Imagine this: You are the executive of a large corporation, and you have ordered the Chinese factory working for you to cut corners to decrease production costs on your latest product. You've left out a bit here and there (and a bit literally) on the end thingamabob.
Or maybe you are the host of a large MMORPG
, and you have just released your latest update, which has patched a few fun, harmless bugs that some players will miss badly. Or maybe your latest expansion pack comes with intrusive DRM
that rips the player's computer in two. Or maybe announce a new game only to reveal it was for the iPad or a smartphone? Either way, it doesn't matter — who will ever
know? Consumers never tell each other things of this nature, right?
If it gets on the Internet, double wrong. You've just awakened a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve.
This is the inversion
of Viral Marketing
. If someone, anyone, both knows of the offense you are committing and has internet access, they will spread it on the 'Net in any form possible, probably blown out of proportion. The Internet's anonymity allowing for poor taste, libel, and harassment, and its instantaneous communication allowing the hysteria to spread quickly, makes any situation a PR disaster waiting to happen, if not already happening. Before you know it, a stream of viral videos, parodies of your advertisements, and maybe photoshopped pictures of your spouse naked will be all over
the Internet for the world to see. All of this will emphasize the simple (to them) fact that you seriously
screwed up. They will not cease and desist until the "problem" is fixed. In the worst case, they won't cease and desist then, either. (Ask Metallica
Now in this case, the target corporation has three options:
- Fix the complaint. This is most critical if the mistake isn't your fault — say, the Chinese factory was acting on its own. It must be done carefully — enough publicity for people to know the problem is fixed, but not in such a way as to reinforce the problem's existence. Verizon's "Can You hear Me Now?" campaign is a traditional-media example of this done right... Unfortunately, if you have an Unpleasable or Broken Base, this will probably just move the problem around...
- Do nothing! Who cares if the Internet doesn't like you? You still have millions of customers purchasing your products, right?! It can be effective if your product isn't internet-based or aimed heavily at that demographic, and if the counterattack doesn't get too intense. If it does get too intense, it'll spread to traditional media, and you'll have to resort to another strategy. It won't work at all if your product is that MMORPG, whose audience, by definition, congregates on the internet.note Some people will actually carry out their inevitable threat to cancel their account.
- Try to sue the masses for libel. Or, if you can pinpoint the original internet attacker, or the primary source for the attack, sue that. Due to the anonymous nature of the Internet, this rarely works as intended, and often makes the crowd angrier and more rowdy. Organizations who prefer this approach must use a double-pronged attack — they must try to convince any undecided masses that the Internet attackers are in the wrong... Also, actively counter-counterattacking the Internet Counterattack almost always leads to the Streisand Effect - people who were unlikely to know, or care, about your mess-up suddenly find their curiosity piqued, and you can probably see where this usually goes.
- Related, but not identical — the DMCA takedown method. It won't work on all attack material, and anything taken down is likely to pop back up, and not even through a mirror or re-upload in some cases: if you truly had no legal grounds to remove a YouTube video, its creator can get it back up surprisingly easily (Also, an unjustified DMCA takedown may lead to another wave of attacks from people who didn't care about the original issue.) Nonetheless, if the counterattack is using footage belonging to the corporate target or photoshopping something truly libelous, it can at least slow the speed of an Internet Counterattack, which can sometimes make the difference between it leaping to the mass media or staying contained on the 'Net. And takedowns are quieter than lawsuits... unless you try it on someone in the League of Reason...
Compare Streisand Effect
. Not to be confused with Internet Backdraft
- that's the Internet ripping itself
a new one.
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Anime and Manga
- The Ijime Connect incident, also known as Auditiongate, was a promotional stunt for the Kokoro Connect anime. Takuma Terashima and the staff of Kokoro Connrect put rookie voice actor Mitsuhiro Ichiki through a Humiliation Conga. This was perceived by the Internet as a power-trip-induced case of bullying — a taboo subject in Japan — leading to a harsh boycott of the anime. As a result, the release of the first home video volume was delayed by one month in an attempt to let time heal all wounds (It didn't work.) and composer Hajime Kikuchi, whose Twitter comments first hinted at the existence of the scandal, left Eufonius out of shame from tipping the Internet off towards the incident.
- Artist Tony Harris wrote an irate Facebook rant accusing nearly every cosplaying girl of being nothing more than attention whores who aren't true nerds. Besides the usual outrage that erupted from his words, Gail Simone declared November 13, the day of his rant, to be "Cosplay Appreciation Day" —- A call to arms for the Internet to shove it in Harris's face, if you will. As a result, Harris decided to never speak of his rant again and a new yearly Internet celebration was born.
- A good few years ago, in a Batman story called War Games, DC writers killed off Stephanie Brown. The story had Stephanie Brown tortured brutally, with artwork depicting her in an overly sexualized manner that disgusted many, many readers, especially since the whole incident was treated as her own fault. Understandably, fans were pissed. In response, Girl-Wonder.com was founded, campaigning, not for her to be revived, but for her to be recognized and honoured, since Jason Todd, who died in a similar manner, wasn't sexualized and was given a memorial to honour him while she wasn't. Other sites also popped up, other writers at DC protested the story and were vocal about their own disgust, and fans complained so much that it became a highly recognized example of sexism by fans who didn't even care for Stephanie, so much so that not only did they give her the memorial, but they even revealed she was alive and then gave her a mildly successful ongoing as compensation. Then they erased her from continuity in the New 52, opening a new can of worms, though she was finally reintroduced in 2014.
- Stephen Colbert is a rare example of a singular figure who inspires internet counterattacks quite regularly, sometimes without even intending to. For instance, the Megyeri Bridge's name was originally going to be determined with an online poll. Colbert featured it on his show and (jokingly, of course) told his viewers to vote for his name. Not only did fans vote legitimately, but they also created scripts to stuff the ballot box and put his name in first place. This got so out of hand that Colbert decided to offer an apology and implore his viewers to stop their efforts, but even that wasn't enough; Colbert's name won the final round.
