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    Samsung Blackmailed & Threatened An Indian Blogger

    By in Blogging

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    Let me start with a Typical day of a Blogger, we usually get many calls, Emails and tip for big news happening around the globe in our niche. That includes, many companies sponsoring our Trips to the event so that we can cover the event as a Blogger and as a Journalist.  Yes, we Blogger are none other than a journalist and specially if you are one of the A-list Blogger, you will have your own audience base where you will be educating users about latest product and tech launches. It’s a Win-win situation for both the companies and for the Blogger, as we get to cover the exclusive events, our audience get to read exclusive news and companies get a free channel to promote their product.

    In last 4 years of my professional Blogging career, I have been to many events in the country sponsored by Nokia, LG, Micromax and many other tech companies. One thing which is always clear about the coverage is, it’s going to be honest coverage. If your product is amazing we will say it amazing and if it’s not, we will speak the truth and nothing else.

    Samsung Failed to differentiate between Promoter Vs. Reporter:

    Now, it’s nothing new that many companies have their list of niche Bloggers, whom they give exclusive news and updates about their product. This also includes, taking them to any part of the world, which helps them to get words out for their product and Bloggers get exclusive coverage in the form of Blog post, Tweets and videos. Today morning I was reading a news at TheNextWeb, and got to know about latest scandal by Samsung in which they brought a shame to them and put one of Indian Blogger in biggest dilemma of his life.

    Samsung Bloggers Scandal (Samsung Mobilers program) :

    As they call it, Samsung mobilers program where they have selected few Bloggers and Samsung loyalist to be a part of this program. Samsung Sponsored few bloggers to travel to Berlin to cover the IFA 2012, which is a big event for all tech companies to show case their product and we can see latest innovation in digital technology at the event.

    samsung mobilers Samsung Blackmailed & Threatened An Indian Blogger

    Clinton Jeff (CJ), who is one of the prominent Mobile Blogger from India and happened to be my ex room-mate, turned out to be a victim of Samsung blindless self promotion. Before sponsoring Clinton Jeff trip to IFA 2012, Samsung asked him “Would you like to cover this event as promoter or as a reporter“, and CJ made it clear that he only accept the offer to travel and cover the event as an Independent Blogger.

    Now, I will skip the parts in which Samsung asked Clinton Jeff and other bloggers who were sponsored (Hotel stay, Travelling, Flights) by Samsung for this trip were asked to wear Samsung T-shirt to cover the event and dancing in-front of landmarks. You can read about all of these in TNW article.

    Now, this is where Samsung ruled out all the ethics of sponsored trips, Samsung asked these Bloggers including Clinton Jeff to sign an NDA and they asked these Bloggers to be in Samsung booth at the course of the event and demo Samsung products to other members of the press and tech journalists.

    Damn! Why would any Blogger would do such a thing? and CJ showed his interest of not playing a role of Samsung employee and as agreed, he would like to attend the event as an Independent Blogger as discussed before he accepted Samsung offer to cover the IFA event.

    Samsung asked them to take a break and let them decide and that’s where thing went uglier. Samsung India team called them to threaten and warn them by saying

    “You can either be a part of this and wear the uniform, or you’ll have to get your own tickets back home and handle your hotel stay from the moment this call ends…”

    None the less, They actually cancelled their return ticket of 6th September 2012 and told them they are cancelling their trip and bringing them back on 1st September instead and only when they will not share about this incident to anyone or blog about it.

    Left with no choice, CJ decided to attend the event wearing Samsung T-Shirt but not to demonstrate Samsung phones unlike other Samsung mobilers.

    Well, that was not the end, and next day CJ received this Email from Samsung India team:

    Samsung Bloggers Scandal Samsung Blackmailed & Threatened An Indian Blogger

    Great thanks to Nokia team, who rescued these Bloggers from Dilemma and instead of let them stuck at Berlin, Nokia took care of their stay and also arranged flight back home.

    https://twitter.com/clintonjeff/status/242358009249026049

    More or less, Samsung blackmailed these bloggers to play according to their playbook else you will be stuck in Berlin. They not only tried to Push Bloggers to play on their script but also threatened and blackmailed them to be Samsung puppet. Bloggers like CJ have done a great job by bringing this issue in public and showed  the truth of  Samsung bad marketing and shameful act.

    What you could have done in such scenario?

    Many of you might be thinking what you have to do with this whole Samsung Bloggers scandal ? Well, this is just one of many such cases where Bloggers have been asked by tech companies to be their promoter instead of a reporter. If not now, in future you will also be asked to cover events, your trip will be sponsored and at times you will find it hard to write the truth, if you are going to sign an NDA.

