Apple Might Be Watching You

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 18, 2008
Updated • Apr 15, 2012
Internet, Security

What is good customer service? Customers would usually state that good customer service means fast and effective solutions for difficulties with a product of a company. What about a company that actively monitors forums and initiates the contact with the customer?

That is apparently what has happened to Nicole Gorski (via Softpedia, thanks Dante) who stated on the official Apple support forum that she got a customer service call from Apple after posting about a problem she encountered with her MacBook Pro.

She confirmed in the thread that she did not contact Apple on this behalf and that the company could only got the information about the problem from the forum thread. Another user weighted in that the behavior was scary and (privacy) invasive.

To come back to the initial question: Do you think it is good customer service to monitor the official support forums actively and contact them without the customer's consent? Good or scary, what is your take on the story?

Update: Apple users who post on the official support site should not expect to receive calls from Apple Support whenever they do. It is however still likely that Apple is actively monitoring the forums to spot larger issues or users who are not satisfied with a product or have issues with one.

As Ghacks readers have stated, it is not really an invasion of privacy if you publicly post in a support forum on the developer's site. While you may be surprised to receive a call in first place, most users who do will surely feel positive about it as it may resolve the issues that they have with a product or service.


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  1. Roman ShaRP said on October 19, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    I agree with guys who posted before me. I don’t see anything bad in it.

    Company monitors its product/service problems and feedback? It’s great! Or do you prefer “sell and forget” attitude?

    Company offers help? I’d love such company :) Or do you prefer calling to company only to hear “No, this can’t be our problem, it’s your problem”?

  2. exglade said on October 19, 2008 at 6:02 am

    For me, I think it’s very good for a company to step down viewing the public. Like the Prime Minister of my country step down from his seat and take the train, then only he realise what a crap is the train service now.

    I feel pleased if I am Nicole Gorski. Mac is a caring company :D I hope Microsoft do the same.

  3. Votre said on October 18, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    A public forum is a public forum. And I’d find it foolish for any company worth its salt to not stay on top of what is being said about them or their products. That is quality control at its most basic.

    I also think I’d rather get a call out of the blue from a company, for a question I asked public, to the other alternative, which is to have my question (which I posted on company-owned forums as well as via direct e-mail to tech support) totally ignored.

    I’ve had the alternative happen enough times that I’d welcome Nicole Gorski’s experience with Apple.

  4. Dotan Cohen said on October 18, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    She posted in a public place, so I do think that this is fine. In fact, I think that it is great. What is scary about a company rep reading a public forum? There was a story on /. a few months ago about Comcast doing somthing similar.

  5. Max said on October 18, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    I think it’s a good idea. It’s not like Apple called her to sell her something. They called because they saw she was having problems in the support forums and wanted to help out. I wish more companies would do the same thing. I agree that maybe there should be some preference in the Apple forums options that says “Apple could call me/e-mail me” but I don’t think it’s a bad thing that they called at all.

  6. Angelo R. said on October 18, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    To be honest, I think this is great. Companies are realizing that people are going to other sources for information, and are willing to step in and provide that information.

    As long as you are
    a) Not being charged for it
    b) Don’t have any sort of tracking built into the mac

    I don’t see how there should be a problem.

    What they need to realize, or at least state, is that they shouldn’t be tracking people unknowingly. Sure they could troll around forums looking for people to help, but they can never, and should never, install any sort of desktop tracking software.

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