A couple of days ago I wrote a post about the “Useless Mug” created by Marco Arment on Zazzle. The mug sold more than one hundred in few hours, when suddenly orders were canceled by Zazzle (with no notice whatsoever to Marco) for a possible copyright infringement. He shared his disappointment on twitter and his followers did the same.
So did I, writing that post and sharing it on twitter. I have around one hundred followers and my blog is not advertised at all, not particularly linked, in few words on a web scale I’m pretty invisible.
My post was featured on their paper.li issue (paper.li collects automatically links via twitter filtered by topic and account) and delivered to over 1.000 targeted followers (as well as another tweet presented as a top story). In the end, Zazzle made bad advertising on its own, against itself.
I don’t know how much this contributed, but for sure the twitter excitement in support of an useless mug made Zazzle change its mind and now the mug is available again (with a promo code too: USELESSMUG50).
This teaches us two things; one, we already knew: bad advertising is advertising (more people know Zazzle now – I myself wasn’t a customer).
The other one is that if you want to use social media to promote your business, it’s better you know your tools and take care of your customers, or it will turn against you immediately.
Update (2012-04-25): The mug has disappeared again. This is a nice marketing strategy: pretend you changed your mind while the hype is up, wait for the dust to settle, then revert to your previous behaviour.