Clay Nissan Boycott Followup

boycott clay nissan bannerOn August tenth of 2012, we wrote about the movement to Boycott Clay Nissan (you can read that article here.) As a quick refresher, a woman–named Jill Colter–was fired from her position as a service writer at Clay Nissan of Norwood. Jill has stage 4 brain cancer, and her brothers Jon and Adam claimed that her illness is the reason she was terminated. They started a boycott of the Clay Nissan Family of dealerships and Clay responded with a defamation lawsuit. Our article talked mostly about how the Colter brothers used social media to get their sister’s cause to go viral and rally support, and the Clay group handled their reputation management on Facebook pretty poorly.

The two sides have since met in court to discuss the issue. In a document that was issued from the Dedham court yesterday, it seems that the law is coming down on the side of Clay Nissan.

In the ten-page document, the Justice of the Superior Court granted an order of attachment to the plaintiff, The Clay Corporation, against the Colter brothers. The Justice wrote, “…there appears to be a reasonable likelihood that the plaintiffs will recover a substantial judgment” as the reason for the order. This essentially means that the Colters must present The Clay Corporation with financial information in anticipation of impending payment.

So Clay is winning the battle in court, but the very fact that they’re winning means that they lost in the court of public opinion. The Justice found that the boycott initiated by the Colters, if continued, “…may very well have its desired effect: the crippling or destruction of the plaintiffs business”.

That’s right, the Facebook based boycott was so effective, that it had the potential to completely destroy Clay Nissan of Norwood. Not only that, in the couple of months that the boycott has been live, Clay has lost over $100,000.
Think about that; one…hundred…thousand…all because of a Facebook page.

Will a court ruling in Clay’s favor be enough to change the negative connotation now associated with the dealership group? Unfortunately, the damage has likely already been done, though it’s not for lack of support from the court. In fact, the Justice wrote, “…the Colter’s have been exposed to many additional facts which would cause a reasonable person to conclude that Jill’s termination was not based in any way upon her illness. The Colters have chosen to ignore those facts and have stepped up their relentless campaign against Clay.”

Even that condemnation of the Colters won’t be enough to change what happened. Use Clay as a lesson for your own business. It appears they were in the right, they defended themselves courteously, they took (most likely) successful legal action….and they still lost and lost big.

The point is you can’t fight the kind of negative publicity that goes viral. If Clay had just apologized and worked to have the Facebook page taken down right at the beginning, they probably wouldn’t be dealing with the potential annihilation of one of their dealerships.

Want advice on how to deal with negative opinions in social media? Wikimotive can help, contact us for a free evaluation and advice on how to keep your reputation sparkling clean when it comes to social media.

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  • William Charthouse

    It is my understanding via the court document (available here: http://www.clayfamilycares.com) that the social media organizers are potentially on the hook for more than $1.5 million as a result of lying repeatedly on the Facebook site about a wide range of topics.

    With that in mind, not sure I agree that the damage you cite that has been done to the dealership ($100,000+brand rebuilding) isn’t balanced out by $1.5M or more. Seems like the negative campaign — and all those involved with orchestrating and promoting it (like wikimotive) — may (or should) suffer a far worse fate than the auto dealer.

  • Wikimotive is in no way involved with a negative campaign against Clay or the Colter family. Our interest is purely how social media has influenced or will influence the outcome.

    William, you have to remember that the losses represented here were for a single month and a single dealership because as far as the court is concerned that is what matters. But Clay owns 5 Massachusetts based dealerships. It is likely that all businesses associated with the Clay name have been effected by this boycott and that this would have happened over a period of months and may continue to happen for many more months. Remember, the court decision does not prevent the Colters from continuing their boycott nor the onslaught of misinformation and propaganda.

    Also, there has been no “decision.” The “case” you reference was simply an evidentiary hearing. The judge merely ruled on the possibility that evidence exists that could find in favor of Clay. It’s no different than a grand jury ruling on whether or not a criminal case should or shouldn’t go to trial. Lots of people are still found not guilty. The idea that this is some sort of win for Clay is just silly.

    My team had the opportunity to speak candidly with Mr. Colter and he openly admitted that he expected that there would be a good chance that he would lose in court. But he feels the way he feels. I would liken it to be more akin to a faith based movement than one based on fact. As such, no amount of evidence will convince him otherwise that Clay tried to kill his sister. Thats the way he sees it. I don’t believe this will stop their campaign against Clay, but may actually work to strengthen the Colter’s resolve.

    Also, Clay may never see a dime of that money. The Colter’s would have to possess the money already and even if they are already multi-millionares, there will be multiple appeals that could delay and reduce the amount Clay ever actually sees.

    In the end, there are NO winners. Only losers.

    • William Charthouse

      Frankly, your statement that “If Clay had just apologized and worked to have the Facebook page taken down right at the beginning, they probably wouldn’t be dealing with the potential annihilation of one of their dealerships.”

