If you run a company, it's inevitable you're going to get criticized. But you don't care, you've got your successful business, power and millions of dollars. You can just let those angry words roll right off you. Right?
Well, you could do that, or you could throw a tantrum like an angry toddler. For instance...
Cracked's inferior, still-printed-on-dead-trees competitor MAD Magazine ran a parody of a Circuit City circular back in August 2008. Circuit City happened to be circling the drain at the time, so they were kind of touchy.
Realizing immediately how many consumers make their purchasing decisions based purely on MAD's advice, Circuit City recognized the situation as a corporate emergency.
Corporate ordered every Circuit City that carried MAD (about 40 of them, out of 700 stores) to destroy every copy of the magazine they had in stock, which we like to think included ripping issues from the hands of crying children in the checkout line.
Fairly quickly after the story hit the Internet, somebody at Circuit City realized that their bizarre Stalin-esque censorship campaign was about to bring the company more negative attention than MAD's parody ever could. Not such a good thing when the entire company is teetering on the brink of utter collapse.
An organization representing tomato pickers woke up and noticed something: They were getting paid the same amount for a 32-pound bushel of tomatoes that they were getting paid in 1978. So, they wanted a raise. Specifically, they wanted a penny more per pound.
This made Stephen Grover, a Burger King VP who was in charge of supply chain, a very, very angry man. After all, that'd be sucking away a penny out of every, oh, 500 or so burgers they sell.
So he did what everybody does these days: flamed them on the Internet. Using his daughter's email address.
"The CIW is an attack organization lining the leaders pockets ... They make up issues and collect money from dupes that believe their story. To (sic) bad the people protesting don't have a clue regarding the facts. A bunch of fools!" -- surfaholicx36
His daughter pretty much threw him under the bus the minute reporters called and asked, and Burger King wound up paying the workers their pennies. As for Grover, who was caught hiding behind his daughter, Burger King did the only reasonable, intelligent thing they could do with such a coward: They promoted him.
You only need to know two things about Jason Roe: he hates credit card fees and he likes flying to and from Ireland. While he was poking around the website for European airline Ryanair, trying to figure out a way to dodge the fees, he found a bug that locked all the prices at $0.00. Finding this hilarious, as only website developers can, he reported the glitch on his website. That's when he discovered Ryanair apparently recruits almost exclusively from /b/.
The following comments showed up:
"You are an idiot and a liar!" -- "Ryanair Staff #1"
"You changed some numbers on your own screen tricking yourself into thinking that you could get a free flight, without actually succeeding." -- "Ryanair Staff #2"
"If you would work in your pathetic life on a such big project in a such busy environment with so little resources, you would know that the most important is to have usual user behavior scenarios working rather than spending time on improbable and harmless things." -- "Ryanair Staff #3"
So, the whole "Ryanair Staff" thing, that was probably a joke by some kid, right? After all, if Ryanair employees were going to sneak in and wage a comment war, they wouldn't actually name themselves as Ryanair staff. Right?
Wrong. After at least three employees called Jason a pathetic delusional retard, Ryanair (which is run after all by highly intelligent people) issued a public apology and fired the losers.
Oh, wait, actually Stephen McNamara from Ryanair said:
"Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion. . . It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy corresponding with idiot bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won't be happening again. . .Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel."
"Oh, also we make pretty hot calendars."
Well, OK then! We totally feel bad for thinking you were the bad guys there. Oh, and as further proof that Ryanair's PR policy seems to be run by very drunken, angry men, their next corporate announcement was that they'd be charging you a Euro to take a dump on their airplanes.
Back in 2001, the RIAA was so, so confident in its SDMI encryption, which implanted a watermark into a music file, that they invited the entire Internet to try and hack it, complete with cash prize. Hey, no way this can come out with them looking stupid, right?
Sure enough, Ed Felten, a computer science professor at Princeton and a computer security expert, took a crack at it and handily stripped out the watermark in three weeks. His prize was a lot of lawsuits.
First, RIAA pretended that Felten's efforts didn't count because it compromised the quality of the audio file, which they hadn't bothered to mention in the contest rules. Felten wasn't too bothered, as he didn't qualify because he hadn't signed the confidentiality agreements. So he went to present a paper on how he'd defeated SDMI, which is kind of his job, and the RIAA nailed him with plenty of lawsuits, a strategy which they'd use to great effect later on vicious criminals like Jammie Thomas.
Felten counter-sued and ultimately won, presenting his paper while nerds had a laugh about how stupid the RIAA was. The RIAA went off and created a new encryption scheme that was defeated by an obscure method where you draw a circle on the CD with a marker.