NEW: Ben Prendergast

Bad publicity (whether it ends up being helpful or disastrous) is given a huge kick when it’s online.

Bad PR: no such thing?

Ben Prendergast

This week let us laugh heartily at the misfortune of others, and ask ourselves – are these cautionary tales or useful spin?

First Mattel, which last week famously recalled a number of products, saving our children (and fetishists) from the horrors of lead poisoning. While the Mattel share price took a 2.4% hit, according to Hitwise, the websites of both Mattel and recorded their highest hit rates in over a year, and have remained above average since. Verdict: Useful spin.

Second, VOIP provider Skype this week suffered some serious downtime across itsentire network, due to the Windows software update causing a large number of Skype users to sign on at the same time (a self-inflicted denial of service attack if you will). By way of apology (delivered via email no less) all Skype users were given seven days of free service. Verdict: Useful spin.

Finally Atlas Co, producer of the arcade arm wrestling game, recalled its machines after reports of over-zealous gamephiles breaking their arms. To add salt to the wound, the comments posted to the above blog suggest it won’t be long before the machines are recycled for use in Shinjuku’s red light district. Verdict: Cautionary tale.

So there you have it, an overwhelming 66% result in favour of bad publicity. When your next crisis hits, how are you going to spin it?



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