Is this new? A business-to-business hate site created by an unhappy business customer.
Not returning a disgruntled and unhappy customer's calls? It could land your company in the deepest Web doggy do, the kind that makes you beg and pray that prospects and customers won't look for you online because they might find a site claiming your company sucks big time.
You've probably seen consumer sites like WalMart Blows, which is one of the top hate sites according to Forbes.com.
These sites seem to be run by consumers or individual activists.
Now in a new twist, a business customer of a communications firm has created a new sucks site that cuts its provider up in to tiny little pieces with a commentary that must really, really hurt.
ChristieCommunicationsSucks has been created by CleanAirGardening, a well-known and respected green gardening company featured in Better Homes and Gardens.
CleanAirGardening does an expert knife job on Christie Communications.
Unlike many of the overblown hate sites launched by consumers, the content is fairly restrained and well argued. It dispels skepticism by tackling reservations such as "Do you think I'm exaggerating?" or "Maybe you're thinking misspelled word. Who cares?" that a potential client of Christie's may have when they land at the hate site.
Lars Hundley, the president of CleanAirGardening, doesn't overstate his case. He is not shrill. He loads the site with examples of Christie's work as if to say to readers, "You be the judge."
"Perhaps you are doing a search for Christie Communications or Gillian Christie right now because you are considering hiring that company as your PR and marketing company. Before you hire them, I recommend that you read my story to decide if that's really a good idea," Lars says.
"Along with my story, I am including actual examples of work that Christie Communications did for me below, so that you can decide for yourself how awful their work really is. You won't find any of this work in the portfolio on their web site!"
The grievance? Hundley claims shoddy work, spelling mistakes and factual errors in a press release and a failure to deliver what was promised. He is $12,500 out of pocket and wants his money back.
The dispute turned nasty when execs at Christie's started dodging Hundley's calls and messages.
How long would a small company last if unhappy buyers with big names, big resources and the power to sustain a campaign against you decided to strike back? Not long these days.
Can you imagine if Wal-Mart harpooned a supplier like this? Or if Grainger Industrial launched Web sites identifying accounts that never paid on time?
What's going to cost your company more? Lost sales from this sort of site or providing the customer with a 100% refund?
It is shoot out at the online corral. The wild wild Web.
Comments welcome. But please restrict them to the general issues of hate sites, how to avoid this sort of thing happening and this trend in general, rather than the rights and wrongs of this particular case. I don't want to go there!
Print comes from Randall Street.
Posted by Internet Marketing Report Online editor Julie Power Wednesday October 1.