Is Blogistan the Switzerland of Corporate Competition?

Everyone loves a good mud fight between two competitors. Pepsi and Coke sort of stuff is fun. People like conflict. Oracle used to do trade press ads showing a F16 (Oracle) shooting down a World War One bi-plane (dBase). I believe negative comparison ads are illegal in some countries. But …

Sure, it’s part of the sales process to compare one’s stuff with the competition’s stuff, but so far I haven’t seen any overt snarkiness in the corporate blogs of my counterparts in the other trenches at HP and Dell. We read each other, now we’re linking and commenting on each other.
What surprises is me is the state of relations between the three big PC companies bloggers. It’s actually civil, I think for the simple reason that all three of us are in tough customer service worlds, we’re facing the same problems, and there is no map to follow. In other words, I sense we’re all making it up as we go along.
I post a link to Eric Kintz’s blog at HP because the guy is so smart, and he invites me to participate in a group post with some other corporate bloggers, and then Richard at Dell shows up in the comments here on my post about losing a customer …..

And then we blog about Toshiba having a good tablet hinge design and the Inquirer notes it and gives us a gold star ….

“A lot of vendor blogs are just marketing with an ersatz ‘dear reader’ veneer so credit to Lenovo for making its site a useful read.”

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I come from an ultra-competitive industry — journalism — where at PC Week it was InfoWorld that was the devil and at Forbes it was Fortune and so on and so forth. That kind of competition is actually fun and very motivational in terms of driving scoops and deadlines. Here the battle is for the hearts and minds of loyal customers while trying to differentiate our products on a basis other than price.

In any event, it’s kind of cool to be blogging with my competitors and not against them.

Eric Kintz actually observed the opposite phenomenon last fall — corporate blog fights. 

“What interested me was the blogging “war” that started after this announcement: it is to my knowledge the first time that all three of us – Dell, IBM and HP – have engaged in a competitive dialogue through blogs. Corporate blogging is clearly taking on a new dimension in 07. Companies are watching what their competitors are doing and commenting on blogs. Dell (Lionel) /IBM (Christopher) – if you pick this up in your blog monitoring, drop me a note. :)”

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