Dell Hell as a term illustrates the power of bloggers. I feel sorry for the company. It is working its way into the language sort of like Enronitis.
The Dell Hell Story... In June 2005 media authority and blogger Jeff Jarvis complained about his new Dell on his blog Buzzmachine. "Dell Hell" generated a lot of buzz in the blogosphere with thousands of links. A case study was done of this in December '05 measuring the influence of bloggers on corporate reputations. It's here in pdf. Dell Hell started to become a meme -- (rhymes with theme) about the frustration of dealing with tech frustrations and the hell of trying to get tech problems resolved. It spread virally, from one mind to another, in a sort of self-propagating way online.
After setting the MotherPie site up and having trouble with Network Solution's email service, I, too, visited Tech Hell where I talked to people named Dave with accents from India. David Pogue, tech writer for the New York Times, passed along a satire last week of the Dell tech support experience. He had to revisit the issue this week as it definitely hit a nerve. The power of the blogosphere coupled with the frustration level of trying to work through tech support has launched an idea. Dell Hell has now been launched as a meme. College students are using the term without knowing where it came from, an article today in the Blog Business Summit reports.
Phone Hell is sort of like Tech Hell and Paul English, after posting a few bad experiences with automated phone services, began posting the 800-number short-cuts on his personal blog, which unleased a fury -- he, too, hit a cultural nerve. His IVR Cheat Sheet to bypass phone systems to get a human is now at GetHuman. Click here for the gethuman database to help you -- you'll want to print it out and save it.
Tech Hell, Dell Hell, Mom Hell? ....oh well. The great thing about all this is you can contribute and keep information free and flowing so we'll all benefit. Do you have anything hellacious to contribute to this conversation? (other than Hell no?)
May '06 update: Type in Dell Hell in Wikipedia and Jeff Jarvis comes up.