Why Southwest communicators don’t fear Southworst.com

Experts say buying domain names for potential “gripe sites,” like YourCompanySucks.com, is due diligence for communicators. Video

Experts say buying domain names for potential “gripe sites,” like YourCompanySucks.com, is due diligence for communicators

So someone doesn’t like your company. Twenty years ago, disgruntled consumers like this had letters to the editor and bullhorns to communicate their dissatisfaction; today they have the Internet.

Don’t like Starbucks Coffee? Head over to Ihatestarbucks.com to vent. Bank of America ever rubbed you the wrong way? Visit BankofAmericaSucks.com and join numerous other griping customers.

Maybe Southwest Airlines’ open-boarding policy placed you next to the toilet? Type in SouthWORST.com and … Wait a second, Southworst.com directs me to a page on Southwest.com, the company’s official site. OK, try the classic—southwestsucks.com—and … Southwest.com again. How about Ihatesouthwest.com? You guessed it, Southwest.com.

This is no accident. Southwest Airlines bought an undisclosed number of potentially toxic domain names, or Web addresses, in an effort to prevent disgruntled customers from creating “gripe sites” like BankofAmericaSucks.com and IHateStarbucks.com.

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