Snake oil…Part 2 – It Just Keeps Getting Worse

UPDATE 3-17-2015:  The email exchange below occurred 2 months ago.  As of this morning,  my email has been opened 537 times, from 18 devices in 14 locations.  (Thanks Yesware for the awesome tracking!).  It is not possible to know if the email was just opened or was actually read, but, as of this morning, I have had no response of any kind from Web.com.

 

Thank you everyone who read, shared and commented on my post yesterday  – We All Have To Work To Stop The Snake Oil Salesmen 

Since I was contacted by the “Executive Escalation” team at Web.com, I felt it was only fair to keep everyone up to date on what was happening.   Rather then possibly mis-quoting or allowing for mis-interpretation of our correspondence, I have copied in both their email to me and my response in their entirety (see below).   We’ll see where it goes from here.   I may end up being the lucky recipient of a cease and desist or a libel and slander suit, but we’ll see.  Hopefully the good folks (and I am sure there are a lot of really great ones there!) at Web.com will realize that 1) these are not only my concerns but the concerns of multiple people in the industry and they really need to look at what they are doing and 2) they will get someone in (Heck, they could even hire me!) to fix their social media program and the social media services they  offer to clients.

Fingers crossed and I’ll be sure to keep you all informed if anything else develops.

FYI, I did leave off the name of the person from Executive Escalations intentionally.  I don’t want to beat up on an single individual who, I am sure, is just trying to do their job the best they know how.

FROM EXECUTIVE ESCALATIONS at Web.com 

Hi Gloria,

I work for the Executive Escalations office, monitoring our social media communication channels from within. I wanted to reach out to you to address what appears to be an unpleasant experience you had yesterday via our Twitter channel.  

 My sincerest apologies for any sort of frustrations, disappointments, or overall aggravations you experienced yesterday with our company, both on and off-line. We never want our customers, be they already established or potential, to feel as if they’ve been overlooked, mishandled, or challenged in any sort of way. Our goal when monitoring SM channels is to maintain an open, non-combative lines of communication, offering to help facilitate assistance however we can. We also value any and all feedback, be it negative or positive, as we report results on a weekly basis and implement changes to our policy and training as needed.

 If there is anything I can do to further assist to ensure you leave this experience with a lighter, more positive outlook on our company, I’d be more than happy to accommodate. Thank you so very much for your time, and again, my sincerest apologies for any and all frustrations.

Kindest Regards,

Nice note and all… but as you can see by my response, I’m not really buying it  –

Thank you for reaching out to me.  While I appreciate the effort, to be honest, I feel like I am getting the same SOP, canned responses I got from your social media team yesterday.  
I am not your customer or even a potential customer.  I am a social media professional who offers some of the same services that your company offers.  It would have taken your social media team all of 2 seconds to know that if they have bothered to just look at my Twitter profile.  The reaction I received yesterday on Twitter and again in this correspondence genuinely feel like you are paying lip service to the idea of resolving issues without really even knowing what those issues are.  I have to repeat the same things I said on Twitter yesterday, if this is the type of advice you give clients on how to handle their social media, I feel sorry for them because it will be impossible for them to truly be effective in their efforts. 
If anyone from your social media team was really monitoring the online discussion around your company you would know that this arose from my objections to the TV commercial you are running offering Facebook services to small businesses.  I called out your company because your ad is misleading and it is targeting people who do not have the knowledge to know that, given Facebook’s algorithms and terms of service, you can not possibly deliver on the promises you are making.  After the pathetic response I received on Twitter to my concerns, I ended up writing a blog post, not only about the misleading advertising but about the text book way your social media team showed how not to handle criticism on social media. 
If your executive team really wants to understand the issue, you might want to read my blog post and all of the related comments on my post, Google+, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  Which, just as an aside, I shouldn’t have to be pointing out to you.  You should have sufficient monitoring in place to know that this conversation is going on about you out in social.  There are a lot of people who feel your advertising is misleading and makes our industry look bad.  The fact that your social media team was inept to handle the criticism just reinforces that Web.com should reconsider being in the social media consulting business because it is not equipped to give realistic, actionable, executable and strategic advice and services to its clients. 
Given how this has played out so far, I doubt this will happen, but if someone at your company is really interested in resolving what are obviously glaring issues with your own social media and the social media services you offer, have them contact me.  I have a lot of ideas that would get your social media program and your social media services back on track. 
And just FYI, I am writing a second blog post with both your email to me and my response included so that everyone following this story knows that you at least reached out and made an effort. 

8 Comments

  1. The thing is, their email to you could easily be used for any and all complaints about any business in any industry. It says all the right things to try to appease the customer, but doesn’t actually say anything.

    I think we’re going to see a continued divide in our society between those who “get it” (i.e. understand that social media tools are used best to enhance real communication) and those who don’t (those who see social media tools as a short cut to real customer service).

    I would be most curious to know if there’s any kind of response to your response.

    Like

    • You are exactly right Ken. The saddest part about how all of this has been handled is that they offer social media services to small businesses. Can you imagine tons of small businesses reacting, or not reacting actually, the way they have based on advice from them? They will be out of business in no time. I’ll be sure and share if I get any response.

      Like

  2. Hello gloriakbell.

    Thank you for reaching out to bring this matter to my attention. As you know, resources can be limited and without the diligent and proactive measures taken by people like yourselves, we might not be in the best position to render the level of service that meets standard business requirements for passive sentence structures, blame avoidance, and token appeasement.

    Do understand that your concern are very impotent to us. The last thing we want is the gloriakbell’s of the world to lose faith in our ability to counsel {industry_name} in matters of personal engagement and authentic conversation. We are expediting your issue.

    In the meantime, were you aware that Web.com offers services for businesses like yours, gloriakbell, to use Facebook advertising puts your business in front of your target audience to grow your fan base?

    Facebook is the ultimate tool to increase your visibility in your target market and engage in a relationship with your customers. Our social media experts do it all for you! We create a page that is all about you, and then help to build your fan base and get the conversation going.

    If you don’t have a Facebook page or are not happy with what you have, we will build a page that gets you a following.

    We professionally market your new Facebook page to get you likes, targeting people who will be interested in your business.

    We keep these new fans interested and talking about your business by frequently updating your content.

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    Like

  3. Hmmm, really this issue belongs with the FTC to find out if they are violating the law with their ads. A 30 second commercial is not going to tell the whole story, no more than the car babe is being sold with the sports car. I agree that the promises they make are extreme and really not effective due to the way that Facebook works now. Time will tell if they get caught by the FTC, but I can guarantee the shaming online is not effective, particularly since you are a competitor. Without knowing you, if I knew you worked in social media, I would have thought you just had sour grapes. People are not stupid, and they know competitors do all kinds of stuff to each other online. Preaching to your own choir dispels it a little, but probably not with the average small biz owner. Just a different point of view.

    Like

  4. Oh dear, it almost looks like a “fill in the blank” form letter. And it’s from their Executive Escalations team member. What a shame. And what a way to not use an opportunity to shine.

    Love Ike’s reply! Fits well with the current communication style of web.com.

    Their advertising is certainly misleading, and offers the same guarantees as the other large companies now offering social media management (and other online marketing, of which they know little about).

    Looking forward to seeing their response….and yours!

    Like

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