Cheap flights, Ryanair, flights to Ireland, cheap holidays… not words you’ll normally find me uttering, but words that will take on a whole new significance if the latest ‘lesson in social media for corporates’ plays out as I think it might.
Thanks to Travolution for spotting this and flagging it up on Twitter:
Stephen McNamara from Ryanair said:
"Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion.
"It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy corresponding with idiot bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won't be happening again.
"Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel".
So what did they think would happen? Well, there are some moments in life where you stand at the edge of a precipice, and running down the hill behind you is a herd of cattle. You just know where it’s going to end…
The blogosphere is an important place in eCommerce. Search terms like cheap flights are hotly contested and consequently very expensive to buy. The particular term cheap flights might easily cost a search marketer like Ryanair £1 or £2 a time. Therefore, natural search, or appearing high in Google or Live search is pretty important; especially if users are consciously or subconsciously filtering out the paid-for results.
In many fields blogs rank very highly for certain search terms, usually because they are actually about the thing people are searching for. Just go type Microsoft Surface Europe into Google and you’ll see what I mean…
So if a thousand bloggers all get outraged by Ryanair calling them idiots, and they write about things like cheap flights, or Ryanair themselves, then when I go searching for cheap flights Ryanair, all I’m going to find in natural search results in a few days are a thousand people railing against them and their stinky attitude to the real digital world we all live in.
For a company that forces us to book and check in online, it’s a bit backward isn’t it? I mean, we all fly with them (when we just can’t avoid it of course)…. whereas a company like Virgin America absolutely embraces digital social spaces (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, you name it). They even cater to them on board, and are not afraid to participate in conversations in the blogosphere, or Twitterverse.
So if bloggers out there talk about cheap flights and Ryanair a lot, maybe even link to their website (famously designed by students at the local university 8 or 9 years ago) then Ryanair will see their cheap flights search listings (see what I did there?) drop like a stone to be replaced by a whole bunch of ‘idiots’ who really don’t like them.
Actually.. Ryanair don’t seem to optimise on ‘cheap flights’ but hey, I’m sure the ‘idiot’ bloggers will do them some reputational damage anyway! And anyway, I don’t like being called an idiot. And yes, Ryanair employees should be engaging with their customers online, in the airport and in the air of course.
(cheap flights, cheap flights! Pass it on!)
And in case you’re wondering where this all sorted. It started here: http://www.travolution.co.uk/blog/2009/02/what-happened-when-a-blogger-d.php And that… is even more surprising than their Chief Exec’s comments! Read it, seriously, you’ll be surprised at how wrong you can get participation in the blogosphere.
Addendum: Oh, and no this isn’t an anti Ryanair campaign.. I’m just predicting the future. As usual!