      There are a lot of assumptions in there and in your post in general. If the Court Order is accurate and the campaign is based on lies, what should Clay have apologized for? How do we know for certain they didn’t? Should they have offered to help Jill financially? Did they? If they were involved in a legal dispute, were there restrictions on what they could say or risk by engaging directly with the boycotters or via social media? Do you know what the annual revenue of the dealership is? What percentage loss this comprises? What other marketing irons they have in the fire? What their loyal customer base believes?

      Marketing should never be boiled down to this level of simplicity…Unless you’re just trying to sell something.

      • Well that is the point William. The purpose of our article on Clay’s situation wasn’t to look at the aspects of whether or not they acted appropriately. The Clay’s built their own website to defend their position. This website in general has received very little attention other than by a small group of supporters and likely their current and former employees.

        The Colters Facebook page has received many thousands of page views and that exposure even lead to news media coverage. We are a marketing company and our interest is in how businesses use social media to market and in some cases protect their brand from negative publicity whether or not it is fair.

        I’m not sure how much clearer we can make it, but Wikimotive has never worked for or received money from either the Clay family or the Colter family. Our interest is purely in the ramifications social media has played in this situation as we are a social media company.

        The Clay dealership is not the first to have been hurt substantially by a negative social media campaign by a former employee or disgruntled customer. Yet, businesses still have not caught on to the fact that an aggressive social media marketing strategy and competent people in place to monitor potentially damaging vitriol is not only a good idea, it can be vital to the financial success of a business in the information world we live in.

        Personally, I don’t like the idea that someone can hurt a business by being dishonest. But it is the reality of the world we live in. I’m not here to try and change the world as appealing as that concept may be. But I can help businesses protect themselves from people that might wish them harm and we can educate them in the proper handling of negative press.

        We understand the average person can’t understand that it isn’t about right or wrong. Unfortunately the real world doesn’t care about the virtue of truth. We live in a world of 30 second sound bytes and 10 second preroll and where the mere act of clicking a like button can change things.

        We live in the world of public perception. That is where the Clay’s went wrong. They failed to recognize that the merit of their actions meant nothing in the public eye. The only thing anyone wanted to hear was that the big bad business tried to hurt the poor cancer lady.

        The appearance of the apology and the written commitment to make it right would have put a stopper in the viral wave that spread support to the Colter’s cause. They then could have moved the conversation offline and dealt with it in a way that wouldn’t have continued to cause damage to their brand.

        THAT — is the point and our interest in this story.

      • John Papageorgio

        Couldn’t agree with William more.

        After reading everything associated with this whole situation, I don’t know if “sorry” would really stop the Colters. From what I can see, Clay did call her and spoke to her about the situation, offering her a job at the same pay, etc at any of their dealerships and they also have paid or are paying her a full year’s salary. For most, I would think that would be enough of an apology to stop the smear campaign but instead it continues on and that’s why the Clays proceeded with their court case. The judge has deemed the Colters testimony as “not credible” which essentially says they were lying. Furthermore, from posts I have seen on both the Colter’s Facebook page and on the page in support of Clay Nissan prove that the Colter brothers are deleting any posts in support of Clay or any that question the Colter’s motive.

        Is this something you really want to be in support of? Trying to put a business, out of business, with a story based on opinion and lies? From the way this article was written as well as the previous article, it seems like you’re just in it for the sale. I’m guessing the Colters have paid Wikimotive to side with them.

        • Well John, you know what happens when you assume…

          Whether or not they paid for some of the likes really didn’t matter. It still got them news media coverage and caused substantial damage to the Clay’s business. This seems to be the point people are missing. It doesn’t matter how the Colter’s did what they did. What matters is that Clay was ill equipped to deal with the situation in a way that minimized damage. There are no winners here.

          I think we covered this in our response to William.

  • Frank Barns

    Mr. Martell,

    In a nut shell you would say that the Clays should not have defended their good name against a phony Facebook page created from lies, misinfromation, and fake likes that are bought and paid for. In general, our society caves in to extortion because they don’t have the will or the spine to defend themselves. In this world, a person has only a few things that matter and a good reputation is one of them. When a person is faced with someone who wants to destroy their reputation with lies, they should defend themselves. In the long run, it’s the best strategy. Not the cheapest, but it makes it easier to go to sleep at night.

    Mr. Martell, it is parasites like you who feed off people like the Colters, deceiving the public to support yourself and acting like you work is a noble calling. The problem the Clays have isn’t being “ill equipped to deal with the situation”, it’s having unconscionable people like you and the Colters free to maliciously attack whom ever they disagree with. The best part of this is, for once, the attackers and those in support of them have been revealed for what they are and there are consequences for their actions. That’s why people, who have ethics, a concept you may not be familar with, defend themselves at all costs.

