So let me get this aired first:
What follows is too little too late.
And I owe Mandy Graessle an apology, both public and private.
To catch you up to speed – when I was looking for a new domain for my legal marketing agency, I connected with Mandy, who owned MockingbirdMarketing.com – a site the supported her stint as a legal marketing consultant, but was now lying dormant as she had moved on to work directly with Stacy Burke. I was concerned she wouldn’t sell it to me if she knew either who I was or what I wanted to do with it, so under the pretense of purchase this for a band, I purchased the site through a third party. In short I misled her and lied. For the details, check out Mandy’s blog: “Conrad Saam the “ethical marketing expert” scammed me into selling my website“.
This car wreck, of course, is made worse by the fact that I have very vociferously written and spoken against online marketing agencies in the legal space for unethical, duplicitous and shady behavior. So being rightly grouped with these scumbags is a huge embarrassment.
My reply to her post (copied) below smacked of hubris and arrogance.
So there’s this line in the Godfather (the book, not the movie) where Michael’s rejoinder to the comment “its nothing personal, its just business” goes something like this:
“The Godfather takes everything personally. If a friend of his were hit by a bolt of lightening he’d take it personally. And that is what makes him great.”
So its mostly unhelpful for me to tell you this is just business, because of course you take something personally that you’ve worked on. I’d feel the same way. The reality is, had you known who I was you would have asked for a lot more and I would have ended up registering something like mockingbirdie, or mockingbird-marketing or some such other second rate domain and you’d have $300 less in your bank account. But, my genuine apologies that the way this went down made you feel bad.
As for Dave – he’s my cousin and a drummer in a band in London and an all around great guy.
You’ve got my email address now . . . feel free to use it.
So to Mandy – I’m very genuinely sorry. To everyone else: you are correct – especially within legal marketing we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard – a standard that I have been pushing for a long time, yet failed to hold myself up to.
Mandy and I are scheduled to have a phone conversation tomorrow. Expect an update.
Mandy and I just had a phone conversation. And to paraphrase her comments – It may be the Buddhist in me, but sometimes things don’t come to a positive conclusion. From our conversation, she is idealistic and deep hearted. I offered a genuine apology and we talked about the difficulty in that – given our initial first interaction was based on subterfuge. We also spoke at length about the dearth of ethics in the legal marketing field and the irony of this incident and the fact that I aggressively call out those whose conduct is unethical. Finally – for those of you who don’t know her idealism – she is not looking for money or even the domain – instead rightly calling out what happened. Frankly, Mandy made this much easier for me than warranted.
Mockingbird has now been moved to a new domain – utilizing the newly implemented .marketing TLD, so the original domain can be easily transferred back to Mandy, should she change course and make that request. Additionally, we’re directing our 1% For Good towards both the Houston arts scene and a cause Mandy has become personally involved in. 1% For Good is our charity campaign where we donate 1% of our revenue to a variety of different causes – in the past we’ve provided funding for everything from colon cancer research, the Challenged Athletes Foundation and a tiny 7 child orphanage in Africa – and right now I can’t think of anything more appropriate than supporting the Houston arts scene.