Looks like the team at Microsoft’s search engine Bing, is having a rough day. A tweet posted by Bing earlier today offered donating $1 to Japan quake relief for every retweet. Here’s the actual tweet sent out:
As anyone would imagine, the message wasn’t taken very positively by people who saw the tweet. The statement automatically was perceived as an attempt to use the calamity as a marketing opportunity. People tweeted back critizing the whole scheme, as clear by these examples:
Within hours, the Bing team realized what they have done and fearing a fiasco like Kenneth Cole or Groupon, they quickly apologized for their tweet and claimed that they have donated $100,000 to the quake relief fund.
The complete message reads:
We apologize the tweet was negatively perceived. Intent was to provide an easy way for people to help Japan. We have donated $100K.
This example clearly illustrates the power of social media and the uncertainty brands face when using tools like Twitter and Facebook as their marketing platform. Even though hundreds of people retweeted Bing’s tweet and didn’t think of it as insensitive or shameful, many others did. It also makes one wonder if , indeed, negative news travels much faster in the cyber space compared to a positive one.