So now, this lovely company has had the week from hell (perhaps there really is justice in the world?). What happened is two-fold. First, ThinkProgress exposed NMS for being “unethical ‘sock puppets'” for Koch Industries.
Last year, Koch Industries began employing New Media Strategies (NMS), an Internet PR firm that specializes in “word-of-mouth marketing” for major corporations including Coca-Cola, Burger King, AT&T, Dodge and Ford. It appears that, ever since the NMS contract was inked with Koch, an NMS employee began editing the Wikipedia page for “Charles Koch,” “David Koch,” “Political activities of the Koch family,” and “The Science of Success” (a book written by Charles). Under the moniker of “MBMAdmirer,” NMS employees edited Wikipedia articles to distance the Koch family from the Tea Party movement, to provide baseless comparisons between Koch and conspiracy theories surrounding George Soros, and to generally delete citations to liberal news outlets. After administrators flagged the MBMAdmirer account as a “sock puppet” – one of many fake accounts used to manipulate new media sites – a subsequent sock puppet investigation found that MBMAdmirer is connected to a number of dummy accounts and ones owned by NMS employees like Jeff Taylor.
Soren Dayton, a GOP operative and executive at New Media Strategies, is reported to be the contact for Koch Industries at NMS. Reached by phone yesterday by ThinkProgress, Dayton exclaimed, “I’m not going to talk about this, thanks,” before hanging up. Lyndsey Medsker, a senior account director for NMS, spoke to ThinkProgress today. She explained that NMS also maintains the Koch Industries Twitter page, Facebook page, and has an active team working on promoting Koch Industries in the comment section of blogs and news websites.
Clearly, that should be the end of NMS’ credibility as a company right there. Sock puppets for evil Koch Industries? Setting up multiple “fake accounts?” Distorting the Koch brothers’ Wikipedia entries to make them look less evil than they actually are? Can we say “completely unethical?” Or, how about “who in their right mind would ever hire this company?”
Well, apparently one company has come to its senses and ditched NMS.
When an employee of New Media Strategies dropped the f-bomb in a tweet from client Chrysler’s Twitter account March 9, it might have been chalked up to one of those things that can happen to someone on a bad day. Instead, Chrysler decided not to renew its contract with the agency.
The dustup began yesterday when one of the agency’s staffers tweeted from the @ChryslerAutos account: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to fucking drive.”
The employee was fired by NMS, and today Chrysler went a step further by saying it would not renew the shop’s contract…
…NMS was already in a tough spot before its employee dropped the F-bomb. Those insiders said [NMS founder] Mr. Snyder himself got in hot water with the automaker last month for talking about the company’s two-minute Super Bowl ad starring Eminem the Friday before the game on a nationally televised news program after the client had sworn staff and agency to secrecy until kickoff.
In response to these two stories, last night and this morning, I commented twice on NMS’ Facebook page. I was wondering how long it would take until they deleted my comments, and the answer is…about 12 hours. Of course, I saved the comments. Here’s the first one, in response to the Chrysler story:
The person who sent the tweet should not have been fired, as that was a minor mistake in the grand scheme of things and was quickly corrected regardless. What the CEO did, in contrast, was REALLY bad. “NMS was already in a tough spot before its employee dropped the F-bomb. Those insiders said Mr. Snyder himself got in hot water with the automaker last month for talking about the company’s two-minute Super Bowl ad starring Eminem the Friday before the game on a nationally televised news program after the client had sworn staff and agency to secrecy until kickoff.” Of course, the boss wasn’t fired but the staffer was! (shocker)
Now here’s the second one, in response to the ThinkProgress story:
Also, congratulations on the great coverage of NMS by Think Progress!
The funny thing is, I was leaning towards not writing anything on the blog about NMS, but their deletion of my Facebook comments convinced me otherwise. Thank you, NMS, for helping make that decision for me! 🙂