I’m not sure what subject best fits this post, so hopefully this is the correct venue - my question is, at what point is it okay to name names when talking to clients about a competitor who is aggressively unstable? By this I mean someone who is emailing, texting and leaving voice mail, very much in stalker fashion, and who is apparently approaching my clients talking smack. He knows the lingo enough to be taken seriously by a non-tech person who’s not had the chance to see him lose his grip on sanity. I want people to not get suckered in by him. Not just because he’s competition, I have other competitors, and he’s a definite special case. Part of me wants to start a web page detailing his messages. That would feel good. What I’ve learned in life though is taking the high road rarely feels good. But is it right for me to warn my clients about who he is? I’m torn. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!
If I were a customer, it would be a simple issue, as “review” sites are very common. But it’s definitely crossing a hazy line to do the same as a “competitor”. Though I kind of like the watchdog idea. Given that there’s no regulation in our field, it almost seems like a very needed thing.
I’ve been good about not getting dragged into the whole flame war thing, though recently he emailed me pretending to be someone else wanting to buy my company and I could either “sell or be crushed”. I did write back a few times on that one with a bit of humor, having fun with it. But after a while, it’s just lost it’s humor, winding more into creepy stalker territory.
I’m fortunate in that he’s left a trail of emails and voicemail behind him that demonstrate the situation for what it is, but it just feels plain awkward, like it shouldn’t exist in the first place.
It’s certainly an idea for a new service… something like a blacklist for professionals who conduct their business badly (like a web design watchdog).
As for your situation, if he’s bad mouthing you to potential clients, it’s worth making a public statement (though a tasteful one!) about how he’s conducted himself (if only to highlight that you aren’t the one at fault), but whatever you do, don’t get drawn into a flame war or let his trolling make things personal.
According to him, yes he is going through the list and bad mouthing me. I’ve not verified that yet. He says he’s had conversations with clients of mine, but again, I’ve not attempted to verify that.
I was primarily curious to hear what others felt… I know that in general it’s never good to talk negatively about your competition, and my policy has always been not to. This one guy in particular has taken things to a new level (way beyond just competing) and I worry that he’s going to con people and harm their businesses. It’s not something I’ve had to deal with before, so was hoping to get opinions from others.
I’m curious, why does my post here give you reason to question my services?
Is this competitor actively going through your client list and bad mouthing you to your customers or merely contacting then and suggesting that they can offer a better solution?
Posting something publicly on this strikes me as a very, very idea… in fact, the more you engage, the worse the whole thing just looks. If I was looking for services just your post here alone would make me think twice. If the competitor is going directly to your clients and insulting you there may be a time when you have to talk about it, but calling people and saying that someone is trying to take your business, well, that doesn’t help your brand.