#AmazonFAIL: “It was the French! Seriously!” Or, how not to handle a social media rampage

[For background on #AmazonFAIL, see my article at the Women's Media Center, and this post from yesterday.]

Amazon is blaming their PR nightmare on their French brethren. While this still sounds sort of suspicious to me — it reeks of, “I totally have a girlfriend; you just haven’t met her because she lives in FRANCE” — I’ll run with it for the sake of the teaching moment that we have. Let me sooth my own inner conspirist, though, by saying that I find it extremely bizarre that this swath of books were all taken down together, at the same time.

So, you’re a global corporate giant, and you’ve got a PR nightmare on your hands. You learn quickly that the storming of your castle is happening on social networks and media like Twitter and Facebook. If you’re looking to make the situation exponentially worse, here’s what you should do:

  • Stay silent. You know that you have a corporate blog, and a Twitter feed, and pages on Facebook, but you should ignore them. People aren’t there to talk to you, they’re there to wait patiently for your pearls of wisdom when you deem it time to do so. Preferably wait at least 36 hours before making any kind of statement.
  • Go old-school. When you’ve finally got something to say, choose old PR strategies and apply them to new media. Get your entire communications team to talk to “authoritative” voices that the masses will clearly listen to, and be quieted by.
  • Make it up. Don’t know have any control over your inner situation, or have any idea what’s happening? Come up with a really flimsy excuse, like, I don’t know, a “glitch.” Your consumer base, especially the sector that’s raving luny, is clearly not savvy enough to understand the complicated nature of your big business. Don’t admit, ever, that you are not 100% in control of the situation.

There ya have it. And for you folks working the #sorryamazon hashtag? Please. Don’t let those jokers off the hook so easily. This is a giant FAIL on the part of Amazon– everyone makes mistakes (though again, mistakes that affect LGBT, feminist and disability-themed books? I don’t know), but there are a myriad of things Amazon could have done to remedy the ripple effect.

4 Responses to “#AmazonFAIL: “It was the French! Seriously!” Or, how not to handle a social media rampage”

  1. [...] #2: Deanna posted a follow-up. And another. Filed at 2:31 pm in Books, Feminism & Gender, [...]

  2. [...] background on what AmazonFAIL is, see my article at the Women’s Media Center. UPDATE: See my final post on this topic, after the hacker theory was refuted by [...]

  3. [...] mainstream media played catch-up in the following days, hoping to catch the scraps of the story. [Postscript was that Amazon said it was Amazon France’s fault; they were updating the catalog over the [...]

  4. [...] tips can be found at my post on #AmazonFAIL from 3 years ago (these rules haven’t changed!), over at Allyson Kapin’s post on [...]

Leave a Reply