    • Not sure where all the hate and vitriol comes from here, Frank. I wouldn’t say any of that. Our company specializes in helping to protect businesses like Clay from people like the Colters. For some strange reason, there seems to be this desire on the part of Clay defenders to label anyone discussing the situation as an attacker.

      Frank, it might help if you actually took the time to read the two articles we wrote about the topic. Our stand has been completely impartial in terms of fault. We clearly stated that we DID NOT have the facts and as such had no dog in the fight.

      We also understand that the average person out there like yourself likely lacks the consciousness of mind to be able to separate utopian idealism from the harsh reality of the world we live in. A person, lives by a code of ethics and tries to do what is right, unfortunately in the business world, this type of self-righteousness is seldom, if ever, rewarded. Being correct is not what is important. What matters is how potential consumers perceive your business and unfortunately, the truth rarely stands tall in the court of public opinion.

      It is because of this reality that the City of boston is littered with PR firms (to help businesses deal with negative spin. However, these firms are (more and more) finding that they are ill equipped to deal with the realities of Social Media and the consequences businesses face when mishandling pr nightmares in this space. The Clay’s have now experienced this first hand.

      Again, the Clay’s have won nothing, and lost much. Whereas the Colter’s will have achieved, in part, their objective of harming the Clay organization without any real consequence. Frank, you make the mistake of reading the evidentiary hearing as a victory. There is no victory here. This is no different than a grand jury hearing in a criminal case. Simply it has been determined that there is enough evidence to go to trial. Those of us who actually have worked at executive levels in automotive retail for decades know this. Scott Clay certainly knows the fight has merely begun.

      As I said previously, I think it is deplorable that people can irreparably harm a business that provides jobs and security to many good, hardworking people. But the fact is, they can. And if anything, the court ruling shows that both the Clay organization and the legal system itself are powerless to stop it. But then, that is if in fact defamation actually took place. All that has happened so far is an evidentiary hearing. And there will be two completely separate trials going on. The discrimination case for Jill and the defamation case for Clay. The discrimination case will ultimately determine the outcome of the defamation case.

      Again, and this is very important, WE DO NOT KNOW THE FACTS. Nor do most, if any, of the people commenting here. In the end the courts will decide. But regardless of the courts ruling, the damage will have been done.

      It is interesting that so many commenters want to believe in a fairy tale world where good triumphs over evil. I guess that is the result of the popcorn society we have become. But it just isn’t so. Had the Clay’s handled this situation differently, they would likely have saved themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars. No one is suggesting that the Clay’s have not defended themselves, simply the way they’ve gone about it has been a losing strategy from the get go. Sometimes the best defense, doesn’t look defensive at all. It is that point that our articles seek to show.

      • Frank Barns

        Mr. Martell,
        Not surprisingly, you talk down as if you’re the only one who “gets it”. Let me break it to you; a lot of people get it and the harsh reality you refer to is a result of a lack of ethics and to some degree a lack of morals. You seem to have done what a lot of people in our society have done and caved in to a code that says “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” You sound frustrated or resigned hen you say that “A person, tries to live by a code of ethics and do what is right, unfortunately in the business world, this type of action is seldom, if ever, rewarded.” The message I hear is; “to hell with ethics, go for the reward.”

        I get it. I can understand moral capitulation for someone without a spine, but some of us that still believe you can prosper and thrive with high morals and ethics.

        Call it whatever you want but your message is CLEAR and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out who Timothy Martell is and what he stands for.

        • Frank, with all due respect, your rhetoric speaks volumes about your own “ethics”. I’ve neither attacked anyone nor passed judgement. You however seem to desire “inciting a fight,” — on the internet no less, how laughable! But, of course, I am the spineless one… Thanks for clearing that up for us!

          Clearly, sir, you don’t get it. I have spent more than two decades defending businesses from the people you seem hellbent on associating with me and my company. What have you done that is so laudable? That’s right, you called me names. Ouch. Not sure I’ll be able to sleep now that someone who knows nothing about me, my business, my employees or the life I have spent giving to others is questioning my ethics.

          Believe what you want sir, but the Easter Bunny isn’t going to drop by with a satchel containing $160 grand off for Mr. Clay. You are right about one thing, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out who I am, yet somehow it has still eluded you. Frustrated? Have you looked in the mirror? Try reading what you write here. I am happy to keep letting you post, because you are doing a fine job digging yourself a deeper and deeper hole from which there is no escape.

          The message you are “hearing” is merely the result of your inability to understand — perhaps you do not wish to understand and only to be heard. A common problem of people who struggle with interpersonal communication. At no time have we suggested that ethics be ignored. Merely that a public venue such as the internet is no place to allow this sort of situation play out — where people of lesser intelligence thrive on insult and mob mentality. This is precisely what you see unfolding on the Colter’s Facebook page. Hmm… also sounds like someone else I know… Who could that be?

