I would like to keep this blog simple. Let me give you a scenario:
I run a business. I invite a group of customers/friends to a business party. One of them(let us call her X) brings a competitor’s(many of my customers haven’t heard that competitor) product and tells everyone attending the party that the competitor’s product is superior to mine and that it is a real threat to my business. Obviously I was upset because I invited everyone to the party to discuss my products and other business plans I have. So I questioned her motive behind discussing my competitor’s product. She told me she wanted to discuss openly with others. She also told me that there was nothing wrong with discussing openly the competitor’s product in my party. From business etiquette standpoint, is her behavior acceptable?
Now let me give you another scenario. Since most of us interact socially on web, I launched a web site to discuss my products and my company’s plans. My customers/friends are free to discuss my products and business plans; at the same time, I clearly told them that there would be no solicitation or advertising. All of a sudden, I see one of my friends(X) discussing the superiority of my competitor’s(several of my customers/friends haven’t heard that competitor) products and she tells everyone that that competitor is a real threat to my business. To me, it was advertising of my competitor’s product. When I questioned her motive, she told me that she wanted to discuss openly with others and that there was nothing wrong. From netiquette standpoint, is her behavior acceptable?
Not only I was upset on both occasions but a few of my friends who wanted to grow with me were also upset because:
- Unnecessary distraction
- Waste of time and efforts discussing/researching the competitor’s product in subjective manner
- Free advertising of a competitor’s product as my guest
- This might encourage others to start discussing other competitor’s products leading to complete chaos thereby defeating the purpose for which I launched website. This is really a big concern.
- In this competitive world, my friends who want to grow with me can’t just ignore friend X’s advertisement and stay silent because other customers may start believing friend X.
What are your thoughts?