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When link bait hooks the wrong fish

Written by David Harry   
Friday, 16 May 2008 09:35


Creating a reputation management nightmare.

Link bait gone badWith the bru-ha-ha over Lyndon’s now infamous link bait raging in this week’s edition of the band - wagon - effect, one has to give pause. What if it all went horribly wrong and those in the media that may have felt they’d been duped began to create a brand management nightmare? What of a Digger revolt? There is every potential for short and long term damage that could land in the client's lap.

Since Lyndon has decided to remove the post on his site, here's a taste to understand the background;

"This is reference to a story on a credit card site, - You may have read the story, you may not. As you can see from above it was talked about on Fox News..... it was mentioned in the Sun newspaper, a UK tabloid with 20 circulation of 3 million. It also ran on Radio 1, the UK popular music station with listeners of 20 millions.

It has appeared on over 2,000 websites from Topeka, Kansas to Adelaide, Australia, so far over 450,000 people have visited the site to read the article.

The only problem is, none of it is true, it's a completely made up yarn. How do I know? I wrote it. It's what I do for a living. I write content for websites which creates a buzz and hopefully gets links and people to the intended target." - Lyndon Antcliff

I think there is a cautionary lesson here in how some humour, with a hook (or 2) and the best of intentions could land you and your client with some less than desirable conditions. The thing about links is that they can be both beneficial and equally troubling; in the form of reputation management. Running a fake story, as was the case in this scenario, could even call into the light a publication's editorial integrity or worse.. lose advertisers. There are more than a few ramifications and potential TARFUs worth sweating here.

... for Lyndon's sake, I hope it blows over as he's a good egg really. 

Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see

For the record I think that some of the negative reaction from fellow marketers may be a tad overboard. Consumers of content, be they other journalists, webmasters or the end user, should always exercise restraint. I don’t think we should be raising anyone to greatness nor burning them at the stake over this. We should simply take the fickle nature of media into mind and be more diligent with consumption of media in our daily lives.

As for link bait? Careful what you ask for…you may get more than you counted on ;0)


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