          Again, most people with even the slightest business sense can understand that trying to solve an internal personnel issue on Facebook or via pubic self promotion on a website is a poor approach with few possible outcomes, none of which could lead to a positive result – as is proving true in this case.

  • Alan

    Mr. Martell, in reading the exchange above I directly extract (and NOT assume) that you have taken money from the [defendants] for both public exposure and the selling of ‘likes’. I did ask you in the previous article thread if you would declare whether you had a financial interest in this affair (or not) and you were silent on that point. I’m sure you will correct me if I am wrong – so feel free – its better than silence. Can you please clear this up now?

    This whole subject of the selling of false ‘likes’ (which is on your price list) is what I understand as a marketing tool to enhance exposure – correct? It seems to me that false ‘likes’ are a lie. False ‘likes’ mislead and send false messages to the reader. They make the innocent reader think that the site or the product is more popular than it actually is. Would you agree that this is certainly a form a deception. In fact, Facebook themselves knows that false accounts is a major problem for them (see http://articles.cnn.com/2012-08-02/tech/tech_social-media_facebook-fake-accounts_1_facebook-accounts-facebook-profiles-facebook-estimates). Its my understanding that this news actually impacted their already caving stock price when it became known. I think that false ‘likes’ are despicable and selling them or even buying them is worse and, yes, thats my opinion. False ‘likes’ will go away when Facebook gets smarter or some there is enough backlash so pages and sites just won’t do it. But enough about false ‘likes’.

    I’m not going to try to convince anybody that there are any winners here. There are only different degrees of who loses more and whether the losses are short term or long term. At the same time, I don’t think that one should apologize for something if they believe they have done nothing wrong. Using a loose analogy: I also don’t believe that we should negotiate with terrorists. The US and its allies do it. Negotiating with terrorists only permits and emboldens more terrorism.

    I think the single most important social aspect of this case is that the power of the internet cannot be permitted to be abused by anybody. A group who asks for a boycott and then deletes and bans any opposing or non-conforming commentary and then purchases false ‘likes’ is internet terrorism.

    Here is what Judge Renee Dupuis said about this: [pg 8 Para 2] “Although it may very well be within their rights to delete such posts, those posts put the [defendants] on notice that there was a substantial likelihood that their assertions were false.”

    I think what the judge was saying was effectively: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” (Sound familiar?)
    So Timothy are you aiding internet terrorism by selling false ‘likes’? (Yeah, I know, everybody does it so its ok for you too).

    At this juncture we have an evidentiary hearing ruling which strongly warns and restricts the defendants. As you said its like a grand jury and there is more to come but if this was a baseball game then its the 1st inning and the defendants are behind 1.5M runs [GRIN]. And yes, the plaintiffs are certainly covered in dirt and mud from all of that being kicked into their faces.

    Mr. Frank Burns (on this thread) had some strong words but I think that what he was saying is spot on. Morals and ethics always win the day. Clay has a very long road ahead of them but taking that highroad is going to work out better for them in the long run . As this judgement and (now I assume) similar others that are to follow are issued and become more well known then the people who have known the Clay name for decades will learn the truth and they will repair their mindset. Many are already doing that.

    We also know that ‘for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction’ – so given all this, there will most assuredly come a positive overshooting of positive opinion bounce in favor of Clay. A sympathy vote that is; and Clay’s business will come back better than before.

    Clearly, I think that the offending boycott site should be shut down now and the fact that is hadn’t been shut down at the evidentiary hearing really surprised me. But there is more here than meets the eye here. Consider this.

    Here is what the judge wrote on page 10: “Their [defendants] First Amendment right to express their views should not be subject to prior restraint by this Court. Plaintiffs must resort to money damages for remedy of those harms which they can prove arising from the underlying claims.”

    In effect, the judge would not shut down the defaming site because defamation is apparently protected under the 1st amendment as long as the plaintiff can remedy the situation later by extracting money from the defendants. (That is the way I read it.)

    In the defendants ‘STAY’ appeal response, it states: [Page 7] “By contrast, given that the [defendants] do not own real property or have significant liquid assets, a stay of the attachment will not irreparably harm the plaintiffs, who would be unable to recover such a large sum even were they to succeed on the case on the merits with such an attachment in hand. ”

    In effect, the defendants are saying that we are poor and the plaintiff will not be able to get blood from a stone.

    If so Timothy, then isn’t this the underlying reason why judge would need to shut down the site now?
    The defaming site cannot be cured with money. EVER ! And the defendants have told us just put that in writing.

    Perhaps Scott Clay is reading this – I hope so.

    • Alan, thank you for forming a well constructed argument. However, if you had read any of the posts above you would see that I have clearly stated on numerous occasions, that Wikimotive, has NEVER taken ANY money from either the Colter Family OR the Clay family. We also are not working on behalf of either party in a pro-bono fashion. No way, no how, not for either party. PERIOD.

