Don’t Pet the Crocodile

There is a comment on yesterday’s blog, by Debbie Levitt, CEO of As Was.com. There is also a new rant on the corporate blog.

Quoting from the As Was website “As Was makes you remarkable! Founded in 1995, As Was is a full-service eCommerce and online marketing firm.”

Debbie writes about libel in her comment, to clarify, the definition of libel is: a false publication, as in writing, print, signs, or pictures, that damages a person’s reputation.

Debbie the words I quoted are your words which came up on the first page of a Google search. Like it or not, as CEO of As Was those words are associated with your business and contribute to your business image. Any damage to your reputation is self inflicted.

The drunk girl who spilled her drink on you at a concert did so because she was drunk. That is a reason, not an excuse. What was your excuse? Did nobody ever tell you that two wrongs do not make a right? You lowered yourself to her level and then bragged about it on your corporate blog. Now you think it is unfair because people may associate that incident with the way you run your business?

I would never call myself a marketing expert but my unsolicited advice to you would be to keep your corporate blog purely business. Take all of your personal musings, your classmate who sent a friend request on Facebook, your landlord problems, opinions on politics and religion, the drunk girl at a concert and make a new personal blog. Disassociate.

Onward:

Slander: A false tale or report maliciously uttered, tending to injure the reputation of another; the malicious utterance of defamatory reports; the dissemination of malicious tales or suggestions to the injury of another.

Last month your target in your self appointed role as champion of ethics and defender of truth on the internet (with a healthy chunk of self promotion) was Frooition. Shortly thereafter you publicly retracted your statements. You said you were not going to do it again, but, here we are!

“I have said that I hope they succeed, and I do hope that. I think some of their marketing could end up hurting them, and I think they should rethink some of it. I stand by those statements….
I also think it’s interesting that I come out and say hey, something written on this website makes this company look like it’s doing something unethical. And the response is to attack me personally.”

Do you have a professional relationship with Bonanzle? Did Bonanzle ask your opinion of their marketing ethics? In what way does the manner Bonanzle choose to run their business concern you? If that is not plain enough, what business is it of yours?

I’m not sure why he’d leave up anything that someone could easily read and find that makes something Bonanzle is doing look less than ethical.

Although I know this is a complicated and difficult concept to understand it is called honesty and transparency. The whole site is riddled with it. No censorship, no secret meetings with non disclosure agreements and no Debbie your post has not been removed from the Forum, Bonanzle does not do that. It is there, check the forum headings and I am sure you will be able to figure out where it is.

You made an indefensible attack on another company, this time in your corporate blog. I believe that to be actionable (def. #1) and since you seem to be making a habit of it I hope you have good representation.

Enough already.

To anybody else who is still reading,
Y’all come back!

Henrietta!

edited 2/23/09 to add tag ‘reputation’

15 comments.

  1. I’m honoured to be your hobby. Tickled. :)

    I didn’t retract my statements on Frooition. Not sure where you saw that. My statements about them all stayed in my blog. In fact, an unhappy customer of theirs has started commenting there again. A former Frooition employee has been responding. It’s all still there.

    I stand by my statement on Bonanzle. The wording on the site looks a bit dodgy to an outsider. I think Bonanzle should re-word it. Other Bonanzle sellers have publicly said they agreed with me, yet I didn’t see you post public smears of them.

    And I still stand by those statements. Other sellers said more than I did. Other sellers in the Bonanzle forum said Bonanzle should completely rethink their whole marketing and “use” or involvement of sellers. Other sellers said they felt it was time to “look in the mirror” and look at how Bonanzle is being perceived because of the “cheerleaders.” Don’t forget to string those people up!