- After the berserk nature of Amy's Baking Company was exposed by Kitchen Nightmaresnote , the Internet continued where Gordon Ramsay ended by criticizing the restaurant's rude behavior on their Facebook page. What ensued was an even more psychotic breakdown than what what was displayed on the show.
- Cartoon Network got much backlash from the CN Real block, especially with its somewhat arrogant marketing ("More than just Cartoons"), to the point that the block and everything associated with it was purged from the marketing as well as many of the shows associated with the block, with the last few live action shows (Hole In The Wall, Dude, What Would Happen?, and Destroy Build Destroy) lingering until November 2011, where they were finally canceled. This, along with the continued attempts to apply live action shows to the network (such as Tower Prep, Level Up, and Incredible Crew) are possibly more noticed than the network's attempts to Win Back The Crowd.
- As a result of Chris Crocker's remark on 9/11, a petition was made to stop him from having his own TV show.
- A cooking magazine called Cooks Source once reprinted a blogger's pie recipe without her permission. When the blogger called them on it, she got a nasty email about how she should be thanking them for publishing her work; the editor had somehow gotten the idea that anything on the Internet is public domain, so they could steal it with impunity without compensating the authors so long as she credited them. The Internet, naturally, exploded, harassing the magazine's Facebook page and investigating where their other articles might have come from. It turned out that plagiarism made up most of their content, even from well-known food-centric celebrities like Martha Stewart and Paula Deen. The magazine then closed, complete with a snide, passive-aggressive goodbye note.
- Men's Fitness once posted an article after New York Comic-Con 2011 entitled "Flabby Versions of Your Favorite Superheroes!", which had nothing but snide, disrespectful remarks aimed at Cosplayers in attendance for, essentially, being human beings at a Fan Convention (two actual NYPD officers were similarly attacked for being overweight). Outrage from the cosplay community was as predictable as the damn tides, especially when MF complained about people not being able to take a joke. The article eventually disappeared from their website (It's still online on the article writer's website, though), and discussion of the article on their Facebook page along with it.
- Veja, Brazil's equivalent of Time, published an article where the author compared gay marriage to a relationship with a goat. Needless to say, nobody took this lightly - with particularly hilarious results when every single link on the magazine's Facebook page got comments referencing goats.
- In quite possibly the most hilarious example ever, Walmart was holding a contest where a local Walmart with the most fans on its Facebook page by a certain date would be visited by rapper Pitbull. This was done in an attempt to create a community with each store and its customers. The idea backfired on them when the Internet found out about this and in a campaign called "Exile Pitbull", proceeded to amass likes for a Walmart located in the remote town of Kodiak, Alaska. The best part? Walmart Kodiak wound up with the most fans by that date, and since they and Pitbull were good sports about it, he indeed visited the store, accompanied by David Thorpe, one of the prank's ringleaders. So in summary, the Internet just banished Pitbull to Alaska!
- Justin Bieber held a poll to determine where he would hold a concert. When 4chan caught wind of this, they swarmed the poll with votes... for North Korea. In the end, Bieber didn't go through with it and the whole thing was cancelled.
- Taylor Swift held a poll to decide which school she should go perform to. 4chan and Reddit assumed control of the poll by swarming it with votes for the Horace Mann School for the Deaf. It simultaneously fired and backfired as Swift removed the school from the poll but, acknowledging the 4channers and Redditors' pranking efforts, donated $50,000, musical instruments and concert tickets to it, for which school principal Jeremiah Ford declared: "Are we the winner? Absolutely." In shorthand, the Internet (accidentally) gave a selfless gift to a school for deaf people!
- Hiroshi Matsumoto and the hide estate. As mentioned on the Flame War page, he was at best a Pointy-Haired Boss and negligent as hide's manager, to the point of arguably sharing responsibility for hide's death out of said negligence. When he took over the estate after hide's death, he quickly set about turning hide into a Cash Cow Franchise in a process that at first seemed legitimate enough (releasing his unreleased singles, doing a few compilations and memorial events) but soon enough turning "hide" and "LEMONED" into the exact opposite of what hide had intended both to be - cheap meaningless crap with little or no specific inspiration or artistic value. Then the lawsuits began - he began suing people and threatening lawsuits over petty issues of hide's "image" or "tribute" and demanding financial cuts of even hide covers or fan works - while happily mooching ideas and imagery from the fan and fan artist community.
The issues finally began to come to a head over 2009 to 2013 - first, Hiroshi sued Yoshiki Hayashi and X Japan for using hide's image, despite Yoshiki having bought out some of the rights, and never mind it was the band hide had become famous with and hide himself had been entirely okay with Yoshiki using footage of him when he was still alive. Yoshiki countersued and fought back in court (with the judge in the matter even calling Hiroshi's filing a Frivolous Lawsuit and barring him from further suits over use of hide's image by bands hide had worked with) and this began part of the Internet Counterattack - a fair amount of Yoshiki fans were angry enough to post rants and begin a boycott of Hiroshi Matsumoto and the official hide estate and spread the info about just how negligent and unconcerned Hiroshi had seemed to be for anything from his brother except money.
The counterattack only became bigger when, in 2013, Hiroshi licensed the song Pink Spider not to a Visual Kei or rock artist but to Koda Kumi, who proceeded to drown it in Auto-Tune and replace the guitar work with mediocre DJ spinning. While it's not as open as it was immediately after the Koda Kumi cover got announced, a fair amount of hide fans will still give you an earful about Hiroshi and/or redirect you to places to pirate anything official.
- Streetlight Manifesto have a long history with their label, Victory Records. Most recently, their Magnum Opus, The Hands That Thieve was delayed six months. Then, the acoustic version, The Hand That Thieves was completely halted, and the band was prevented from selling copies of both. Finally, the official music video for "With Any Sort Of Certainty" was taken off YouTube (although obviously it's still circling around). In response the band has more-or-less officially allowed piracy of their work, and if you go to any Streetlight-related article, video, iTunes review, what have you, the top comments will be about how awful Victory Records are and how you shouldn't buy Streetlight Manifesto albums from anywhere but the band's official website.
