In the brave new wired world, corporate reputations have never been more vulnerable. If there is one purpose for which the internet is perfectly designed it is the linking of thousands of isolated, angry bees and turning them into a vengeful swarm united by a common purpose. Private letters of complaint and word of mouth are now the least of your worries. A new and more worrying form of corporate bashing is here - suck sites.
Originally an American phenomenon, suck sites (or anti-sites) usually identify themselves as companynamesucks.com. In the US, business has become seriously worried about them. The American Civil Liberties Union has been embroiled in a war of words with McDonald's and Wal-Mart, both of which are trying to shut down suck sites on grounds of trademark infringement and industrial libel. Now suck sites are over here. Type British Airways into UK Yahoo, as any angrily delayed passenger might, and the fourth match is 'British Airways - Just Say No'. Click on this and you're taken to 'British Arsways, Britain's Worst Airline', posting an assortment of alleged blunders, discrimination and mismanagement. And this points you to www.aviation-uk.com - 'British Scareways'.
Angry travellers love suck sites. Train company Connex's own suck site, www.connex-sux.co.uk, is recommended on Brighton's tourist information site, brightontoday.com, ironically under 'How to get to Brighton'. Moans here are of the 'Cattle travel to slaughter in better conditions than I go home most nights' variety.