We're not sure we like the idea behind Blippy, a social buying site on which users can share with friends word of everything they buy via links to their credit cards and accounts at online stores. But the site's experience starting on Friday with the word that some of its users' credit card numbers had been inadvertently published in Google search results produced an instructive response on a new twist in crisis communication.
Blippy's embarrassment showed that businesses need to be equipped to respond promptly and forthrightly on the Web as much as anywhere else.
The details of Blippy's embarrassment are fairly complicated and the incident itself a bit overdone, but Blippy handled it well. For those details, see these TechCrunch and ReadWrite Start posts.
The really instructive material is in a post on Blippy's blog, entered today at 1:22 a.m., an indication, we'd say, of timeliness once the intricacies were dealt with. Blippy explained what occurred and provided its plan for seeing that privacy breaches won't occur. The Blippy folks handled the situation well, and it appears that only only four to eight of its users possibly had their credit card numbers compromised.
The other good news in the Blippy situation is that Google took its own role (or that of its Web crawlers) seriously and cooperated with Blippy on sorting the incident out and removing the offending search results.That's reassuring, considering the somewhat jaundiced views on privacy that Google CEO Eric Schmidt expressed recently.