Marketing Pilgrim's Reputation Channel

Marketing Pilgrim's Reputation Channel is sponsored by Trackur.

“Vast majority of users” Can Now Use

We are now turning another page in one of the most laughable website rollouts of this relatively young Internet era.

There is no need to run through the timeline of this historic face plant of a website introduction that is Enough has been said already by far too many.

But in the spirit of being up-to-date, the line about the site’s new found functionality is one that could only be produced by bureaucrats and those who play politics for a living rather than a calling. (Easy there folks, this includes pols on both sides of the aisle so don’t get your knickers in a twist).

The update and current state of affairs on was announced yesterday in a report from the Department of Health and Human Services (PDF). It reads, as reported by cnet

The Obama administration announced Sunday it had met its deadline for improving after myriad technical issues plagued the launch of the government-run online health insurance marketplace.

After hundreds of software fixes and hardware upgrades, the site is now running “smoothly for the vast majority of users,” according to a report released Sunday by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Could there be a looser definition of just how many people this might now work for? I suppose yes but this one is certainly loose enough and something that can be talked around easily as we move forward. Maybe this is more of a lesson in PR spin than anything else? At any rate, it’s all very ‘Washington-esque’, don’t you think?

We are putting this post under our “Reputation Channel”. Our question is can the US government ever have a good reputation regarding its online ‘prowess’ after this mess? Why did they hire the wrong company initially and have to send even more to call in private sector specialists to make the site right? Your thoughts?

Can An Awesome Product Overcome Reputation Issues?

Amazon-LogoHere at Marketing Pilgrim, we are especially sensitive to stories about corporate reputations. Our founder Andy Beal and his Trackur product specialize in helping companies keep track (get it?) of what is being said in the online space.

In most cases, when there is some concern or issue around a product or service, many are quick to jump on the reputation crushing bandwagon to express their concerns, be they real or imagined. People like to be part of a group especially when they can get some sense of making a difference, no matter how artificial it is. But how far will they go to bring a brand down if it is something they really like?

Study Shows an Increase in Local Competition Encourages Negative Review Fraud on Yelp


Yelp knows they have a problem with fake reviews. They say they have it under control thanks to a sophisticated filter system which removes around 25% of all incoming reviews. But a new university study called “Fake it Till You Make It” (a weird name for a University study but whatever. . . ) pretty much says that as long as Yelp exists there will be fraud – not because people are mean and unethical – but because the incentive to get a high rating is worth the risk.

In addition to a study of positive fake reviews, Boston University’s Georgios Zervas and Michael Luca of the Harvard Business School studied incidents of negative review posting against competitors.

Training Point: You Are Being Watched ALL THE TIME

If there is one thing that companies need to be telling their employees is that they should NEVER assume that no one is watching them.

The latest instance of someone being caught on tape shines a ‘not so positive’ light on the United States Postal Service (USPS). As if this quasi-governmental agency isn’t suffering from enough bad publicity, this latest video showing an employee making a very special delivery isn’t going to help its already sullied reputation.

Because employees don’t understand the true reach of video cameras or they simply don’t care (which is the more likely to be correct answer), public relations people and those with the responsibility of protecting the reputation of a company have increasingly high job security these days.

Apple Knocks Coca-Cola Out of the Top Spot for Best Global Brand

After thirteen years as the #1 Best Global Brand, Coca-Cola has been dethroned by not one, but two technology companies.

This year, Interbrand put Apple in the number one spot with Google as number two.

They came up with those placements by evaluating three key areas:

  • The financial performance of the branded products or service
  • The role the brand plays in influencing consumer choice
  • The strength the brand has to command a premium price, or secure earnings for the company

best global top two


Apple first hit the charts in 2000, coming in with a  brand value of USD $6.6 billion. Now they’re at $98.3 billion which could easily be described as a “meteoric rise.” Interbrand says it’s Apple’s ability to anticipate and act on consumer needs that pushed them higher than ever before.

Offensive Tweets Lead to Unemployment for Business Insider CTO

Business Insider’s Chief Technology Officer Pax Dickinson was forced to resign over a series of offensive angry tweets that actually date back several years.

Ironically, it was one of his least offensive Tweets that led to his downfall.

pax feminism tweetEven though his Twitter posts are technically not a reflection on his employers – we all know that logic doesn’t hold up. You can cry “right to free speech” and “what I do on my own time” all you want, but a technology officer publicly deriding women in tech isn’t going to get you a Christmas bonus.

What I don’t understand is why it took Business Insider so long to show this man the door. Back in 2010, he posted one of the most offensive Tweets I’ve ever seen from an intelligent human. Since then, he’s posted rape jokes, racial and gay slurs and he even publicly challenged one of his complaining co-workers to come say it to his face.

British Airways vs The Disgruntled Customer: A Twitter Parable

Once there was a good son who was very upset on his father’s behalf. The father flew to Paris on British Airways. Unfortunately, one of his bags went somewhere else. The man was disturbed so he asked the giant corporation for help but for two days his cries for help went unanswered.

The son, being a good son, wanted to help his father in his time of need, so he decided to use a very large, very loud megaphone to get the giant’s attention. It was a very special megaphone called a “Promoted Tweet.”

paid complaint

The giant wasn’t the only one who heard the man’s words. People all over the land of Twitter heard it, too. Then scribes and town-criers carried the man’s word out to the far corners of the web world and it wasn’t long before everyone had heard about the father’s plight.