A few weeks ago, Sony BMG suffered a public relations nightmare sparked by a blogger for its use of hidden DRM software in people’s computers. The latest company to face the wrath of the blogosphere is PriceRitePhoto.com, an online merchant of cameras. From Online Media Daily:
The blogger . . . wrote on his blog, Digital Connection, that a PriceRitePhoto.com sales rep tried to sell him accessories he didn’t want, and then when he refused, told him the camera he had ordered was out of stock–an experience that many other customers report having in customer reviews on Yahoo! Shopping and PriceGrabber.com.
The call became heated, the blogger said, when he told the rep he was going to write an article about the experience for his blog. “I told him I was planning to write an article about it. That’s all I said. Immediately the guy went ballistic on me,” he said in a telephone interview.
He posted an account of his experience on Digital Connection, and also mentioned that he had found the retailer through Yahoo! Shopping. As of Wednesday, PriceRitePhoto.com still appeared on Yahoo! Shopping with a rating of four stars out of a possible five, but by Thursday, the site had been delisted.
He also posted a link to the story on a community-driven news site, Digg.com, and the story ballooned from there. The blog, Digital Connection, which regularly receives roughly 5,000 unique visitors per day, garnered over 125,000 visits on Wednesday and Thursday.
Howard Baker, a manager with PriceRitePhoto.com, said the business had suffered “millions of dollars” worth of damages in the last two days, apparently at the hands of consumer vigilantes who had read the Digital Connection post.
“In the last couple of days there was one disgruntled customer that posted a blog that caused thousands of people to come out of the woodwork and jam our Web site,” said Baker–citing viruses, denial-of-service attacks, and thousands of prank calls. . . .
There are also issues about whether PriceRitePhoto.com’s online reviews had been gamed prior to this incident: