Companies Wake Up to Blogs' Barking

DQI Bureau
New Update

Dell learned recently about the growing power of the blogosphere when it

recalled 4.1 mn laptop batteries after a video that showed one of its computers

bursting into flames was posted on the Internet. The brief clip zig-zagged

through cyberspace and went from cult viewing to national television.


Dell's spokesman Jess Blackburn insists that the company had been working

to address that particular problem long before the bloggers got hold of it. He

adds, though, that Dell has begun keeping tabs the blogosphere.

“We began a concerted effort in the springtime,” says Mr Blackburn. “We

do try to stay alert to what's being posted out there about Dell, although we

only respond when we think there are completely inaccurate reports and


Many firms have started to pay attention as a rapidly expanding slice of

cyberspace is devoted to vitriolic, often obsessive blogs listing the

shortcomings of well-known companies.


Among the longest standing is Untied Airlines, a blog on the woes of

America's second largest carrier, United. Its recent highlights include an

account of an unaccompanied minor who was delayed twice, re-routed and not given

anything to eat or drink all day. The staff member looking after him uttered the

memorable words: “I can't talk to your mom, it's not in my job


There are well over 35 mn blogs on the net. Keeping abreast of all of them is

impossible. But Nielsen BuzzMetrics, a New York firm, has developed an expertise

in monitoring blogs, it works for 150 of America's Fortune 1,000 firms.