Friday, December 7, 2012

Fighting for my network

Yet another tirade has arrived from the company that makes Joe Rocket motorcycle gear.  Earlier this year, I got a direct message on Twitter saying, in effect, “We appreciate your disclosure (see my profile below) but you have to stop using this Twitter name.” I replied with my own direct message, calling them rude.

Here is what my profile page looks like.  How is it possible that anyone would be confused?

Joe Rocket 
I'm twisted (it's all in the wrist!) I AM NOT affiliated with the company that makes and sells Joe Rocket motorcycle gear. I own a ton of it though.

They don't like the fact that I have been tweeting for the past 4 or 5 years using the name @JoeRocket. I think what really pisses them off is that I have over 7 times the followers and I don't even really try to build my network.  If I had resources and a budget, perhaps some swag to give away or some contests, I think I could do a lot better than 181 followers!

Here are their latest offensive messages, in order:

"@JoeRocket character popped up on my radar yesterday. I am taking steps to have him taken off Twitter. Jumping through their hoops to get this done today."  

Yes, they sent that to ME.  That was late in October and then today I get this:

"Ahhhh now I see. Seeing your Sturgis link it's safe to assume you are the "character" I've been looking for behind @JoeRocket. What possibly (sic) benefit is there to assuming the name of a brand you have no affiliation with whatsoever?"   

Character?  Am I?  Maybe I am a fan, or at least I was.  Now, all that is soured.  I won't ever buy another piece of their gear and am giving thought to selling, discarding or donating anything with their brand name on it.  Sadly, ALL of my and my wife's gear is Joe Rocket brand.  Let's see, it's been three jackets and three pairs of over pants, plus a set of leathers.

I'm sure that their Marketing Director Steve Blakeney is thinking that all my Twitter friends and fans are following me mistakenly, thinking I am them, the company that owns that brand.  I disagree.  I have never pretended to be anything other than just another rider.  A regular guy who gets on his bike as often, and for as far as he can go. Steve, since you're monitoring my blog now, let me ask, do you even ride?

A dozen years ago, I made the mistake of investing a big chunk of money in riding gear, bags, etc. for my first trip to Nova Scotia.  All of it was festooned with the Joe Rocket name.  At the time, I was astride my Kawasaki Ninja and all it took was one look from a Harley rider for me to be christened "Joe Rocket".  Truth be told, it eventually got shortened to Rocket, for the ease of use.  Back in 2007 when Twitter was relatively new, I thought why not?  This is how my friends know me. Soon, I was writing this blog and reaching people everywhere who share a love of the open road with two wheels under them.

When I search Twitter, I see about 25-30 people using some variation of the Joe Rocket name.  Why?  Because we are/were fans.  We like the gear, we strap it on when we go out for a ride or on a tour.  And we advertise that company as we do it.  I have been brand loyal to Joe Rocket since that first set of leathers.  Does Sullivan's, Inc. want to shut down all of those accounts or just mine, so they can use it instead of the more descriptive @JoeRocketGear?  

The real issue here is my Twitter and blog network.  If I cave in and Sullivans, Inc (owners of the Joe Rocket and Power Trip brands) has my account closed, then I lose all of my faithful followers, the people I follow and my online connections.  It was a year ago that I corresponded with Mr. Blakeney TELLING HIM that I was tweeting as @JoeRocket.  I guess he had his head up his ass that day or, didn't bother to read my email or review my offer to assist them grow their social media presence.
At this point, I'm not sure of the resolution.  I won’t give up my contacts so that they can be cadged by the rude Marketing Director who is trying to breathe life into his social media campaign.  I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to either.

Do me a favor, if you agree that I’m being treated unfairly.  Retweet this blog link to your friends and ask them to read this and pass it along as well.  It’s a cautionary tale for any fan of any company or brand.  If you disagree, I welcome your opinion too, and would like to hear what you think is the best way to resolve this.

One last thing…Maybe the folks at Sullivans owe an explanation about the origin of the Joe Rocket name.  I wonder how they came up with that?

Thanks for listening and, as always…

A low, slow wave,

Joe Rocket