Early-warning alarm bell for Swisscom

swisscomlogo Swisscom’s reputation is being dragged through the online mud this weekend and I wonder where this story will go over the next few days.

It probably wouldn’t get a lot of attention if it weren’t for a combination of irresistible elements – influential online personalities with different views about Europe and the USA, a tech event in France that 1700+ people are still talking about, some influencers at that event with something to say about the wifi not working, and that wifi provider denying there were unresolved problems (that’s in German: here’s the Google Translate English version).

The tech event is LeWeb08 which took place in Paris this past week, and this brewing kerfuffle is mostly about Michael Arrington, the owner of TechCrunch – one of the most influential online media sites about technology, start-ups and business – flat-out calling Swisscom liars in their denial about what went on in Paris with the wifi.

[…] today Swisscom, instead of simply apologizing, denied the problem (translated version here). […] This is, to put it bluntly, a lie. A complete and total fabrication. And there are 1,700 people who attended the event that can verify this (here’s one!). There was no connectivity during the event, I was not able to blog a word from the conference hall or the press room. There was not 80% coverage. Things most definitely did not “almost work smoothly.” Things didn’t work at all.

Look at what you see already as the very first result when you search on the name ‘swisscom’ in Google News:

swisscom-googlenews

That’s a link to the post on TechCrunch. Note the second link from the Washington Post to a different story on TechCrunch.

That’s what searching English-language Google News shows. What about the Swiss Google News site? Here’s what a search at news.google.ch shows:

swisscom-googlenews-ch

Results of German-language media. Note mention of Swisscom and LeWeb is the fourth headline, linking to the Swisscom denial article mentioned above.

And all this is without mentioning yet what a simple search of ‘swisscom’ on Twitter pulls up – hundreds of comments and opinion amplifying Arrington’s commentary and, in some cases, adding negative criticism of Swisscom unrelated to LeWeb08. Not all in English: many in German and French, too.

In nearly every tweet, there’s a link to Arrington’s post, thus increasing the chances people will click, go and read and add their opinion online somewhere.

Is Swisscom paying attention this weekend? Hopefully they are listening, at least using simple tools just like the examples I’ve given in this post. If they’re not, I hope their PR agency is.

Maybe we’ll hear what Swisscom has to say first thing on Monday, when things will no doubt be amplified even more.

I’m not holding my breath, though.

Related reading (and listening):