It should be so much more.
Please note: I want to start by fully apologising for the potential harm I could have caused with my post regarding Park Hampers to GoPark.co.uk. I made a genuine mistake. The domain we are about to see had nothing to do with the one I had intended to write about, and I’d like to take this opportunity to say gopark.co.uk has nothing to do with Park Hampers.
History Of My GoPark Apology
Back in 2009, I wrote a post about the Park Hampers TV campaign and how they really hadn’t thought through their SEO campaign. I entitled it ‘Park Hampers SEO Sucks’, which obviously started ranking for Park Hamper related terms. Unfortunately, I also included gopark.co.uk within that article. Once again, this was a mistake but did result in…
As you can see, I’m ranking for gopark.co.uk. (Oh, and for the record: yes, I did mean GetPark.) Meanwhile, around the same time, Greg Rickford updated the whois record for gopark.co.uk as part of his plan to relaunch the site. As a result, I received the email below today, May 2010:
Greg Rickford (www.gopark.co.uk) wrote:
You cite one of my websites (www.gopark.co.uk) as having some connection with
Christmas hampers and other misrepresentations.
That is entirely wrong and libelous I would ask you to correct that posting at
once in such an absolutely clear way such that any future websearches will show
that you posted the information in error. Www.gopark.co.uk (currently being
rebuilt) is a site for booking discounted airport parking which I own. It has no
other connections or purpose.
Please let me know by email of the corrective action you have taken within 7
days. Kind regards.
I was a bit confused and it took me quite some time to find the problem. Then, I looked at the google search, the whois and thought ‘you are quite right. I did indeed reference the site incorrectly’.
Sadly, I don’t respond well to threats on a Sunday morning, especially to ones accusing libel over a typo! I mean, I could understand if I had accused them of something horrible, but all I had done was associate a website with the wrong company. More over, if the gopark.co.uk site was relaunched, I’m certain everyone would have realised that Park Hampers was not related to airport parking. Surely, the way to stop any reputation management issues is to be nice.
Well, let it never be said I’m not a nice person. I replied:
Obviously I take any errors seriously and correct them when notified.
So here is what I will do for you, I will append an update clearly
stating I appear to made a mistake with gopark.co.uk I’m guessing I
either made a typo and was looking at got or similar, or perhaps
misread a whois document either way I will make it very clear to my
readers this was a mistake. I will then link to my about page which
explains my policy on figures and numbers and a blog post, detailing
your original email and this email, to further clarify.
I hope that will be enough for you,
So I want everyone to be in no doubt I have complied fully with ” would ask you to correct that posting at once in such an absolutely clear way such that any future websearches will show that you posted the information in error.”
What I would have done
I want this to be a learning exercise, so if I was having the same problem as Greg, I would have approached this slightly differently. To be honest, the post was doing no harm, and threatening libel over a typo is just going to get someone upset.
I would first look at the site. Ok, clearly I write about the web, I might have some influence. To his credit, Greg did look at a couple of pages beyond the Park Hampers, but sadly, not the about page… oh well. If he had, he should have gotten that I’m generally a nice guy, but probably wouldn’t respond well to threats.
I would have gone with…
I own GoPark.co.uk, in this post you reference our site, we have never been associated with Park Hampers, would you mind removing the reference as we are about to relaunch
I might have even linked to him. If I decided going heavy was the way to go, I would (and this is an important tip) contact a lawyer prior to threatening any action or accusing someone of said action. You will only hinder a successful case otherwise. As tempting as it is to use big scary words, the person on the other end is likely to call your bluff and/or his lawyer.
This is a nice friendly post. I’m sure gopark.co.uk will be a fantastic service and I hope they optimise their site, so I’m never writing Go Parks SEO sucks or similar posts. But, I can’t help but think that, had Greg approached me in a slightly different manner, this post might not exist but then again, he did say…
Thanks for the quick response.
Your proposed correction will be fine.
Screenshot: Post Reputation Management by GoPark.co.uk Screen Shot