I come from a damn ethical family. So those of you who are in the gray domain of ethics will probably never understand this post.
I have an agency that lives out of the area (150 miles plus) that decided to play in the sandbox of the city I live in. While playing in it were charging substantial fees (though for their base area not over priced, for here very.) for mom and pop type clients. This agency, let me say of the bat; can do some really good work when they are fully focused on it. But at the distance they operate, and when they have higher paying clients in their back yard, it is hard for them to focus accordingly.
Well this agency decided to unleash a television campaign for a client with a new website address. Turns out the agency didn’t even take the time to register this domain. After examining how this agency handled their clients in this city it became this was their mode of operation. Not paying attention to the details was the way things were being done, and by god they were great at it.
So I decided to teach them a lesson. I took the liberty of registering their clients’ domains under my agency. But at first mind you, I waited for about a month of the campaign running before I did. Figuring that maybe the site would go up and all would be good. But it did not. So I put up a splash page with a shot I cobbled together from the agencies literature showing a finished site in a nice soft blur background. Recreated their logo from a screen capture on tv and put all the clients contact information on the page as well. Then under everything in small print I put, “this site under construction by Outlander Creative, Inc.” Figured at some point the agency would call me and beg for the site back. I waited…..
Finally after a month of my page being up I started getting calls from the agency. Being a busy man didn’t get a chance to return any of them. No, honestly just to damn busy. Finally we started communicating via email. At this point the agency started panicking, as now their client was asking why is our site not up? And why does someone else own our name?
So I get an email form the agency, whining about “we spent thousands printing rx pads, cards, letterhead…yada yada yada”, “you will have cost me thousands” And here is where the lesson begins. I replied back to him that if he had bothered to do business correctly he would have taken care of these things before printing all this stuff, starting the campaign and probably even before presenting it all to the client. I think I touched a nerve at that point, because the response of “So glad you are perfect, I never claimed to be.” usually means I’ve stepped on someone’s pee-pee.
Just so you know, there are several examples of this kind of stuff in my town with this agency.
I’ll be the first on earth to say I’m not perfect. But when I fuck up, I move to rectify the situation and take ownership of it. Honesty… It’s pretty basic business, and beginners ethics, or at least I thought. But not to this agency, apparently it is a mystical point that no person can ever hope to attain.
So how did it end? I released the domains for what I had into them. Oh, people told me to go for more but it was never about money. It was about if you are going to represent yourself as a business do so to professionally. Because if you don’t, it only harms everyone in the industry in that area where you are playing.
Also because if you don’t, and it’s in my sandbox, I’m gonna have to teach you a few lessons…