Remember Java Jo’z & Cuppy’s Coffee?
The September issue of Franchise Times recounts how multiple blogs, including Robert Scoble’s Scobleizer, FranchisePick.Com, BluemauMau.org publicized the problems plaguing prospective franchisees of Java Jo’z (including Scoble’s brother Ben) when they were unable to get their refundable $30,000 deposits returned as promised. Numerous franchisees, unable to find suitable locations on which to drop a pre-fab Java Jo’z drive-up coffee hut, returned to the franchise HQ to see that the sign now said “Cuppy’s Coffee” instead of “Java Jo’z.”
Poor misguided Ben Scoble and the rest couldn’t understand that, despite seeing the same employees in the same offices under the same logo, this was now ”Cuppy’s Coffee,” which didn’t owe them a cent.
The snivelling whiners ended up complaining about losing their savings on the blogosphere, leaving Cuppy’s Coffee no other choice than to hire a firm to awkwardly try to erase all negativism, through trickery, hackery & coercion, it seems, from the blogosphere. It was a grand plan, because, as we all know, bloggers respond very well to trickery, coercion and threats to their freedom of speech.
Attacks from the blogosphere
What Cuppy’s learned the hard way
By Julie Bennett
As published in: Franchise Times – September 2007
Last winter, Doug Hibbing, president of Cuppy’s Coffee and More in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, learned about blogs the hard way.
Hibbing had been working for Roy Snowden, the owner of a coffee licensing concept called Java Jo’z until May 2006, when Snowden was sent off to federal prison for tax evasion. Hibbing and an associate, Robert Morgan, pledged $3 million for the assets of Java Jo’z and for a second company, Medina Enterprises, that equipped the company’s drive-thru coffee stands. By July 2006, they had started a new company, Cuppy’s Coffee, and turned it into a franchise.
According to a UFOC they filed this July, Cuppy’s then spent $189,557 on Internet advertising, promoting their offering as a less expensive option to Starbucks. Leads poured in like latte and by the end of December they’d sold 100 franchises.
“Then at the first of this year,” Hibbing said, “we saw our leads dry up by 80 percent. We had no idea what the problem was until someone asked us about a couple of franchise blog sites. Google led us to blog postings that said Cuppy’s was still being run by the people who had run Java Jo’z and that we had cheated a lot of licensees out of their deposits. We were absolutely blindsided.”
Cuppy’s had, in fact, been run over by the Scobleizer. Robert Scoble, author of “Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers,” is a technology expert who operates www.scobleizer.com, one of the Web’s most popular blogs. It seems that Robert’s brother, Ben, had paid $30,000 to Java Jo’z, but had never found a location for his drive-thru coffee shop and felt he deserved a refund. When the Cuppy’s executives turned him down, Ben asked his brother for help.
Which was the cyber equivalent of opening the steam valve on an espresso machine. “Many blogs are interconnected,” said Sean Kelly, of IdeaFarm, based in Leola, Pennsylvania, whose own blog, www.franchisepick.com, is interlinked with 200 business-related blogs via the B5 Media Network. So many other blogs picked up the Scobleizer’s account of his brother’s dispute with Cuppy’s that the controversy shot to the top of Internet search engines. If you were a prospective franchisee who Googled Cuppy’s, the first thing you’d find was Scoble’s posting.
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