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Samsung sorry for bloggers’ Berlin nightmare


April 28, 2018 by admin

“How Samsung treated me really hurt me” … Indian blogger Clinton Jeff.Samsung has apologised to an Indian blogger who claimed the company stranded him and another blogger in Germany after they refused to become Samsung shills.

Clinton Jeff of Unleash the Phones, and another man who chose not to be named, were offered free flights and accommodation by Samsung to attend the IFA 2012 tech show in Berlin, Germany as part of its “Mobilers” ambassador program.

At IFA Samsung announced several major new products including its Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Camera. The bloggers said they were told in advance they would be completely independent and under no obligation to become Samsung promoters at the event.

But when they landed in Berlin Jeff said they were told they had to wear Samsung uniforms and man the Samsung booth at the show everyday, demonstrating the company’s wares to press.

Jeff told Fairfax Media he protested against the request, arguing he was there as an independent journalist. “We then got a call from Samsung India saying, you can either wear the uniform, or get our own hotel and flight tickets home,” said Jeff.

The pair had planned to stay for the full IFA event from August 31 to September 5.

They raced to get in contact with their Samsung connection in India but Jeff said they received another call “saying that our [original] flight tickets are cancelled, and that we’d get a flight on [September 1] to go back, but only if we wear the Samsung t-shirt” to its launch event.

Not knowing how they would be able to afford to get home without Samsung’s help, the bloggers agreed to attend the Samsung Unpacked launch event in Samsung shirts. They also agreed not to blog about the incident (“None of this should leave Berlin. Or reach India,” Samsung reportedly told the pair).

But the story lit a fire in the blogosphere after it was reported by The Next Web. Nokia soon stepped in offering to cover the pair’s accommodation for the whole of IFA and their flights home.

Samsung has since emailed Jeff to “deeply apologise” for his experience in Berlin, admitting “we put you through undue hardship and we are trying to rectify the situation”.

The company also put out a press release on the issue but did not admit fault in its statement. It put the issue down to a “misunderstanding” and said no activities were forced upon bloggers who it invites to its marketing events around the world.

“How Samsung treated me really hurt me,” said Jeff. “I mean I did not expect that at all. Come on, who does that? All we wanted was to cover their products, and maybe others but this was insane.”

The Guardian reported that it confirmed there had been a similar “misunderstanding” with a French technology blogger who was sent by Samsung to the Olympics in London. Instead of attending events the blogger was told she had to create promo video and photos.

Samsung provides the free trips to bloggers under its “Mobilers” program in which bloggers get to trial the latest Samsung products and attend its events. But the way it is structured appears to blur the lines between editorial and cash-for-comment in the blogosphere.

Jeff said he still intended to cover Samsung devices impartially on his blog. In a tweet published this morning he said he met Samsung representatives who apologised profusely and told him “the Mobilers program was not targeted towards professional bloggers like me”.

Blogger Amit Bhawani wrote a post describing the Mobiler program in detail which suggested there were two Mobiler options – one for “reporters” and one for “promoters”. Bharwani said bloggers are informed of this in advance but Jeff claims he was blackmailed into being a promoter despite confirming ahead that he was going there as a reporter.

Meanwhile, Samsung today announced that a version of its Galaxy S III handset that supports 4G networks would be available soon from Telstra and Optus.

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