ADT Under Attack

By John Honovich, Published Nov 24, 2012, 07:00pm EST

Security behemoth ADT is struggling to make the transition to social media and a world where customers can freely and publicly say what they actually think about the company. In this note, we contrast ADT's approach to social media versus the massive number of criticisms leveled against the company by social media users.

ADT's Approach

ADT has laid out its "Social Media Terms of Use", an optimistic, if not quixotic, position on the use of the Internet.

  • ADT views social media enabling people who "want to share their passion for ADT" and that they "always welcome and encourage constructive feedback and discussion"
  • However, ADT "reserves the right ... to review, delete, edit or otherwise alter all User Content in any manner we see fit, and we will remove any User Content that we deem, in our sole discretion, to be inappropriate or offensive."
  • Moreover, if you post anything on 'ADT's Social Media Channels', "you grant ADT a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sub-licensable right to (i) use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, transmit, create derivative works from, distribute, disclose and publicly display and perform your User Content for commercial purposes throughout the world in any media now known or hereafter developed"

Basically, if you say something they do not like they can delete it and if you say something they do like, they can turn it into a marketing campaign for themselves.

ADT's Terrible Reputation

ADT has the worst reputation of any security company I know. Yes, they are the biggest in the US but the level of ill will towards them is far out of proportion to their size. It's incredibly common to hear security people not only with negative experiences with ADT but genuine contempt for them.

Social media is a killer for companies with bad reputations. In the old days, companies could control their reputations and paper over it with extensive marketing expenditures. Today, this is becoming unfeasible.

When you look online for reviews of ADT, the results are shocking and terrible for ADT:

  • Approaching 200 bad reviews at ADT's Pissed Consumer page featuring comments such as 'sneaky', 'unbelievably bad', 'the worst', 'ridiculous' and those are just from the first handful of reviews.
  • ADT in Irving Texas [link no longer available], 10 reviews, average only 2 out of 5 stars.
  • ADT in Pleasanton California, 29 reviews, average only 1.5 out of 5 stars.
  • ADT's own employees do not even like the company. On Glassdoor, 242 employees give the company just 2.4 out of 5 stars and their CEO a 38% approval rating.

Social media will stop ADT from hiding its bad performance. While ADT can try to put social media 'policies' in place, the only thing that will stop the rising tide of consumer unrest will be for ADT to improve the quality of its services and products.

ADT on Facebook

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ADT is taking a beating on their Facebook page. Here's an example:

adt fail

And here's another one, from the ADT Facebook homepage:

adt

And another one from the ADT facebook the next day:

more complaints

ADT does have customer support people responding regularly to complaints on their Facebook page but the sheer volume is alarming. If you have a problem with ADT services, posting it on Facebook looks like the best way to (possibly) get a resolution.

Comparison to Vivint

ADT's social media criticisms are far worse than even much maligned Vivint. Vivint's Facebook page has 3x the number of likes and, more importantly, far fewer complaints from consumers.

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