- After United Airlines baggage handlers damaged Dave Carroll's Taylor guitar and the company refused to accept responsibility, Carroll got his revenge by recording a song called "United Breaks Guitars" and releasing it on YouTube. As of this writing, it's gotten over 11 million views on YouTube and is now cited as a case study by United Airlines customer service. After United apologized and offered to fly him so he could speak at an internal conference on customer service— they lost his luggage again.
- On June 11, 2013, 10 year old Sebastian De La Cruz was asked to sing the national anthem before Game 3 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio (Darius Rucker dropped out at the last moment) and afterward was the target of multiple racist emails/Tweets also aimed at illegal immigrants despite Sebastian being a natural born American citizen. It was immediately turned into a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming by a response flood of Tweets/Facebook posts/petitions that he be brought back to perform the anthem for Game 4, which the NBA and San Antonio Spurs agreed.
- During the News of the World phone hacking scandal, Lulz Sec managed to get into the newspaper's website and replace it with a spoof story about Rupert Murdoch's (imaginary) death.
- A May 30, 2013 opinion piece written by Christopher Swindell for the WV Gazette got a lot of backlash for its extremely anti-NRA slant. Swindell labels the NRA message as "knuckle-dragging Cretan talk" and NRA folks as traitors advocating "armed rebellion against the duly elected government of the United States of America". He also devotes a section of the essay comparing the NRA to the Confederacy and ridicules the organization's dispute with President Barack Obama by insinuating racism on their part on account of the President being an African-American. Swindell ends by gleefully maintaining that the NRA rebels will find themselves using their rifles against the American military's tanks, fighter jets and missiles. Swindell ended up getting into a one-man Flame War against hundreds and hundreds of angry readers in the Facebook comments section of the article.
- Electronic Arts
- Dragon Age II was notorious for a huge PR disaster that was ignited when a user on the Bioware Social Forums was banned by EA for harshly criticizing the game. Irate users went on Metacritic and downvoted the game en masse (to the same rating that Gamespot gave to Hyperdimension Neptunia, a 3/10) and mocked the moderator who banned the user in question.
- And things got worse from there, especially when someone found the twitter feed of Jennifer Hepler, one of the writers, and things crossed the line into personal attacks on her physique based around comments she had made years prior wishing for an option to skip combat in favor of story. Things got out of control fast to the point that people sent death threats targeting her family.
- Mass Effect:
- During the months following the release of Mass Effect, author Cooper Lawrence went on Fox News and falsely accused the game of having "fully interactive sex scenes", full-on nudity and selectable poses. The problem was she was upfront about never having played the game and yet somehow she knew it was pornographic. Fans went on the attack, and bombarded the Amazon.com listing for one of her self-help books with one-star reviews. Many of the reviews naturally pointed out that even though they had never read the book, they still felt qualified to talk about its content and give it one out of five stars. Even Jack Thompson, another notorious anti-sex-and-violence-in-video-games activist, called bullshit on her claims. After being convinced to watch the game over somebody's shoulder for a couple hours, Lawrence apologized.
- Kevin McCullough who runs a blog declared the game a "rape simulation", "with its ‘over the net’ capabilities virtual orgasmic rape is just the push of a button away." He had to admit that he never played the game and these things were not included, but he still maintains Mass Effect is a rape simulator, somehow. (Reality check: just for starters, every sex scene in the game is consensual.)
- When Mass Effect 3 was released, the internet was riled up against BioWare since fans were extremely dissatisfied with the controversial ending they offered. The fan outrage was so bad that, one gamer filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming that the advertising for the series had promised more than was delivered to a misleading extent. Furthermore, this resulted in several campaigns, including fan artwork, cupcakes, and M&M's being sent to BioWare. BioWare did somewhat go with option one—released an "Extended Cut" that addressed some problems, but did not fundamentally change anything. This has resulted in a smaller, less enraged version of the original backlash.
- Many gamers cried out in rage when it was revealed that DRM would be included on copies of Spore. The anger was so great at EA that negative buzz was widely proliferated, leading to more than 2,000 1-star reviews on Amazon... six months before the game was even released. Most of these reviewers admitted that they had never played the game before, but according to them, the DRM system (based on systems that made problems before, and bringing with it restrictive activation requirements) automatically knocked the game down to 1-star, whether or not they would ever go on to play it. The game ended up being the most pirated game of 2008, and resulted in EA being hit with two lawsuits from irate users. However, it did force EA to lighten up on DRM for their following titles. That is until 2013's SimCity as detailed below.
- The 2013 SimCity got off to a, at best, rocky launch due to the game's online requirements. EA and Maxis representatives repeatedly claimed that this was due to most of the gameplay being handled by the cloud computing. Hackers quickly found out that these claims were false as they were able to run the game offline perfectly and found the servers only handled the actual multiplayer side. EA and Maxis's PR-speak heavy responses did nothing to subside the rage. As of 2014, an official offline mode has been announced, but this wound up being too little too late as, online requirements aside, most players just plain didn't like the game very much.
- Things are going From Bad to Worse with the news EA's CEO, John Riccitiello, is stepping down (though it's possible this could be a coincidence) and now Origin, EA's DRM, now has a security problem discovered that puts all Origin users' PCs under hijack risk by hackers.
- Then there is the whole case of being sent from the Internet not one but two Golden Poos at The Consumerist's yearly worst company in America contest by landslides due to an organized campaign by irate fans. Yes, they have been named the worst company, even over corporations (which shall not be named) wracked by scandals and corruption, convicted of crimes, having exploitative labor policies or known to have committed actual human rights abuses up to and including war profiteering. And they've won this twice. Talk about a Take That. Needless to say, people hell-bent on naming EA's main rivals the worst in the worst company competition were furious. In 2014, these people succeeded by denying EA a third Golden Poo, if only because there was Always a Bigger Fish that year in the form of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger monopoly and its potential ramifications on net neutrality.
- Not a company to leave well enough alone, EA also created an official blog post regarding how unfair it was that they got the poos, saying that they were more intensely targeted due to their internet-user demographic (as opposed to... every other large entertainment company ever) and even went as far as to say that the only reason they "won" was because anti-LGBT groups voted them for allowing Gay Options in their games.
