Brandlink Communications, TheBloggess, PR Fails, and Fallout

Posted on October 8th, 2011 at 12:51 pm by Michael VanDeMar under blogthropology, customer service, freedom-of-speech, Google, lackofmeds, marketing, SEO, Social Media

Before reading the rest of this post, if you are not already an avid fan of TheBloggess, and have not read about the PR company vice president who called her a “fucking bitch” due to him being clueless who it was his company was pitching, then you should start here first: Brandlink Communications. Go ahead and read it now, I will wait.

[cue elevator music]

Ok, good, you’re back. If you followed some of the aftermath in the comments, on Twitter, and on various media outlets and celebrity blogs around the web (including Gawker and Wil Wheaton), you can tell that Jenny obviously has a large amount of supporters who were less than pleased at Jose Douche Canoe Martinez. The outcry got just loud enough that Brandlink Communications actually started to play the wounded bird card:

 

Poor us, such the victim

 

Why is everybody picking on me?

 

Apparently Jose Martinez felt so victimized from the whole experience, he actually decided that he needed to delete his entire Twitter account (or, of course, it could be that he was trying to do the internet equivalent of burning the evidence of his douchiness).

Quick side note: if a PR company’s first instinct when they come under fire is to duck and run, and get defensive, as opposed to owning up, making it right, and the moving on, then odds are that same PR company would not hesitate to throw a client under the bus if they felt it was necessary for their own self preservation. Anyone who is researching this company with the possibility of hiring them should probably keep that in mind.

Either way, I guess Jenny didn’t realize quite how much support she would receive, so she wound up actually asking her followers to put away the pitch forks:

UPDATED: I love you people. Really. Thank you for always having my back and for being so supportive during this weirdness. Jose has apologized, and I’ve been assured by the woman in charge of the company that they are aware and are handling it the best way they know how, so let’s give them some air and let them have the chance to do that. *deep breath* – Jenny Lawson, aka TheBloggess

Ok, so, maybe Jenny is right. Maybe some of her fans did get abusive towards Jose in the process of defending her (which, btw, I did not see myself, but I am guessing not everyone was polite) and it is time for us to let cooler heads prevail. However… I also don’t think this should fall just into internet obscurity, either. People who are looking to hire this PR firm should be able to find out who it is they are dealing with, and the first line of defense when doing research on a company is, of course, Google. Currently when you do a search for [brandlink communications], someone else’s post about Brandlink and TheBloggess is #1 (as a news story though, not as a regular listing), Brandlink Communications themselves show up next (which is actually the natural #1 listing, when no news stories show), and in the natural #10 spot is Jenny herself:

 

Search for [brandlink communications]
(Click to enlarge)

 

The news piece is of course only there for a short period of time, as all news pieces should be, and the rankings Jenny’s site has currently are probably also due to what Google refers to as QDF, or Query Deserves Freshness (where a particular search might warrant different results due to topic being “hot” at the moment). However, I think that Jenny’s site should be in the top 10 when searching on that company, even after the buzz dies down… possibly even #1. Therefore, here is what I suggest, if you happen to support Jenny in this issue:

  1. Write a post showing your support for Jenny about the way she was treated. Don’t attack or “bully” anyone in the post, because despite them being in the wrong here Brandlink was right, bullying people is still wrong (although calling someone a douche canoe when they actually are one is just being descriptive imo)
  2. In that post, link to Jenny’s blog post about the conversation, but use the phrase [brandlink communications] as the anchor text for the actual link.
  3. If you link to the post more than once, make sure that link is the first link to the post.

For those of you wondering why, it is because links are still the number one factor Google uses when determining rankings. If you want more information on it, you can Google [santorum] and do some research… just don’t click on the first link. :)

Do I think this is too harsh? Perhaps if they weren’t a PR company boasting W Hotels and Chase as their clients I might be more inclined to go easy on them. However, even if they weren’t big shots treating those they regard as the “little people” like shit, there is also the fact that this behavior is not new for Jose, and there is evidence of him treating people like this all the way back to early 2006. The fact that the same guy is still VP Media Director 5 1/2 years later, still behaving the same way, makes the promises from the company that is “handling it the best way they know how” somewhat hollow. So yes, with that in mind I think that a response like this is quite fitting. Vote with your links, people, as Google intended you to. :D

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7 Responses to “Brandlink Communications, TheBloggess, PR Fails, and Fallout”

  1. Liana "Li" Evans Says:

    Great piece and right on the money.

    I would even add something further about Jose and the fact that he’s still employed by this company to ponder. The fact that he used that type of offensive and that could possibly be viewed as “sexually harassing” language to describe her shows an utter lack of respect for his team members as well.

    Just firing off “what a f**king bitch” in a reply all is likely a fire-able offense in most companies. Most HR divisions in highly visible companies don’t take to kindly to this kind of communication happening between management and employees.

    It goes to show that this PR Firm apparently sets its rules as it goes and doesn’t really have a clue about how to interact in the new social space, other than to be clueless like a lot of other PR firms where they just send out blind CC’d press releases.

    great post!

  2. Kitty Says:

    Almost everyone I know has made some sort of reply all error, some worse than others. But the way Jose Martinez handled it afterwards is proof that he is incredibly unprofessional. His twitter account is gone now, but what he was tweeting while his boss was over on Facebook trying to repair damage seals it for me that the guy doesn’t deserve a break on this.

  3. Why reply-all tends to be problematic | Marketing Conversation Says:

    […] Brandlink Communications, TheBloggess, PR Fails, and Fallout (smackdown.blogsblogsblogs.com) […]

  4. Sierra - The Wicked StepMum Says:

    Thanks for all that info! What a story!

  5. Deb Says:

    I’d love to know if there has been any Brandlink updates on what happened to Jose.

  6. Michael VanDeMar Says:

    @Deb – he is still listed as their VP Media Director, so obviously they didn’t do much on their end in the way of punishment.

  7. Deb Says:

    Guess they wouldn’t exactly put out a press release reporting “Our clients are melting away one by one.”

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