    The only thing which you could do is, clear your terms with PR people and inform them you are an independent Blogger and your views and opinion will be unbiased and discreet.

    As we say, with Power comes great responsibility and Blogging is not less than Journalism, if you ever found yourself stuck in such situation, instead of playing with such companies rules, better take a stand for your readers and audience, and I’m sure you will get complete support from the community.

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    Harsh has written 1263 articles.

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    { 25 comments… read them below or add one }

    Michael Aulia

    I read this everywhere on Twitter today, it’s quite shocking if they are forced like that. I mean, if it’s clear that wearing the s-shirt (and do the what dance?) was expected when they were sponsored, then it’s fine

    I’m sponsored to attend TechEd 2012 by Microsoft Australia in 2 weeks time.. maybe I should email and ask, just in case? lol :D

    Reply

    prithvi

    One of the similar issues took place with me, I was asked to review a tablet. What they wanted was, a place in one of the most popular blog post of mine, I.e. Best tablets in India. They were ready to give me a tablet in return too, but I had to show that their tablet is better than the other tablets in that range.. I ain’t disclosing the company name but it showed how badly these companies want publicity

    Reply

    Rabin

    Yes I agree with your view that Blogging is not less than Journalism. This is actually shocking as Michael Aulia said.

    Reply

    Rajeesh Nair

    Hey Harsh,

    You are senior blogger around here and being a newbie blogger I wanted to know if we have any Bloggers Community created by bloggers to help bloggers at such incidents where such companies leave them ashore. I mean why do these companies do that. Its mainly because we bloggers ourselves are not united and coming forward to take some legal stand against Samsung for this.. Every profession has an organisation or community that would take care of any injustice happening to their members.

    If there is no such community or organisation, then I would say its time to have one!! What say…

    Also thanks for sharing this post.. Its good to know that what and how could things go wrong!!

    Reply

    Anurag

    Shocking News. How the hell Samsung could do like this to any blogger? They just want promotion and only promotion.

    Reply

    Harshad

    Well… this seems to be only one side of the story. I would wait and see what the other participants or Samsung has to say before putting the blame.

    Reply

    Chris

    Well, I won’t say a blogger is a journalist (no offense). A journalist is bound by the rules and the political views of his hierarchy. If he doesn’t play by their rules, he might have to find another job… A blogger in other hand is free. He can take sponsorship or not. He can choose his own topics and niche. I knew sometime companies contact them to talk about their products (they do it with magazine too), but I didn’t know they will go as far as sponsoring a whole trip abroad. I think Samsung went too far. He would have to choose between hiring employees or asking bloggers (or reporters) to cover an event. They try to do both and it didn’t work. I wonder what was the bound with Nokia and his blogger?!

    Reply

    Nizam

    Agreed! With power comes great responsibility and blogging is not less than journalism, so if one gets into situation like this, it’s better take a stand for your readers and audience. And really great work by Nokia team, who helped them to get back home.

    Reply

    Divyansh

    thats horrible, never thought this could be done to free media. This incident looks like world war 2, you are either with allies or axis ( no place for truth ). Its same with every corporate house, where samsung failed, nokia took the pie to get the lime light. Though it was a gud move by Nokia, but they are all same

    Reply

    Navi

    Samsung is no doubt a big time loser. After their lose against Apple, they are in serious trouble now. Maybe

    Reply

    Deepak Kr. Das

    Hye Harsh!
    Just suscribed your newsletter yesterday and, I must say the very first post I read on this blog amazed me. It’s really very shamefull for a reputed MNC like Samsung. If they continue to do so in future; the money they will use in sponsering trips will only help their brand to kill itself. No brand can survive for a long time if it wastes it’s resourses in blackhat marketing gimmicks instead of satisfing their consumer’s needs.

    Reply

    Pankaj Lakhani

    Was Shocked to hear such news about samsung. Really, they can do such things. Glad Nokial helped him in the event….

    Reply

    Lakhyajyoti

    Shocking news. I have already read it in Facebook. It is the time to get united to start a blogger community, so that we can take actions against such companies in feature. Thanks to Nokia for providing help in such a worst situation.

    Reply

    Piyush K

    … Hmm, Harsh! this is what the one side story from your point of view and ‘as of your proofs’, but where is Samsung’s or Nokia’s official version, who are party to this ‘tussle’?