- Capcom has been the victims of a lot of this lately for several poor, some would say suicidal business decisions.
- The most upfront being how they cancelled Mega Man Legends 3 after allowing fans to get involved in the development progress via a forum and blog run entirely by the dev team. At the same time, they announced on their European Twitter account that not enough fans got involved, and people didn't care about the game. The fan rage was immediate, unprecedented in scale and resulted in sales of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 dropping 80% as a result.
- After hearing about the game's cancellation, Keiji Inafune even offered to finish the game by staying on as a contractor so that he finish the game as well as other projects he started, as did CyberConnect2. They were both shot down.
- Things only worsened when Capcom unveiled the roster of the upcoming Ultimate MvC3 only a week later. Fans hoping that Mega Man (who was absent from the vanilla edition) would be added as an apology for Legends 3's cancellation were let down once again, and the flames grew even higher. Capcom would later release Mega Man X...as a DLC skin for Zero. Most fans were unsatisfied and a great many of them saw that as merely a slap in the face.
- In what is perhaps the worst case of bad timing imaginable the Joke Character in Street Fighter X Tekken is "Bad Box Art Mega Man," the infamous Off Model, American Kirby Is Hardcore pistol toting picture of Mega Man from the original game's horrible NA box art.◊ Worse, his backstory was almost exactly the same as the protagonist of the cancelled Legends games. This was planned a while in advance, with Inafune's help, but trying to pull it off this hot on the heels of previous missteps wrecked Capcom's chances of living them down.
- Some people hacked Street Fighter X Tekken for Xbox 360 and found that the 12 characters that were going to be DLC for $20/1600 MSP as well as the supposedly PS3-exclusive Bad Box Art Mega Man and Pac-Man were already on the (Xbox 360) disc. Capcom then made a statement that they would be trying to ban the people who did this and left some kind of communication so that more people can report this happening. Nothing much has happened yet, but according to most of the reactions siding with the hackers, well, this could get really ugly; fast.
- Capcom eventually stated that Mega Man and Pac-Man are indeed PS3/VITA exclusives. The fact that they are in the XBOX 360 disc? Despite the fact that they are as functional as their PS3 counterparts, Capcom addressed them as "residual data", and stated that they will not allow them to be unlocked on the XBOX 360 version. Hoo boy.
- Capcom came out and said they see no distinction between downloadable content and disc-locked content. Fueling the already massive fires.
- Capcom Preview Piggybacking the demo for Resident Evil 6 into Dragon's Dogma had many fans decrying it as a poor business move because it seemed like a money grab.
- And of course, yet more disc-locked content was discovered on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of RE6 shortly after its release. Perhaps as a move to avoid a repeat of the aforementioned SFxT DLC debacle, Capcom elected to release this content without charge.
- DmC Devil May Cry, hoo boy. While the real-life reaction to this Continuity Reboot at its live unveiling was already overwhelmingly negative, the internet absolutely blew up for everything from its Trolling Creator including multiple Take That's directed at fans of the original series, and what fans perceived to be downright offensive content. Hilariously, the sheer amount of fan hate, both online and off, caused the creator to release DLC to make Dante look like Devil May Cry 3's version of Dante.
- 2K Games
- Christoph Hartmann, the President of 2K Games, gave a interview where he defended X-COM 's reboot Genre Shift from Strategy to FPS, stating that Strategy games are not contemporary (outdated) and gave an analogue that Ray Charles would have updated his music style to that of Kanye West rap to keep up with the times. Within the hour, everybody on the internet pointed out that 2K Games was a publisher for Civilization, a series that gave a nice profit, and that Turn-Based Strategy games were thriving on consoles and handhelds courtesy of Disgaea, Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics and others. The Ray Charles and Kanye West analogue pretty much pissed off everybody, even making those who didn't see why the fans were angry over the Genre Shift finally understand why. The first X-COM game to come out since that interview was XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which was actually was a strategy game and found modest success, while the FPS went back to the backburner to be revamped into the 2013 TPS spin-off game The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.
- On a sidenote, one of the major trailers of Enemy Unknown has the words "From the makers of Civilization comes the game about the end of civilization". Talk about trying to emphasize Type 1 damage control...
- Borderlands 2 got hit with this due to 2K's sudden decision to force region lock on language and multiplayer for the Russian region. While this was common for many previous titles and always caused a great deal of rage from the players, there were two key differences...
- First, it was a preorder with full language support listed in its features.
- Second, several ex-Soviet countries got locked to Russian language as well despite not having Russian as a national language.
- The ensuing backlash with a massive number of refunded preorders forced 2K to review their policies, so both Borderlands 2 and the aforementioned X-COM strategy game became non-locked releases.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was a juggernaut on both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, but many fans were wary of the PC version's multiplayer component, especially in light of announcements made by Infinity Ward and Activision that many features (that were standard to all other PC games) would be changed or removed. The removal of dedicated servers, the ability to lean and the reduction of players who could participate in each match ticked people off to no end before the game was released. When MW2 came out, and IW gloated that their anti-cheat software would make the game impossible to screw around with, hackers across the world took their statement as a personal challenge. Less than a week after the game debuted, various hackers broke through the source code, unlocked dedicated servers, gave players to chance to instantly reach the level cap (Prestige) after one kill, brought back the lean ability, and opened up the command console and unlocked gameplay modes that hadn't even been released yet. The cracked version of the game has more functionality than the console version, and the servers ended up being filled with cheaters and griefers trying to ruin the experience for everyone else. Needless to say, dedicated servers were reinstated for all subsequent Call of Duty games on PC.
