advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dunkin’ Donuts’ spamtastic Double-D mess.

At the risk of being another social media case study, here’s another social media case study, albeit a small but relevant one. So Dunkin’ Donuts got hit with spam today on Facebook, and while it points out how any brand can be hostage to the net—it also shows brands and agencies still need a lot of help in the space.

Basically, spammers flooded their Facebook page throughout the day with adult links and images which, once removed, keep showing up even as I write this. (Here’s what some of it looked like from earlier, and here’s from less than 40 minutes ago.) OMG, porn spam! Will the world come to an end over this? No. Tomorrow, the sun will rise, and the good Lord willing, crullers will still be made.

But what this points out are two things that are inextricably linked when it comes to social media: The speed with which brands and agencies need to respond and their overall competence.

The original spam posts in question were up for nearly 12 hours before they did anything about it, let alone acknowledge it. This is the generic apology now being posted in response to *concerned* citizens in spite of the new spam:

“Thanks for your concern. We’re responsible for protecting the integrity of this community and take this very seriously. In accordance with DD Facebook Etiquette, all of these posts have been removed, flagged and banned. Any future posts of this nature will also be dealt with accordingly. We’ve always tried to keep our Facebook page open for fans to share and post links, pics and videos. Unfortunately, there will inevitably be a few individuals who abuse this. But rest assured that we’re on top of this and will always do everything in our power to keep this type of content off our fan page.

“Take this very seriously” and “we’re on top of this” ring somewhat hollow. There is simply no excuse for a major brand these days to be unaware of something offensive on their social network for that length of time.

I know who posts stuff here or responds on Twitter or wherever else I am at a moment’s notice. When I ran an online community of raving Buffalo Bills’ fans out for blood after a loss (of which there were many of both), it was the same thing: monitor it all constantly before things get out of hand. We’re aware of who says what about all of Humongo’s clients with a zero-tolerance for assholes policy.

I’m willing to say that up to the minute vigilance is a hard standard to maintain because not everyone is that anal. 12 hours though?

If it sounds like I’m being a jerk here, sorry, but brands and agencies now dictate very specific requirements of potential employees in the social media space; I highlight their collective help wanted ads here all the time. Many want someone to be their end-all, be-all *Director of Social Media/digital operations (replete with MBA of course), as well as being able to handle whatever else their IT department won’t touch. Still other brands do the opposite and look for an intern who may or may not have a year’s worth of relevant experience.

You can’t however, hold candidates up to some unattainable level of scrutiny when hiring for social media, then allow rookie mistakes like this to happen. Was it an intern at the brand (or agency), not sure, but if it was under the watch of a social media director, that’s even worse.

I’m not saying someone should be fired over it, but thanks to stuff like this, the list of social media malpractice cases gets bigger by the day.

Spam happens—it’s happened here—but you need to be aware of an attack immediately, let alone acknowledge it. From another perspective, if as DD indicates they’re the ones responsible, the brand’s agency still has to have the back of the client. That means at the very least, an intern who does nothing but monitor every place they have an online presence for exactly this kind of stuff happening. Regardless, some brands still don’t treat the net like it’s a 24/7 deal.

Otherwise, as an agency, if you can’t even deal with simple things like porn spam, how can you be trusted with larger social media initiatives?

*Disclaimer: I’ve messed up before. Yes! Can you believe it, I’m human.


Aaron_Strout said...

Bill - Amen brother. I love what Dunkin' Donuts is doing in social media in spite of them not being a client. In fact, I've held their Facebook page up as an example of "what to do" in a number of presentations, by-lined articles and the like. However, you called today's events correctly. NEVER should spam (especially of the adult nature) be allowed to stick around for 12 hours, especially during a week day during business hours. This is why God invented moderation and community management.

Big brands please take notice!

Aaron | @aaronstrout

Anonymous said...

Working at a moderation company, ICUC Moderation Services, I'm always talking to brands about this exact threat. Unfortunately, agencies representing brands and brands themselves still have the attitude of "it hasn't happened yet, we're not worried." To me that is like saying "my families house hasn't burnt down yet, I'm not buying insurance."

I am strong believer in the idea that brands have no more excuses. With all the tools, agencies, and even niche companies like ICUC out there today that do just this type of work, there is NO reason why this content has to be on any website for more than a few minutes, or few hours tops.

Great post!

Dustin Plett

Brooke Browne said...

I manage all our nonprofit's profiles, and while I totally agree, I can't seem to find an easier way to manage the Facebook page away from my desk.

Everything else has apps and email notifications. I can't find a way to be notified when people post or comment on our fan page. The Facebook app for my blackberry is very limited and doesn't let you view pages easily. The best thing I can do is view it as a regular web page on my phone, which is pretty brutal.

Is there a better way to do this so what happens to DD doesn't happen to us?

Anonymous said...

@Brooke - I hear you. I prefer to be in front of a laptop, but it’s not always possible. There’s a trade-off between an easy way to do this vs. the safest way. FB’s rationale for removing comment notification was apparently that with so many people posting comments, it would result in too much traffic if they had to notify on each one. (By all means though, let me know when a friend wants me to join them in Farmville. ;-p )

Few different issues at work:

Preventing spam, managing your accounts and managing them via mobile.

What *happened* to DD? Again, spam attacks hit everyone, and it’s the safeguards in place that determine how bad a hit it is. I don’t know without seeing their set-up/procedure, but maybe they have no protection/policy in place, maybe someone didn’t put eyes on it for several hours, hard to say.

I think you need the combo of people and software, and not relying on one or the other. (As for the mobile part, I’m assuming you use the same email on your BB that you use for FB notifications vs. viewing in a browser?)

Either way, sounds like you can’t sit there and monitor, so maybe you need to consider a service like defensio or monitor my page that filters potential spam before allowing it to post.

Only other workaround would be to *like* everything you post, then be automatically notified of follow-up comments. But then, you'd have to like every post you did, and then you risk going *like* crazy within your network. Not too cool.