Eric over at MyBlogLog has done a excellent job this week dealing with the SPAM issue that faced his (well, Yahoo!’s now) company last weekend. The issue was that thousands of users were e-mailed as a result of a loophole in their code.

It’s no secret I’m a fan of MyBlogLog, but that’s not the reason I’m writing this — I think the episode is a great example of how companies can benefit from being completely transparent and brutally honest regarding mistakes & corrections made. So, how’d Eric do it? Well – he was honest and transparent with everything he did:

  1. Apologized to users for the SPAM & developed a 6 Point Plan to fix make sure it doesn’t happen again
  2. Fixed point number 2 in the post referenced above
  3. Banned ShoeMoney (TechCrunch coverage)
  4. Fixed 4 more points
  5. Eric listened to the feedback that he got from contacts around the blogosphere & un-banned ShoeMoney

Corporations far and wide should be watching how effectively companies can use the web as a customer service tool. Being completely open and honest with your actions creates massive customer goodwill. Hopefully, pretty soon, companies will get over their historical fear of admitting mistakes.

Afterall, does this really sound like something you would hear from a founder?

Here’s the thing. A lot of people I respect immensely have written in to tell me that I screwed up, and after a point, it becomes impossible to avoid the truth. We banned Shoemoney originally to keep him from updating his list of User IDs on Wednesday night, which I think was the right thing to do. But after fixing the exploit, I should have unbanned him and thanked him for finding it. But I didn’t. I screwed up.

I agree with Matthew — everyone should accept the apology & move on. Once again – congrats to Eric for a job well done!

Update: I apologize, but I fell into the trap of just giving credit to Eric, rather than the whole team, because he was the one interfacing with the public. The whole team deserves a pat on the back.