Blippy. They were featured in two New York Times articles. But Friday wasn't so great, as the major technology blogs reported that credit card information from its users were found on Google. An hour later, Blippy responded with a post on its blog, explaining that the leak was months old and affected only four beta users, not current Blippy users. Later, they amended the blog post to include an apology. News of more credit card leaks continued on Saturday. Of course, Blippy is by no means the only startups to suffer from potential public relations disasters, and it remains to be seen what, if any, impact this has on the site.Thursday was a good PR day for the social buying site
Blippy's response, including the need to re-edit its official announcement, demonstrates the importance in responding quickly and correctly to a crisis.
As Jacob Morgan writes in a post on "The Social CRM Process," it's important to have both a macro and a micro response to this sort of situation, addressing both the individuals involved and the public-at-large. "Remember the whole Southwest Airlines and Kevin Smith debacle, where they kicked him off the flight for being too fat? Southwest Airlines took both a micro and a macro response. They interacted with Kevin Smith directly via Twitter, email, and telephone; a micro response. In addition Southwest Airlines also wrote a public post on their blog which addressed their community as a whole, a macro response."
Of course, sometimes companies opt to do nothing, and hope that the bad press is quickly forgotten. Others hope that it's true that all publicity is good publicity.
Nevertheless it's best to try to cultivate some good publicity, as trust and credibility are vital for a startup's success. Transparency and openness are important, even if it means riding out a difficult news cycle.