As novice public relations professionals, we are aware of setbacks we may potentially face with clients. However, possibly the worst case scenario would be working hard to create a new public perception of a client… and then not getting paid!
Such was the case for a small media company. Frank Jonen claimed that he wasn’t paid by one of his clients for a website re-design. Instead of staying silent, Jonen took matters into his own hands. He replaced the copy on the Fitness SF website with an angry letter, according to AdWeek. Here’s what it looked like:
Would you hire someone like Jonen who is willing to bash a client in the public eye for payment? If you worked with him, how would this make you feel?
According to The Denver Egotist, Fitness SF disputed the claims and fought back, saying Jonen was engaging in blackmail and giving this statement.
“On Wednesday evening, our domain name Fitness SF was hacked and stolen by an individual named Frank Jonen. Frank was hired on May 16th, 2012 to develop a functional website for our brand. A $5,000 payment was made to him on the same date. In his proposal, he stated that the website would take 10 weeks to complete. He missed numerous deadlines including our brand launch in September. In December, he voluntarily passed the incomplete and non functioning website to our new design firm.
“Now, Frank is attempting to portray himself as the victim when truly the victim is Fitness SF as he attempts to get paid for work he did not complete and has decided that blackmail is the way to accomplish.”
Today, the SF Fitness website simply reads “Dear Fitness SF customer, please see us temporarily at fitnesssf.net thank you.” As PR professionals, what would your crisis communication plan look like in case your website is hacked?