The Online Circle apologises, makes good. Bravo!

Last night I gave one hell of a serve to The Online Circle, a “full-service interactive agency” who I accused of… well… read it for yourself. Today their CEO Jeff Richardson emailed an apology, and I reckon he’s more than made good. Bravo.

I’ve always said that the true measure of a business is how it responds when something goes wrong. Too many try to cover the cracks with bullshit — I’m sure you know the kind of hollow corporate PR-speak I mean. It takes integrity and, indeed, guts to respond directly to criticism, particularly when it was a direct and as harsh as mine.

Mr Richardson, Sir, it takes a solid effort to write an email like yours, which I thoroughly appreciate, and of course I accept the apology.

Here’s the full text of Jeff’s email:

Hi Stilgherrian.

Firstly, I apologise.

Secondly, thank you.

I read your post this morning about our agency’s emails to you and, of course, you’re right. Spot on in fact.

You raised a number of different points from our understanding of our audience and spamming to the actual grammar in the email.

As a small agency we do find ourselves rushing from time to time and it’s apparent we’ve rushed too many times through this process. This may explain things but obviously it isn’t an excuse.

We need to slow down and commit the time a task deserves. We also need to accept that while we are very good in some areas we’re not necessarily the right people to do everything we try to do.

Your post has brought this reality back to me and all involved at The Online Circle.

As an aside, we did review your website. What we didn’t do was categorise you properly. Our bad.

We’ve unsubscribed you in our database and you won’t hear from us again unless we are responding to something you have actively written about.

I hope you accept my apology and I invite you to keep us honest if you ever pick up a future imprudence.



P.S. Your ‘arsehats’ comment cut deep. We’re small business people trying our best. This time our best wasn’t good enough. Not even close. But we’re not arsehats and we’ll be working to prove that. Cheers.

It’s always good to see someone who stands behind their business. Despite the serve I dished out, The Online Circle responded with dignity and honesty, and you can’t ask for more than that. Well done.

6 Replies to “The Online Circle apologises, makes good. Bravo!”

  1. @Robin Goodfellow: No, they did not send any chocolate. But then I’m not particularly fussed by that, not being a big chocolate eater.

  2. can you pass the chocolate on if you get some. As long as it’s nice chocolate.
    Seriously though, this reminds me of similar bullshit I received recently where my name got onto a Contact DB through, you guessed it, CeBIT. I unsubscribed, and kept receiving emails. I got angry and sent shitty emails. I still got emails.
    I reported them to ACMA, I still got emails.
    Finally, I found the email address of their CMO and fired off a shitty email, I got a response saying it would be stopped, I still got emails.
    Turns out their Spammy DB had been copied to their offices in the UK and Singapore, where, you guessed it, the rules on spam aren’t enforced by ACMA
    Any way, weeks later, ACMA contacted me and I gave them the story. I don’t know if they were fined.
    Moral: If you take the effort to set up a list, ensure you put the same effort in to maintain that list.

  3. The person who just tried to post a potentially defamatory comment here using an obviously fake email address should read the comments policy. They should also be aware that I can see from their IP address that they’re connecting from a company whose name starts with “S”, and that the company in question probably logs their web access. I don’t think I need to join the dots any further.

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