Shoppers of the World Unite: Consumers Using Social Nets

Nov. 25, 2006 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Shoppers of the World Unite! Consumers Use Social Networks to Speak Up.

New York, NY — November 25, 2006 — Ever have such a frustrating experience with customer service that you want to yell at your phone? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone — and that simple fact is what the new website whatsReallyAnnoying.com believes will make a big difference in the world. The completely free website lets anyone express their frustrations, spread the word, and create a loud voice that can’t be ignored.

The site is the creation of Jim Wen, self-described average little guy who, after spending nearly two hours on the phone with a bank arguing over six dollars, realized how futile it could be for the individual consumer to get quality service from a large company.

“I think what tipped me over the edge was when the customer representative answered the phone with a cheery ‘How can I give you excellent service?’ after I had already spent over an hour receiving what can only be described as possibly the worst service imaginable.”

When the conversation turned into a psychoanalytic debate about how removing the “excellent service” portion of the greeting script would be appropriate, Jim realized there had to be better way. Rather than let stress shorten his life, he created whatsReallyAnnoying.com. “2 annoying hours for $6 was not worth it but it became the principle of the thing,” Jim observed.

If just venting isn’t enough and you want to do something more active, the website allows you to start what it calls a FIG, or “Fix It Group.” A FIG allows you to coordinate and communicate with like-minded consumers to consolidate your voices into a chorus clear and strong enough that a company may have a hard time dismissing it. Although a FIG is simple to use — it’s essentially a webpage with collaborative message boards — it is a tool with profound implications.

A site that unites individuals into one solid voice is a powerful concept that just might bring our society closer to the free market we claim to be. Instead of being at the mercy of large companies who might choose to completely ignore the individual consumer, a meta-consumer can be created that can truly drive demand directly.

Imagine a world where you can take the company — that just caused you so much stress — and turn it into the target of a mass movement of customers it’s angered. And what’s better is that you do this with minimal effort and through something you really want to do anyway, namely de-stress by venting.

Perhaps the craze over social networking on the web is good after all: communities on the web can be for more than just socializing, they can be a force for social good as well.

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