“I’m thoroughly enjoying all of this genuine hate toward RR.”
The above was a post that was part of an online thread on a social media site that contained a few MSP haters riffing on why I’m the most pathetic and worthless dirtbag to ever walk the planet. It was sent to me by a well-meaning client who thought I should see it but asked that I didn’t “out” him as the source.
Normally, I ignore these kinds of posts, much like an upscale 5-star steak restaurant ignores the 1-star reviews from vegetarians and from broke people who feel anyone charging more than $5 for a slab of meat should be jailed for extortion. But for some reason, that specific statement rubbed me the wrong way and I found myself thinking about it, much like a pebble in my shoe. Therefore, I decided to get it off my chest the best way I know how, which is to work through my thoughts on “paper,” writing to all of you out there in Robinland who will, I have no doubt, give me YOUR thoughts on it as well.
So, first, why did this bug me?
After thinking on it, I realized that what stuck in my craw was that here was a person I don’t know, who I’ve never talked to, never did business with and who never engaged with my organization in any manner (I checked), making a point of trying to negatively influence others about the efficacy of my methods as well as the core of my character and reputation. Worse, he clearly was enjoying his little Machiavellian attempt to burn me – and that, folks, is just not cool.
Let’s be clear: I fully realize our services aren’t for everyone. That doesn’t make me holier than those who dislike my strategy and approach, but it also doesn’t make them correct in their evaluation either. That aside, people who have ZERO experience in working with a company should not get the right to “vote” online about them either.
Clearly, this doesn’t stop anyone from spewing their opinions. I suppose I should be happy, given that I’m far from being the target of the most hate rants in the MSP industry, as there seems to be a LOT more energy put behind the software vendors in our space.
But, as I pointed out back in my December article, “How You’re Willingly Being Manipulated,” I’m stunned by how many MSPs actually take heed of the NEGATIVE posts on platforms like Reddit (which is the worst) or Facebook, when it’s a known fact that so many of the anonymous posts are made by bots or fake accounts set up by competitors and disgruntled employees. Even many of the real users (like on Facebook) post reviews but fail to reveal their hidden bias, such as being paid for their comments.
Like I stated in the December article, you simply cannot be so foolish as to let all the negative reviews sway you without doing your own due diligence. As I wrote then:
Would you feel good about YOUR doctor, financial advisor, lawyer or any other critical advisor under your employ going on a social media site rife with KNOWN fake, anonymous users and propaganda plants to get advice on the services they are delivering to you? Does that give you the warm ’n’ fuzzies? Does that build confidence in the services they are performing for you? No, he says. Of course not.
Sadly, even stupid people get to post their opinions online. One of the 1-star reviews for the Great Wall of China, which is one of the 7 Wonders of the World, was, “I don’t see the hype in this place, it’s really run-down and old… Why wouldn’t you update something like this? No USB plug-ins or outlets anywhere.”
We KNOW that online reviews are very subjective, aren’t verified by any legitimate means by the platform and are skewed toward a very small percentage of the population. The New York Times published a great article titled “Why You Can’t Really Trust Negative Online Reviews,” where they revealed that only 1.5% of the population will even bother to write reviews at all.
That’s a VERY small percentage of the actual buyer population. Further, people who post negative reviews are prolific about it (meaning they are disproportionately responsible for the number of reviews online in general) and definitely have a skewed demographic. And, like the dude who prompted this article, roughly 1 in 15 people review products they’ve never purchased or used.
More to the point, there seems to be a disturbing growth in the number of extremely vile posts I see coming from people in the MSP community regarding various people and vendors. I’m sure this is part of the sad societal trend of hate speech and gross disrespect that people now feel is perfectly acceptable to indulge in. But does that mean those of us who find this unacceptable in polite and professional society should just drive on by and ignore it?
On our Member Dashboard, we do NOT allow such hate posts. Yes, you can post your displeasure with a vendor, but it has to be done with context, details (not just “those guys suck”) and professionalism. None of our members are allowed to post anonymously, and if there is an issue with a vendor, and we have a relationship with that vendor, we DO attempt to build a bridge and help get the issue resolved. I cannot control any of these other platforms, but what I can do is make sure we don’t participate.
What I would call out is that we, as a community, should strive to do better. As Ron Burgundy would say, “Stay classy, San Diego.” If a vendor screws up, give them an honest chance to make it right. Imagine if all YOUR customers and potential prospects were on groups where they were able to communicate, and one of them publicly crapped on you without any warning that something was amiss.
Wouldn’t you appreciate them bringing that directly to you to resolve FIRST, before starting a smear campaign online? And how would you feel if someone was trashing your integrity on a forum of your potential customers when they had never done business with you or even engaged in any way? Would you feel it’s right for others to jump on the dog pile and take genuine delight in burning you?
If not, then don’t do it to someone else. As a business owner, you should understand this better than anyone. And if you’re an employee, the same holds true. What if employers were allowed to publicly post all of YOUR failings? No one is perfect. Do unto others, my friends.
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