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February 18, 2010

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Dan Schawbel

A good example of a brand taking years to build but can be hurt in a single instant. Luckily, you published this blog post and the "right" people know you're still a trusted source of information!

Natasha Attal

Wow. I actually clicked the link and then got swamped with an assignment at work and clicked out of the paypal link to purchase. Happy I was multi-tasking at the time.

This type of stuff happens to the best of us!

Keep the offers and tweets coming. I am an avid reader

Joseph Ratliff

This is what I would call "having to take control of the story" that is your business.

If PRWeb didn't keep an eye out, they could have had to respond to a "giant snowball" of ticked-off clients.

Wow...the online world does move FAST.

Mindshare

It's crazy how fast the wrong information can get passed around!

I saw a graphic today that reminded me of your post. It says, "Google before you Tweet is the new Think before you speak."

Made me laugh...

Lucretia M Pruitt

You may not be able to take back a tweet - but you can be honest about the error and the remedy. You handled this beautifully.

David Meerman Scott

Thanks all for your support. I appreciate it.

jacqueline

I wonder, often, if people even go out and read the links that they are retweeting.

Once I retweeted something that looked like great information for small businesses to later go out to the link to see it had nothing to do with the tweet. I as so embarrassed.

Now, I actually read the links that I am retweeting. Slowing down provides more time to actually be aware - something that is going to be valued in the future (in this fast paced world).

It is also important to remember that we are human. Even you ;)

Frank Strong

No doubt about it, the publishing and information sharing ability we have in Twitter, provides an efficient viral communications vehicle like nothing else! It all worked out in the end though, David, and your post here is well done; thank you for taking the time. Coincidentally, it reminds me of Tweet I saw earlier today by @thinkBIG_blog which read, “The problem with quotes on Twitter is that you just can't trust their authenticity." ~ Abraham Lincoln. At the time I thought it was humorous. Perhaps less so now, but it makes a good point I won't soon forget!

tess

Hi Everyone!

Looks like the culprit is here. I am Tess, representing mktgBUZZ.

Allow me to take a couple of minutes to explain what happened. This is the real inside story! :-)

mktgBUZZ's aim was to sign up 500 online marketing savvy individuals for the launch of it's services. After a closed round table where we discussed a variety of advertising options, we narrowed down on subsidizing a popular press release service that we believed is being used by our target audience.

So, we go out and offered a 50% discount - rather telling people that they need to pay only 50% of the amount, and we'll pitch in the rest for them.

We don't want to become an affiliate for PRWeb - it's not our business!

The simple math being:
(1) Customer pays us 40$
(2) We add up our amount and buy a release on PRWeb
(3) We transfer access to the customer

On our website - in fact, on the home page, we mentioned that we are not affiliated to PRWeb in any way. This was repeated in the about us section as well.

Somewhere tweets started flowing that projected mktgBUZZ as not affiliated to PRWeb (which we never hid from anyone!). All of a sudden, mktgBUZZ became a scam artist!

This was absolutely unprecendented by all of us here - and the best thing to do seemed to back off.

We signed on 36 customers in all of today, and all have been refunded back to their full amounts.

But, let me ask this - if you were to buy 100 copies of Darren's book, "Problogger" and sell it for a dollar each at your website to anyone who advertised with you, would that make you a scam artist?

Are we all getting just a bit too sceptical?

Just a thought!

Cheers!
Tess

Frank Strong

Tess: The trouble with this situation is that no one knew anything about your organization. Your site was light on information about your organization, executives, business address and contact information – and yet asked for money via PayPal in exchange for a promise we could not verify. That’s precisely the reason many firms, including social networks like Twitter and e-commerce sites like Amazon, maintain programs to certify users, buyers, sellers, technicians, resellers and other partnerships common in business. In addition, despite the disclaimer on your site, by default, PRWeb’s name was associated with this offer, and prospective customers are inclined to ask us about it: We had no answers. Finally, if you purchase a release, but your customer publishes a release, who is held accountable for the veracity of its content? Personally, as a PR pro, I’d give you high marks for creativity, undoubtedly you’d make Jay Conrad Levinson proud, but a little coordination in advance would go a long way. Thanks for taking the time to post your comments on this blog -- we certainly wish you luck in your new venture.

Frank Strong
Director of PR
Vocus | PRWeb

Jake LaCaze

It sounds as if you've tried to right the wrong. I hope your followers understand.

SmallBizCRM

As per Simon & Garfunkel ""Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last."

I think you handled your (self-induced) situation as best you could, and possibly even reversed it into an opportunity, with your credibility still intact :)

David Meerman Scott

I want to thank Frank and Tess for stopping by.

