Don’t Take Shots At The Messenger

August 18, 2017 by Dave Haynes

I got a note in the comments box last night from a Chinese company that suggested another Chinese competitor was misrepresenting itself as the vendor behind an interesting digital signage project I’d written up recently.

The writer of the note went VERY quickly from pointing that out to threatening to send company’s lawyers after me: “Please take down this article immediately, otherwise, we need to see other channels to reach your legal department in order to protect our copy right.” 

That happened without offering any proof of which company is behind the project, (though let’s assume this second company is being truthful).

  1. Misrepresenting a company’s accomplishments, like saying this is your product and project (when it isn’t), is really bad form;
  2. But I am at the mercy of vendors to be truthful in their marketing and press materials. I can’t get on planes, visit the sites and try to get in behind installs to look at the product labels for verification;
  3. Threatening legal action is squarely in the Shoot The Messenger playbook;
  4. Threats are not an overly great way to develop a relationship with trade press you’d, logically, love to have cover your company’s efforts.

So here’s my suggestion about this stuff:

  1. Don’t lie;
  2. If someone misrepresents a project or product, and I’ve written about it based on the offending company’s PR, let me know politely, and offer evidence;
  3. Take up your beef with the offending party;
  4. Don’t shoot the messenger.

I put the post in Draft mode (meaning I didn’t delete it, but it can’t be viewed), and am awaiting evidence. It’s been 9+ hours.

UPDATE – I got a follow-up note after this was posted, though there’s not much I can add without getting into company names … and that’s a bun fight I won’t absolutely no part in.


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