I have been having a love-fest the last few days. We’ve been going around talking to companies around Puget Sound. The topic: how they are changing their management styles as we move into a clear and looming recession.
Many companies are doing very interesting and refreshing things to deepen the relationships they have with their customers. Some of this means social media, but some of it also means better customer service and generally being more involved with the community.
In other words, as we’ve been getting closer to economic collapse – people seem to be getting more humane.
And that’s pretty awesome. We’ll be blogging about our findings soon enough, but today I got an amusing bit in my RSS reader. Wal*Mart didn’t seem to learn from last year’s negative press and is, again, sending out cease and desist orders for sites that are broadcasting their Black Friday sales before Wal*Mart’s official publication date.
…l-Mart's high-priced law firm has sent a takedown notice to the site SearchAllDeals.com, which is a search engine/aggregator of various deals sites. The site doesn't host any content itself, but that didn't stop Wal-Mart from sending a false DMCA takedown claim to the site (and, of course, a false DMCA takedown is illegal). So, we have Wal-Mart, whose employees think deal sites are helpful, getting its lawyers to send out bogus takedown notices over content that isn't copyrighted, and then sending them to search engines that don't even host the content in question.
This may be interesting to watch. Local business may well have a resurgence in the next few years simply due to a few key factors:
1. You have to drive farther to Big Box stores (cf. the demise of Circuit City)
2. Big box stores tend to have large and impersonal rewards programs, vs personal service
3. Big box stores tend to use social media as exploitation tools as opposed to communication tools
Will authenticity win out in the long run? Let’s watch.