We’ve blogged about individual bloopers in the Twittersphere before, but this week even one of the world’s biggest names in IT forgot the adage to ‘think before you tweet’.

While the world news media reported one of the worst natural disasters ever, Microsoft’s Bing team committed a faux pas by creating a Twitter campaign that effectively capitalised on the disaster and the discussions around it in the Twittersphere.

On 12th March, just a day after the earthquake and tsunami had struck Japan the Bing Twitter account tweeted:

How you can #SupportJapan – http://binged.it/fEh7iT. For every retweet, @bing will give $1 to Japan quake victims, up to $100K.
Try Bing. A new way to search, explore, & decide

Poorly thought out at best, a senseless marketing drive at worst, considering the death tally is already in the tens of thousands.

Those on Twitter appeared to feel the same. Following criticism about Bing’s approach within a few hours the company had tweeted an apology, but not before damage had been done.

We apologize the tweet was negatively perceived. Intent was to provide an easy way for people to help Japan. We have donated $100K.

To be fair to Microsoft when they did admit to an error in their ways they did donate heavily to the disaster relief fund and also used the ‘apologize’ word which is more than many probably expected.

In fact if you follow the original link in the ‘offending’ tweet you will see Microsoft’s contribution to the fund is an impressive initial commitment of $2 million including in-kind contributions like software.

Will those using Twitter learn? We think not. Expect a similar blog in a few months time.

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