Andrii is the Head of Media at TNW, with over a decade of experience in covering the European tech ecosystem. Talk to him about new and exci Andrii is the Head of Media at TNW, with over a decade of experience in covering the European tech ecosystem. Talk to him about new and exciting developments in tech, especially those involving vastly underreported industry niches and geographies.
Travel booking website Cleartrip has announced that it has broken up with its public relations agency Buzz PR after the latter was found to have been spamming bloggers.
Travel booking service Cleartrip claims to maintain strict policy of not sending customers unwanted emails. This is central to the firing of Buzz PR, Cleartrip explained in a blog post.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was a tweet by Kiran Jonnalagadda, founder at HasGeek:
@cleartrip Got mailed by Perfect Relations again. This is really a Hotel California situation now. /cc: @surdattack @gonsalves_r
— Kiran Jonnalagadda (@jackerhack) December 4, 2012
As Cleartrip explained, it shared Jonnalagadda’s email address with Buzz PR a few months ago, when several bloggers were invited to the company’s offices to give its updated mobile app a try.
After that, Buzz PR reportedly included the email addresses received from Cleartrip to its own mailing list and sent at least two unwanted emails to Jonnalagadda, which he pointed out to Cleartrip. The emails were related to other clients and not Cleatrip’s service.
The third time the blogger complained about being spammed marked the time to take measures:
“There was no point in having another conversation with Buzz PR asking them to stop this. Around 7 pm, we sent them a brief email firing them. Three strikes.”
Cleartrip hasn’t said who’s going to be its new PR partner, though emphasized that “None of our future partners will ever make this mistake again.”
It’s worth mentioning that usually companies keep this kind of information for themselves, and Cleartrip explains it had no initial intention to release details:
@shahidmWe had no intention of announcing this until @brandstoryboard picked it up: twitter.com/brandstoryboar…
— Cleartrip (@Cleartrip) December 5, 2012
The controversy around startups and PR agencies’ complicated relationship is not new, as many argue that no one can do public relations better than the team itself. However, marketing and PR is time consuming work that is best done through a dedicated team, and that commitment eats up time for anyone who is tasked with other, more general, business work. From this point of view, PR firms, if chosen carefully, bring expertise, contacts and dedication that leaves people in startups to focus on building their company.
Image credit: David McNew / Getty Images.
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