    You are still upset about the drunk girl at the concert? You’re STILL bringing it up? Was that you? You want people to change their opinions about me because of how I reacted to a girl dumping her drink on me? Some people punch people who dump drinks on them. I wiped it on her. Ooo, I am BAD! You missed the point of that blog post too, which was that it was hard to totally hate her because she was a superfan of my favourite band, even being a drunk goofball. :)

    I made an indefensible attack? Look in the mirror. I posted something that I stand by. The wording on Bonanzle’s site is bizarre, and to an outsider, it looks like something unethical could be going on. That’s what I said, and I stand by it. Other Bonanzle sellers publicly agreed with me. It’s not an attack. If you’re going to call it an attack, then ramp up the drama and call it a war because heaps of sellers are agreeing with me on this. Pretend that there are huge sides of people who disagree, and are hugely against each other.

    You would know about indefensible attacks. You have posted now TWO blog posts, completely dedicated to me to smear me, and why? Because I thought Bonanzle’s marketing was a bit off? You’d think I killed your dog! I think Bonanzle’s marketing is a bit off. So does Scott Pooler. Read his blog post and his own comments in his blog post. He thinks they need to rethink some of their marketing. Me too!

    When will you be writing your personal smear of him? Why just me?

    You said yourself what goes around comes around. I really hope you never see the “comes around” from these blog posts. They are defamatory, serve no purpose, and truly look like the low road. And take your own advice. You clearly have a personal beef with me. This blog says it’s about eBay and online selling, yet you have two posts about how awful you find me to personally be, evidently to defame me and my company.

    Why. What did I ever do to you? What’s the point? What do you gain? Who gives you extra points when you do this? What positive attention do you attract for yourself? And most importantly, how are you ANY better than I am? I’m the bad guy for calling out people and companies, and I should be better than this, but you’re the good guy for pointing at me? At least I’m not hurling deeply personal and defamatory attacks at individuals.

    Henrietta, what happened here? Really?

  2. The saga continues. I now know what astro-turfing is…..lol. It appears to be penetrating and badgering sites that one has never been on previously for the purpose spontaneous self-martyring and self-promotion.

    Real professional tweets too I might add from a CEO.

  3. Nope, you still don’t have it right Bobbi. I think you should read my blog post on astroturfing. I hear it’s quite a clear explanation of it.

  4. Just like the cat fight you called on Twitter, right?

  5. What are you talking about? The only comments I saw all about this were in YOUR twitter.

    There is no drama here anymore, and let’s not create any. Bill from Bonanzle posted to Pooler’s blog. He understood my original point. He seems not unhappy with how much traffic this whole thing brought. I’m happy that he understood me.

    As I promised I’d do, I took my blog post down on the assumption that the wording I found odd will get a fresh write. I’m not going to accuse a website of doing something if the wording has changed. The old wording still looks wrong to me.

    I think we’re done. I think all the attacks can stop. The drama is over.

  6. That’s fine, but I have Twittered in hours, so it has to be yours of which I speak.

  7. Unless you’re making it up. Are you referring to me tweeting to Henrietta that I took the blog post she found so offensive down? I thought she’d want to know that.

    Read back your tweets. I see lots of drama about this topic in your tweets from the last two days.

    http://twitter.com/aswas is my account. And no, I don’t delete my tweets.

  8. This blog sometimes eats my comments. Let’s try again.

    Bobbi, I haven’t tweeted about this. You’re accusing me of something people can actually check on, and find that you’re wrong. My twitter is http://twitter.com/aswas. I don’t delete my tweets.

    Are you talking about my tweeting to Henrietta that the blog post she found so offensive was gone?

    Read back your tweets for the last 2 days. Looks like you were having your own cat fight on this one. I don’t follow you, so I only just saw it now.

    Bobbi, this is over. OVER. Bill saw my point. I took down my post. Henrietta will have to decide if her attacks stay up. What are you trying to accomplish here?

  9. Blog keeps eating my comments.

    http://twitter.com/aswas is my twitter. Bobbi, I don’t see a cat fight here.

    I read back the last day or two of your twitter just now (as I’m not following you). Looks like you had your own cat fight on this topic.

  10. This blog is moderated for links in posts, if you put links it will not post immediately.

    Debbie, yesterdays blog post was not about you. It was about realizing that what you post online can come back to haunt you. It was one of a series on the subject of professionalism. Other posts on the subject can be found here and here

    You just happened to be the poster child illustration although you were not mentioned by name.

