Barely 48 hours after my last post about Dubai's baby steps towards transparency, comes the next manic debacle of what the Fast Company Magazine calls 'The World's Tallest FAIL!' The observation deck on the Burj Khalifa's 124th floor, which had been open for under a month, is now closed indefinitely and without prior notice, because of a mixed-bag of reasons officially stated. This is was in inimitable Dubai-style, followed by utter silence. Especially with the global media firing up their Dubai-bashing engines. Twitter was abuzz with ridicule, both locally and expectedly so, internationally as well.
I am aware this is not the government, but when a single company -- government-linked, public-listed, builders of the world's tallest tower -- makes conflicting statements that vary from 'technical difficulties' to 'unexpected traffic' one can't help but sit up and think.
The Guardian UK states: 'The indefinite closure, which was imposed on Sunday, comes as Dubai struggles to revive its international image as a cutting-edge Arab metropolis, amid nagging questions about its financial health."
With tourists showing up with pre-paid tickets to the Burj Khalifa, the press lambasting Dubai for yet another 'leap-before-you-think' move, Emaar remains quiet. Why? Is it really that difficult to counter criticism especially when one is well aware of how disproportionately it will be magnified.
To top it all off, this afternoon, upon typing in the domain name www.emaar.com, you were greeted with a domain registry page! Somebody clearly had forgotten to renew the URL. Not the kind of thing to forget when in the midst of a PR meltdown.
2 steps forward. 12 steps backwards. I rest my case.