There Is This Company

Here's something I've been thinking about for some time now.

You see, there is this company.

It publishes over a hundred RSS feeds and several email newsletters, but not a single blog.

The only conversations this company entertains are the ones it starts itself or is subpoenaed into.

Conversations it doesn't like, it tries to silence.

It has sued some of its biggest fans.

It is not known for responding to online complaints about its products.

On MySpace, the profile that should have belonged to this company is occupied by a DJ.

On Flickr, it's someone from Japan.

Last month, it has opened several accounts on Twitter, which it uses to broadcast product news. Four of them follow exactly four other accounts; the fifth one follows twelve.

It has two Facebook pages and no applications.

It doesn't have a channel on YouTube to post viral videos.

Its website has a "Share" link. The link opens a pop-up window with two fields: your email address and the recipient's.

It runs an affiliate program.

Once, this company liked a student video so much it re-shot the video into an 30-second ad. A search for "crowdsourcing" among its press releases returns no matches.

You know that quip about how advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable?

This company spends nearly half a billion dollars on advertising every year. Much of this money is spent on 30-second spots, full page newspaper ads, huge billboards and station domination, online banners, and search ads.

This company thinks so different it must have fallen off a cluetrain.

People dress up as this company's ads for Halloween.

This company sits on the top of Fortune's list of most admired companies.



  1. Yep, Apple. Don't forget sues bloggers and fires employees for blogging.

  2. And you forget to add that this company is highly successful...

  3. big bad Apple. Although I can't find the "share" link on their site.

  4. @tomikk Actually, that was the whole point. Maybe I need to make some adjustments.

  5. @briang: It's on some obscure "online seminar" page

  6. Remind me again how unsuccessful Apple has been lately, and why their strategy isn't working for them?

  7. I think the lesson is that there are no absolute rules. You can be successful without following the commonly believed playbook.

  8. People usually see what they want to see, which for some is very different from what I intended to write.

  9. Apple uses social media, just not the way the social media "experts" say a company should. Apple, like many other companies with strong products/service do what works for them and their customers, not what some "expert" tells them to do. Remember, Sculley was the "expert" who nearly destroyed Apple.

  10. Reminds me of Ford's no blogging policy. They prefer customers to blog on their behalf. Good or bad.

    It is important to recognize that plenty of social media happens on Apple's behalf without, most of it pretty damned positive and passionate. It adds to their appeal. Their allure. Their style. Call it arrogance, but no matter what you call it. It works.

    Apple seems to be a pretty hot topic on blogs, twitter, and facebook already. The consumer leading the charge is a pretty effective strategy.

    That being said, I would never advise a company attempt the same thing. Apple has worked pretty hard to be able to be this exception to the rule.

  11. Apple is social. Except that instead of the company getting involved in these activities, their fans do it for them!

  12. I wrote this a while back:


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