- World of Warcraft fans had an epic three day war with the reveal of the RealID feature. While it was presented as an improved means of communication while playing recent games made by Blizzard Entertainment, it was a very touchy subject due to the personal info required for its use. With the announcement that the service was to be made mandatory in order to make new posts on their forums... the playerbase, naturally, exploded. The backlash was epic in proportions. It hit about 300 pages within around 5 hours of the original post. Within a day, it had over 1500 pages (and was locked at almost 2500 pages, with an additional 700 pages in its sister thread on the European forums). Not only this, but several news websites decided the uproar was worth a story. The last thing, a Blizzard employee, community manager Bashiok, posted his own full name as a show of good faith, and was quickly hunted down IRL and harassed mercilessly by irate players. Blizzard employees have since been made exempt from the changes, citing "privacy concerns". Naturally, after three days of insanity, the decision was revoked, and the fandom rejoiced. Apparently, the only thing that convinced Activision to back down was the rash of players who actually canceled their accounts this time.
- During Blizzcon 2011, George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher made a song towards the Alliance that was little more than a string of homophobic insults and calls for the Alliance to commit suicide note ; The homophobic comments in particular made several participants feel unwelcome. Community manager Bashiok tried to pass it off as being "Just a joke, not to be taken seriously", which made matters worse. Eventually, Blizzard owed up to what they did and publicly apologized for all of it, up to and including Bashiok's dismissal of the situation.
- Nintendo of America once commented that they had no plans to release Xenoblade, The Last Story or Pandora's Tower in North America due to localization costs and non-interest from the gaming community. This led to Operation Rainfall, a fan petition to get them to reverse their stance. Among other things, the group drove Xenoblade to number one on the Amazon game pre-orders list (under its working title "Monado: Beginning of the World"), spammed the company's Twitter and Facebook pages into oblivion and sent off hundreds of angry letters to the Nintendo of America offices. All three games ended up being localized.
- Nintendo announcing the Wii U exclusivity of Bayonetta 2 resulted in angry fans bombarding Platinum Games with messages demanding that it be brought to other consoles as well. So far, Platinum has not relented, due to Nintendo funding the game after Sega cut their funding and originally canceled the game.
- Nintendo has created another massive firestorm after quietly announcing that they'll be taking possession of all YouTube Ad revenue from gameplay videos. This includes not just legal gray areas like Lets Plays, but things such as reviews (which would be protected under fair use) and press videos. The internet caught fire as a result. Nintendo ended this policy just as quietly some time after the announcement, so quietly in fact that many gaming sites haven't reported about it.
- A firestorm over region locking has occurred against Nintendo for being the last one of the big three to still region lock their products to some degree after Sony announced the PlayStation 4 will be region free and Microsoft reversed their earlier plans for region locking/DRMing the Xbox One. Iwata has stated Nintendo still region locks many of their products not for business reasons, but for legal and cultural reasons. However fans/critics continue to hold Nintendo's feet to the fire to try forcing them to drop region locking.
- When Balloon Fight was released as the first Wii U Virtual Console game, European users were given the inferior 50Hz version rather than the 60Hz version released in North America and Japan. The European Miiverse community had more complaints about the conversion than comments talking about the game itself. In response, the next game F-Zero was released in 60Hz.
- On July 9, 2013, word had gotten out that Nintendo had - for whatever reason - denied EVO the right to stream their Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament. The retribution was swift and immediate, and several protests, petitions, and not more than three hours later, Nintendo had reversed their decision.
- When it announced that Pokémon Bank, the companion app for Pokémon X and Y, was to be delayed until further notice due to server crashes, fans were outraged. As a response, several people proceeded to flood Nintendo's and Pokémon's Twitter and Facebook pages with demands for Pokémon Bank to be released. With Gamefreak remaining silent over the situation, fans grew very impatient. Since this was necessary to transfer Pokémon from the Generation V games to X and Y, it only made the people even more angry.
- "All I want for Xmas is a PSP" was a website that had a pair of kids rapping about how much they wanted a PSP for Christmas. Naturally, some people who saw the video smelled something fishy. As it turns out, it was posted by Sony, and the Internet responded with anger. Sony eventually fessed up, saying "Busted. Nailed. Snagged. As many of you have figured out (maybe our speech was a little too funky fresh???), Peter isn't a real hip-hop maven and this site was actually developed by Sony."
- Sony would find themselves in another unsettling scenario with the Playstation 4. A report said that Sony was contemplating to use some form of digital rights management (DRM) to control or limit access to used games. Fans viciously protested on Twitter. It worked, possibly in response to the overwhelmingly negative reaction to Microsoft's new policy on used games (which they then backpedaled on in response; see the immediate bullet point below). And There Was Much Rejoicing.
- Microsoft has received a ton of this from its fans after the reveal of the Xbox One (from the inability to play used games without an additional fee to the reveal simply talking about the media possibilities of the console that aren't about games). This video from Angry Joe explains just a few of the fans' complaints.
- Adam Orth, former creative director for Microsoft, had posted on his Twitter account to respond to the criticism that the Xbox One would require a constant internet connection for it to work. Adam basically defended the idea and then posted some weak responses to people that kept blasting him for defending a terrible idea. He then told everyone to "deal with it", which yielded instant lambasting. This caused Microsoft to quietly terminate Adam while publicly responding to the outcries by saying Adam's statements don't represent the company's ideas and stances.
- And another counterattack started AGAIN against Microsoft at E3 2013, when during the presentation of the new Killer Instinct, one presenter uttered the line "just let it happen, it'll be over soon," to the other during a fighting game. The internet interpreted this as an off-color rape joke and responded in kind.
- Don Mattrick's, former head of the Xbox division, tone-deaf pronouncements to GT TV's Geoff Keighley, in which he claimed that everyone had a solid internet connection these days and even insulted fans by stating they should just stick with the Xbox 360 if they did not.
- And then, on June 19th, 2013, Microsoft finally gave in. Following a mocking on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and being blasted by the press, Microsoft recanted on their policies.
- The War Z, a DayZ Mockbusting Dolled-Up Installment of War Inc, outright labels itself◊ as an Obvious Beta in-game, was marketed with Blatant Lies on its Steam store page (which the developers are hellbent on defending to hell and back), introduced a extended revival period that required a micropayment for immediate resurrection, something usually unheard of in a game people already paid money for, and made DayZ creator Rocket depressed, due to basically everything mentioned here (especially the Mockbuster aspect). These caused such a severe backlash that it was pulled from Steam... temporarily.
