Dell’s public image has been suffering as things like weblogs, search engines, and discussion forums make it possible for Dell’s customers to share their frustrations with Dell’s products and service without Dell’s
meddling mediation. Dell decides to tackle the problem. They start a corporate blog and retain an astroturf “grassroots” communications oxymoron firm to help them assuage their most vocal critics.
One of their most vocal critics is a guy name Jeff Jarvis, an old-media guy who has a good audience in new media circles. What happens next is priceless. One of the interns working for Dell’s astroturf installers gets a little too into his role as an authentic human voice of Dell and totally “tees off on Jarvis in a total angry rant”:http://www.buzzmachine.com/index.php/2006/07/11/some-friendly-advice-from-dell/. It’s authenticity is hard to doubt, nor is the contempt it embodies.
I think Dell’s strategy needs some fine-tuning.