Goggle it: Cluelessness Incumbents

Here’s an interesting little activity for a Saturday morning: Google “Cox Lafayette La” and “BellSouth Lafayette La.” Go on now, click those links, get those pages up in separate tabs….now take a look. Really, this requires participation…you need to experience this yourself.

Why might any regular person run up that search? Well: maybe you want to find the local offices–to pay a bill or sign up for services. I sometimes run searches like this to find out if a company had a presence in town, how many locations it has and whether any are close to me. Mostly people make searches on business and location because they are considering doing business with the company.

What you’ll see is that, for Lafayette, that search returns 1) almost nothing that would help a potential customer find out how locate Cox or BellSouth in Lafayette and 2) a lot of things that would indicate that Lafayette is angry with these guys. Follow out a few of those links and what you’ll get is a picture of a company that hasn’t dealt fairly with Lafayette–and you’ll find that judgment passed in both national and local media.

That is NOT what you want a search on your name to produce.

The incumbents are clueless about a lot of things; that’s pretty obvious, but they don’t understand just how damaging this stuff is. There have been reams of paper (lots of bytes?) spent on dissecting Google search, its page rank system and how those two interact. The system is continually tweaked to produce what Google hopes will be the most useful returns for your search. Mostly it works. People like and rely on search engines–so much so that even the major computer operating systems are now offering search facilities that mimic internet search engines to help you find what’s lost on your own hard drive.

The point is that most internet-savvy people use search incessantly…and have been trained by the experience to believe the result is meaningful. What comes up IS related to what you searched for.

This is NOT a good thing for the incumbents who remain absolutely clueless about what they have created in Lafayette. Insulated by their monopoly positions in their central cable and telephone markets they’ve grown used to riding out dissatisfaction that a company in a truly competitive market could not survive.

Just so you’ll have a sense of what a search on a company and a location ought to show if the company hasn’t created unnatural amounts of local hostility I offer up “LUS Lafyette La” and “Cox Baton Rouge La.” One of the first things you find is the physical location and a contact link for each company. You can click right through and get your business done.

The incumbents seem to be clueless as to what their failed attempt to break Lafayette cost them locally (or nationally) but a trip to the search engine should be instructive. When a perfectly innocent location search returns nothing but reasons not to use your service you know you’ve poisoned the stream. It’ll take a long while for that stream to clear even if you stop dumping junk in it.

Lafayette remembers…and so does the net.

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