Wimps Infest Tech

The internet has enabled instant feedback from millions of consumers, but that doesn't mean you always have to listen to them. Online discounter Overstock.com became O.co six months ago but announced today it is switching back. Enough flip flopping. Grow a spine, tech companies.

Overstock.com reclaimed its old branding after learning customers were inadvertantly visiting O.com instead of O.co, Ad Age reported today. But of course it's not alone. Netflix famously declared its DVD business would become Qwikster, only to change course after a customer revolt and a special heart to heart between the CEO and Board of Directors. Even former gritty tech stalwart Hewlett Packard has gone soft, firing a bumbling CEO and reversing his unpopular decision to sell of the PC and handheld device business. Or maybe not! After calling an all hands meeting, new CEO Meg Whitman revealed she, too, is an equivocator, telling a hurried gathering of engineers she needed three or four more weeks to decide their fare because "it's not obvious exactly what to do here."

Listening to your customers is all well and good. But reversing yourself based on their feedback just shows you didn't listen when you should have, i.e. before you made the decision. You might be able to pull it off once, without destroying your company. But in the process, you'll unambiguously signal you don't know what you stand for, and probably never did. That's more damaging than any wretched name or logo.

[Pic: Steshkin Yevgeniy/Shutterstock]