SuperBookDeals and the Limits of Crowd Power

Alternate title: “Some Companies Just Don’t Care”

People in the customer-service advice-giving business love to tell the story of United Airlines and Dave Carroll. It’s a very entertaining tale of a customer who, having felt mistreated, used the power of the internet to do an enormous amount of damage to a large company’s reputation.

It’s an article of faith to many of us that in the age of the internet, poor customer service will result us a huge loss of good will, and money. As Mike Frichol of Marketance put it,

Companies that don’t pay attention to what their customers are saying about their business/brands/products/services/solutions via social media sites pay a serious penalty in bad publicity and lost revenues.

Your business/brands/products/services/solutions reputation is open to positive and negative social media discussion online. This is your reputation – you need to be engaged – you need to monitor what’s going on – you need to respond appropriately.

But then, there’s SuperBookDeals, an online book dealer who sells books  via their own site, along with partners such as and Barnes & Noble. In 2008, I had an extremely bad experience with SuperBookDeals and wrote about it here. I wondered whether SuperBookDeals would see the post — and whether their concern for their online reputation would cause them to reach out to me.

They didn’t.

Nearly four years later, a Google search for SuperBookDeals returns this:

The top listing is the company site, which is fair. But the Number Two listing when you look up the company is a consumer review site, Reseller Ratings. There are 80 reviews on the site, and almost all of them are extremely negative. A quick sampling:

“I will NEVER EVER order from here again!!!!! I order a book for school and was advised i would recv it in 14 days which would have been on the 16th of sept. Did i get it ?? ummmmm.NO!”

“Horrible, horrible horrible.”

“Do not order from this company.”

It goes on for page after page — dozens of angry consumers complaining bitterly about the books they ordered and did not receive… and the complete disdain they did receive when they tried to find out what happened to their merchandise.

More important, perhaps, than the stories themselves is this notation at the top of the review site:

Superbookdeals does NOT actively participate at Reseller Ratings to monitor feedback and resolve your issues. Are you this merchant? Help your customers!

In spite of 82 separate reviews — 81 of them extremely negative… in spite of the fact that this is the second listing on the page when someone Googles the company name… SuperBookDeals ignores it.

Meanwhile, my nearly four-year-old blog posts appear at #3 and #6 on the page. Although both posts get regular traffic and occasional comments, SuperBookDeals has not bothered to contact me, either.

So, this appears to be a case study in a company — an online seller, at that — completely ignoring its online reputation. Anyone wondering whether to do business with them can look them up and easily determine that they should not. Has this cost them anything?

As of this morning, SuperBookDeals still in business, still angering customers on a daily basis, and laughing all the way to the bank.

So the question for the group is this: how important is your online reputation? Leave a comment below.


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3 thoughts on “SuperBookDeals and the Limits of Crowd Power

  1. My online reputation is important to me. I always answer blog comments (usually privately, but also publicly if it is a more global question), and am happy to provide customer service for my patterns. It’s important!

  2. I’ve always felt the same way. But when I see a company continuing to engage in the same behavior, and (it appears) ignoring the damage to its online reputation, it leads me to wonder if perhaps the power-of-the-consumer-in-the-age-of-the-internet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.