We point out the many ways brands have taken a wrong turn and the one way they can repair their reputations—and own their sh*t.
No matter how good your products, services or intentions are, nobody’s perfect. And the sooner you recognize that, the sooner you can use it to your advantage. So without further ado...

Q2 ’24
Current winner

It has been long held that “success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” The bankruptcy of Red Lobster has turned that on its head.

Q2 ’24
Runners up

“It is time to cancel Adobe, delete all the apps and programs. Adobe can not be trusted.” This was the online rallying cry in response to changes made by the technology company to its otherwise routinely boring terms of service for use of its software. 

The most recent data breach at Omni Hotels & Resorts didn’t just injure guests, it insulted them, too, because it wasn’t the first time Omni was a target. It happened eight years ago and now it was allowed to happen again. That’s bad business.

Past winners

We hate to say it, but there’s more where that came from... In fact, there’s no shortage of companies behaving badly—and our past winners prove it. Find out how other brands have screwed up, letting down their employees, customers and communities.
May 2024
bad business Winners
Walmart, Kroger, Costco, Ahold (brands include Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Hannover and Giant) and Publix for their self-interested role in the story of the first quarter of 2024 Inflation.
Google once told us they “Don’t do Evil”, and even when they stepped away from that motto to a more positive “Do the Right Thing”, its Gemini AI chatbot didn’t get the memo.
Trader Joe’s has its eye on costs. No, not the cost of groceries, but the cost of wage, not on the check-out line, but the bottom line. And not in a good way.
November 2023
bad business Winners
General Motors (GM), a company that has a long history in the automative industry, has managed to secure its place as a controversial figure that’s putting profits ahead of people as of late.
Warner Brothers Discovery, the media conglomerate that emerged from the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, is making waves in the industry, and not in a good way.
OpenAI, a prominent player in the field of artificial intelligence and language models, has recently attracted attention for its questionable practices, deserving of scrutiny and dishonour as a result.
MARCH 2023
bad business Winners

When Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment merged in 2013, it created a ticket distribution monopoly — something a “free market” is designed to prevent. And with botched presales, price gouging and a fake ticket scandal, consumers quickly learned how the concert cartel would behave with precious little competition or oversight.

Despite their increasingly glaring differences, conservatives and liberals agree on at least one thing: the FBI sucks. The intelligence and law enforcement entity is meant to protect American citizens. But with opaque practices and shadowy motives, the real concern becomes: “Who will protect us from the FBI?”

High fashion constantly pushes the limits of how we present ourselves to the world. In its ideal form, it’s an often ostentatious art that inspires pop culture. Spanish luxury outfitter Balenciaga has traditionally been a provocateur—but a campaign that seemed to promote pedophilia exposed their taste as despicable, not boundary-defining.


We love calling brands out on their sh*t as much as the next person…but only if we have a good reason for doing so. To determine our Bad Business Awards winners and runners up, we scour the web to figure out which brands are most getting on peoples’ nerves. Once that’s done, shortlisted companies are ranked based on:

We do this using their Trustpilot and Better Business Bureau ratings, Indeed Work Happiness scores, CSRHUB and MSCI ESG ratings, and other metrics. The brands with the lowest average scores across all three of the above categories wind up here.

The best way to avoid landing on this list? Take the criticism your brand receives to heart, respond authentically and keep asking for more feedback. At Vox Populi Registry, we believe .SUCKS domains can help with this. Every company will face the wrath of disgruntled employees, customers and competitors at some point or another—but the successful ones have a strategy that helps them use it to their advantage.

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