As a writer for a well-known tech site, terrible pitches from startups and clueless PR flaks are a part of my daily life. I take great delight in eviscerating the worst specimens on Twitter, because I’m just a terrible person.
But it’s rare that a company is so inept at pitching, it actually shocks me. Enter WindScribe – a Canadian VPN company that took the bar for tech PR and didn’t just lower it, so much as set it on fire and throw it in the ocean.
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You see, WindScribe has an unusual growth hacking technique. It lets users increase the amount of data they can transfer each month by tweeting about its product. And to increase the value it gets from each tweet, WindScribe suggests certain tech writers and publications to tweet to.
— Jemma Day (@jemmaday85) March 5, 2017
— Balas Andrei (@ey_an) March 5, 2017
— arahman elsanhoury (@sanhoury96) March 5, 2017
— humanchild (@humanandchild) March 6, 2017
— a n d r e (@Cooldude3244) March 6, 2017
Searching for @windscribecom on Twitter shows that in addition to several individual reporters, the accounts also targeted Thurrott, TechCrunch, ExtremeTech, TomsHardware, VentureBeat, and yes, The Next Web.
The end result is some strangely evangelistic Twitter eggs, and some seriously pissed off journalists.
Hey @windscribecom: is there a reason why dozens of egg accounts are recommending your product to me?
— Max Eddy, Max Sweaty (@wmaxeddy) March 3, 2017
@windscribecom I've reported everyone to Twitter for spamming me, you guys suck so badly.
— Paul Sawers (@psawers) March 4, 2017
— TNW (@TheNextWeb) March 6, 2017
It’s hard to imagine how anyone thought this could possibly work. Tech reporters, by their very nature, are cynical and questioning. I think most journalists, if they were suddenly bombarded by Twitter eggs pontificating about a service, would recognize it as a clumsly marketing tactic, rather than genuine enthusiasm for a product. It seems Windscribe’s tactic backfired, spectacularly.
But on the plus side, at least a tech publication is writing about it. Any publicity is good publicity, right?
Update: Windscribe got in touch.
@matthewhughes Jokes aside, other methods of communication lead to nowhere. One should be able to appreciate the effort.
— Windscribe (@windscribecom) March 6, 2017
No, one shouldn’t. GTFO.