I reflected on the situation for the moment as Bob and Doug stood there. I could tell that Bob desperately wanted to remove his shades, take off his hat, and have a seat; but he stood there resolutely. Doug, unbeknownst to Bob, lowered his glasses on his nose and looked directly at me, and motioned with eyes towards Bob with what I perceived as a “please”. He raised his glasses in the knick of time as Bob turned his head towards Doug. Doug cleared his throat.
“Okay boys” I started, “The word is transparency.”
“What?” they both said.
“Transparency, boys. In certain times of Public Relations trouble, you have to come clean. Now, I know I’m not about to persuade you guys to start publishing and saying you’d rather Quixtar IBOs just have Quixtar businesses without all the convoluted motivational systems and money-making projects on the side. Maybe later on…but that ain’t gonna happen today.”
They just stood there.
I continued, “Now, that problem will continue to plague you on the Internet and in other media. I also know that I’m not going to stop any lawsuits already in progress, no matter how justified or unjustified you feel they are.
But, you guys gotta know that as long as the information is out there, people are going to read about it at sites like Mr. Larsen’s. Agreed?”
“Agreed.” they said.
“You guys own about a hundred different internet domain names that you are publishing information on, why don’t you make use of some of them to put out your side of the story? Remember when Jody Victor wrote Scott Larsen about some information Larsen published about Victor?
“Yes, we remember,” said Doug.
“Okay, well that worked. The false information was removed. IBOs were ecstatic. And Victor let it all play out on the pages of the IBOAI website and at Larsen’s site.
“So anyway, take a lesson from that. You don’t have to sue Larsen, you don’t have to subpoena computer hard drives and all that; you just have your attorney write the man a letter. State what is false, clarify your position, and asked him to remove the falsehoods and edit his site.”
“But, what if he doesn’t? What if he makes it sound like we are bullying him? What if he doesn’t believe our information?” Bob was getting excited again.
“Bob, Bob, Bob,” I said, “you publish the request on your OWN site as well, you let everyone know you sent Larsen files supporting your position. You play it all out in the open.”
Doug spoke up, “But Mr. Robison…ummmm…Dave; won’t Mr. Larsen and other Inter–I mean, Quixtar critics comment and write their opinions on what we request?”
“Sure they will…but, they almost always will link to YOUR site for the ACTUAL content of the request. That way any reader can form their own opinion. You are transparent in your actions. You aren’t going to get Larsen to change HIS OPINION, but he can’t change the facts. And boys…there are still facts out there that are negative, yet true.” I finished.
They both lowered their heads slightly.
“Of course, how you guys handle those situations; is yet to be seen.” I added.
I couldn’t believe what happened next. Bob removed his hat. He took his sunshades off and placed them inside his jacket pocket. He held his hat in his left hand and reached out his right hand towards me. I shook his hand.
“Thank you, Dave.” he said. “Your payment will be shipped as of today”
And with that, they turned and left my office and closed the door behind them.
I leaned back in my chair and lit another cigarette. Just then, the office door opened again and Doug stuck his head back in.
“By the way, Dave,” he said, “that joke you were working on when we walked in…”
“Yes?” I asked.
“It wasn’t that funny, sorry.” And then he closed the door again.
Geez, EVERYONE is a critic!
END OF CHAPTER 3