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JamStik and Rogue PR

Earlier this week I received an unsolicited, and frankly sleazy, press release from a third-party PR firm representing JamStik. I have tried to discourage people from sending me press releases, but I still get a few. This one in particular came with a lot of hetero-normative nonsense and undertones of, "Hey big boy, you should come hang out with me at some event." It put me in the awkward position of either playing along, like I'm an idiot, or being an asshole. I went with the second option. I won't include the entire email, or the subsequent follow-ups, because that is some shaky legal ground, but basically I said "Fuck you, you're bad at your job." and CC'd the whole thing to JamStik to let them know about the sort of representation they were getting.

A guy from JamStik immediatly got back to me, and we smoothed things over. I have no problem with them, and they understood this. Later on I get an email from someone else at the PR firm, who has decided to go rogue and personally threaten me.

"Calling out a public relations professional with a “fuck you” laden email is unprofessional and uncalled for regardless of the issues you may be personally dealing with. I am requesting that you send an apology email to Leslie, with me on copy no later than 4pm today.

If you choose not to send an apology email I will escalate this issue, and while you don’t know me, I can assure you that the easy way out of this unprofessional situation is to simply drop Leslie a note and apologize for your email misstep. I’m a very forgiving person and this misstep can be easily overlooked, *however* I am known for having a short fuse and using very unconventional methods to deal with unprofessional issues."

- Doug Kennedy, Engage PR

I make no pretense about professionalism, but to call me unprofessional and make threats in the same email?

Regardless, I still think JamStik looks like a lot of fun, and it should be available this Summer for $300. Here is a new promo video!

Reader Comments 66

Shaking my head wondering if the world was always like this or if its a whole new level of crazy.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Duke

HA! I love you!

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Holly Wetcircuit

i'm curious to know what happens after 4pm! you must be very afraid tim and i feel for you. Has the issue already been "escalated"?

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Anonymouse

"however* I am known for having a short fuse and using very unconventional methods to deal with unprofessional issues."

Damn, that's a threat that goes way beyond legal intimidation or anything that could be construed as acceptable. What a dick.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Jared

oh dear.. people like this eh? i'd love to get unprofessional with 'Dangerous Doug' and shove a JamStik up his contradictory sanctimonious ass - and that isn't even a threat..

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Tom Cruise

Totally going to hire these Engage PR guys to threaten bloggers for my next project.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Sebastian Dittmann

Aside from the excellent news about new apps and awesome sales, the no BS tone to this site is a major part of what keeps me coming back for more. It's nice to have someone simply say what they feel. Thanks Tim!

March 14, 2013  | person_outline AfroDJMac

lol!!

March 14, 2013  | person_outline RMG

Wha-aa-aat? PR people (aka spin doctors, flack monkeys, perception masseurs, etc.) being *shady*? No way!

Realize that their entire existence is predicated on the ultimate subjectivity of all things. They don't have moral compasses, only instincts that propel them to clamber over their fellow man in a race towards the top of the bucket.

Interestingly enough, this Doug Kennedy uberschmuck is prez not just of Engage, but of their [apparent] parent company, Reverb Communications - who've been on the receiving end of legal spanking from the FTC here in the States over sockpuppet reviews shilling their clients' wares.

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/08/reverb.shtm

So yeah, his threat is totally in character. He's also a fcking retard tho, as his home address is not that hard to find. He's got a nice big mansion with a pond, in fact.

http://i.imgur.com/927barc.png

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Nonnymoose

Thanks guys! Mocking imagery aside... Of all the threats I've received this has bothered me the most. Usually I just get the typical baseless legal threat and that I can laugh off. I'm no stranger to calling people on their bullshit and causing trouble, but there is always the voice in the back of my head warning me about the repercussions if someone snaps. When you go after scum, and let's be honest PR is only one step above spammers, you run the very real risk of them being connected to someone even more scummy.

Don't get me wrong though. I'm no Southern Bell with "delicate sensibilities" so threatening me will never have a good result.

I'm by no means legal minded, but you've not slandered them, you've simply told someone to fuck off. I don't see where the legal line has been crossed. Is it after 4pm yet? Are you still in the land of the free? You could apologise for using the "f" word I guess, saying the "c" word may have been more applicable

March 14, 2013  | person_outline jimkook

Can't wait to see the Tim Webb slander campaign arise. I wonder what they'll photoshop you sleeping next to first?

