The first rule of crisis management is to provide your base with a response so you are the definitive source, and, in the case of GoDaddy’s hacking by AnonymousOwn3r today, to assist millions of frustrated customers losing a great deal of Ecommerce.
In December 2011, Social Media Week and a host of others criticized GoDaddy for not responding directly to their customers during the “Leave GoDaddy Day” PR crisis.
“It’s hard to say exactly what GoDaddy could have done differently to avoid this disaster. Perhaps they could’ve posted a statement on their site and enabled commenting from the community. They definitely could have been better about listening to their customers and responding in real-time,” Jennifer Charlton, Social Media Week
Fast-forward to today’s hacking crisis and GoDaddy has still proven themselves slow to respond and take the lead role in providing information. Look at this Google search sample where they have no direct presence in the crisis.
Today, GoDaddy has been flooding Twitter with direct messages to their customers with things like “thanks for your support, we are working on it” while providing minimal informative updates. On Facebook, GoDaddy opened the dialogue for direct feedback from customers but again little in the way of informative updates.
While it is admirable how quickly their little fingers are able to direct response, it would be more helpful if informative updates were also being sent. They need to number or identify their updates like “Update #20, sites are going back online incrementally.” Something more helpful than the barrage of “thanks for understanding.”
It is unfortunate and somewhat understandable that their website was also unresponsive but it seems after the previous crisis, they would be able to provide a better response mechanism on their webpage. After checking on and off all day, I apparently caught the webpage message at 5:45 p.m. CDT and I’m betting Danica Patrick is wishing her pic wasn’t part of it. This message must have only been posted briefly.
It is also ironic at 1:33 pm (CDT) a GoDaddy email blast was sent out entitled “Today’s Lesson” which I immediately thought would be a crisis response. However, not so much, it was just another 20% offer.
The top five PR lessons learned today from the GoDaddy hacking which a company should contemplate for a crisis management response plan are:
- Be the first to break the news or respond officially ASAP.
- Outline a game plan in your announcement.
- Cancel any embarrassing or inappropriate activities as soon as possible. For example, an event, party or in the case of GoDaddy, an email blast with “Today’s Lessons” which make no mention of the crisis.
- Have an alternate news site available to provide customer information. As evident in the Google search, the voice in the crisis was being owned by other voices and it wasn’t GoDaddy’s first time at the rodeo.
- Yes, provide your affected customers, group or base with an outlet to express their frustrations and seek assistance. When responding back directly, be helpful and less automatic.
At this point, Forest Home Media has made the decision to remain with GoDaddy for our website hosting. We are predicting site security will be a top priority.
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