      Alan, I would caution you to look at your own words and the reason that this case is taking place, alleged libelous speech, and consider that when you make unfounded assertions, you put yourself at risk. My company is not in the business of selling fake or “false likes” as you claim here. In fact, if I were to take action like the Clay organization against you the way Clay has done so against the Colter family, a judge would note at an evidentiary hearing that our company has written numerous articles on the subject of fake likes and warned companies of the dangers of such an online strategy.

      Wikimotive offers a service by which we will engage with and attract real people to like a businesses page. This is also the reason our service does not cost $14 for 1,000 likes the way other companies charge. But the purpose of this post is not that of a sales pitch.

      Personally, I think that if the Colter’s paid for fake likes as the posters here have alleged that that was a big mistake on their part. Their movement had more than substantial online exposure prior to the purchasing of the alleged likes. That said, when working for clients in the past, I have received direct responses from people in news media that essentially set a specific social media “critical mass requirement” before they will cover a topic.

      One could speculate that this may have been true in the case of the Colter’s boycott and the purchasing of likes may have put them over the edge they needed to get tv coverage. If this was the case (and I am just spitballing here) then that might “justify” the strategy of fake likes.

      Your point on standing tall and facing the music is well understood. I am sure there are many out there who feel as you do and that sentiment seems consistently echoed by those in the Clay camp. We are merely suggesting a different approach could have quelled the rising tide of this “internet attack,” and allowed the Clay’s time to maneuver in such a way that may (or may not) have yielded the same out come in terms of the battle with the Colter Family, but that would have saved them any losses in terms of the boycott.

      Your feelings on the “abuse of the internet” as you call it are easy to understand. Most feel this way when this weapon is pointed at them or someone they know. Living in the land of the free requires an advanced understanding, patience and tolerance of the right’s of others. Remember, the constitution protects or enemy’s just as it protects our friends.

      It is for this reason, that we suggest our strategy to be superior to the one Clay has chosen. We have no emotional attachment to the situation. We are looking at this objectively as a function of business. Our judgement is not clouded by enragement over an injustice we feel someone has suffered.

      Also, one should remember the issue is not black and white as people in both camps might like it to seem. I’m sure the management at Clay believed they acted accordingly. Hopefully they have had proper training and understand that in a state like Massachusetts, a lot of documentation will be required to show cause for the termination of employment when it comes to the discrimination case. Our legal system is designed to protect the weaker party. Some times wrong doing comes in the form of lack of education and not some malicious act the Colter’s might have you believe occurred at a cold faceless company.

      Likewise, the Colter’s are not terrorists. Would you not say anything, if you thought it might keep your wife, sister, mother, husband, brother or father alive just one more day? What principles would you not abandon to save your son or daughter from death?

      Does their speech have consequences that can hurt more people than just the Clay family? Absolutely! If it was your wife who was dying, would you care or even be in a mindset to consider those ramifications? Many people like to claim to be such highly moral people until they are faced with the harsh, grotesque and undignified reality of watching a loved one perish before our eyes.

      What if the Colter’s are successful in “bringing down Clay.” Will all of the loss others experience bring their sister back when she finally does leave this world? Will taking jobs away from many other people uninvolved with the decision to terminate Jill’s employment return some value to society? Will we the community be better as a whole as a result of any avenged ramification the Clay organization suffers at the hands of the Colter’s boycott movement?

      Does anyone really believe that anything the Colter’s say or do on the internet will ultimately cause Clay to go out of business? Where does it all end?

      It is the endgame, the denouement, that interests us. There will be a lot of painful, personal suffering that takes place on both sides as this long, arduous process unfolds in the courts. The financial ramifications will also be great for both parties regardless of the outcome.

      Our suggestion isn’t to have apologized for something that didn’t happen and move on. Our suggestion is that people pause for a moment and think about people. Can you remember as a child being told to “think before you speak,” or, “think before you act?” In the digital world where people can just pop off about whatever they think or feel in the moment, a certain aspect of the human condition has been lost — compassion.

      Was Clay right to fire Jill? Maybe. Was it handled with an ounce of compassion or dignity given the gravity of her personal situation? There doesn’t seem to be any evidence to suggest that. Did the Colter brothers make an honest effort to reach out to Scott Clay with a cool head and ask why they would do this to their sister? Or even find out if they knew it had been done? Doesn’t seem to be any evidence to suggest that either.

      So who is right and who is wrong? There are a lot of degrees of mistakes and miscommunications. A lot of different outcomes would have been possible if someone just stopped for a moment and talked to another human being with compassion and the desire for understanding.

