Rewards and recriminations

Memo to media and other companies: make life difficult for customers at your own risk. BusinessWeek this week exposed the direct impact of Sony’s rootkit fiasco, noting that sales of Van Zant’s “Get Right With the Man,” one of the discs affected, plummeted from 887 to 25,802 in Amazon.com sales rankings in the last three weeks. Trey Anastasio’s weekly album sales have fallen by more than half.

In the Internet age, consumers respond heartily and rapidly to positive and negative changes in the commercial landscape. Easy video downloads on iTunes? Boom! A million sales in a few short weeks. Music CDs exposed as harmful to personal property? Bam! Sales fall through the floor.

Expect to see more and more of these effects as the general populace becomes more attuned to corporate habits, thanks to the simplicity of exposing the good and bad via email, forums, and blogs.