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from ITWire (Stan Beer ):

It may come as a shock to adoring Michael Moore fans but not everyone agrees with him or the ways he expresses his views through the medium of film making. Thus, when Google blogger Lauren Turner, who sells Google advertising to the healthcare industry, expressed relatively mild and veiled criticism of Moore’s new film Sicko in a company blog and suggested ways her clients could combat negative publicity through advertising, outrage ensued.

Google’s health advertising team blog.

I’m not going to get into the Michael Moore vs Lauren Turner debate. What I do want to talk about is enabling comments on your blog. Lauren (as per Google’s corporate stance) does not enter into discussion. She posts up a blog post and then bows out… and while this works for some companies – and Goodness Knows, Google doesn’t need the search rankings that comments can give – at the end of the day, it’s not what consumers are looking for. They want dialogue and they don’t necessarily want to have to go elsewhere/offsite to have it. In Lauren’s case, the discussion has poured onto other blogs.

The Google blogs trackbacks or “Links to this Post” show the first 100 discussions.

Now normally I have to tell the owners of an online community… no scrap that, they don’t “own” the community, they host it. Start again. Now normally I have to tell the hosts of an online community not to rise up and defend their honour. “Don’t flame your customer” is something I seriously consider having tattooed in thick red ink (nope, not telling where). But not only is Lauren not participating in the flame war she’s started, she isn’t hosting it either. Traditional companies may well say “good”, but in this new world of ‘honest dialogue’ marketing, I say “bad”. What say you?

Distributed Web 2.0 conversations are all very well, but sooner or later we want a comfy sofa, a cup of coffee and a heated debate. And why does it always have to be at my place? And I think what this leads the customer to say is “whatever you do, Google, don’t start a fight (intentionally or otherwise) with me, then say you don’t want to talk about it and go home where I can’t follow.” Yes, relationship marketing means having a ‘relationship’ and it sucks when the customer says “darling, we have to talk” doesn’t it? Heh.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

2 thoughts on “

  1. Surely, the point is that this entry is on a blog about health industry advertising. It is 100% appropriate for the intended audience.

    Yes, no comments is a risky strategy but is it likely that any of the commenters would have been from the health industry and therefore those who Turner wants to develop relationships with?

    I doubt it.

    And if nothing else, every health industry marketing bod now knows that Lauren Turner is the health advertising contact at Google.

    Love to know what this incident has done for her subscriber levels.

  2. Yeah in this case you are right. As long as she hasn’t inflamed the situation against a client of hers, and it’s just a general statement, that’s fine. She can bitch about Moore all she wants.

    But if I was her client, and I was relying on her for PR or brand marketing or whatever, and she initiated a discussion that generated hundreds of blog posts, thousands of comments and millions of media impressions/pageviews about my brand, I’d be a little shirty that she didn’t have the mechanism to keep it under control. And one way of ‘managing’ the situation is by engaging. As soon as it fragments and ends up in the greater community, all hell has broken loose. Like I said, I usually recommend that clients don’t jump into flame wars, but there should be the mechanism there, just in case. And Google’s “no comment” policy is a dangerous one if its a blanket policy.

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