      This is the approach we recommend for our clients — to seek first to understand, before we can hope to be understood. To recognize and validate another person’s feelings and then move things out of the public arena where people who have nothing better to do than fuel a fire are removed from the equation and people can communicate in a civilized fashion in hopes to achieve an amicable solution for all.

  • Michael

    Tim-

    It seems as though your responses have become increasingly hostile. People are merely stating observations and making valid points. All I see in your responses is senseless and groundless attacks- a sure sign when someone has no defense. A court of law fortunately has and will continue to decide based on facts and not conjecture.

    • I disagree michael. The only responses of mine that could be remotely construed as hostile were in response to Frank, who chose to veer from discussing the topic and chose instead, to insult me and attempt to lure me in to some kind of online confrontation about who knows what.

      His post asserted actions on the part of my company that were wholly untrue. If I were Clay Nissan, Frank would have been served notice to appear for a deposition for proceedings in a deformation suit by now! lol

      There is certainly nothing valuable added by impugning someone’s character based on fabrication and then asserting actions on the part of a company that never occurred. Additionally, I’ve not made a single attack in either the article or the thread — even in my less than cordial response to Frank, who’s only agenda seemed to be to shift the focus of the topic to a fantasy. Perhaps for the purpose of misdirection? Perhaps to move the focus off the real topic? I can only speculate.

      You cite, “a sure sign when someone has no defense.” I just not sure you’ve actually read the article or the posts in their entirety. We aren’t “defending” either side in this case. Our viewpoint on the case is completely impartial because we openly admit that we do not know the facts of the case. No one does yet!

      Be careful not to fall victim to spin. No trial has taken place. No decision has been rendered. Merely a court has decided that Clay has a case and that case should be heard by a jury; that if such a case should be heard, the Clay group would stand to gain financially as the result of a favorable finding and as such the defendants of the case needed to provide financial records to determine what if any attachments can be made.

      Sure, lots of additional verbiage was added that will actually have no bearing on the results of the case, but no victory has been won. I think that is something most people have missed.

      Some of the comments we received that we could not publish here due to the use of language proclaimed Clay as the victor as if they won in court and the matter was resolved. I’m not sure everyone is actually clear on the fact that no judgements have been rendered.

  • Alan

    Timothy, am I pleased that you finally did let me know if you had or had-not a financial connection to the boycott site. As you know I asked you this question on the other thread and saw no response from you. In this thread I was confused as to what was being said in this regard. So now you have cleared this up. However, you did have a large posted presence on the boycott site and given the fact that you have a price list which provides many similar services to what was being required – it was natural to think that there a fee for service. By the way, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with charging a fee for services – it should just be disclosed. If there is no fee for services, in those situations, then it would also be good to note that too.

    Back on the issue of ‘likes’ and ‘false likes’. I will make a definition of both now.
    A real ‘like’ is the click of the ‘like’ button by a person who saw a page then ‘liked’ it, or who was recommended by another linked friend of a page then ‘liked’ it or clicked the advertisement of a page and then decided to ‘like’ that page too. In other words, its just what its supposed to be. A person likes a page for no other reason than because its a genuine like and there is no other incentive to like.

    A ‘false like’ is when a person is somehow recruited (by any number of methods via a 3rd party) to review and like a page (under free will of course), but in the end there is some financial benefit or some trade of valuable consideration to the ‘liker’.

    On your price list I see that you sell 2,000 likes per month for $299. True?
    So if, in fact, you can guarantee 2,000 likes per month for a set price then, by definition, you are receiving a financial benefit for delivering ‘likes’. The next question is however, are those likes genuine? And here the devil is in the details. Did those 2,000 receive a payment from you for liking? (And that payment could be for some other valuable consideration.) The fact that you deliver less likes / dollar vs your competitors doesn’t seem to play into this definition. But I’m all ears. What is also interesting is that you agreed (above) that ‘false likes’ could be justified to hit a particular target count and within a certain timeframe for (as you put it) TV coverage? (Re: As you said… “then that might “justify” the strategy of fake likes.”) Very interesting !

    Your price list says that you sell likes in specific quantities over specific periods of time and for a specific price. I’ve defined this condition ‘false liking’ and you acknowledge that sometimes its justified. So I’m confused and disappointed why you needed to rattle a sword with a veiled threat at one of your bloggers. Given this, there is no risk and it doesn’t shine well on this forum for you to assert these things.

    Again, I’m all ears as to why you think your price list doesn’t say “I’m selling likes but mine are not false”. Please be specific and convince me otherwise.

    In any event, it seems that Facebook has not outlawed ‘false likes’ yet. So selling ‘false likes’ does not break any law or Facebook rule. That surprises me but a lot of stuff having to do with this overall affair surprises me.

