Swimming with the sharks?
Dec 21, 2007 18:38:58

sharkThere is an old joke that goes like this:

Question: Why don't sharks eat lawyers?

Answer: Professional courtesy.

When big business starts dealing with big money, the intent behind the joke becomes a truism - and the more money that is at stake, the bigger the pool of sharks among which you can easily find yourself swimming.

Just a few days ago (Dec. 11) Ten Ton Hammer.com uncovered a lawsuit between Kohnke Communications and Perpetual Entertainment (who cancelled Gods and Heroes). In short order, the article made its way around the internet. According to the article entitled "Kohnke v. Perpetual - the opening round" Kohnke Communications "is suing Perpetual Entertainment, Inc. for breach of contract, fraudulent transfer". This was followed just two days later by an article from arstechnica.com entitled "The Kohnke affair: PR company admits to pushing positive reviews." The following is a quote from the Arstechnica article:
"What's more interesting than the simple suit, though, is the information that has been revealed about the business practices of Kohnke Communications in its wake. In a copy of the filing seen by Ars, the company admits to a few interesting 'PR-related activities' that seem pretty questionable:

Kohnke's public relations campaign was successful in creating pre-release 'buzz' around Gods & Heroes, and in convincing reviewers to write positive reviews about the game."
- Frank Caron, "The Kohnke affair: PR company admits to pushing positive reviews."

Ten Ton Hammer reports that the Kohnke has "charged" Perpetual with "damages between $80,000 and $280,000" Arstechnica.com reports that "Kohnke claims to be owed a balance of $10,675 in "outstanding invoices" for the PR services rendered unto Perpetual to promote the game."

What surprises me in all this is not the amount being sued for. No matter which of the amounts that have been mentioned are correct, none of them amount to big business to people who really are in big business. Rather than swimming with the sharks, the whole affair, internet coverage included, is more like flinging mud with politicians. Why did Perpetual pull Gods and Heroes? Was it really due to market expectations or not? If the lawsuit is not settled out of court, we will eventually find out in the person of a California judge. No, what surprises me is that amongst allegations of fraud, someone would pull a turn of phrase out of a legal document and make a large part of the whole affair be about a public relations firm pressuring writers to write positive reviews.

What's that? You mean to tell me a public relations firm admitted to trying to get writers to give a game a positive review? Say it isn't so!

Ok - sarcastic comment over.

That's what PR firms do. Like it or not, it's a practice that is older than the stars on the flag of the country in which they are all doing business. Sometimes businesses try to influence people with gifts, sometimes they threaten to take their business elsewhere. As for me, the biggest gift I have ever received is a jar of nuts (which I am required to share with my co-workers as a point of law - no kidding). I must be doing something wrong, or right, I am not sure which.

No matter how the whole affair is settled, in court or out of court, one thing is for sure. When all the dust settles the biggest thing hurt will be reputations. I will end the article with a bit of advice for both Kohnke and Perpetual, not from business, but rather from my teenage years.

"Trust your mother but cut the cards."

See you online,

Julie Whitefeather

Submitted by Brent on Dec 21, 2007 18:38:58 CST (comments: 0)


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