Making That Pesky and ...


It’s not easy.

Here’s the situation.

The giant Hong Kong food company, Lee Kum Kee Products Group, created an app and website for the China market. The app evangelizes a healthy lifestyle, encouraging people to embrace the one exercise that can be done anywhere, walking.

As can happen on the Internet, wires got crossed and the app ended up with a profile on VentureBeat that read:

“This is a website that provides tips and advice for singles interested in using free online dating services. The website also has articles on 100% free dating features provided by dating services.”

Rut roh.

I think we can all agree that there’s a difference between walking and engaging with online dating services (even if some use Tinder while walking).

To right this wrong, Lee Kum Kee reached out to VentureBeat using the “contact us” email on the Profiles page.VentureBeat Profiles 07-15_xxIn fact, they wrote seven notes (not a typo) to this email address with zero response.

Why didn’t VentureBeat respond?

Given that these profiles are already being phased out, it’s likely that VentureBeat deemed them such a low priority that it wasn’t worth its time to respond. Of course, this then begs the question of why even include the language, “Feel free to contact us with any questions.”

I don’t know. This is when Lee Kum Kee came to us with a narrative that can be summed up in one word, “Help!”

To alleviate the problem, we reviewed VentureBeat’s new profile page.
VentureBeat Profiles New 07-15
In raking through this content, we decided to register for the new company profiles page and discovered that VentureBeat had outsourced the management of these company profiles to Spoke. At this point, our registration brought up a chatbox with a personalized note from the CEO of Spoke, Philippe Cases. Using the chatbox, we sent the following note:

Hi Philippe, I’d like to check if you can point us to someone who is responsible for the old since one of my clients’ company profile is not reflected correctly under them. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Here, we want to give kudos to Mr. Cases and Spoke. The problem wasn’t his doing. Yet, he still took the time to resolve the issue by eliminating the inaccurate profile. No doubt the Spoke culture is one that believes every interaction with the outside world is an opportunity to build its brand.Within an hour, Mr. Cases himself — not an administrative assistant — responded and shortly after solved the problem.

VentureBeat Profiles Oops 07-15A few reminders came out of this mini saga.

If the information about you or your company is blatantly wrong on a reputable site, correct the information. Yes, the process can be frustrating, but the longer the wrong information exists, the greater the chance that it propagates on the Internet.

Secondly, if your initial requests don’t resolve the issue, move to Plan B. If Plan B doesn’t do the trick, execute Plan C. You’ve got to have the mentality that failure is not an option.

Finally, directly reaching out to a senior executive or even the top exec belongs in your back-up plan.


  • Dude

    I notice that none of the parties mentioned here twittered away their time or effort — instead, they reached out directly to the appropriate source. i.e., good communication “blocking and tackling.” And the problem was resolved.

    You see, social media is not the panacea for direct communication. Nor the solution for the world’s (or in this case, a client’s) challenges.

    Be the ball.

    • Lou Hoffman

      Agreed. There are times that call for direction communications and even that old-fashion concept called the phone call.


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