    On the issue of internet terrorism. Again, I’m defining actions that, I think, can best describe the use of a medium. I am referring to no specific person, persons alive or dead. But that being said, when you ask people not to buy from a business and then censor commentary to the contrary then you are using that very powerful medium in a way which is terroristic. Certainly the business is being put into a state of terror and that terror is derived from the size and usage of the medium itself. The idea that in this day and age one can speak to many with little advertising budget. Not true before the internet where only those with money could afford to be as loud.

    If a person running a site buys ‘false likes’ then how do I or we know what percentage of the like count is real and actually counts towards the ‘boycott’ goal? Many likes displayed could be false? Don’t know? Many likes posted could be from far away and have no real affect on the a local business? Don’t know? So the whole business of likes in the internet medium can also be used as a form of terror on a business. Lets also take ‘viral labeling’ – is that also a form of terror on a business? The actions of people alone speak volumes as to whether internet terror is occurring or not.

    In the specific case that you are citing, I do not know directly who is right or wrong. I can only depend now upon the legal system to answer those questions. So far I’m getting a very distinct view of where the truth is. You can read the same document as me. But yes, this is just the beginning and there is more to come so I will stay tuned.

    Apology? Do you know if an apology occurred at some personal level? Do you think that the offer of a job back or a year’s salary without prejudice was a type of an apology? I can see where the latter could be but again that’s my opinion.

    You asked me what I would do if it were my family or sister? Good question.
    My first instinct would not have been to have created a risky boycott site and have gone viral and loud.
    If I felt I had a good case then I would have contacted the CEO directly and then only have pursued the legal channels and if my case was good enough then there are lawyers who will work for contingency.

    Why pollute a perfectly good legal system approach where you can present your evidence and your facts to a neutral 3rd party or jury to get your slice of justice?

    I appreciate the dialogue and I always try to learn from my interactions with people.

    • Michael

      well – said Alan. Tim refuses to post my comments. why would that be Timothy?

    • Hello again Alan. Sorry if you misunderstood my intention mentioning the libelous speech. It was merely an example to draw analogy to the situation we see here with Clay Vs Colter.

      Regarding the business of fake likes. A fake like or false like as you have referred to it is actually much worse than what you suggest here. A fake like is completely fraudulent. Some people have made a business out of creating fake Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking profiles with imaginary people who do not exist at all and then they utilize software to cause these fake people to like pages and inflate the perception of a business or person’s social influence.

      Facebook has recently come under fire about this because of the potential for fraud. Recently it has been estimated that there are nearly 90 million fake accounts on Facebook and this has become big business in some pretty alarming ways. You may have heard that some large companies have pulled their advertising from the platform which has in turn hurt Facebook’s stock prices.

      This came as a result of potential fraud created by these fake accounts. Using them to like a page hasn’t been an issue, but the bots that control them “look” for people and pages with influence to like so that they can essentially spread like a virus and influence more people. One of the ways they have been doing this is by clicking paid links. So fake accounts are clicking links paid for by companies that deliver nothing of value to those companies, but cause Facebook to earn ad revenue. Very bad.

      Many of the companies selling likes achieve their results via this method and companies are paying to get likes from people who don’t exist. Wikimotive’s methodology is very different. We utilize real people to make real suggestions based on the networks and people they are connected to. Additionally, we create ads using the Facebook ads network and other networks such as google’s ad networks to place like buttons on ads that people can click to like a page. But the idea is that real people click like because there is some value for them to do so. Thus we’re delivering real likes to businesses.

      Reading your post I think that you and I are, for the most part debating semantics, though for many people those semantics are important. You are referring to false likes as one thing, but to most people a fake like is akin to fraud and fraud is a crime and we are certainly not in the business of criminal activity or in perpetuating dishonesty.

      Your reference to internet terrorism may make sense to you, but the imagery and emotion invoked with terror or terrorism is that of a criminal. I think the cavalier use of terms like these can be a bit irresponsible or at the very least, using them in this way diminishes the meaning of the words in their true intended sense. I do not believe that what the Colter’s write on their Facebook page is analogous to the actions of people who rape, maim, and murder innocent children and people in the name of misguided religious extremism. So in that sense I think the words you choose poorly describe the situation.

      Ultimately the “truth” in this matter will determine the adjectives associated with the people involved. After all, if Clay did discriminate against a woman who is dying of cancer and in so doing caused her to prematurely depart this earth, wouldn’t they in fact be more like terrorists than anything the Colter family could ever say?

      Of course, I’m not suggesting that is in fact what has happened, but I am suggesting that we consider what our words mean. Unpopular speech is not new. It is one of the primary foundations upon which this country was built. Writing something that may offend someone else is the very first right our forefathers believed we should have, so I can’t even imagine how exercising that right could be misconstrued as terrorism.

      I would say that for anything remotely resembling a label of “internet terror” to be in play that both Jill’s cancer diagnosis and even the validity of her employment would have to be in question for such a label to be given to someone.

