Recently, a huge storm was kicked on the social media when two Indian bloggers revealed that they had been forced by Samsung to act as Mob!lers at the IFA 2012 show in Berlin. Samsung was vehemently condemned by multiple quarters over this. Now, the company seems to have issued a private apology to the bloggers.
One of the said bloggers is Clinton Jeff while the other blogger wishes to remain anonymous. This is how the story goes: the two were told by Samsung that they had won a contest and will be flown to Berlin to attend an IFA 2012. The bloggers made it explicit that they wouldn’t be biased in their reporting and that they wouldn’t indulge in any kind of promotions.
Samsung officials gladly agreed to that. However, once in Berlin, the duo was told to promote Samsung by donning on promotional t-shirts, much like Mob!lers. Upon refusal, the company threatened that they would be stranded in Berlin on their own and wouldn’t be given tickets for the way back. However, Jeff later revealed that it was Nokia that helped them out at such a time. In a tweet, Jeff stated that it was Nokia who eventually flew them back home from Berlin.
Naturally, this story attracted the ire of bloggers, tech writers and readers across the web. Now, Samsung has issued a statement over this issue which says,
Samsung Mob!lers is a voluntary community of active Samsung mobile device users, who are offered the opportunity to participate in our marketing events across the world. At these events, all activities they undertake are on a voluntary basis. No activities are forced upon them.
We regret there was a misunderstanding between the Samsung Mob!lers coordinators and the relevant blogger, as we understand he was not sufficiently briefed on the nature of Samsung Mob!lers’ activities at IFA 2012. We have been attempting to get in touch with him.
We respect the independence of bloggers to publish their own stories.
However, at the same time, the company has reached out to the two bloggers, offering apology and asking for a meeting to make up for the whole issue. Of course the apology hasn’t been made public but one of the bloggers shared it with TNW. It reads, “I would like to reach out to you and deeply apologize to you for your experience in Berlin at IFA. We put you through undue hardship and we are trying to rectify the situation.”
So while the company has privately admitted its mistake, it refuses to do so in its public statement. What remains to be seen are that how can Samsung possibly make it up to the two bloggers?
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