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Karma Grihnbert

Haha, "delicate sensibilities". I knew there was something missing from your blog and I just couldn't put a finger on it. =D

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Hx

This is a funny Reverb story with a quote from Kennedy that the writer called "almost combative." Combative? For him it's genteel, refined behavior.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/pr-firm-reverb-apologizes-for-kitten-based-guilt-trip/

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Jared

how not to advertise your own services, 101. This really does reinforce my feelings that to these kind of guys we're all just marks waiting to be taken for all we're worth. Maybe that works out for Coca-Cola and McDonalds but for small companies in small markets I don't think you can go about things that way..

March 14, 2013  | person_outline RMG

Lol he has a short fuse. Childish giggle of the day!

It was getting a little light on the legal/bizarre threats front around here... He sounds a little in love with his self importance. Wonder what the unconventional method is? Will it involve kitten torture?

March 14, 2013  | person_outline ISM

here's another scathing article about their shilling practice.

http://blog.ivylees.com/on-shilling-where-the-everyone-does-it-sleaze-mentality-comes-from/

Notice the comment at the bottom, where they try to spit in the blogger's face by thanking him for helping Reverb Communications have a very profitable year.

Maybe it's time to counteract their SEO efforts? Something akin to the "Redefine Santorum" campaign of 2008?

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Karma Grihnbert

Sounds like another "Ocean Marketing" in the making (if you aren't familiar, look it up for a laugh).

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Skippy

re: Kitten torture tactics - clear proof that the man is indeed a superdouchenozzle.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Nonnymoose

Why not congratulate engage for this cool PR stunt on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Engage/22992148287

March 14, 2013  | person_outline h157

I have no comment on the rest of it, but I will say that I was glad I'm not an epileptic when I watched their video. Point two second shots of their device with flashing colored lights doesn't make me want it at all. If Engage PR is responsible for the video, it's another reason to fire them.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

Yep I'm posting this everywhere I can until my little fingers give out.

And on another note this is the only place to find the truth about any app and I'm sorry to say this Tim cause I know palm sounds are your buds and stuff but all they do is say yes and you can't post any contrasting opinion over there. They claim they allow anything but rudeness but it goes much further than that, they won't let you call any app a waste of money. iOS is still young and the best way to serve the musicians who use the platform and the developers is to tell the truth about the quality of the apps, Discchord is the only place that tells the truth about iOS apps.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Kid pocalypse

Tim,

1. I would lodge a copy of this threatening email with your local police.

2. Inform Doug of this in writing (in a neutral, non aggressive tone).

3. Inform Doug's boss of this. Tell him/her Doug is doing a great job of spreading negative PR about their company and offending the very people he should be buttering up to. Also tell them that you are going to do #4...

4. Inform Doug's client, JamStik of what has happened (PR people are terrified of offending their clients). Refer them to your web page about it.

5. Relax. I imagine his email is just big talk and nothing will come of it.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Simon

I guess all the rumours of a Prozac epidemic in the States were true then? Or do you think this is just the result of too much Bolivian marching powder going up their noses? Or a combination of both?? Either way, it's funny as fuck!

March 14, 2013  | person_outline tom_tm

re: "3. Inform Doug's boss of this. Tell him/her Doug is doing a great job of spreading negative PR about their company and offending the very people he should be buttering up to."

- As he appears to be an executive officer within that organization, I would instead recommend bringing this to the attention of their stockholders instead, and definitely their clientele.

re: "4. Inform Doug's client..."

- He did that already (see OP.)
_________________

re: " guess all the rumours of a Prozac epidemic in the States were true then? Or do you think this is just the result of too much Bolivian marching powder going up their noses?"

Oh yeah, this is definitely an 'American thing.' Boy, those stupid Americans are always being stupid! Because nobody anywhere else ever does questionable shit, just those Americans...

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Nonnymoose

I can envisage Paul of 4pockets having Tim 'dealt with' and getting Doug of Engage to take the fall. :)

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Paul

Hmm.... case dismissed! ;-)

March 14, 2013  | person_outline tom_tm

Yeah you don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Tim

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Fessaboy

I love it, Fessa! I sang it out loud here to great applause!

wow timmy you finally butted heads with another...well, buthead. the whole macho male dominant motherfucker attitude kinda takes away from the simple fact that the jamstik is actually a kinda cool (albeit late comer) to the party & from someone who actually does pretend to be a decent 3 chord guitar player i have sincere notions of rock star god status damn soon.

chillz out boyz, smokum peace pipe, make love not bad vibes.

