSS so they will link and connect to each other. Creating multiple sites with power Google Juice. In about 72 hours when you do a search on Telstra or Optus or 2clix, you will get a million returns on 2clix sucks or Telstra sucks pages instead of one at Whirlpool. Is that what they want?

And imagine the kudos and brand love if Simon Wright puts up a post saying simply: “Thanks to funding by TelcoXYZ, who are covering my back, we are able to resume normal noisy transmission”. Wouldn’t you want 180,000 telco engineers and influencers spreading the gospel about how you saved the day, if you were a telco? But for gawd’s sake, don’t make Simon put up your brand everywhere – underwritten/understatement is key. Your choice Telstra. Optus. Etc. One site your staff are members of, your clients are members of, and that can be easily tracked. Or millions of sites/forums/blogs, all over the place. Think Napster broken down to peer-to-peer and how that is for the music industry to manage.

Let’s talk some more about those 180,000 registered members of Whirlpool.net.au. Given the 80/20 rule or the 90/10 rule (90% of users lurk, 10% contribute), that 180,000 represent telecommunications evangelists and IT&T managers across Australia, but only 10% of the general public who use the site. Which is about right, (from my old post) as Telstra (telecommunications) sits at 32 on the Alexa ratings, Whirlpool (consumer) at 39 and Optus(telecommunications) at 49. Alexa Ratings (wikipedia) are the web traffic internet site:

Alexa Global Traffic Rank for whirlpool.net.au: 3,303
Rating in Australia: 39th
What does this list actually look like? Well, it’s a mix of Australian and International sites:
1 Google Australia (google.com.au)
2 Yahoo! (yahoo.com)
3 Google (google.com)
32 Telstra BigPond
39 Whirlpool Broadband News
49 Optuszoo.com.au

The other option is that Helen Coonan funds Whirlpool.net.au. Or Stephen Covey. Why not? Let’s talk about clarifying confusopolies and the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts arguing for a level playing field. It can’t be more level than consumers voicing an opinion? Protect that at all costs. As for me, I’m donating to the Whirlpool PayPal fund. And joining the Facebook group. And whatever I need to do to show solidarity. It’s not so much that I’m passionate about Telecommunications – that passion comes and goes – but I don’t want a unified powerful consumer voice diminished and quietened. Do you see why we need an unIndustry organisation now?

This website helped me. Can I give you money?
Indeed you can.

or BSB 342080 160682413
Bank: HSBC – Account: SIMON WRIGHT

Please note that this is a donation only; don’t expect anything specific in return (beyond some very positive vibes). The donation will go towards improving Whirlpool and defending the site’s legal rights.

I don’t get involved in the occasional flame wars on the site, but I do like the tools to help me choose broadband suppliers.

zzzzaxxxx02.jpg

I have no idea what 2clix was thinking, going to war with consumers in online communities. But this situation a long way to go before it’s played out. And I think I know who will win in the long term.

EDIT: I wanted to add in the Digg site and also this from Whirlpool’s legal threats page:

“• Publication of a news story on the front page of the WP News site, or a prominently placed announcement thread, summarising the legal threats, who has made them and why;
• Revocation of the representative status of any ISP or non-ISP Representatives indulging in such threats;
• Penalty boxing of any and all accounts associated with the company indulging in such threats;”

Looks like they had their strategy ready for a while. Good on ’em. Also this from News.com.au front page:

A lot hangs in the balance here,” Mr Wright told NEWS.com.au.

“This goes beyond Whirlpool, or indeed communities in general.

“It affects the viability of all internet discussion, from blogs to product reviews on Amazon.

Actually a lot of companies would be happy with that outcome. But these are the good times – consumers are only just beginning to find their voice.