TDAXP AND HIS BATTLE WITH THE NATIONMASTER: A LESSON IN NETWORKS
Dan of tdaxp, long a blogfriend of Zenpundit is locked in a consumer complaint battle with an internet information company known as NationMaster. In the day of the dead tree media, there was a saying about the power of big city newspapers ” Don’t get in a pissing contest with somebody who buys ink by the barrel”. Today, an updated version might go like this ” Don’t get in a pissing contest with somebody who is part of a scale free network”
In addition to Dan’s most recent post he has previously posted here ( where you can read Nationmaster’s bullying, psuedo-legal email correspondence) and here ( the original post that ticked off Nationmaster’s executives, including one ” John Steinmetz“).
By choosing to needlessly go the adversarial path with with Dan, a grad student who just wanted his money back, NationMaster ended up getting panned by:
NationMaster Watch – a blog established by Dan to do nothing but follow the permutations of Nationmaster’s highly unusual customer relations policy.
And now I am posting on this story. This is how a network functions. While Curzon and Simon are also blogfriends of mine as well as Dan’s I was not familiar with the other blogs except I hate Linux which I had more heard of than visited. Dan is a ” hub” that connects otherwise unrelated bloggers. For that matter, I’d barely heard of NationMaster either.
Given the number of readers these blogs have I have to wonder about the strategic thinking that went into NationMaster’s response to Dan. Bloggers, I would think, would be a key customer demographic for this corporation and making gestures that engendered good will rather than bad in the blogging community would be the way I would have advised to go.
It is theoretically possible that Dan is a clever but psychotic con man posing as a grad student simply to bilk helpless corporations out of fairly earned dollars – but I kind of doubt it. It seems more likely that some arrogant a-hole in a corner office at NationMaster reacted dismissively when Dan asked for his money back and then decided that Dan ” could be rolled” by pressuring him with a frivolous lawsuit.
Looks like a mistaken premise on NationMaster’s part.
Moreover, in a network situation like this it isn’t just how many people are reading but also whom. I really don’t know who reads these other blogs (though some smart attorneys seem to read tdaxp) but I know who reads mine. Lots of academics, nationally known experts, think tank types, journalists and employees of numerous U.S. Government agencies. Some of these people are exceptionally bright and well-connected – I know this because they send me email – and now they are reading this post, clicking links and reading a heck of a lot about NationMaster.
Not much that’s good, unfortunately.
Just think of how a gracious initial- or even belated – response by NationMaster to Dan’s complaint would have gone over instead. It might still go over well at this late date. No skin off my nose to post that a company decided to do the right thing.
Because Zenpundit is eminently fair and I have goodwill toward one and all, I’m going to do my part to stop a corporation that should know better from continuing to dig a needless hole for itself. Here’s a book recommendation for John Steinmetz of NationMaster – it’s a quick read but it might help prevent customer relations problems like this in the future.
And here’s another.