Trolling for Traffic: Is It Worth Tarnishing Your Brand for Clicks?
“Don’t feed the trolls.” Meaning if someone posts an extremely negative and inflammatory post about you or a group that you belong to for the sole purpose of eliciting a response, the best thing to do is not respond. It’s become the mantra of the blogosphere and is a generally good life principle to not get into it with someone who for all intents and purposes just wants to start a fight.
But what about those who ‘troll’ for traffic by posting negative articles and comments about a specific group with the intent of using their reaction to drive traffic back to the original source? Is it a smart social media strategy or a slimy tactic to designed to create controversy and attract attention (of any kind)?
Perhaps designed by the same people who say that there’s no such thing as bad press, trolling is an underhanded way to garner attention. It usually involves picking a group that has strong opinions and a reasonably organized online presence, and piss them off by posting inflammatory remarks about the group. Then all you have to do is sit back and let them do all the work.
But is it worth tarnishing your brand by trading community for clicks?
Definitely not if you look at the short-term benefits. Successful troll campaigns have detractors and responders fighting it out in the public forum, creating a ripple effect of interest. People can’t NOT click over to find out for themselves what all the fuss is about, often taking the time to weigh in on the controversy afterwards.
But what about afterwards, when the debate dies down and people move onto the next thing? Does it leave the brand forever marred in the court of public opinion or does the blogosphere ‘Forgive and forget’? Does it in the end cost the brand more than it gained in clicks?
That’s tough to gauge, but let me tell you what I do know: the Internet has a LONG memory. You can’t bring up a brand that has been in the center of a maelstrom without someone sharing the dirty details of what that brand did wrong. Despite all the good the brand has done since then, despite all the good products or services, that one action taints the entire brand.
What do you think? Would you ‘Forgive and Forget’ a brand that did you wrong? Share your thoughts in the comments below!