GMA News Online

Samsung apologizes to blogger for 'undue hardship' at trade show

September 11, 2012 1:02pm
Samsung Electronics has "deeply" apologized to an Indian blogger who it allegedly forced to act as a Samsung representative at a trade show in Berlin, lest the blogger shoulder his own expenses getting home.
A report on The Next Web said cited a personally-addressed section of an email to Clinton Jeff, one of the affected bloggers, from a Samsung representative apologizing for the mess.
"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," it quoted part of the email as saying.
The Next Web also said Samsung "suggested an in-person meeting" between the company and Jeff to resolve the issue.
But it added Samsung issued a separate statement, insisting its "voluntary" community of "Mob!lers" are free to choose the activities they complete and are never forced.
Mob!lers is the name of the program in which the bloggers involved were taking part in.
"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," The Next Web quoted Samsung as saying in the other statement.
The mess started when Samsung had approached Jeff, of "Unleash the Phones" blog, and another blogger who asked to remain nameless.
It told the two they had been chosen as winners of a contest and given Mob!ler perks, which include being flown to IFA 2012 in Berlin, Germany and booked into a hotel at Samsung’s cost, to cover the launch of Samsung’s new products.
Samsung products to be announced there included the Galaxy Note 2, the Galaxy Camera and new Smart TVs.
"Jeff says that it was made abundantly clear to Samsung that they were independent bloggers and did not want to become brand ambassadors for the company," The Next Web said.
It added Jeff, when asked whether he would attend as a reporter or as a promoter, said he would accept the offer only if he was allowed to do so as a reporter.
Before arriving in Berlin, the two bloggers were given minor tasks to complete, such as posing in front of local landmarks to promote the Mob!lers program.
However, after they landed, Samsung representatives allegedly alerted them to the fact that they would “have to be in uniform, in the Samsung booths, every day. Showing the products to members of the press.”
“This was really a shocker. For a month before departure we were continuously reminded that we were being sent to IFA to cover the launch of the Note 2, every little detail was taken care of and we were even updated on a daily basis with the situation of the stay , tickets etc,” Jeff said.
When the bloggers alerted the representatives to the fact they had not agreed to be “booth babes” and would not be a part of the company’s promotional activities, including wearing a Samsung branded shirt at its Unpacked event and not blog about the incident, they were their hotel booking and return tickets to India would be cancelled.
“None of this should leave Berlin. Or reach India,” a Samsung representative allegedly told the two, who attended the event and wore the T-shirts, not knowing whether they would be able to get home without doing so.
But in the end, Nokia offered to take care of their hotel and flights, ensuring that they would be able to stay in Berlin and cover the event in greater detail. — TJD, GMA News
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