Franchise Conflict Goes Silent – Sinister, or Reputation Management?

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Fri, Jan 26 - 10:10 pm EDT | 8 years ago by
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In the days before agreements are signed, there is often a period of silence, as the parties involved prepare to issue a joint statement announcing a glorious new day for the business world.

Coincidentally, when a litigation-prone bully goes after critics, a similar chill settles over the public debate, for fear of a costly libel or defamation suit.

Sean Kelly (another b5 media business blogger) reports on the silence that has descended over a franchise dispute about the Java Jo’z coffee chain in the United States, and Cuppy’s Coffee, which emerged after the company sold off its assets.

Negative blog posts have disappeared, or undergone remarkable transformations toward the sunny side. A franchise portal has apparently seen negative posts overshadowed by positive ones.

Sinister?  Not necessarily.  If the original blog posts (including one that has disappeared from Robert Scoble’s highly-read blog) overstated the case, or made claims of unethical behaviour that can’t be backed up, then the silence is the logical conclusion of the company’s attempt to defend its reputation.

But if the suspicions have any substance — that the sell-off of assets was actually a way to avoid Java Jo’z obligations then the hush in blogland does seem like a lawyer-driven attempt to squash discussion of a company’s business practices.

Either way, it will be interesting to see where the story goes from here, or if it disappears altogether.

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  • Pingback: Franchise Pick - Bloggers alarmed at Scoble’s Deleted Posts, Cuppy’s Coffee situation

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  • Paul Steinberg

    My cown omments on BlueMauMau have been deleted several times, and the webmaster has told me it was not him. In fact, one of the posts was one which he had to put up for me since the site was blocking me (again, something the webmaster had no knowledge of).

    I do know that Cuppy’s has made offers to ostensibly neutral parties, including a journalist. In my case, I was approached by a frequent blogger (and defender of Cuppys) on the site and I said bluntly that I was not for sale and gave a blunt message for the blogger to relay back to Cuppys.

    I posted 3 times on the payola issue before I finally got one of the posts which did not mysteriously disappear.

    It is bad enough to pay people to post fake blogs. But there are a host of curious coincidences and electronic evidence which is– shall we say, indicative of a malicious program.

    Some of you may have already have figured out what happened with the BlueMauMau site; suffice it to say that other blogs such as FranchisePundit have now seen the need for more robust defense against the bad guys and upgraded their protection.

    Most of the world does not need to care about abusive franchise companies.

    But… hacking websites and deleting negative comments from someone else’s website without the permission of the webmaster is serious and should be of great concern to all of us.

    BTW: Let’s not be hard on Scoble– he did what he had to do, he broke no laws, and besides if there is an investigation and he is under oath (along with the franchisor’s attorneys and marketing people) my guess is that Scoble is itching to tell the truth once he is protected against anyone suing him.

    And let’s remember that Scoble went out on a limb and forced light on this issue. We should be commending him for that.

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    It’s interesting, because from the SEO side of things, I’m more focused on controlling the message proactively by dominating the SERPs. Here’s a case of reactive reputation management, and completely mishandled to boot. They need a new PR firm.

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  • http://www.sportschk.blogstream.com Trisha Paliotti

    When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest.

    I am so really extremly shocked to see all of the post on the matter I discussed earlier are gone. Everything I have posted on this matter has been deleted. Someone tell me there has got to be something I can do about this. Cuppy’s is/ has to be breaking some law by deleting these post and redirecting URL’s. I fully plan to look into this, I spoke to the IT guy At work today and he says it is a break of federal law. That these people seem to just be getting themselves into more trouble. This really has my attention now. And anyone interested in free speach or even the gift we have been given to blog our thoughts and opinions should be deeply concerned by this company’s obviouse attempt at silencing it’s criticts. I can not believe that any lawyer representing this company would give them this advice. I know one thing I am not Scoble , I will set up a 1000 different blogs and let them delete them so that I can sue. Not for money but principal. How dare they think they have some power over the internet.

  • Paul Steinberg

    Here we are, almost 2 years later.

    Looks like the verdict is in on Cuppy’s. In the end, it appears that it will not be all the disappearing franchisee money that kills them off. Rather, the banks are facing defaults by borrowers who state that they never got their equipment or stores built out.

    “Reputation management” only goes so far when the underlying facts don’t change.