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Anton

you spelled butthead wrong… just saying.

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Butthead

<<< - As he appears to be an executive officer within that organization, I would instead recommend bringing this to the attention of their stockholders instead, and definitely their clientele. >>>

When you Google "Doug Kennedy Engage PR", results 2 and 3 are Tim's angry blog post.

Great PR for his company...

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Simon

Someone should start a "Doug The Thug" fan page on FaceBook.

Give him a little free PR... :-)

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Simon

A couple of appropriate photos of our favorite CEO. Watch your back, Tim!


http://www.gamezone.com/originals/2012/02/27/reverb-publishing-interview-with-ceo-doug-kennedy

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Jared

effing autospell!

to tim & the rest of the minions just remember one thing. you just gave this doug guy, jamstix & everybody else the one thing that pr people live for...free pr. take a read sometime on michael levine's book "guerilla pr" and you'll see a whole chapter devoted to exactly what you, he & everybody else has done to further their efforts.

sucks to get suckered huh?

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Anton

Jared wrote: <<< A couple of appropriate photos of our favorite CEO. Watch your back, Tim! >>>

Look out! He's got an (orange) gun!!!

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Simon

Anton wrote: <<< you just gave this doug guy, jamstix & everybody else the one thing that pr people live for...free pr. take a read sometime on michael levine's book "guerilla pr" and you'll see a whole chapter devoted to exactly what you, he & everybody else has done to further their efforts. >>>

Tim already said he thought the JamStik was a lot of fun in his review.

As for the rest of the comments here: there is good PR and bad PR. It can work against you as well as for you. Ask any politician.

Nixon got a lot of column inches about Watergate, but you wouldn't put it in the "any PR is good PR" basket...

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Simon

Re: to tim & the rest of the minions just remember one thing. you just gave this doug guy, jamstix & everybody else the one thing that pr people live for...free pr. take a read sometime on michael levine's book "guerilla pr" and you'll see a whole chapter devoted to exactly what you, he & everybody else has done to further their efforts.
sucks to get suckered huh?

Yeah, you're right, Anton! Damn, we certainly walked into that, didn't we? What a bunch a friggin' minions! Do you think there's any way we could stop the flow of free PR that we foolishly let loose? Anything at all? I feel so silly being tricked by that one Doug guy, Jamstix and, aaa, everybody else, whoever they might be. You know a lot about this since you read a chapter in a book, so whatever advice you could give, free of course, (one thing minions live for is free ANYTHING) would be greatly appreciated! Hey, thanks in advance, dude!

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Jared

Anton you make little sense in this instance. Why turn good PR and a nice set of comments about a product and turn it into negative PR about your self and your own company? Especially showing yourself to be an egotistical "unconventional" dick? How does that benefit the product? Tenuous.

March 15, 2013  | person_outline ISM

Also a little curious as to what happened when 4 pm passed?

March 15, 2013  | person_outline ISM

I totally agree with Anton.. Not so sure about being suckered though - hopefully any halfwit understands all these posts contribute to some form of PR, whether it exposes the ineptitude and idiocy of using empty threats to bolster a campaign or get it rolling or not. If guerilla PR tactics are really in play and Doug is actually that smart then maybe Doug did a great job and he might not deserve a JamStik up his ass afterall.
As for the support for Tim.. well Tim, you definitely deserve it because this site is the 'only' place that you find straight up honest talk and some very good useful advice about music apps and more... and this has all hopefully been very good PR for you too? As for the JamStik... WTF? Possibly it's greatest use afterall will be for shoving it firmly up the asses of idiots -

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Tom Cruise

I love your up front and honest style Tim. It's unique and refreshing and I like your approach. Also great to see the word heteronormative being used in your blog. Rock on brother.

March 15, 2013  | person_outline planetfrog

What does this do that new rock guitar can't already do?

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Bianca

They are promoting a product in a very small but loyal and for the most part well clued up community (the market isn't exactly over flowing with devices). There aren't the usual endless line of dumbass marks to dupe into buying their crap. My opinion. I agree with the point your making when you consider the general population and more mainstream products though.

I for one won't be considering this any time soon just on principal. I like the product idea a lot as a guitarist, but no thanks. Take that face I'm cutting my nose off!

