Contrary to Brendan Behan’s logic, there is such a thing as bad publicity, and this is some really bad publicity.
No one can say that the past few weeks have been easy for Netflix, what with the outraged customers and stock market pummeling it’s been dealing with, but these have been nothing compared to the last couple of years that Blockbuster Video has been having. Not only has the rental company shut down the vast majority of its stores, faded away into bankruptcy, and lost out on the deal that may have helped the chain survive, but now it’s been caught trying to bribe journalists in exchange for some positive press.
Following Netflix’s announcement that it was going to spin off its DVD mail service (which would also feature game rentals) into a new company called Qwickster, Blockbuster apparently decided that it wanted to capitalize on the tough time its competitor was facing. According to Side Questing, Ryan Davis of Giant Bomb was contacted, via Twitter, by Blockbuster’s official Twitter account. The message stated that if Davis announced he was leaving Netflix in favor of Blockbuster Total Access (Blockbuster’s competing DVD mail service), he would receive a year’s worth of service free of charge.
Davis, unsurprisingly, took a screenshot and posted it, seen at right. It turns out he wasn’t the only journalist Blockbuster attempted to bribe; Hunch.com’s Chris Dixon and Time.com’s Harry McCracken both revealed that the same offer had been tweeted at them, too.
Blockbuster, meanwhile, has announced a new contest on Twitter. Basically, if readers were willing to publicly tweet that they were going to leave Netflix, the reason for their departure, and include the hash-tag “#GoodbyeNetflix”, they would be entered into a random drawing for the same free one-year subscription that was offered to Davis.
Nothing about Blockbuster’s offer is actually illegal, but it’s certainly on the scummy side of the spectrum. Not only that, but it also shows a pretty stunning lack of common sense; when you attempt to bribe journalists, you shouldn’t be surprised when they call you out in public. The fact that the company didn’t have the good grace to even acknowledge that what it did was wrong is even more stunning.
Source: Side Questing