Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Power of the People

Even Digg couldn't withstand the power of the people or the so called Wisdom of Crowds. Digg, traditionally against any type of DRM, monitors its posts and takes down anything that they feel is morally wrong. Yesterday (via TechCrunch) someone posted the decryption key to HD DVDs. After the Digg team took it down, someone reposted it. Pretty soon, the entire Digg site went down with a deluge of the decryption key posted all over it. Kevin Rose, Digg's co-founder, says on their blog:

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be. If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

So that's it, that's what happens when you try to turn against popular opinion. Digg (valued at $60 million per Businessweek's cover story) could become the next Friendster, where users left at the blink of an eye. Fickle consumers have the power and especially online where the butterfly effect is magnified ten times over. It's a scary place to be right now for Digg as many of their million plus users have revolted against them.

What does this mean? Well, I've touched on it before, and again, I'm not sure how this phenomenon happens but if you think about companies out there Apple, Google, and Craigslist are the "good guys" while Microsoft, Yahoo, and Dell are the "bady guys." It's a connotation that can most likely be traced to a few choice events (Microsoft knocking down Netscape, Yahoo charging for email, and Dell's customer service debacle.) While Apple has come clean with its iPod batteries, Google discloses all (or wants you to think that), and Craigslist doesn't make that much money only through its job postings. Since then Dell has apologized, Microsoft has been a bit more open, and Yahoo provides free unlimited storage. However, the damage is done, and just like Gladwell's book Blink, these corporations are the evil empire while our knight in shining armor are the former companies. Stay open, make sure that your PR team has experience in damage control, and address your customers because the power of the crowd is too much to handle (at least for a $60 million company).

No comments:

Post a Comment