No such thing as bad publicity?

There’s no such thing as bad publicity. At least, that’s what they say. But is it true? And is it also true for the website that’s showing the ‘bad publicity’?

Question 1

If your income is largely determined by advertising revenue, should you simply accept an ad that ruins your website’s layout? Grin and bear it?

Citroen (the car manufacturer who accused me of a gender error) celebrated their 90th anniversary this week. They celebrated with an ad. I prefer cake, but there you go. The Citroen birthday ad considerably slowed down the loading time of my newspaper’s homepage. For about 30 seconds, all I saw was this:


Twitter was awash with tweets about the ad. Some people found the ad in itself annoying. Others pointed out that it totally screwed up the newspaper site’s layout. Both were legitimate complaints.

Question 2

Should you show the tweets about your site on your site? 

A lot of companies show the tweets that mention their name on their website. Sometimes those tweets are positive. Sometimes they’re not. And sometimes they’re really really not.

Please don’t look at the screenshot below if you’re of a sensitive disposition.

Question 3

What do you think?

Is there no such thing as bad publicity?
Does it harm your brand if you show negative feedback on your own site?
Or does it show that you’re honest?

Read more articles about , , Usability.

Want to stay informed about new articles?
Subscribe to our RSS feed or our newsletter.

  • Sebastian Preuss

    Nice article and good questions. Here are my two cents:

    1) No, advertisers come to your site because you offer a specific audience. If you annoy this audience by bad ads, they might stay away – and thus keep advertisers away. There is an interdependency between content, visits and ad revenue.

    2) Yes, unless they are offending below the belt. You always have a chance to respond, and discussions that evolve give you a chance to your strenghts. Anyway, if you gag people on your site, they will speak out somewhere else – freedom of speech cannot be oppressed online.

  • Els Aerts

    Thanks for your input, Sebastian.

    1) I totally agree with you on this one.

    2) Again, I agree. But with a little reservation. Free speech can’t be oppressed online, that’s true. But do you really have to show every negative comment people make about you? What if somebody who hasn’t seen that terrible ad visits the site of Citroen and sees those Twitter comments? Could that really be a good thing? I honestly don’t know.