Did something happen to the Playstation Network? Seriously guys I can’t play White Knight Chronicles online right now. Oh Sony, what have you brought upon yourself? For those who are somehow unaware of the events of the past week let me lay it out there for you: the Playstation Network hasn’t been working. All this transpired in the week of a huge game release (Portal 2 anyone?) who’s multiplayer component was lauded as spectacular.
There was rampant speculation and rumor as to what has transpired but what it boils down to is that it was hacked. In a post on the Playstation Blog:
Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.
Yeah things aren’t looking to well for Sony at this stage. If my Twitter feed is any indication people are angry and rightfully so. Sony had suspicions of the problems and should have notified people that their information may have been compromised from the onset. While they may have chosen to maintain silence until they were absolutely certain it still paints them in a bad light. No matter how hard they work to fix this problem they are stuck in a PR nightmare that I do not envy.
However there is no such thing as “insurmountable”. Sadly in this case Sony is not just dealing with an “oopsie” moment. There is a serious problem here and Sony may very well have lost a decent chunk of loyal Playstation customers because of not only their inability to keep sensitive data private but their overall reaction to the entire problem.
But here’s some ways they can make up for their problems.
Scratch that. People know about Area 51. Make it as tight as the place the government now does all their next level science projects. First and foremost nobody is going to use the Playstation Network unless you can not only state “This is hands down the most secure thing we’ve ever done” but have the proof behind it. Nobody is going to buy in unless they know why it’s secure. The caveat here is you will in fact be opening yourself up to more attacks by saying “Look how secure we are.” This means you’re really going to have lock it up slightly more than a heroine in a B-Movie. I suggest starting with encryptions on all sensitive payment information and maybe passwords. #JustSayin
2.) Fix you PR problems
In my daily grind job I work marketing. It’s what I do, it’s what I love. With that I work closely with my PR team and quite frankly this is something they would see as a debacle. Shutting your eyes to a problem and not talking about it in public for a while will not make people forget about it. Especially a major source of entertainment and relaxation isn’t functioning the way they intended. While this isn’t on the level of Chipotle and the dead cat it still goes down a major corporate no-no. You waited almost a week to tell people their credit card information may (and I do stress may) be compromised. Proper customer relationship management starts with proper communication. If people don’t think you’re being straight with them then they will find someone who will. Now they don’t need me harping on this because odds are they know just what they need to do, but this was the big rub with a lot of people.
3.) Start the marketing campaign
What’s Kevin Butler up to? He’s been oddly silent on Twitter since April 20th. Start the marketing machine. It’s why marketing exists. Use it to your advantage. While yes he’s going to have to come out with more than a simple witty retort there’s no denying that Kevin does have a certain magic about him. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I wouldn’t mind running a brush through his feathery blond locks. If KB were to call me up and say “Why don’t we go share a man sized cup of coffee and a slice of rhubarb pie” I would be hard pressed to say no. In fact I think that’s what KB needs to start doing. Dolling out free pie and coffee from the warm hands of Kevin Butler can go a long way to soothe the rage of the scorned fans.
4.) You would be amazed what you can accomplish with bribery
Actually since we’re on the topic bribery in general is going to be your best bet. I’m sure fans will be much more eager to come back and test the waters if they have a valid reason. People are freetards; that is anyone who operates at a diminished mental capacity when someone says “Free <fill in the blank>”. Anyone who has ever been to a basketball game or any sporting event knows that when the “Free Stuff Cannon” get brought out you would have no problem knocking over an old lady to get a t-shirt that is 4 sizes too big or a plastic basketball. It’s either that or many people foster some deep seeded desire to be shot with an oversize air cannon. Spoiler Alert: It’s not as fun as it sounds. I’ve been there. Ahhhhh college. But toss a free game or something at the users at least get them motivated to come back and say “I’ll see what’s out there.”
5.) You’re gonna have to own up to this one
Yeah it’s a rough one. You’re going to have to stand up and say “Yep. We fucked this up. Sorry guys.” That simple sentence will go a long way with people to make things better. Yes it’s a very simple step but it is one that could totally revolutionize the entire business industry. Actual accountability and admitting fault. I’m not saying it’s going to get you out of the class action suit that’s almost certainly being drafted as we speak. But we all know you messed up. You know you messed up. Just step up. If you can’t parade the individual responsible out in front of everyone and say “It was all Zero Cool” then it was all you.
6.) It would not hurt you at all to dance sexy
I’m super serial. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been angry as hell watching someone dance sexy for you. Nobody has their hands up. Now raise your hand if you have ever said “Don’t dance sexy for me, I don’t like it.” There may be a few hands up but they are in the overwhelming minority. Come on Sony. We know you. We love you. Shake a little somethin’ for us. This is something the beer companies learned a long time ago. Sex sells, sell it Sony. Nothing raunchy. Just a little tease. You’re not filthy, just a little dirty.