Ryanair falls short on web

Virgin Atlantic tops online reputation survey, while Ryanair struggles with strategy.

Virgin Atlantic has a good online reputation while Orange and Ryanair are among those companies with the poorest reputations on the web, according to a new study.

Kaizo's Advocacy Index measured the online reputation of 20 brands across the airline, mobile, software and food industries.

Virgin Atlantic came top for the third year running. The research concluded that brands which actively communicate online with customers reap the rewards in terms of their reputation.

Observers said it was little surprise that Ryanair's online reputation was so low. Last week, the budget airline made headlines after Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara responded to a critical blogger by saying: 'It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers... Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel.'

Another report, published by Edelman Digital, found social media was causing customer service to merge with PR. Five Digital Trends to Watch in 2009 outlined trends that businesses should take notice of to maximise chances of doing well during the recession.

It noted that consumers were increasingly turning to social media, rather than call centres, to voice concerns. More people use social media to complain about a company, whereas they used to call or email privately. These concerns can now become public knowledge through Google.

Marshall Manson, Edelman director of digital strategy, said consumers expected the companies they interacted with to address their issues, regardless of whether they were raised on the web or the phone.

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