Bad Social Practices Blow Up in the Middle of the Night

Last night I was on Facebook at 1am  – I know, sad, but also rare. I was unwinding after a long brainstorming session and just surfing around.  Then I see my friend Danny Brown calling out Oracle Social for adding him to a page he never Liked. I wander over to the page and find that I too had apparently “Liked” the page too without my knowledge, and loads of my friends had as well.  The comment section was growing rapidly with others making the same complaint.

So there, for at least 30 minutes in the wee hours of the morning, Oracle Social was growing thousands of Likes per minute, its comment section was blowing up with complaints, and no Community Manager could be found.  The forced followers debated whether this was malware, customer acquisition or even a fake page.  Social savvy people started tweeting and emailing corporate.  Many of us reported the page a spam.

At around 1:30 am I gave up, went to bed, and thought: THIS will be great fodder for Spin Sucks and other blogs with huge PR/Marketer followings.

At 8:15 am I check back in, sure that there will be some resolution: utter silence from Oracle.  The comment section is full of pissed off people, and coincidentally or not, many of them are Marketers who are social ‘experts,’ although they’ll all detest that title.

We still don’t know exactly what’s going on, but we do know one thing: Oracle has dropped the ball on this one in a huge way. People have been on a Facebook Page that bears their brand complaining loudly, and there is total social silence.  Their corporate twitter accounts and email have been contacted: social silence.  Add that to the fact that many of us are bloggers and you have one very loud, pissed off contingent that you have not even begun to dialogue with.

When these PR stumbles happen at large companies, we always ask: what should we realistically expect? What is an appropriate response time?  Some have argued that hours, or even an entire day is ok.  I disagree; even managers of small  Facebook Pages check in first thing in the morning. Saturday morning in particular is a heavy usage time on Facebook and Twitter… is it really possible that no one at Oracle knows about this yet?  I doubt it.

The Oracle Social page is almost up to 1 million likes, from zero last night; sometimes it’s not so great to have a large audience.

The saga continues, or rather: it is as it was.

I will confess that I became a wee bit obsessed with this Social PR debacle over the weekend; I couldn’t stop checking the Oracle Social page to see if they’d woken from their paralysis. Sadly, Oracle is still not responding in a meaningful way to what appears to be a big mistake.  I won’t slay them completely here, there was one individual who did post a sincere apology on Saturday morning:

“Understand your comments and frustrations. And agree with much of what has been said. We certainly take responsibility for the mess up here. And please know we will work hard to be sure the experience is valuable for you guys going forward. Hope you will stick with us.”

That was the only evidence I’ve seen that someone at Oracle gets that this was a mistake; it was a sincere apology… and I have to think that this is no the same individual who wrote the No Apology Apology. Whomever you was, they deserve a promotion.

Now, there were not millions of complaints, but there were hundreds, and many of them are social marketers so there is a big megaphone blasting dissatisfaction.  I know that SpinSucks has a post coming out tomorrow to dissect what took place; right now it isn’t clear.  What we do know is that Oracle Social was caught off guard when Facebook merged pages together from companies Oracle purchased. Oracle says they were caught off guard because it happened more quickly than expected.

My question: why would the communication not be put in place before the trigger was pulled by them to Facebook.  Even more concerning, why wasn’t there a Welcome message on their new Facebook Page for the corralled new Likers to read?   Many of the new ‘followers’ had no idea who Oracle was.

The main question I would like resolved is: Did we all really show up there because we’d liked a page from one of the Oracle owned companies? Many people claimed that was not the case.

My second question is based on the recent decrease in the page; while it is still over 1 million, it has lost thousands.  Is this because people have Unliked the page, or is Oracle doing some kind of clean up.

Oracle stated that they would be communicating with us on Wednesday; a donkey’s age in the Social Media world.

Stay tuned.

  • Bruce Replogle

    happened to me too.

    • AmyMccTobin

      Bruce – did you ever like any of those Oracle pages prior to this?

  • Pingback: The Mysterious Case of Oracle Social and Facebook Likes – Danny Brown()

  • It’ll be interesting to see the official response. Merging Pages goes on, but this doesn’t mean the practice is a good one. Especially when it’s for different brands. 

    • AmyMccTobin

      I know you’ve been to their page – so they’re saying they merged various pages… WHY would you do that with no prior warning and no message ON the new page?

      •  Poor customer appreciation and a lack of forward planning. Hey ho.

  • Oracle has always engaged in lots of “anti-marketing” campaigns.  Larry isn’t happy if he is paying less than other guys.  If you don’t shoot yourself in the foot, occasionally,  you can’t look innovative.  Does any know where one can find a list of marketing faux pas and their blowback.  Naughty naughty Facebook showing their desperation with stock owners breathing down their neck, and the SEC smelling blood in the water.

    • AmyMccTobin

      The only rational conclusions I can come to is: a) they don’t GET social, or b) they think we’re totally unimportant and don’t mind that a couple hundred social types are disgusted.  Either is bad. Perhaps I’m naive, but I am so passionate about social because it’s supposed to be built on cutting through the layers of communication that used to exist, and because it’s supposed to be genuine.  Their apology sucked.

    • AmyMccTobin

      And PS, go to Spin Sucks – lots of them discussed on there.