Carsten Cumbrowski recently blogged about how he thought the new Xing.com [formerly openBC] may end up thrashing LinkedIN.com in the European market. It was a decent analysis but did have some flaws in it. That really isn’t the issue here. The major issue was what I saw in the comments section of the blog entry. If you read through the comments, you’ll find that Konstantin Guericke– a LinkedIN executive, makes some comments about the competition, Xing. See #7. I percieved it as just some innocent jabbing from the competition. There was nothing wrong with it. I even commented on Konstantin’s comments just to provide some fair play here. See #9.
But I was a bit bothered and concerned with Konstantin’s follow up comment on #10. The guy seemed kinda hell bent on wanting to prove that Xing/openBC was in troubled water by stating that Xing may have altered their actualy membership count. He ends his comment by saying; “Changing press releases after the fact is in my book not a good indication that things are going well . . .”
First, let me say that I have nothing against LinkedIN or Konstantin. I like LinkedIN and the value it adds for my business networking objectives. As I said in comment #9, I think both sites can coexist. If anything, there is room for more at the top.
However, I am just a bit perturbed when a high level executive of a major SNS has to go dig up some press release from the competition and try to make them look bad with some off the wall remark about them being in troubled water.
This is a bad PR move if there ever was one. Surely, we must know that we have more to lose than to gain by making such a comment on a public blog. What could you possibly gain by making such comments? Is he expecting that I or others are that gullible to believe such comments? Does LinkedIN management think so little of the public that they believe we believe whatever they say of another social networking site? In my estimation, this is a bad move on LinkedIN part’s to try and go out of their way to make the competition look bad. High school 2.0., if there ever was such a thing.
The irony in all of this is that while LinkedIN is trying to give a public lesson in public relations 101, they apparently can’t seem to follow their own advice.
If you read comment #11, you’ll notice that it’s by Bill Liao— one of the senior partners of Xing. The guy showed alot of class by ignoring Konstantin’s comments and addressing Carsten’s blog entry.
Lesson learned? Be careful of how you attempt to manipulate the public on the blogosphere because it could come back to haunt you later.