Posted February 23, 2009 1:45 pm by with 10 comments

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Listen to me speak about online reputation management long enough and you’ll hear me talk about the importance of "hosting the conversation" when under attack.

Here’s a great example of that, courtesy of which found itself the victim of a "vicious and completely false rumour." The music service tried what many companies try:

I denied it vehemently on the Techcrunch article, as did several other staffers. We denied it in the forums, on twitter, via email – basically we denied it to anyone that would listen, and now we’re denying it on our blog.

And, the "denying it on our blog" part is the best way to host the conversation. Instead of playing rumor "whack a mole"’s blog post hit Techmeme, achieved 1177+ Diggs, dozens of comments, and positioned itself as the official response to the allegations.

Oh, and the title of the post? "Techcrunch are full of sh!t." Not my normal style, but effective at bringing the conversation to their site, don’t you think? 😉

  • Just another way how blog posts can help control reputation issues.

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  • Certainly a “different” title but publishing an official response on their blog was a great way to bring the conversation to their turf so they can address comments in a timely fashion – the results sound like the approach worked well.

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  • I agree with using company’s own blog to host the conversation and react timely to the “spreading like wildfire” negative news. Too many companies prefer to ignore negative mentions (until they become too visible and disrupting). Do you think it would pay off to have a blog (or a category within an existing company blog) dedicated to complaint responses in general?

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  •’s response was excellent. Punchy, direct, to the point. Addressed the issue head on. The title was perhaps emotive and may not pass through work firewalls but that’s by-the-by. To me, it looks as much like an instinctive response as an advised one. It’s human. The TechCrunch article was hugely damaging, losing some of their users whilst doubt remained amongst others. The blog served to reassure them and at the same time, gave the rest of us diehard fans something to cheer over. We users have a lot of trust in and we enjoy a great relationship with them, staff and founders alike. There isn’t another site I use that comes anywhere close. It was as important for to protect their online reputation on the wider scale as well as within its own userbase.

    I’m not sure what ‘hosting the conversation’ means exactly, but whupped TechCrunch good and proper, and that’s good enough for me.

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    A hacker can launch requests from a network of hacked computers to visit your web page thereby flooding the web server with more requests than it can handle. It will bog down the web server and could result in the web server crashing. If this is on a shared web server it would affect the speed of other customers websites.

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    Keep your code secure and make sure you update your web software regularly.

  • I am extremely impressed by the tone and character of Last FMs post – they hit the right emotional tones while at the same time taking some serious damage control into action: (

    “As soon as we saw the TC article we suspended the system that cleans out user accounts marked for deletion, expecting that people would do exactly as you did.If you contact our support team (support [at] we should be able to restore your account and scrobbles.”

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  • TC is full of shit??


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  • great article, sure i’ll be back.

    good day