Monday, March 02, 2009

Bell Canada's PR fiasco over Twitter texts

It looks like Bell Canada has realized how bad it looked when it decided to charge its customers that use Twitter $.15 for every incoming Twit - even if they were signed up for unlimited text messaging service.

Today, Bell announced that it won't be charging people although it doesn't seem very forthcoming about why there was such confusion over the issue.

This seems like a no-brainer to me. You have Twitter announcing they'd reached a deal with a Canadian carrier to let people receive tweets from their phone followed immediately by Bell telling everyone they were going to have to pay for the incoming texts. It looked like an obvious money-grab and why Bell didn't realize that before it made the announcement is beyond me.

But maybe there's a silver lining here. Not that long ago, companies that got burned by dumb decisions like this one took weeks to recover from their bad decisions - and often they didn't recover at all, partly because they weren't monitoring what was happening in the online world.

But now a lot more companies are watching their reputations online and taking action when they've screwed up. It might be after the fact, but at least they're reacting. The next step might be to involve some of the smart people in the online space in the decision-making process to avoid such obvious gaffes in the first place.

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