March 15, 2013  | person_outline ISM

thank you for introducing me to 'hetro-normative' :)

March 15, 2013  | person_outline fatblokeinawheelchair

Come for the iOS news, stay for the gender politics!

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Zymos

Looks like these guys do work in my industry. I'll be sure to spread the word with my PR counterpart about this article. No biggie for Doug though I suppose. He doesn't know me and the products I work with only do about five hundred million per year in business.

March 15, 2013  | person_outline robert

What happened at 4pm? Was purple gas pumped through the letterbox? Did your chair flip backwards, plunging you into a pool of sharks? Come on Tim, we need to know!

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Dastardly

I turned back into a pumpkin! True story...

Absolutely nothing came of this. It is important to note that I have said nothing to Doug directly. My only communication with Engage PR was my first dismissal to Leslie. That's it. I haven't responded to this email, or the one he sent before with his phone number and the demand that I call him. I want less to do with PR people, not more; I am not getting baited by him.

Re: to tim & the rest of the minions just remember one thing. you just gave this doug guy, jamstix & everybody else the one thing that pr people live for...free pr. take a read sometime on michael levine's book "guerilla pr" and you'll see a whole chapter devoted to exactly what you, he & everybody else has done to further their efforts.
sucks to get suckered huh?

What awesome brilliance on the part of Engage! Now, a few more people know about Jamstix than would have otherwise, and a lot more people know that Doug is an orange plastic gun waving, self-important donkey testicle.

...And what do you mean, "suckered"? I think I can safely speak for all the "minions" when I say we are happy to assist Doug in his quest to become widely known as a donkey ball. :)

March 15, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

"re: to tim & the rest of the minions just remember one thing. you just gave this doug guy, jamstix & everybody else the one thing that pr people live for...free pr. take a read sometime on michael levine's book "guerilla pr" and you'll see a whole chapter devoted to exactly what you, he & everybody else has done to further their efforts. sucks to get suckered huh?" - Anton


So does Anton work for Reverb, Engage, or Micael Levine? At any rate, the reverb boys tried this same strategy when people posted about their shilling practices and subsequent lawsuit. "Thanks for the publicity, idiots. You just gave us our most profitable year yet..."

Unfortunately, there IS such a thing as bad publicity. Like when you have a poor work ethic and questionable business practices.

If Doug Kennedy were trying to market himself as a pop star, being a donkey-nut fucktard with Macho Insecurity would actually be quite good for him and his public image. But he's representing a business and, well, I doubt there are many people whom he does relate to...

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Karma Bringhert

Dastardly wrote: <<< What happened at 4pm? >>>

Doug The Thug didn't say anything would happen at 4pm. He just said 4pm was the apology deadline.

His "unconventional methods" might not occur until days or weeks or months later. Or never.

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Simon

If I am being a minion I demand a pitchfork and flaming torch!

March 15, 2013  | person_outline ISM

or at least a cubicle

March 16, 2013  | person_outline RMG

He could send Tim chocolates. That would be unconventional.
Or newts... (thinking outside the box here)

March 16, 2013  | person_outline Paul

Engage = lady gardens

I have thought on this and think It is accurate. For our American friends lady garden is a 4 letter English word beginning with c.

March 16, 2013  | person_outline ISM

Cart? Cape? Cute? Cane? Cool? Carp? Case? Cold? Cake?
Seriously, that is an awfully nice, genteel expression that I've never heard. Poetic, even. Do you really use it pejoratively, like the word that begins with c? I know you used it for Engage that way, but it that usual?

March 16, 2013  | person_outline Jared

No, not usually. Especially when the 'c___' in question has a gherkin lurkin' behind his merkin.

March 16, 2013  | person_outline Paul

Paul:No, not usually. Especially when the 'c___' in question has a gherkin lurkin' behind his merkin.

And now you're smirkin'. I had to look up merkin. At first i thought it said "public wig."

March 17, 2013  | person_outline Jared

To Tim, Karma & the rest of the unwashed masses,

Guess what folks? This whole episode that began with a request to view a new product from Jamstix by their PR firm is just kinda what people with jobs in the PR & marketing world do for a living. Try to generate interest in new products, technology and ideas. For Timmy boy to spew out a tirade of profanity, baseless acusations and slander towards a junior level just outta college staffer was unexcuseable and totally uncalled for. Why do you think he has yet to release HIS response to the request from Engage? Because if it were to find its way to general release it it would show some of the most vile, offensive, unprofessional and simply douchebaggery based prose that even the most ardent fuckwad supporter of Mr. Webbs blog just might have second thoughts about their bloggy boy.

