Spoke resorts to fear tactics, loses credibility

Spoke resorts to fear tactics, loses credibility

Summary: Other companies, especially Web 2.0 and social networking companies, can learn a valuable lesson from Spoke's antics.

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Spoke resorts to fear tactics, loses credibilityLet's face it, times are tough. People are pinching pennies due to the fear of potentially looming layoffs. Certain industries and governments are facing economic crisis. Pensions are potentially in danger. Folks who want to retire may need to hold off. It ain't pretty.

Given the current state of things, companies and individuals alike are looking for ways to cut costs and try to attain sustainability. Regardless of how strong our companies may be, we're all a little bit scared. That's why I find it even more shameful when a company tries to blatantly exploit those fears and vulnerabilities.

Case in point: Yesterday I received an email from Spoke, a business connection engine (or as I sometimes refer to it, a "poor man's LinkedIn"). I've never given the site much thought -- I can't even recall if I ever created a profile. So why is Spoke on my radar now? I'll tell you. The subject of the email was:

"If you want to keep your job, use Spoke"

Insert record screeching noise here. It certainly got my attention. It didn't get my attention in the "Oh, YES, finally a solution to ensure I keep my job!" way. It caught my attention in a "You've got to be kidding me?" kind of way.

Read the full email (click to enlarge):

Spoke resorts to fear tactics, loses credibility

I did my research to ensure it wasn't some phishing attempt or a spam email. It was a legitimate email from Spoke (sent through Eloqua) trying to get me to use the site. The copy of the email itself wasn't bad. It was the humongous thud of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) that made me -- and many others with whom I've spoken about the email -- lose a bit of respect for the company.

Other companies, especially Web 2.0 and social networking companies, can learn a valuable lesson from Spoke's antics. Resorting to fear marketing during the downturn is dangerous. Customer education and outreach is still critical, and by all means we have to try to grow our businesses. But in Spoke's case, its approach merely showed me that it does not understand the needs of the individual who is scared to lose his or her job. It did not give me comfort that it might have a networking solution for me should I need one. And it certainly did not make me want to recommend it to my friends or business partners.

Topics: Browser, Collaboration, Networking, IT Employment, Social Enterprise

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12 comments
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  • Sounds like all the HYPE about "Ginger"

    Wasn't that the dud of a product the "Segway" turned out to be? All the hype and secrecy on the invention that was suppose to revolutionize the world ....!
    Give me a break!
    You are correct. This is a perfect way to lose what little credibility they had!
    kd5auq
    • RE: Spoke resorts to fear tactics, loses credibility

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      just-do-it
  • RE: Spoke resorts to fear tactics, loses credibility

    Spoke is so 2007.
    mhalligan
  • I agree as long as...

    there are no legitimate fears. At times it's important to be fearful.

    To me it's akin to an intellectual. One who is an intellect but not wise is to me nothing more than a very smart fool. That's something to fear.

    Oh wait, we just elected one.
    People
    • ....elected one.

      At least a small village in Texas got it's idiot back (and we are celebrating his return)!
      kd5auq
      • re: ....elected one

        Jumping on the political bandwagon huh guys? Could either of you do a better job than the current President? Do you think you could do a better job than the current president-elect? (Who I did NOT vote for BTW) Personally I think both the nominees were flaming idiots and that society as a whole was more interested in making history than in what the people up for election would actually accomplish during their term in office. That being said I am going to jump off of my soap box and actually address the issue at hand: Any company that resorts to what this one did is stupid. It's that plain and simple for me. Doing something like that is not going to make me want to use their services in any way, shape, or form.
        Shelendrea
      • RE:....elected one.

        Quote: [i]At least a small village in Texas got it's idiot back (and we are celebrating his return)![/i]

        The calendar on my desktop is doing s slow "Fade to Black". Each day at noon, one square of the calendar superimposed over the face of our current President, goes black. When noon on Jan 20 arrives, the calendar will no longer show his face; and then I will celebrate. And perhaps many in other parts of the world will do also.
        fatman65535
        • WOW! What insight.

          You cut your head off to spite your senses! Oh yes, W is a blundering fool. So instead, let's empower the Marxist moron of the millennium! And while were at it, lets get drunk in our stupefied celebration of our demise.

          Stupid, blind and spiritually DEAD!
          RS9
    • INDEED!

      Double underline "Wise"!!

      And what is the source of wisdom? Nothing more to be said.
      RS9
  • RE: Spoke resorts to fear tactics, loses credibility

    Totally agree. FUD tactics may work on some, in fact, may work on many. They don't work on me. Give me possibilities of business growth, not warnings of if I don't do this-or-that my (name it) will suffer. ACK!! I am not looking for suffering, I am looking for success. FUD tactics like this make me shudder and that moves me away from Spoke.

    @ginakay
    ginakay
  • Microsoft, take note.

    They're the original fudmeisters, and they have no credibility at all.
    Henry Miller
  • RE: Spoke resorts to fear tactics, loses credibility

    I'm used to it now, I think. America is a nation controlled by fear. I really drives me nuts but there is little I can do but ignore the fear mongers. The worst part is that the media accounts for a large percentage of those fear mongers. I admit my day is always a little better better if the CNN.com leading story has nothing to do with scaring the crap out of people or a celebrity. Those days are very few.
    neverborn