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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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'

Winning Business by Blackmail Durable Link to this BLOG
Winning Business by Blackmail

This is a true story.

In 1989 I was working on a project in rural India, and sought the help of a local newspaper (I advertised our service) to spread word. I was an outsider to the town (Town of Sirsi) and I had selected this newspaper based on a recommendation from a relative. Our advertisement ran everyday for a week and generated a great response for us, so I renewed the campaign.

What I didn't know was of a great rivalry between this newspaper and yet another one operating in the same town. One day I was shocked  to find our advertisement in this other newspaper as well. It was much bigger advertisement. I investigated if they really were owned by the same owner, and why he was generous to me by placing bigger advertisements than what I had paid for.

No, the two were really fierce competitors, and  the fact that one of them had garnered the new advertising revenue had not gone well in the other camp. I was amazed by the genius of the editor, in attracting our attention and funding. But I was angry at him, because I thought a newspaper spreading our message  (disguised as advertisement) without our consent,  was not appropriate. "What if you advertise in the newspaper that my company is closing down?" -- I took objection.

They pacified me. "Look Sir, this is a small town and both publications deserve your patronage."  In reality, however, they had blackmailed me, in paying for the advertisements.

Point to ponder:

It is illegal to defame a company or person by spreading a damaging news/advertising message; but is it OK to spread positive message supporting a company without their consent? This is just like Klu-Klux-Klan holding a fund raiser for Red Cross (or for Augusta Nationals) isn't it?

I mean, can you tell someone not to support you?


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, June 20, 2003
Last Modified: 6/20/2003

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