Navigating the mud, how do we handle misleading blog posts?

We have a robust debate going on within Tower Systems at the moment about whether we should respond to a competitor who publishes untrue statements about us and our software.

My view is that we need to correct the record when this happens and provide commentary about why they might be doing this.

Some of our sales team, Tim, Nathan and Luke, want us to ignore the comments. Their view is that small business owners don’t like to see competitors at each other’s throats in public.

Our Marketing Manager, Andrew, says we should ignore them based on their market share.

While I think they are right, my concern is that silence gives these claims credence.

We are trying to find common ground inside Tower Systems on this. Even though I own the business, I see everyone on the team as a stakeholder and therefore holding an opinion which needs to be considered.

This is why we have not responded as we might have to the attacks over recent days.

While we are not done with this debate yet, the lack of tit for tat blog posts from us shows that the team is likely to win.

I’d be interested in what others think. Should a company respond to untruthful comments published about them? Or, should we, as they say in cricket, let these comments go through to the keeper. In this analogy, the keeper is our customers and others who stop by this and other blogs.

Category: Blogging, Ethics

7 Responses to Navigating the mud, how do we handle misleading blog posts?

  1. Brad

    Mark,

    Reading your comments here plus also seeing the comments made by your competitor your team has it right. There is no glory in trench warfare. In fact over the next few months even a year the business enviroment will become such that desperate people will say and do anything to get the sale or dollar. Newsagents will have enough on their plate without having to find entertainment in a sledging contest. I am personally looking for ways to conduct smart and long lasting business practises and am not interested in a debate that in 5 minutes I could verify.

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  2. Dean

    Hi Mark,

    I thought I would put in my 2 cents worth.

    I think it goes down to credibility. If the person making the statements has credibility, then you need to repsond. If they have no credibility, then you should ignore them, other than a brief blog which you have done already to set the record straight.

    As to whether your competitor (or yourself for that matter) has credibility is hard for me to judge, as I have not met either of you. I can only use what you write on your respective blogs as a guide, however this is not a perfect judge. Similarly, I cannot judge whether his comments are accurate, or whether yours are, unless I hear first hand from someone that they have suffered the problems that he has written about.

    The most telling thing I have seen on your competitor’s credibility is the advice he wrote on GST a while ago. In my mind, he lost all credibility with what he wrote in those blogs. A few other things he has written have also made me wonder what he is up to. For yourself, I have written a few times where I have agreed with you, and sometimes where I have disagreed with you, (there is at least 1, and possibly 2, other people called Dean who write on your blogs, so this might be confusing), however I have not read anything so far to make me think you have no credibility.

    Purely from an entertainment view, I hope you go for the jugular, to the point where it starts a blogwar on each of your websites. I find this is the best part of reading your blogs. Along with the crap from Thomas T and his many aliases.

    I hope this helps.

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  3. Derek

    Mark

    I empathise with you wanting to correct untruths, Mr Zimmerman has an agenda, this time it is support fees and Ezipass. His propaganda is upsetting to you and your team, what do you guys do?

    Jealousy, envy and recklessness will be eventually Mr Zimmerman’s undoing, he should be concentrating on his own business not trying run yours.

    I am not sure if responding via a open forum is the way to go, Tower has not got to where it is today by doing that. It has got to where it is by its hardwork and integrity.

    I was impressed when you indicated it is a team decision whether you respond.

    Derek

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  4. I tend to agree with the Sales team. Responding just brings more confusion to the marketplace. I know personally what he is saying is untrue, but by encouraging potential sales to talk with Tower users, they should be able to put all Negative comments to bed easily. Let your customers stand for your record. They are the ones that see it clearly.

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  5. Michael

    “my concern is that silence gives these claims credence”

    Not in this case Mark, when a business “bags” it’s competition they look a lot weaker. I’ve read the comments, and they look very obsessive-compulsive. Bagging to that type of extent tells me there is a FIGJAM issue or there is something he’s trying to hide (Software not as good?? I don’t really know)

    It would look better if he was trying to work with Tower/Ezipass so his software is more combatible, therefore making his software more attractive.

    I’d probably wait for it to get worse than that before taking any form of action.

    That’s my two cents. Enjoy the dilemma.

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  6. Derek

    I think business competitors shoot over the bow of their rival particular when the going gets tough.

    Its not your fault that you have a four wheel drive to cater for the mud and they have a normal car and get bogged down.

    Its inevitable that people have different tastes and no one owns the whole cuctomer base. Look at Coke, great brand in this country, people like and enjoy that product more than say Pepsi in this country, that brand is not as popular and has fewer customers. Pepsi just can’t handle that and they make it known, talk is cheap, innovation, initiative and good product makes others products look second rate.

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