      I think the most important thing either of us have said regarding the specifics of this case are, “I do not know directly who is right or wrong.” My friend, neither do I. Only Jill, the manager who fired her, and hopefully Scott Clay know the answer to that one.

      I think it is incorrect to say that you are “getting a very distinct view of where the truth is.” Merely, for your own personal reasons, one side resonates with you more clearly than the other. And there is certainly nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t make what you are believing to be true simply because you believe it.

      Also, there is far too much attention being focused on if an apology occurred or if something represented an apology or not. Again, none of us really know what happened. What we do know is that a point of critical mass was reached where this became about more than an issue between an employee and her employer. The fact that that was allowed to happen is what we are calling a mistake.

      I’m with you, Alan! If my wife was diagnosed with cancer and her boss fired her, my first thought wouldn’t be to go build a Facebook page, but then again, we don’t know what steps the Colter’s took prior to creating that page either.

      What over 20 years of managing people has taught me is that, a person, on his or her own, is generally compassionate, understanding, cooperative, and in general… good. People under duress can be, panicky, become easily influenced by others and act generally out of character and easily fall prey to mob mentalities. Supporters on both sides have shown signs of this type of behavior.

      What my article suggests is that a group of executive level management involved with a multi-million dollar automotive retail group like the Clay organization should have had measures in place to identify developing issues like this immediately and have a strategy in place to prevent such an issue from taking hold of the public eye.

      The Colter’s Facebook page should have been shut down within 24 hours of having been built. If any real communication took place prior to the building of that page it should have been escalated to a legal team upon notice of the first phone call. But bottom line, if the Clay group acted responsibly, we would never have had this discussion. We would never even have heard about it. That’s not to say the Colter’s would have had their way with Clay and blackmailed them for outrageous demands. But, it would have been handled behind closed doors and no boycott would have ever taken place.

      Thanks for contributing to this thread.

  • Alan

    Timothy, that you for that more detailed explanation of how you broker ‘likes’.

    If I understand what you are saying is that you have a network of people who are, in turn, connected to networks. On top of that you place advertisements on behalf of your clients and both work to accumulate ‘likes’. In these two scenarios, it appears to me that these are legitimate ‘likes’ that you harvest. I don’t understand how you can guarantee a particular quantity in a particular time frame but perhaps that comes from experience? It was the guarantee within a timeframe that threw me… didn’t seem possible without actually directly paying a known population to click a like button arbitrarily. So I would like to make a suggestion (in case you haven’t already done this..). You should put one or more simple, easy to read and short ‘white papers’ up on your site explaining why your likes are akin to actual likes that would be achieved by natural word of mouth or exposure due to advertising. Of course, the key to me is the natural ‘word of mouth’. I think that these are the highest quality likes possible because they would tend to produce customers and repeat customers. Friends build confidence with friends.

    As for the usage of the word ‘terrorism’ on the internet. Well it is strong – I admit. And in no way do I think that is intended to infer criminal activity by anybody. But the power of one to millions via Facebook and the internet is akin to a nuclear weapon wielded by a very small number of people. The power to censor on that same site increases the mega-tonage… I hope that I am being clear about this. No doubt its better to work it out privately then let it escalate. I agree. But that is not what we have in this particular situation.

    One other thought is that what I see on the boycott site is a lot like what I’ve read about in the book ‘The Art of War’. Asymmetrical warfare. When you are up against a bigger foe with more resources then you perform Asymmetrical warfare. That’s what that boycott site on Facebook appears like to me.

    I’ve certainly enjoyed speaking on your thread and best of luck to you in the future.

    • Alan… great point! I totally agree with the Art of War scenario. Thanks for the feedback regarding our presentation of our acquisition product. I will recommend to my team that we take your advise and put a concise explanation together.

      Just to further elaborate, the guarantee comes as a result of the really large numbers we work with to achieve the result. Typically conversion rates are slightly less than 1%. So to guarantee 1,000 likes, we need to put a good value proposition in front of 100,000 eyeballs. When you deal with numbers of that size and larger, the predictability of the results becomes more and more fine tuned. Also, we don’t charge for overages. In other words, if you want 2,000 likes, you pay $200. You will probably get 2,079 or some number over that 2,000 mark and we don’t charge on a per like basis.

      Typically a business will ask to grow their fan base on an ongoing monthly basis. In this case, we just keep going and try to time the push of the various methods for solicitation such that the rate of growth is slow and steady over a consistent time period.

      The key to determining fraud is asking about limitations. Typically, a fake like service will get you as many likes as you want almost as quickly as you want. Our limit is about 20,000 likes per month. We prefer not to even push that limit because you can end up with fluctuations that can cause you to miss your target and then we end up working for free. A fake like service can deliver 100,000 in a single day. This is generally a big warning sign.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on our blog post. We’ll be writing follow up articles as more information becomes available from the results of the two trials.