Thursday, March 17th, 2005
How many apples of rotten experience does it take to sour a whole barrel?
That’s a question that Adagio Teas should be asking themselves right about now. They recently made an offer on their website that if you link to them you get a reward ‘commensurate with your webpage’s Google PageRank’, and sure enough, if you search Technorati you’ll find a good number of blog posts from people who’ve been happy to take some tea off Adagio’s hands for the sake of a link. Nice bit of PR, you might think? Well, yes, until you get to Jay Allen’s experience, and then it all starts to sour.
Jay sent in a link to a blog post that he had written about Adagio Teas, but because Adagio were looking at Google’s PageRank to determine which of three rewards linkers should get - 0-2 get a tea sample; 3/4 get a sampler set, 5+ get an ingenuiTEA Set - and because the PageRank of a single post is not the same as the blog it’s posted on, Jay got only a tea sampler when he should have got the tea set.
Now that’s not, really, a big deal. What brings this whole story into the blog fuckwittery camp is the response of Adagio’s customer service representative, Ilya Kreymerman, who managed to show a complete lack of comprehension about how blogs work, i.e. that a post can be on the front page of a blog and in the archives at the same time. He then went on to be sarcastic and rude in Jay’s comments.
How, precisely is this supposed to help the situation? And how close are Adagio going to get to stuffing up a nice bit of PR with some ill-conceived ‘banter’ that does nothing but make them look like a bunch of nitpicking, tight-wad chancers?
This is something that has bugged me about alleged customer service representatives since pretty much the dawn of time. Listen, Mr/Ms Customer Service Person, your job is to say ‘I’m sorry. How can we make this better?’, not ‘This is all your fault, you’re an idiot, you should have done/not done this.’ Is that really so hard to comprehend?
Disgruntled bloggers are a vociferous bunch, and any company who thinks about using blogs to manufacture good PR have to remember that it can be easily undone. Piss off just a few popular bloggers and you’ll be really wishing you hadn’t.
UPDATE: Adagio Teas’ Ilya Kreymerman emailed me after reading this, and offered to send me tea because even though I hadn’t applied for their link scheme, I’d still linked to them. I accepted their offer, and true to their word they sent me one of their ingenuiTEA Sets and some tea. So, whilst I still think the tone of Ilya’s posts on Jay’s blogs were somewhat ill-considered, I will freely say that their wee tea set is pretty darn ingenious and cool. Unfortunately I never drink tea, but my parents say that the leaves Adagio sent are a good step up from “the usual stuff we drink”.
So, a good save from Kreymerman, or have I been swayed by a freebie? Bit of both, I’d say, but you can make your own mind up.