5 Key ORM Takeaways For Brands From The Gaana Hack

Gaana.com was hacked by a Pakistani hacker on Thursday sending a lot of panic among users' data concerns. CEO Satyan Gajwani handled the crisis perfectly before matters could spiral further


This Thursday was a field day for Indian music streaming site, Gaana.com. A Lahore-based hacker who goes by the name Mak Man, proved a point to Gaana by executing a Proof of Concept (POC) hack on the site. A POC exploit refers to an attack against a computer or network only to prove it can be done, it does not cause any harm, but shows how a hacker can take advantage of vulnerability in the software or hardware.

It seems Mak Man had been reaching out to the Gaana website folks about this vulnerability several times earlier, but they did nothing about it, compelling him to prove it his way. The issue was resolved by the end of Thursday with the CEO of Gaana.com, Satyan Gajwani taking charge of the crisis personally and restoring faith in Gaana users.

Thursday morning, a bunch of Gaana users began complaining that the site was down, #Gaana began trending by afternoon amidst growing user concern. Satyan stepped in the nick of time and explained the situation in a series of tweets, while informing users what steps were being taken by Gaana.

What was even more commendable is that the CEO invited Mak Man to be a consultant for Gaana and help resolve all its vulnerabilities. And Mak Man has expressed his approval!

Here we list 5 takeaways for all founders caught in a similar crisis.

1. Bring on a face of authority (more so for consumer-facing brands)

Brands prefer to stay under the veil of a logo and hardly own up to the issue. Consumers of a preferred brand, especially a service-providing one like Gaana.com are more likely to believe a person at the other end and not a bot with auto-responses. So at times of crisis, it makes sense for a person of authority in the brand, like a CEO or the manager handling that department, to come forward and address the issue.

Here, the CEO personally took charge of the issue and did not leave it be handled by his Public Relations team, demonstrating a strong value of credibility and accountability. In fact, he has been personally replying to user concerns regarding their data.

2. Do it real quick: bad news travels faster than light!

Bad news has a natural tendency to fly off the handle and make cuts where it shouldn’t. Brands cannot afford to ignore this in these times of real-time information highways carrying bad news faster than it travelled before. Before the matter could even escalate and harm Gaana’s reputation further, Satyan made his move. But, he made sure to come onboard only after getting the complete picture of the situation.

3. Use the same public platform as of the outrage

Twitter is, in all likelihood, the world’s fastest virtual messaging network, often picking up the most trending pieces of discussions within hours. When #Gaana began trending as the music streaming sites’ users poured out their complaints one by one on Twitter, it also informed non-users that the service was down. Before the downtime could spill onto other social networks and gather more negative sentiments on the way, Satyan ensured he addressed the issue on Twitter itself.

4. Acknowledge. Inform. Update

When caught amid a PR crisis, brands tend to avoid, ignore or be vague about it. Hardly a few acknowledge the matter, further adding fuel to the social media outrage. The first thing that Satyan did was acknowledge the mistake and show what amends they were making, a fact that was also applauded by the hacker Mak Man.



5. Turn around the negative vibes to positive

Satyan’s quick turnaround ensured users’ peace of mind prevailed, but it was also his people-to-people approach that made a difference. He has been replying personally to a few tweets asking questions or expressing their concern, especially since the hacker is from Pakistan, a country with which we do not share a healthy relationship. His offer to Mak Man to help Gaana resolve its vulnerabilities is a good example of turning the negative to a positive.

How Satyan Gajwani restored faith in Gaana users can be a brilliant case study on best practices to be adopted in a real-time PR crisis. What are your views?

Feature image credit: NextBigWhat