- NC Soft decided to shut down the MMORPG City of Heroes. Shortly thereafter (in financial terms), the company's stock has dropped 40%, at least in part due to the fans saying, 'Nope, we'll have no more of this.' Plus, when Mercedes Lackey, Larry Dixon, and Neil Gaiman - as well as a good number of others - join in a protest against your company, you have done something horribly, horribly wrong.
- Fans were not happy with the roster for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, where despite it being larger than the first All-Stars Racing, had fewer franchise representation (at least on the console version) and addressed the Smurfette Principle in the first game by putting in a few sidekick female charactersnote and real-life racer Danica Patrick. Steve Lycett, head of Sumo Digital, challenged the fans on the official SEGA Forums to gather votes—he would propose DLC characters if at least three requested characters receive at least a thousand votes, intending it to be a lesson in the difficulty of getting characters approved. The polls, in the form of petitions, received mention all over the gaming press, including Jeux France, Kotaku, and IGN, and in the end, 7 characters received a four-digit vote count, including female protagonists Bayonetta and Hatsune Miku. Having eaten his words, Lycett pitched all 7 characters to SEGA and got the approval to release the top winner, Ryo Hazuki.
- Ubisoft has been on the receiving end of this when they was announced in February 2013 that the highly anticipated Wii U exclusive Rayman Legends, previously delayed from a November 2012 release and slated to be released that very month, was going to get a multiplatform release for the Xbox 360 and PS3. That didn't really seem too bad at first... until they also announced that all versions (including the Wii U version) of the game were set for a September 2013 release. Meaning that the Wii U version - which was practically finished by that time and was just about to hit stores - was going to delayed again for another seven months. The facts that the game is planned to be released during a season when many triple-A titles will be released at that time (including the much anticipated Grand Theft Auto V) and the developers ended up overworking to meet the February deadline for naught only added fuel to the quickly spreading wildfire of criticism. Even Matthew Taranto, the usually happy-go-lucky creator of Brawl in the Family, decided to write an angry rant about the situation. The game ended up selling as well as one would expect in such a situation — but still saw its strongest sales on the Wii U.
- Previously, Ubisoft experienced a strong backlash from PC gamers when an executive, defending their move towards free-to-play, claimed PC piracy of their products was around 93-95%. This was likely confusion on his part with the fact that 93-95% of F2P gamers do not make in-game purchases, but he allowed the comment to stand and fester. Combined with their restrictive DRM method, which also created potential security exploits when installed, Ubisoft earned a great deal of anger. Eventually they made amends by reducing their DRM to minimal levels for the PC and have made claims of trying to focus on it as an important market.
- Wild Games Studio, the makers of Day One: Garry's Incident were lit aflame across the internet after they took down TotalBiscuit's review of the game for "monetizing someone else's property." when it reality it seemed like nothing else but censorship. Aside from the video being protected by fair use as a review; the devs actually gave TB a free copy with the implication they knew who he was and what he did. TB himself made a point of mentioning that no less than four monetized videos — each as popular as his with at least one bluntly calling it crap — were left up. Only a few hours later it was revealed that the president of the company helped push his game over the kickstarter limit by paying at least 1,000 dollars out of his own pocket, and also the possibility he bribed Valve employees to approve the game on Greenlight. Petitions to have it removed from Steam similar to The War Z quickly followed, as well as a massive drop in the quality of reviews and nothing but hate from reviewers and their fanbases. (Ironically, TB himself was content to let them burn as-is, and thinks the petition to have it taken down is unneeded.)
- When Valve did not put up the said-in-2012-to-be-annual Diretide Halloween game mode in Dota 2 in 2013 with zero words as to why, the game's player base went absolutely ballistic and irate by consistenly calling Valve "Volvo"note , bombing the game on Metacritic, barraging any official Valve communication channel with requests for Diretidenote , spamming “༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ Give DIRETIDE” (emoticon included) absolutely everywhere possible on the Internet (including Barack Obama's Facebook page, for some reason) and jokingly bugging the actual Volvo on Facebook and Twitter and with prank calls about Diretide.note It took 8 days past Halloween of assaults for Valve to break the silence and admit they goofed in communications skills and being late at giving Diretide.
- Early in the funding period of Mighty No. 9, a lady named Dina posted to the comments page at the Kickstarter, suggesting that for sake of gender representation, that Beck should be female. On top of this, she included a radical redesign of Beck. This was largely ignored, save for the odd bit of ridicule—until she got a position as a community manager and a designer at Comcept LLC. Then her Twitter feed was discovered, revealing, among other things, that she was pretty much unfamiliar with the Mega Man franchise, that her boyfriend worked at Comcept LLC, and that she had very strong political beliefs, especially regarding political correctness. These revelations did not sit well with the backers—there was suspicion of nepotism at play, and many were worried she would attempt to shoehorn her politics into what was supposed to be a straightforward Spiritual Successor. Others felt her art style would be sorely out-of-place in the game, or that her qualifications for this job were dubious, given her coworkers were seasoned professionals with work on several prior Mega Man games. Couple this with Dina locking and then deleting large chunks of her twitter feed, and the dev forum was in a brief frenzy.
- In 2011, a Starcraft 2 player and trainer named Destiny was the target of DDOS attacks for several months, until he managed to get into contact with the attacker, who tried to blackmail him. However, Destiny managed to pull the attacker's IP and forwarded it to one of his friends, who managed to not only pull the attacker's name, contact information, and address, but the names and phone numbers of all of his immediate relatives as well. After making a call to the attacker to taunt him, Destiny got into contact with the attacker's father, who promised that his son would not do anything like this again. Destiny has not had a single DDOS attack since.
- Candy Crush Saga developer King Inc., in an ill-advised effort to protect their IP, applied to trademark the word "Candy". Since said word is extremely common, and King was already abusing their trademark by threatening games that otherwise had nothing to do with matching three sweets (Including The Banner Saga, of all things), people naturally got pissed off to the point of creating a "Candy Jam", inviting people to make their own games with "Candy" and/or "Saga" in the title. After all this, King finally relented and withdrew its trademark for the word in the United States.
