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Very random thoughts on a variety of interactive media topics. Broadly looking at experience design, brand, digital consumer strategies, innovation and a fair dollop of user-facing technology. I'm Experience Director at EMC Consulting and you can also find me masquerading as @poleydee on Twitter.

Ryanair slams ‘idiot bloggers’ aka, the bloggers’ revenge

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!

Published Tuesday, February 24, 2009 6:30 PM by Paul.Dawson

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Ergo : Ryanair slams ???idiot bloggers??? aka, the bloggers??? revenge | Coral Bay Villas | Affordable Villa Rental In Cyprus Direct From The Owner said:

February 25, 2009 9:13 AM

Flightglobal said:

Here's an amusing episode involving those shrinking violets over at Ryanair. Now Ryanair aren't shy of using the PR machine to help boost awareness of their business activity. In fact the Flight office collectively groans when the constant Ryanair email

February 25, 2009 9:25 AM

Ryanair - Is Their Attitude To Online PR Part Of A Bigger Reputation Problem | Datadial Blog said:

February 25, 2009 11:56 AM

All Bloggers are Idiots - Ryanair - Politics.ie said:

February 25, 2009 1:36 PM

Colm.Brophy said:

I actually disagree.

I really don't know why anyone is surprised at this. This is the company that takes out full page ads in national newspapers portraying the Irish Prime Minister as Che Guevara (they probably could get Stalin through the paper). Choice quotes from their CEO include...

   * "For years flying has been the preserve of rich fuckers. Now everyone can afford to fly."

   * "Screw the travel agents. Take the fuckers out and shoot them. What have they done for passengers over the years?"

   * On refunds "we don't fall over ourselves if they say my granny fell ill. What part of no-refund do you not understand? You are not getting a refund so *** off"

   * On Lufthansa: "Weber (Chairman Lufthansa Supervisory Board) says Germans don't like low fares. How the *** does he know? The Germans will crawl ***-naked over broken glass to get them"

   * On rivalry with British Airways: "There's too much 'we really admire our competitors'. All bollocks. Everyone wants to kick the *** out of everyone else. We want to beat the crap out of BA. They mean to kick the crap out of us."

   * On the Polish market: "Who wants to go to Gdansk? There ain't a lot there after you've seen the shipyard wall."

   * Being happy: "They don't call us the fighting Irish for nothing. We have always been the travel innovators of Europe. We've built the roads and laid the railways. Now its the airlines!"

   * On environmentalists "“I’m always actually very pleasant, but don’t believe in trotting out all that PC claptrap just not to upset a couple of f***ing environmental lunatics. They are just loons.”

   * His ultimate goal: "Free tickets. In a decade or so, airlines will pay travellers to distribute people around Europe. The airline industry is like Tesco, Ikea, or network television where viewers watch for nothing and advertisers pay for access to them. Web companies earn money when they deliver click traffic to other sites."

   * On the slightly wider Airbus A320 fuselage: "I've heard a lot of horseshit about a wider fuselage. I've yet in 15 years in this industry to meet one passenger who booked his ticket based on that. The seats have been wide enough and the aisles have been wide enough for passengers"

I think the comment is spot on brand for Ryanair, and if the blogger was wrong (and not the lone voice of truth and reason railing against the corporate giant as we all love to believe), then I think Ryanair are entirely entitled to call him out on it.

Ryanair don't believe in bad publicity.

They also don't need to rely on SEO since they are the front of mind brand for cheap flights. They've removed their flights from most aggregators at this point also.

Ryanair remain the world's fastest growing airline.

February 25, 2009 2:39 PM

Can The Blogosphere Shoot Down Ryanair? | chom chom advertising ??? Vinh Nguyen said:

February 28, 2009 4:20 PM

WillKnott.ie » Blog Archive » Howl at the moon said:

March 3, 2009 3:02 PM

Ryanair Cheap Flights and Cheap Service | It's Digital Marketing said:

March 17, 2009 9:29 PM

Topics about Holidays » Ergo : Ryanair slams ???idiot bloggers??? aka, the bloggers???… said:

March 27, 2009 1:50 PM

Online Communities And Their Importance To Marketing | Daan Jansonius said:

May 3, 2009 6:49 PM

Madrid said:

Thanks for the information..I was not aware of this discussion..

December 13, 2010 9:07 AM

Flyplaces said:

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December 28, 2011 6:46 AM

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About Paul.Dawson

I started working in 'new media' when it was new... around 1996, doing websites for people like DHL and Cellnet (remember them?) as well as CD-Roms for people like Dorling Kindersley. I joined Conchango in 1999 because I was fed up with the conflicts and overlaps between the companies that we tended to partner with to deliver these things. Usually it was a tech company and a marketing agency. Neither had the user's needs in mind, and both were trying hard to take business away from each other. So at Conchango I saw the opportunity to create an integrated team, who as a result of all being on the same side, and following good user centred design process, delivered better stuff for both our clients and their customers. Bizarrely, now that we have teams who truly understand all these aspects of projects, we now partner very well with both tech and creative companies! So we built an interactive media team who do design, branding and user experience, and since 2006 have consistently been rated best in Europe at this by Forrester Research. Which was nice! Since then I've worked on digital strategy and innovation for companies like Virgin Atlantic, Barclays, Tesco and other great clients as part of EMC Consulting. Now I spend a lot of time evangelising to customers and at conferences, about what EMC Consulting do in the field of Customer and Brand Experience, as well as still working for real clients on real projects. The final thing I do is look out for what new user-facing technologies will be relevant to us, our customers and consumesrs. I help shape how we adopt them, and how we apply them, and how we build the skills we need to be the best at them.

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