Ideas and Validation July 1, 2020

Software Matters: Turning Software Bugs Into Positive Headlines

Daniel Moayanda @Moayanda

With the vast amount of internet fraud, software/security breaches, and digital crime, the call to fortify your business data has never been louder!

It is an open secret that no software is created perfectly. Be it a website, an accounting tool, or a security program such as an antivirus or a VPN service, there are bound to be some issues and problems with it – at least, initially.

However, this fact is not, by any means, a reason for developers to be shy and try to fix all issues drawing as little attention as possible. On the contrary, it can and should be turned into positive publicity very easily.

Since striving for perfection is a continuous process, it is a constant source of newsworthy events. A bug was fixed? A great reason to make news! This is something that shows that you have improved your product. Besides, it may help if there are not enough other occurrences to turn into content to keep its flow steady.

But some companies take it even further.

BUG BOUNTY PROGRAMS AND HOW THEY BENEFIT PR:

“A lot of people (read: customers) feel very personal about the software they are using. Some of them are willing to go to great lengths to defend their favorite tool or website on Internet forums and in real life,” says Sophia, tech guru, and professional SEO expert from https://www.vfmseo.com/. “ Others spend a lot of time mastering the said tools and end up knowing some aspects of them better than even their developers.”

And they do it completely for free.

Many software developers feel like a good effort must be rewarded. So, they issue special bounty programs for their loyal users.

What it means is that any person who finds and reports a bug gets something in return for their trouble. It doesn’t have to be anything as fancy as an actual Volkswagen Bug that was given as a reward in the first such program to make headlines.

First of all, starting a bounty program is in itself a good opportunity to get publicity. Not only does it inform the public about the program but also creates a buzz around it. Moreover, such news is sure to attract more customers who hope to get the bounty.

Secondly, whenever a bug is found by a user and a reward has to issued is also a great time to have a news release. The main reason for that is that it is exciting -- you basically have the hook to draw readers in thanks to the very nature of your piece of news. It actually has all elements of a story: a danger represented by a bug, a savior coming to the rescue, and a reward for their efforts.

A news story about a lucky bounty hunter should include:

A headline telling that a vulnerability has been found and fixed thanks to a user who is now to be rewarded for it;
A brief description of the vulnerability. It’s best to keep it not extremely technical – just describe why it was dangerous in layman terms;
A few words about the user who found and reported it;
A description of the reward they’ve been issued.

What a company that decides to issue a reward program has to be aware of is the environment of bug hunting nowadays. It is true that the most likely receivers of that reward are going to be hackers who do it more or less professionally.

This may veer off into a slightly shady territory for some businesses. However, this consideration doesn’t make large companies like Google and Facebook forego a publicity opportunity so embracing it is hardly something to frown upon.

  1. 2

    And most of all it makes your product better ;)

    1. 1

      Exactly! @WernerH 👍🏻

  2. 2

    With a clear reporting process in place, your team can detect and debug issues quickly so your software gets back on track with minimal downtime and customer frustration. Thanks for this interesting post @Moayanda

    1. 1

      Thanks for your addition, Fortune.

  3. 2

    Great post, thanks for sharing.... @Moayanda

    1. 1

      I'm glad you enjoy the post @Tolamise.... all the way from Twitter. xD. I just followed you!