You have spoken about the fact that negative comments in part drove participation in the viral success of your site. This would be a horrifying concept for a lot of people and brands – can you give us a run down on how that worked for you?
Positive comments about the website are nice to read but they do not drive argument and discussion. I have, on many occasion, gone onto sites such as Reddit and Digg during positive discussion regarding my articles and left comments, under different names, that the content is juvenile and poorly written etc. This drives argument from others who enjoy the content, in effect creating factions that band together to argue and justify their opinion that the site is otherwise. Articles that succeed at driving discussion, argument and factions, are the ones that become popular and therefore viral.
So, given what you’ve just said, would you advise brands to not be so scared of negativity from online communities?
Having all comments positive is static. If there are negative comments left, others will argue and/or justify their preferences and defend that preference in the online communities. A positive comment may be met with a few others agreeing with the statement but a negative one will be met with many people arguing against the comment. For a brand, this engagement is gold.