Google quietly pulled an anti-Farnsworth this morning and began the day with a round of bad news: they’re pulling the plug on free use of Google Apps for Business, their suite of tools for cloud-based e-mail, calendar and document sharing.
When we work with small business clients that don’t have an existing solution for these things (or they have one that works poorly), we’ve often recommended Google Apps. It’s a great productivity suite, it’s easy for our web team to setup and support, and the price point couldn’t be beat - at least until this morning. Of course, it’s still a great tool. Clients will just need to budget for $50 per user per year for the privilege of using it.
Perhaps more interesting (from the PR perspective, anyway) was John Koetsier’s analysis of the Google announcement over on VentureBeat. His dissection of the blog post reveals Google’s tried-and-true formula for announcing the bad news:
- First Graph: How we got here.
- Second Graph: Identify the problem.
- Third Graph: The change. Good first, bad second. No apologies.
- Fourth Graph: Why this is actually good news.
- Fifth Graph: One last sugary-sweet point about how we’re saving the world together. (Optional.)
Google’s not alone, of course - this formula is pretty common in corporate blog posts and press releases that deal with bad news for customers.