Dell blog prompts initial critics, harsh words, and, finally, dialogue

ROUND ROCK, TX: The recently-launched Dell blog One2One got off to a dynamic start when PR and Internet personalities criticized its tone and focus and a prominent blogger got into a debate with a GCI intern.

ROUND ROCK, TX: The recently-launched Dell blog One2One got off to a dynamic start when PR and Internet personalities criticized its tone and focus and a prominent blogger got into a debate with a GCI intern.

The blog, to be authored by multiple Dell employees, will serve as a "tool that allows all of us to share our comments, ideas and insights. Not exactly a dorm room, but an online meeting place where we welcome our customers around the globe…one at a time," according to the About Us section of the site.

Lionel Menchaca, a member of the Dell Corporate media relations team, manages One2One. When longtime critic Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine.com fame and Steve Rubel, Edelman SVP, criticized the company for its initial postings, Menchaca linked to those criticisms. He wrote, "Thanks for the feedback, guys. We'll keep working to get it right."

This response was applauded in the PR blogosphere. But that praise did not come without bumps.

In the comments thread of Jarvis' post, a person calling himself only Chris, purporting to work on the Dell account lambasted Jarvis, saying to him, "But honestly I don't think you have a problem Dell can fix. Your problem is you have no life."

GCI Group, Dell's agency, has admitted that it was a summer intern who wrote the comment. In an e-mail to Jarvis, GCI SVP and digital practice head Paul Walker wrote, "It is important that you understand the intern's comment in no way reflects the points of view of Dell or GCI. Dell's aims with its one2one weblog are positive and they have every intention of making it a forum for open conversations with Dell customers."

GCI referred PRWeek to that statement.

While Dell declined to answer specific questions about the blog, the company released a statement to PRWeek, "We are happy with the response we have gotten and will continue to work to make it a timely and positive resource for our customers. Our goal is to foster a productive and candid dialogue with our customers."


While Jarvis initially took umbrage at the statement and said he sent an e-mail to GCI CEO Jeff Hunt, some commenters accused him of stifling the very dialogue he claimed he wanted. Jarvis eventually updated the post, welcoming the intern's comments as a sign of dialogue.

Jarvis wrote, "I'm sure that Chris, in fact, speaks for many people at Dell when it comes to what they think of me and perhaps other bloggers. Fine. I want transparency, I want conversation, this is the transparent conversation. Let's have it."

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