    I am not a girl, I am old enough to be your mother, I have never been drunk at a concert. You are far from my hobby. I do not hate you.

    I am glad you have rewritten your post in a professional manner.

    I am sure you will understand that I prefer comments on my blog to be original therefore I will include a link to Scott’s blog so anybody who is interested can read your last comment there.

  11. What *I*, the insignificant little speck of a blog reader took away with me, or, interpreted Henrietta’s post to convey~ whether as intended or not~ *I* the average blog voyeur thought this: What you say on line in a public post, blog, forum, group website etc CAN and most likely WILL be cached and archived for later googling, researching, oggling and haunting if so desired by anyone, anywhere… etc etc etc SO… if you say *whatever* and if you use your company blog to say *whatever* your words that you wrote will be a direct reflection on your company like it or not, & have the risk of futher googlifimication which may also tie comments you have made concerning more personal reflections on your own personal avenues of web expression to your professional life.

    Do I get a cookie or what?

  12. Great Job on staying on top of this Henrietta!

    And yes Aswas did do a rewrite….

    The one thing that is still amazing is the amount of time she is still devoting to this and (IMO) the fact she obivously does not fully research her subject before writting. That point can be seen in at lot of her comments made. I Could post the laundry list of them….but I highly recommend people to read here and go to Scott Poolers article and decide for yourself.

  13. From the infamous and now removed Blog post (but still cached-thank you Google) that started this train wreck.

    “That looks like astroturfing to me.
    As Was doesn’t astroturf. Never has, never will.

    Anything nice you see written about us was what someone wanted to write. No payment, no reward. Anything written about us on the web is real.

    I do not hire, pay, or reward anybody to write about us or against other companies.

    And if I have something to say about someone, I come out and say it, for better or worse, under my own name. I don’t hide behind other people and pretend I’m not involved. I think people deserve honesty and everything up front.”

    And this from a very recent previous As Was Blog.

    “So I’ve learned that the best way to kick back is to hire professional bloggers and have people posting in forums under real and fake names, and put people on the payroll to tell my story, but not to put myself out there as the source of this info. It looks like that’s all you have to do to get your info and spin out there without looking like you’re doing it. I applaud the smoothness of that.”

    http://aswas.typepad.com/hall_of_fame/2009/01/nearly-everybody-is-right-.html

    Comments anyone?

  14. Well,
    Good morning all!
    I have to say I have read all the blog posts in the past couple of days, left a comment here or there. All three being professional. I see nothing defamatory in any current posts, all is referenced.

    The re-write Deb was more in keeping to your original question last week to me, and yes. I see what your asking.

    Like The poster of this blog however, I also have to ask the same question. Why is someone elses marketing plan a concern of anyone’s but their own? Everyone in the world has opinions, and one does not make it right over the other. So for that, it appears, now it is not about astroturfing? It is about how one markets? I do not see where they are at all the same. I do not believe that there is any manipulation “drug” for lack of a better term pumped into my booth at night to make me go post somewhere what some one else wants me to post. No “music” in bed at night secretly subliminally played into my subconscious to make me run out and spout some ones words. My words are my own. The suggestion is ludicrous.

    As for the rest of this, I do have to say, there is nothing quite like shooting oneself in ones foot. Ouch. Must hurt.

  15. I agree with Henrietta that a corporate blog should be corporate and professional - save the personal issues for a personal blog. However, I think the reactions to Ms. Levitt’s criticism of Bonanzle has been way out of proportion. She writes a blog about marketing, so commenting on an ecommerce venue’s marketing is completely topical. I think the personal attacks on her are unwarranted. Granted, her tone in her criticisms may not have been as business-like as it should have been, but the reaction has been ridiculous.

    I can understand her desire to defend herself against such venom as I’ve seen spewed across the net lately, though I’d suggest perhaps toning it down a bit. I suggest the same for those enthusiastic supporters of Bonanzle, as well, since this response isn’t helping opinion of them. I think everyone should just back away slowly and let it drop. Getting personal about differences of opinion like this doesn’t help anyone.

    Just my humble opinions :-)