- A source of HUGE backlash spawned in regards to the fandom character "Derpy Hooves" from the show My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The controversy in general revolves around said character's edit from her original appearance in the episode "The Last Roundup" to something less offensive. note One of the supporters of the edit, Yamino of Sister Claire (and of deviantART), was subjected to heavy amount of attack by the more rabid side of the fanbase. Turns out, she was singled out as a target by 4Chan and Tumblr, and it was organized that every Derpy fan would pull an all-out assault on her profile. It had gotten to the point where one of the animators from the show wrote a message to tell the irate mob to back off.
Kreoss: Oh I also want to address on a artist name Yamino. I've heard that she has been garnered a lot of hate by the Brony Community due to her not liking Derpy's portrayal. Let it be known, that she had NOTHING to do with the sudden change. She expressed an opinion on Derpy. That is all. She did not ask me to do this or anyone on the staff. I had to say this because the hate she's been receiving is unnecessary. So leave her be.
- Now it seems that Hasbro is on the receiving end of the attacks by irritated Derpy fans. Remember: Don't mess with ponies and poor communication leads to irate periphery demographics.
- Now it's happening again: The announcement of Twilight Sparkle turning into a Winged Unicorn is leading to widespread internet outrage from numerous fans alike. Equestria Daily's announcement of the transformation has gotten 2,500 comments, most of them negative, in less than two days after it was posted.
- Following the cease and desist order of the fangame Fighting is Magic, the fandom has been in an uproar, spurring the creation of many petitions to lift the order.
- DC Nation: When Cartoon Network finally put the programming block back on after a long hiatus, they immediately pulled it after only two weeks, and the night before the third week's episodes were supposed to air. Fans weren't happy, they began to lobby about the problem, Twitter and Facebook were filled with angry posts, and even the producers (namely Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld) sided with the fans.
- To add to that, a petition was started on iPetition to get 10,000 signatures on it to bring back the block. It got 10,000 in two days.
- A much more organized protest is going on in response to Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series being canceled.
- A much less fan-positive response came after the "new" Teen Titans, called Teen Titans Go! was announced; the new character designs and Flanderization of beloved characters, including our very own Goddess of Sugar and Ice Personalities, has resulted in thousands of fans pledging not to watch the 'series reboot' on principle, especially after the animators have publicly admitted that they didn't watch the original series.
- On December 10th, the Fat Man on Batman podcast, hosted by Kevin Smith, uploaded its 52nd episode, once again interviewing Paul Dini. Dini dropped a bombshell that absolutely infuriated fans, insinuating that classic shows such as Teen Titans were cancelled because "girls don't buy toys," and that "we need boys watching these shows." Dini then alleged that Cartoon Network intentionally dumbs down its shows to make them "more appealing to boys." Soon after, a profanity-laced transcription was posted on Tumblr (found here), leading to a firestorm of outraged fans (who already suspected Executive Meddling) calling Cartoon Network 'misogynist,' with many swearing off DC Nation entirely and one fan in particular publicly calling for Stuart Snyder's resignation on the official forums.
- Revolution Muslim once posted a warning to South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone over the two-part episode "200", which depicted Muhammad in a bear costume in the first part (It turned out to be actually Santa Claus in the second part) and as a walking censor bar in the second part. The site was hacked in retaliation, and visitors were redirected to a picture of Muhammad with a bomb on his head and of an older Muslim man kissing a young boy. This later turned into a full-blown Internet Backlash when it was found out that depicting Muhammad as a walking censor bar (as well as mass bleeping of speeches in the second part) was Comedy Central's Executive Meddling out of fear of Revolution Muslim, leading ultimately to "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" on Facebook.
- The AACS encryption key controversy, in which the AACS company tried to stop people posting its cryptographic key, the hexadecimal number 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0, on their sites. Consequently, it started appearing all over the Internet in every conceivable context (you can even get it on a t-shirt), and (when searched for on Google) gives more than 200,000 Google hits. It happened again later with the HDCP master key (used in Blu-ray DRM).
- In 2011, a church in Kentucky told an interracial couple they weren't welcome there anymore, and voted to forbid interracial couples from worshiping there, period. The reactions practically set a land speed record for backlash and damage control (three days after the story hit the internet, the people in charge repealed the decision).
- Netflix's rate increases in 2011 came back to bite the company in the ass hard. People didn't just post flaming statements against Netflix on all social media forms - they hit the company where they lived. Netflix suffered 800,000 subscription cancellations in the third quarter of that year..
- KONY 2012. Essentially, it was an effort to raise awareness of the infamous terrorist Joseph Kony and the horrific tragedies he has caused (including kidnapping children and either making them sex slaves or child soldiers, and even making them kill their own parents), with the hopes of getting the attention of the government to warrant his arrest. The whole thing spread like wildfire right out of the gate.
- ...which then resulted in another counterattack. One of the parts of KONY 2012 was putting up posters on a certain date all over the world over night. Before that date, the movement was getting a poor reputation due to questions revolving around the legitimacy of Invisible Children, the organizers of KONY 2012, and irritation from supporters spreading the word by flooding comment boxes all over the 'net. This resulted in what can only be described as one counterattack canceling another attack. When said date rolled around and the posters were all put up all over the place, another set of people walked right out and started tearing them down.
- Global Radio is in the middle of this right now, with people wanting Real Radio to be kept on as a brand.
- Industries Lassonde Inc. sued a small business, because their brand of soaps called "Oasis" had the same name as their juice. Lassonde lost the case, but launched another one, demanding compensation for the money spent on the first lawsuit. While perfectly legal, this will insure the bankruptcy of the soap maker, because they already lost a good deal of money on this whole affair. In turn, it will give Lassonde exclusive use of the brand name "Oasis". The story got posted on social medias and it didn't took long for people to backlash at the corporate. Their lateness to react and poor response from their PR resulted in a massive call for boycott. The mainstream media caught the story and the CEO himself had to do some damage control. The lawsuit was quickly dropped.
- Metacritic/YouTube Bombings, when you absolutely, positively need to make the corporations know how disgruntled you are in the world of media by rating their products with ones/disliking their videos. Accept no substitutes.
