What Not to Do if You're the CEO of a Company Trying to Generate Buzz with Social Media

deadcellzones_site_is_downAlmost a month ago I wrote a post about DeadCellZones.com getting it’s server crushed by receiving a link from LifeHacker.

As of today the site is still down. I simultaneously received a comment on my blog and on Twitter from the CEO of DeadCellZones.com telling me that in fact Dead Cell Zones is not down for the count but would be resurrecting in a matter of days. Both comments explicitly asked me if I wanted to check out a preview of the new site.

Below is the very brief and very bizarre email exchange between me and Jeff Cohn, CEO of DeadCellZones.com:

Me: Hi Jeff, I saw your comment on my blog. I would definitely be interested in taking a look at what you guys have coming out.

Jeff: How could we benefit from you seeing it? What is your interest in the space and how could you help / or hurt us?

Me: Hmm, well you asked me if I wanted to see it. I answered you. The way it normally works if I see something I like I share it. I usually don’t waste my time writing about things just because I don’t like them. Your story was interesting because I was able to use it as a lesson on how to be prepared for traffic. If you are comfortable with taking a look at the preview that’s fine, if you’re not that’s also fine. I’m not out to hurt anyone. I’m also not going to promise anything just to see it.

Me: On second thought I’m not really interested. Good luck with the launch.

Jeff: If you are willing to write a corrective post if you like what you see I am happy to send you some screen shot maps of the upper east coast.

Screenshots? I’m supposed to write a corrective post about a site that, as of now, is still down based on screenshots?

Me: No thanks. There’s nothing to correct. When I wrote the post the site was dead. It still is. Frankly your approach is a bit offsetting, I’m actually writing a post about that now. Again, good luck with the new site.

Jeff: Why didn’t you send an email asking why we shut it down? That is good reporting.

Me: I knew why you shut it down. The original image you displayed on your site after the crash said as much. You got linked from a high trafficked site (LifeHacker I think) and you weren’t prepared for the influx of people. It seemed pretty straight forward to me.

Jeff: Not exactly. Have you ever published a map with lots of data?

At that point I just didn’t know what else to say so I just stopped writing back. I was shocked that someone trying to seemingly generate buzz for their site that’s about to re-launch would be so rude. Don’t ask me to preview something and then ask what I can promise you or do for you in order to actually see the preview. It’s tactless.

So, if you’re the CEO of a company try not to engage someone and then be defensive and confrontational when they try and connect with you. By the way, I’ve also posted the original image you had posted on your site after it crashed. Why would I send an email asking you about something you’ve already told the world? Of course you’ve since changed your image, but the message is still the same.

There’s my take on the re-launch. Hope that helps Jeff.


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