Aftermath of the Kryptonite Blogstorm

It’s been a rough ride for Kryptonite Locks. Last September a blogstorm erupted — due to their unresponsiveness after the discovery that an ordinary Bic pen could pick their bike locks — costing them an estimated $10 million. It all happened so quickly, as you can see below:

Chart showing the chronology of the Kryptonite blogstorm

(Source: Fortune, 2005)

But 10 months later, online Kryptonite still publicly suffers from the aftermath. As you can see, it’s not their home page that ranks #1 or #2 for “kryptonite” in Google, but their product recall pages that bloggers had Googlebombed to those top positions. Worse yet, the #5 position is occupied by a blogger ( who rails on Kryptonite, complete with video.

Google search results for kryptonite

In a sense, Google (as well as the other engines) “ear marks” victims of blogstorms. I learned last week at Williamsburg while on vacation with my family what “ear marking” originally referred to: someone put in the stocks would have their earlobes nailed to the stocks. Then when it came remove them, their ears would be torn, as a form of permanent public humiliation. So when you saw someone with torn ear lobes, you’d know immediately that the person had been in the stocks at one point in time. The 21st century equivalent: the top Google results for your company name endure long after you’ve been blogstormed.