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December 07, 2009


With the holiday season approaching fast, a best selling toy is facing a serious online reputation problem. A San Francisco based consumer lab named GoodGuide tested the Go Go Hamster, a furry hamster toy manufactured in China by Zhu Zhu and reached troubling results. The findings that GoodGuide reached was that one of the models of the toy contained a high level of Antimony on the toy's nose and hair, which may be linked to cancer, lung and heart problems.

The Go Go Hamster, a small hamster toy that squeaks and runs across the floor became a hit this holiday season partly because of its low price in a difficult economic period. It had already been marked as one of this season’s hottest toys. A speaker for Character Options the distributor of the toy in the UK said only a week ago that the company is expecting to sell north of 600,000 hamsters before the end of the year. The toy that became a hit partly because of its low retail price of £10 was picked up by speculators who assumed the toy would sell out and would fetch a higher price on eBay or Amazon.

Russ Hornsby, chief executive of the firm Cepia, said in a statement "We want to assure everyone already enjoying Mr. Squiggles or other Zhu Zhu Pets, and those planning to purchase Mr Squiggles or another Zhu Zhu Pet this holiday season, that the toy is 100% safe and in compliance with all US and European toy safety standards.” This statement on behalf of Zhu Zhu is a good start but the fact is that the Google Resume for the term Go Go Hamster is currently very negative

What can a business do if it is finds itself in an online reputation crisis?

Zhu Zhu would be smart to address the concerns of its customers in the most direct way possible. It would be of sound strategy to occupy themselves with the people who have already entrusted their children’s health with the company. By addressing the customer, the company is not only showing that it stands behind its product but also that it is thinking long-term and not only about short term sales for this coming holiday season. The company should follow what Comcast and Domino’s Pizza have done in the past and establish a twitter account so that people could contact the company directly and receive answers for their question. This would show the company is tackling the issue heads on and is not trying to bury the story.

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Comments

Zhu is a good start but the fact is that the Google Resume for the term Go Go Hamster is currently very negative. I really enjoy this post.

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The toy that became a hit partly because of its low retail price of £10 was picked up by speculators who assumed the toy would sell out and would fetch a higher price on eBay or Amazon.

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