from the streisand-multiplier dept
So let’s say you’re a highly-paid CEO of Seattle’s publically-owned utility company, City Light, and you’ve just been ironically kicked around in the media for a couple of weeks because you spent public money to boost your own reputation. Let’s say that, far from being successful in said reputation-boosting, you’re now facing questions over why you spent thousands of dollars to do this in the first place and that now all search results tend to point to this story rather than whatever it was you were originally trying to drown out. What do you do?
You ask for a damned refund, of course. And that’s exactly what City Light’s chief, Jorge Carrasco, is going to do, even if it has to spend even more public money to get that public money back.
The project was concocted by the CEO’s chief of staff, Sephir Hamilton. In an interview with Ars, Hamilton said that the agency may even file a lawsuit to enforce this refund.
“We’re leaving our options open,” he said. “I hope that they’ll see that what we signed up for was not the service that they delivered. We were sold one bill of goods and we were given another.”
Ah, yes, the old “spend more public money on a lawsuit to get a refund on the public money we shouldn’t have spent” strategy. I like it, not only because it’s hilariously recursive, but because it allows for the possibility that City Light loses and the maximum amount of taxpayer money is spent inappropriately. Not that the folks they decided to do business with, Brand.com, seem to be anything remotely resembling reputable (editors note: alliteration combo!).
“We were told that they would provide help in getting some of our past material and news releases placed in reputable blogs and journals and ultimately didn’t know that they would be paying for placement or creating fake news websites to place that news,” Hamilton said in an interview. “And ultimately, all of the material that was generated has been taken off search results because it violated Google’s policies.”
E-mails from City Light show that Justin DeLisi, a Brand.com campaign manager, provided links to “stories” posted to websites that have since been pulled down and that appear to have been utterly fake. The “whois” information on those domains, which include weeklytimes.com, gazers.com, and advisories.com, is also obscured.
So, just to summarize, City Light, a publically owned utility, paid a shady reputation company thousands of dollars to placate the ego of its CEO and now wants a refund because said shady company wasn’t able to produce results. Oh, and they’re willing to spend the money to file and fight a lawsuit to get this refund. Look, at some point you just have to stop digging, even if you’ve legitimately been had. City Light’s reputation hasn’t been done any favors by any of these actions. Jorge Carrasco may want to take a little bit of advice from himself.
Carrasco said at a press conference that he regretted the entire effort to scrub his online reputation. Hamilton concurred. “It was an experiment that certainly didn’t work and we would not do it again,” he told Ars.
Right, so just extend that regret out to this entire situation and stop digging yourself holes. Come on, guys, I don’t want to have to write a third post about you.