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The Skype/Fring dustup and the importance of quick blog - and comment - response

As I wrote about over on Disruptive Telephony recently, Skype recently was attacked by a startup, fring, for allegedly blocking fring's connections. Today, over on this "Brafton" site, an unnamed author makes good points in "Skype/ fring battle indicates blogs can be good for brand management and link bait.

They point out that Skype was able to quickly respond to the attack with a post out in their own blog. The response post very clearly said that fring's claims were untrue and led to posts like mine that called fring's statement into question - as well as the update or revision of many of the posts that had gone out quickly with the initial news.

It was an effective response by Skype - and a great reminder of the power of having a blog with which they could in fact respond.

However, the Brafton writer goes on to point out something I'd noticed as well. Skype's blog post rapidly filled up with comments - but almost no responses from Skype employees. To their credit, Skype left comments wide open so people left all sorts of comments venting their frustration with various other aspects of Skype's policy.

As of this moment, there are 219 comments on the post - but only 2 are from someone at Skype (Peter Parkes - who is a great guy) answering 3 of the other 217 comments.

Now, many of the comments are purely venting about the lack of a non-Verizon Android app and a hundred other topics. Perhaps the folks at Skype just realized that they couldn't possibly satisfy the comments... and just decided to let people vent. Still, the paucity of Skype comments seems kind of glaring. As the Brafton write indicated, some of those comments express disappointment at not seeing more response from Skype... so the commenters did notice. One commenter (michael.nr.burrows) said:

Wow not many blogs get this vociferous, and you know what, the staggering lack of comment from Skype tells me a lot about their attitude to their customers.

It's curious... in the midst of those comments are some that would seem could have had a response.

The Brafton writer concludes:

The moral of the story is that blogs can be a powerful tool in managing a brand and generating inbound links, but it's important for corporate bloggers to keep a conversation going by responding to commenters in order to maximize blog brand-boosting opportunities.

I agree... the power of having a corporate blog is to be able to respond quickly to attacks that happen in blogs... but posting the initial post is just the start of the response.

P.S. Prior to writing this, I did try to reach out to Peter Parkes at Skype, but his mood message indicates he's on vacation through the weekend. Could part of Skype's challenge be that they only have one person focused on blog response? (I don't know.) Good question for you all - do you have coverage for people going on vacation?


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