    We could and should always NOT believe or decide before hearing the both sides, often you, the ‘so called’ ‘journalists’ always are in a haste for getting more hits for your blogs, this is not good too,

    Who will let us know what really happened there with Clinton Jeff, was it a tussle, or what was it, why Nokia helped him, if any, what was Nokia’s motive behind, when/if they helped, is Nokia a savior to the world,

    This is a cross country and multi-cultural ‘tussle’ so don’t be hasty to cover or judge it just on few and unreliable internet sources,

    If Samsung had lost a legal battle to the iPhone in the USA, than it does not make him culprit of each and every thing happening in the world?!

    Don’t blame or defame anybody until you have got the concrete proof, merely on internet news or reports (they are generally unreliable and do NOT holds any proof), we need official words also from Nokia and Samsung, than your story would be reliable and should be a good place to decide by your readers, thank you.

    Reply

    Piyush K
    Bharat

    I have been reading different views on this particular “Samsung Mobilers” fiasco and Harsh what happened finally?

    Reply

    hrmehrotra

    this is really pathetic……..i can’t accept this from samsung which is the biggest earner in the mobile market…………

    Reply

    Piyush K

    A controversy always being the best ‘marketing tool’ to get more exposure. Clinton Jeff’s blog is getting more and more hits now, he became ‘famous’ in very short span of the time in this online world and in the tech blogosphere, he got a paid trip and free stay to Germany, to and fro, either paid by Samsung or by Nokia, who knows, and what more a person seek?

    If Samsung is not in a mood to rectify their stand, than / and if Nokia assisted him piously and ‘unintentionally’, why they assisted, could be clarified to the tech world by Nokia on the request of CJ, otherwise many questions will always remained buried,

    (do Nokia always helps many such individuals in a fussy like situation? It is something fishy, there may be many more companies and of course the Governmental channels, why they did not intervene; how could Samsung breach their NDA or contract? etc. )

    If somebody seek justice he should have come up with clean and open hands!

    Reply

    Krishna Verma

    In my opinion, if the blogger has sufficient proof to explain the exploitation, he can register a complaint. However, fighting against brands like Samsung requires you to be financially sound.

    Reply

    PrIyAnGsHu

    I think there were two bloggers who had been forced to act as a promoter at the IFA event. One is Clinton and the another one preferred to stay confidential.

    Reply

    Jyothis Thaliath

    All I can say is I’m shocked. I read about this incident for the first time on this page only. Then I spend my last 2 hours searching everywhere for the follow up stories. Such stories get my nerve, I really wanted to get to its roots (I even added this fellow on Facebook, talk about desperate!)

    Reading most of the news items and posts by fellow bloggers, they all are of the opinion that this guy was ill-treated by the corporates, Nokia comes to the rescue, conclusion drawn : “All hail Nokia and Clinton, Samsung guys are a**holes”

    But while thinking in terms of the people involved,
    Samsung : a giant corporate who is on fire these days!
    Cllinton : a fairly newbie blogger who could use some attention
    Nokia : Current rival of Samsung in mobile market, has a clean image as a bonus

    Don’t you smell something fishy in this play of events??

    Reply

    Harsh Agrawal

    Jyothis
    It’s hard to determine the actual story when Samsung mentioned that it’s a miscommunication and according to other sources, it’s mistake from both the party. Though, it’s a good lesson for us as we should not only be clear about how we are dealing with PR but a written communication is very important in all these scenario.

    Reply

    Ahmed Taha

    I think what CJ did is the right thing to do in such situations, and the best part is that he said it out loud and what samsung actually did is a violation of bloggers right to be independent..

    Reply

    Santosh Krishna

    Not a Good gesture from a top brand like Samsung. Seems like they are lost after loosing their case to appeal after shedding those million dollars from their pocket. whats good to see is that someone blogged about this and let the world know so that everyone is aware of the incident

    Reply

    Binay

    Hello Tech Bloggers – I just wanted to highlight that Samsung India is not covering the SGS3 “Sudden Death” issue under warranty.

    The Sudden Death issue as you know is causing a busted motherboard due to a firmware issue, as many across the world faced and widely reported on XDA and other forums. However in other parts of the world it being repaired / replaced under warranty, but not in India.

    It is very disappointing that loyal Samsung users of premium high end Rs 40,000 devices are treated like this.

    More surprisingly no one seems to be writing about this issue & lack of support from Samsung India to warn other consumers.

    If you can help voice this or need further details, please contact me on my twitter @binay

    Reply

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