Frank - you guys were monitoring Twitter and saw my tweet very quickly. People should learn from your example.

Tess - What can I say? Sounds like you created a clever campaign - one that I thought was interesting enough to tweet about. After PRWeb alerted me to the fact that the offer was not sanctioned, I chose to back out as best I could (as I write about here). You did the right thing by monitoring Twitter, seeing what was going down, and then removing the offer (all very quickly).

I will be referring people to this post frequently because it seems like things turned out okay for everyone because we all kept cool heads and we all reacted quickly.

David

john Dipietro

Tess...even though DMS let you "off the hook" you should have just apologized and went on your merry way instead of adding the last paragraph to your post above.....
But, let me ask this - if you were to buy 100 copies of Darren's book, "Problogger" and sell it for a dollar each at your website to anyone who advertised with you, would that make you a scam artist?

Are we all getting just a bit too sceptical?

Just a thought!

Cheers!
Tess

By adding that note, you took away the good work you had done in the preceeding paragraphs. You look guilty this way.....

David Siteman Garland

David (also with three names...we must both be cool or odd),

No worries on this one. Mistakes happen. I think the key moving forward in the future is it used to be folks would pretty much retweet all the top people/resources in their niche. Now, selection matters. Choosing the very best to pass on. Sometimes it takes an extra couple of minutes, but I'd rather spend 5 mins to be thorough and pass on one thing as opposed to 15 seconds and pass on 10.

Jim Kukral

I saw David's tweet and based on his reputation I immediately clicked and paid for the promotion. It was only until an hour later that I heard from David that it wasn't possibly legit. I requested my money back from them and got it within an hour.

No harm, no foul... Look, it's no big deal. I would have done the same thing David did, and probably have.

The world moves fast. Information the fastest. It's ultimately on the consumer to decide what's legit and what isn't nowadays. I blame myself, not David, for following through without doing my diligence.

Again, no big deal really. Tess, I get what you wanted to do, but sometimes you need to have a bit more of a plan and explanation in place to make something work.

tess

Alright, so we're officially closing the messy chapter :-) Discussing a few ideas - will let you all know once we're upto something again!

Thank you, David and Frank! Please accept my sincere apologies for all the inconvenience we may have caused, but I guess we did start off an interesting conversation around here!

@John - twas just meant to be a similie :-)

I'd also probably put the same question again just to see what you all have to say - would it be legal or ethical do the ProBlogger book promotion? I mean if I was giving away something for free or a discounted price, I would shout it out to the world and let people know, right? Just curious...

Cheers!

Tess

Lis Carpenter

Sort of funny and sort of scary. Guess that other company was "borrowing" PRWeb's brand and hoping to get away with it.

Jonaston

Interesting convo. Easy to see how this could happen to anyone... Tess and David included. Kudos to both of you for your quick and proper response.

On one or two occasions, I've retweeted stuff that looked interesting and came from a trusted source... BEFORE having a look myself. Better to slow down and investigate before sharing anything, when your own reputation is (always) on the line.

I'm a bit surprised that nobody at PRWeb has recognized nor acted upon the opportunities in this story...

David Meerman Scott

Jonaston - Frank from PRWeb has commented several times here, tweeted, and blogged. Not sure what else they would do. Suggestions?

Sudha Kumar

David, this blog ( and the tweet) has become a real life example of the power of social media, unwittingly. I too saw your tweet, checked out marketingbuzz, and thought the idea was really creative. I asked my colleages to check it out, and kept getting replies saying there was nothing to check; which is when I realized what had happened. I came back to your site today and saw the chain of comments. Your blog has become a platform for clearing the air on an issue which could have potentially harmed marketingbuzz a lot more. It was a nice gestrure of PRWEb to also clarify their point of view, not to mention, your own part in making this happen through your explanation. More power to social media!

Joanne Tombrakos

I think your suggestion to take a moment and breathe before acting is true for more than just tweeting! Thanks for this post

YourNetBiz

I don't blame you for being so quick to retweet the info - I understand completely; but I also agree with the fact that we need to be more careful and take a minute before we send anything out into the cyberspace.

Best,
Ana/YourNetBiz

Therese

People make mistakes, or don't always think things all the way through. We are all human, and that is one of the things I love about social media, that it showcases this. Social Media gives a person or company the ability to humanize their selves and part of being a human is not being perfect.

I still trust your tweets, etc. and this was obviously a flaw in communication or verification on mktgBUZZ's part, as they are the ones who sent the pitch.

ruby

This problem is bad and shoulnd't of happened.

Should of been sorted before it came out.

karatekidonline2010

it happens with best of the people. I've even seen news channels tweeting crap!

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