Recently, I wrote two posts, one on FriendFeed the other on PicLens. Just for kicks I decided to let the companies know that I liked their product/service (…proservductice?) and I had written a post about them. I wasn’t expecting a shoutout on their blog or being added to some list, I just wanted to let them know I liked what they do enough to write a post raving about them.

Instead, what I got were two great examples of how companies should interact with bloggers. Here are their responses…

Great. Thanks, Blake.

Feel free to add your trackback and link to our new blog at blog.cooliris.com.

Kind regards,
#### & The PicLens Team

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Hi Blake,

Thanks for the email, and for taking the time to write a post about us!

– ### (FriendFeed)

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This is exactly what companies need to do. Engage and participate in the conversation. How easy is it for a company to give a simple thanks to a blogger who liked their prod/serv. enough to spend time writing a post about them?

Honest, impartial and critical, are what makes the posts we do here so much more trustworthy than a sponsored review. They can be much more valuable to a company than something they hired someone to write. The company essentially gets free advertising and legit promotion. It is the least they can do to give a simple thanks, yet most companies are so removed they miss out on some great opportunities to encourage discussion of their offering.

Recently Megan wrote a great post on PageOnce. Shortly after, someone from the company posted thanking her for writing the post and gave a link to access the private beta test.Plug Your Ears

A while ago I wrote a post on a great online storage solution, Humyo. I told the company about the post and they asked if they could forward it to their PR department and said they would hook me up with premium features to test. For a while, I was on page 1 of Google for “Humyo” and almost first for “Humyo Online Storage”. If I had written about how bad the service was, that could have had a serious impact on their company. If one of the first few results on Google for you is negative you’ve got a problem! Yah think?

Now it may be easy and necessary for these solely internet based companies to keep tabs on what is being said about them on the net, but what about companies primarily offline? I think that they too need to join the conversation or risk losing a significant opportunity. It is not hard to setup a Google alert for your name and see what people are saying (good and more importantly bad) about your company (or you).

Two lessons here:

  1. Bloggers (words) have power both to build a companies reputation and destroy it.
  2. Companies need to participate in the conversation online and not be silent.

What examples (good and bad) have you seen of companies joining/ignoring the conversation?

Update: Shortly after I posted this, PageOnce visited again (evidenced in the MyBlogLog widget in the sidebar) it shows what a close watch they keep on what is being said about their company. Props guys!

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