- The "Applebees waitress incident" in St. Louis, MO, led to counterattacks on multiple parties:
- The pastor who started the whole thing by refusing to pay the company standard 18% tip for big parties, writing, "I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?" and then demanding everyone involved at the restaurant be fired when the check/note was posted on Reddit, thus revealing her identity to the world while giving even more reasons to hate her, further adding to the linked trope: the waitress had made efforts to not reveal the patron's identity but this was undone by said pastor speaking out to fire her and all of them, revealing her own identity . The pastor has since claimed she did tip, the note was a lapse of judgment and that she was heartbroken over embarrassing her community, but the Internet isn't accepting her apologies.
- Applebee's themselves for partially acquiescing to the pastor's demands and firing the waitress, Chelsea Welch, who posted the note. The firing (as well as their subsequent "social media suicide" on Facebook) caused many people to announce their boycott of Applebee's.
- What's more, the incident created backlash against the entire restaurant industry and a call to reform the country's minimum wage laws, as it led to public revelation of how many restaurants use a loophole with customer tips to pay their serving staff a paltry $3 an hour or less.
- On June 10, 2013, Taylor Chapman tried to invoke this by posting a video of her going to a Dunkin' Donuts because she didn't get a receipt last night and didn't get a free meal from it. She proclaimed loudly that she was posting this on Facebook so everyone would get mad at the establishment. Well people did get mad...at her. During the entire confrontation, she was extremely rude and spouting out racist insults, calling one of the employees "a sand n***er" all while the employees very calmly and politely made her the free meal she requested. The establishment was very proud of how the employees handled the situation and gave them a raise. There's currently a petition going to support the employee who had to deal with her.
- The Internet wasted no time in publicly shaming and exposing some people whose costumes for Halloween 2013 were deemed insensitive by them: namely Alicia Ann Lynch, who dressed up as a bombed Boston Maraton runnernote , and Caitlin Cimeno, whose brother Greg and his friend William Filene dressed up as, respectively, George Zimmerman and a blackfaced-and-blood-stained Trayvon Martin.note
- Yet another example of this blowing up in the face of the person hoping to instigate one: Dayna Morales, a waitress at Gallop Asian Bistro in New Jersey and a former Marine, posted on the "Have a Gay Day" Facebook page that a family of customers had denied her a tip because she was gay. She received an outpouring of support in web donations which she said she would donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. But the credibility of her story received a major blow when the family posted a receipt online showing that they had tipped her. Soon other holes in her story were uncovered: not only did none of the money Morales get go to the Wounded Warriors, but she also apparently had a major history of compulsive lying and rule-breaking (she fooled friends into thinking she had cancer, and she had been dishonorably discharged from the Marines for undisclosed reasons). Her exploitation of both LGBT groups and wounded veterans managed to piss off liberal and conservative web-surfers alike, leading to Morales losing her job, the PayPal money she got being returned to her donors, and the owner of Gallop Asian Bistro giving Wounded Warriors an actual donation.
- A girl made a YouTube video calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies, because the Girl Scouts of America supports transgender children. Cue an internet tidal wave of backlash, as video responses pop up — a lot of them from former/lifetime Girl Scoutsnote — who blasted the girl not only for what many percieved as an ignorant and bigoted message but pointing out that her message is the antithesis of the Girl Scouts' principles. The original video has since disappeared; the responses have not.
- In one awesome example, a little punk named Kenny Glenn released a video on YouTube of him subjecting his pet cat Dusty to repeated beatings and a series water-sprays that, in depiction and action, felt like ritualistic psychological abuse. Internet vigilantes, trolls and concerned animal-lovers teamed up, successfully tracked down Kenny's address and contact details and informed the police. Kenny and his older brother (who was present and doing the filming) were arrested, his family's house became a popular target for internet pranks, and Dusty was rescued, as well as another cat.
- If this post is true, it's a perfect example of how a little misinformation and lack of research can lead to an Internet Counterattack gone horribly wrong. note
- When ex-porn star Jenna Jameson's former assistant was harassing her digital account, her former assistant learned the hard way of messing with the personal life of someone who next to the government have control of the internet as the guy's identity was revealed for Jenna showing the "goods"
- An owner of a small bar in Ohio banned gay people from his bar while wearing his bigotry like a badge of honor note . The internet wasted no time advertising his business as a go-to hotspot and gay bar, while also noting that the owner's also shown discrimination against ethnic minorities as well as gay people in the hopes of tanking his business.
- In November 2013, former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb said on a Fox Sports program that he didn't consider NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson (who was on the verge of winning his sixth Sprint Cup championship) an athlete. The online NASCAR fanbase reacted instantaneously, and by the end of the night, #PeopleWhoAreMoreOfAnAthleteThanDonovanMcNabb was trending nationwide on Twitter. It included mentions of people such as Toronto mayor Rob Ford and Manti Te'o's "girlfriend". Between this and remarks made by other drivers, McNabb decided to accept a challenge to race against Johnson.
- In late March 2014, Brendan Eich became Mozilla's CEO. His reign would never get a chance to start when revelations were revealed that he donated to California's Proposition 8, which was a proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage for the state. This caused a big internet counterattack against Eich and Mozilla with calls to boycott Firefox and other Mozilla products. Eich resigned in early April 2014 due to the backlash.
- When Facebook had bought the rights to Occulus Rift, gamers from around the internet were quick to lash out at the site citing "Where were you when gaming died" and other insults hurled at Facebook for ruining what they felt was going to revolutionize virtual reality.
- A reader of Washington Post's The Switch blog mocked the whole Heartbleed thing, posted two passwords to his own accounts, and invited hackers to help themselves. Hilarity ensued.
- City centre redesigns are also prone to this trope. Recently (well, last Christmas to be honest), Nottinghamshire City Council, Leeds City Council and Salford City Council were ridiculed on social media for replacing their streetlighting with (in the complainers' words) "futuristic streetlighting", and for ruining an iconic viewpoint. However, we have yet to hear their response, but in any case, replacing the streetlights is probably justified.