Sorry bruddah, we're not the 1% enemy you're trying to rally the troops against, we are people working our asses off trying to make people happy by finding new & cool ways to games, expand your online experience and enjoy life. We deserve to be treated better, but in reality should expect nothing less from you and your ilk.

Fuck you and have a nice day, say "Hi" to your mom when you finally venture upstairs out of the basement to get a fresh bag of chips.

March 19, 2013  | person_outline PR flack

Him, I like.

March 19, 2013  | person_outline Dastardly

To PR flack:

"unwashed masses" - for PR people you certainly aren't the best at relating to the public are you? I'll keep this in mind when I put your words into context with regards to what you "know" about professionalism. Perhaps you should stick to communicating with the press as they can reinterpret your ghoulish double-speak and sanitize it for consumption by the "unwashed masses"

So, if I'm reading correctly, the proper response to an "uncalled for...tirade on a junior staffer just out of college" is to then reply with self-aggrandizing and vague threats? That's the example you set for your college interns? That's how the business is done by professionals? Oh, wait... this reminds of something... here:

From RAM Raider Blog:
<<<(I'm not) even going to get started on how PR scum will happily ignore your communications for months, only to leap into action as soon as you slag off one of their clients. Ask any journalist, and they’ll have hours of cry-baby stories for you. If you’re not involved in the industry, think yourself lucky, as it means that you’ll never have to make contact with one of these retarded morons>>>

Also, a PR guy who thinks he deserves better treatment? What HAS the world come to? Woe! Woe! Woe! to the unwashed masses when people like yourself are no longer willing to offer your much-needed *talents* because of how under-appreciated you are. Woe!

March 19, 2013  | person_outline Karma Bringhert

Dear "PR Flack", if that is even your real name.
Thank you for confirmng what most of us always suspected about "you and your ilk"- you ARE lowly scumbags.

March 19, 2013  | person_outline Zymos

PR Flack wrote: <<< Because if it were to find its way to general release it it would show some of the most vile, offensive, unprofessional and simply douchebaggery based prose that even the most ardent fuckwad supporter of Mr. Webbs blog just might have second thoughts about their bloggy boy. >>>

Then put your money where you mouth is and post it.

March 19, 2013  | person_outline Simon

I'll post it for him, I don't think he has it. His IP is close, but not quite in the right region for Engage.

It wasn't my email I as omitting. It was all of theirs that I didn't want to post, because posting other people's emails is not very legal.

Leslie I'm not sure what you hope to accomplish with these sorts of fishing expeditions. Do you think I'm an idiot? Do you think I won't notice that you have no clue what the site is or who I am? See, when you make those kinds of mistakes you put me in the awkward position of either acting like an idiot, like I don't know what's going on, or being an asshole. I'm going to go with option 2 here.

Fuck you, Leslie. You're bad at your job. I've CC'd this to Zivix so they know that too.
-Tim

That's it. As I've stated before, that is the only communication from me to anyone at Engage.

Tirade of profanity? Please... I say 10x as many profanities before breakfast. I have some really fucking good coffee.
Baseless acusations(sic)? Most of my comments were questions, but it is my opinion that she is bad at her job.
Slander? You don't even know what that word means.

My turn...

I know times are tough, and I've been in situations where I had to take some shitty jobs. But PR as a career? You're a spammer. That's all you really are. A personalized spammer. Instead of mass unsolicited emails, you send hand-crafted unsolicited emails. No one likes spam, not even self-important Artisanal Spam.

Anyone else feeling somewhat underwhelmed by the response from PR Flack? We start with vague threats of unimagined consequences and then that comment just sort of shows up and flops around on the floor in a spasm of self pity? These guys are paid to write compelling prose for their clients and all we get is a poor imitation of a reverse Hallmark card?

Tim, I don't think these guys are really invested in this fight. You also didn't swear enough in the original response, just sayin'. After PR Flack's wind up, I felt a little let down. Hmm, he reallly is shitty at his job, isn't he?

Getting back to heteronormative standards, maybe the guy with the orange pistol is just mad because you were messing with his girlfriend? His outrage seems misplaced and outsized to your initial mail.

Keep shooting straight and calling it like you see it, best IOS music app site around, hands down.

April 21, 2013  | person_outline MarkoNW
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