3/23/2011 Update: Bill Hartzer has placed a comment to this blog asserting he’s real and thanking me for even more links. He has so far not responded to my question(s) about how he came to assert control over this blog.
This past weekend, I was thinking about social media and airlines a few days ago as a subject for a future blog post. Then I remembered that AA had started a blog about 3 years ago and wondered what had happened with it.
You see, since it got “slow rolled” out about 3 years ago, I can’t remember seeing another thing about it. So I did some searching and found THIS blog. But that blog doesn’t resemble anything that a corporate giant such as AA should have (and did although it was originally pretty dry in design when done by AA) and so I dug some more. In fact, it doesn’t resemble any of the screen shots of AA’s effort when it first got introduced.
I verified that my link was the same link that everyone else in the airline world wrote about and it was. That’s the right link according to all the media who noticed its start in 2008. However, the blog that is there now is definitely not being run by American Airlines. Instead, it appears to be run by a man named Bill Hartzer who also has blogs on SEO and home furnishings.
American Airlines originally released the blog on Blogspot claiming that that route (via Blogspot) was both fast and that their customers were already consumers of Blogspot. It wasn’t tied into the main AA website and from all of my searches, AA still has no real social media going on presently.
This surprises me not at all since social media requires granting a certain freedom to those operating it that is counter to American Airlines’ corporate culture. Southwest arguably has the best corporate airline blog but others are doing it and doing it pretty well in some cases. I suspect blogs make AA executive leadership shiver.
I’ve sent email to Mr. Hartzer (of Mabank, TX) and American Airlines’ PR department but both have so far not answered my inquiries. My guess is that Mr. Hartzer doesn’t want to get noticed by AA and AA is characteristically burying its head in the sand hoping no one asks the question again.
Mr. Hartzer appears to be one of those SEO gurus that likes to constantly set links to my blog to raise someone else’s search engine results. They also love to automatically hit your blog with generic comments and links back to their sites they’re working to raise results in. It’s all noise and bad noise at that.
In fact, I take note that Mr. Hartzer fancies himself an experienced writer. If you read his material, you’ll quickly realize that he may be experienced but he sure isn’t any good at it. In fact, Mr. Hartzer says he’s created hundreds of websites but if you visit http://www.billhartzer.com, you’ll find that he never got very good at at that either.
Seriously, American Airlines, you let someone Bill Hartzer own you like that? How the hell does a $24 Billion company lose control of something like that?