Fear Or Loathing: Take Your Pick

Ian Lurie

In internet marketing, loathing beats fear any day. Loathing means you’ve evoked a passionate response. It also means someone out there loves you, too.
Fear means you hide in a virtual corner, not letting anyone see you. Maybe no one hates you. No one loves you, either.

Hiding In The Corner

I’ve heard many CEOs and other businesspeople tell me they don’t want to ‘expose themselves to negative press’ on the internet.
They’re afraid, and they don’t want to put too much information about themselves or their organizations online, lest they arm detractors with juicy tidbits.
So, they cower in the corner, hoping it’ll keep them out of trouble.
It won’t.

Pop Goes the Rumor

Truth is, you’re already exposed to all manner of crackpots, haters and other folks who despise your company, you, the clothes you wear or your choice of overseas distributor. They’re going to find it whether you’re online or not.

Fizzle Goes the Marketing

Even worse, the folks who’ll really love what you do won’t learn about you, either. The internet’s a big place. Stay silent, and you’re relying on ambient noise to send the right message about you.
Good luck with that.
No one’s going to hear about you on your terms. If you stay silent, it’s far more likely you’ll get ambushed by a bad review, an angry customer, or an unethical competitor.
Sorry, the internet’s not a fad. It’s not going away. You’re going to have to deal with it, or your marketing will fizzle.

Choose Loathing Over Fear

Don’t hide in the corner. Blog. Update your web site. Communicate respectfully with happy and unhappy customers. Use your own name in your communications with the world. Let them know there’s a human being behind your enterprise.
Someone will always dislike/hate/despise your company.
Others will love it.
That’s life.

My internets are clogged today, so no pictures. It would’ve taken me a week just to download ’em.



Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. I was at an event yesterday where a speaker was sharing that companies are afraid that people would give a negative review if they engage them. Well, the fact is people are going to complain about your product anyway, even if you don’t engage them. So it’s much better to be out there than hiding! Hope more people outside the “fishbowl” read this post.

  2. I often see this fear in clients. It shows a lack of objectivity. If someone says that your product is lacking, which is your real problem?
    1) That your product may-indeed-be-lacking
    2) That someone said-so
    I go with the former. By wanting only unmitigated praise, companies miss out on a priceless resource (constructive criticism by real customers) that they can benefit from.
    People love to be listened to. The right response can turn a detractor into an advocate.

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