According to the latest update from TNW, Samsung has issued a public statement and also apologized in a private note to Clinton Jeff for the undue hardship caused at the IFA 2012. The below screen grab is of the mail written to Jeff from Samsung and has the public statement too.

samsung PR disaster

The statement comes out from the company that took two Indian bloggers to a foreign country and left them stranded when they refused to be the brand’s salesmen. I had shared my thoughts on this undoubtedly shameful act from a company like Samsung which needed to issue a public apology to the bloggers.

Most of us were debating the fact that since the company has paid you, you should be doing whatever they say. Money can’t force someone to do things against their will. However, Jeff should have raised his voice right after he got clear indications.

Now almost after a day, Samsung has come up with a statement on the entire matter which is misleading from the section addressed to Jeff.

Thoughts on apology and the public release

1. The statement that Samsung has made to the public portrays a completely different picture compared to the note it has written to Jeff. The statement says that:

Samsung Mob!lers is a voluntary community of active Samsung mobile device users, who are offered the opportunity to participate in our marketing events across the world. At these events, all activities they undertake are on a voluntary basis. No activities are forced upon them.

We regret there was a misunderstanding between the Samsung Mob!lers coordinators and the relevant blogger, as we understand he was not sufficiently briefed on the nature of Samsung Mob!lers’ activities at IFA 2012. We have been attempting to get in touch with him.

We respect the independence of bloggers to publish their own stories.

What is missing here is the apology. In the public release, Samsung clearly says that it is sheer misunderstanding that has happened. Agreed it can happen but why was it not rectified then and there. Why were the bloggers threatened in the first place and then left stranded. Samsung has completely ignored all these in the public release.

However, Samsung does regret what has happened to Jeff in a personal note and has shown the intent to rectify it. But is it too late?

2. When TNW releases a story then you must pull up your sleeves to save your reputation. But the statement comes at the end of the day. Don’t you think Samsung should have been quick in saving it’s reputation considering today’s times? I think Nokia was smart and quick to act while Samsung’s statement does more harm.

I am sure this won’t be the last incident that we will come across. But it is good that Jeff has spoken and it’s not about money but choosing between right and wrong. Blogging perks are not new to the industry but does perks mean that I become a promoter of your products or do I have the rights to share genuine thoughts? I think this is an individual call for bloggers and Jeff has done what seemed right to him. People might argue that Jeff could have pressed the panic button at a very early stage but he had also notified Samsung at various stages that he is an independent blogger and has no intention to be a promoter. A small issue went on to become the big PR disaster of the day due to the lack of intent of handling the issue within themselves.

It’s time for bloggers to check back on things before they accept any such offers and brands need to pay more attention to their online reputation. We live in a time when news is produced by a few, reproduced by many and consumed by all.

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