Bennett Media and Marketing

For those of you who follow my blog, I posted an entry last year detailing the story of Glenn (don't bother looking for it, I've removed the article). Glenn, like others, reached out to share with me a story involving a group whose services were aimed at increasing his book sales. However, by the end of the contract, Glenn was seemingly dissatisfied with the results and he reportedly embarked on a mission to rectify the situation to his satisfaction.

During my exchange with Glenn, he provided a number of elements that seemed to support his story which is why I originally published the now removed article. Fast forward to last week and I get an email from the company mentioned in Glenn's story, Bennett Media and Marketing. Their message was vague and unclear but the essence was that they wanted me to remove the story from my website. And who could blame them? The story described Glenn's allegedly dissatisfying interaction with the company.

Bennett Media and Marketing Legal Email

Image 1: Email from Bennett Media and Marketing Legal Department

The email, simply signed "Legal Department", provided no specifics as to what in the article they took umbrage with. The letter simply stated that they found statements within the article that they "believe are inaccurate, defamatory, and potentially damaging to our company integrity and professional reputation." And despite the subject of the email, which was "Urgent Request: Removal of Defamatory Content from Your Blog", the letter only asked that I "review and consider the removal of the aforementioned content from your blog."

The first question that ran through my mind was "what am I supposed to review since no specifics were provided?" The second question was "What 'aforementioned content' is being contested?" The email reads like they feel the entire article is wrong but there's nothing in the message to say exactly what their concerns are with the article other than they don't like it. Even the subject line and the message seem to contradict one another with the subject line requesting removal of the article while the body of the message only says that I should consider its removal. Do you want me to remove it or just think about removing it? Stick with a concept.

Wanting the article to reflect the whole truth, I promptly replied back to the sender (which is also the email address in the letter where they encouraged me to send communications to). I asked for specific items in the article that they felt were inaccurate or false. I clarified that the article was based on information I received directly from Glenn that seemed to support the events depicted. But I also wanted to give them the chance to provide any documentation or details to refute Glenn's story that might mean a correction or retraction was in order.

Email to Glenn

Image 2: My reply to BMM

No sooner than I hit send on the email back to their Legal Department, I fired off an email to Glenn. I wanted to give him the opportunity to come clean if there was anything in the story that had been fabricated, exaggerated, or whatever. I'm all for calling out the greed and corruption by groups who willfully try to scam others out of their hard-earned money but I'm not a fan of calling out someone who might be innocent because I was lied to.

I'll support you, but only if you're telling me the truth.

Considering the nature of the email, I expected to get a response rather quickly. The Legal Department had labeled the email as "Urgent" in their subject line so the fact that I replied less than an hour later, after taking the time to read their message and review the article as they had requested, I thought that was a speedy turnaround.

Imagine my surprise when Google spent the next three (3) days trying and failing to deliver my reply to their provided email address.

Goggle Unable to Deliver to Bennett Media & Marketing Legal Department Address

Image 3: Google's delivery failure notifications for legal@bennettmarketingteam.com

I don't know why Google was having this issue. If I plug in that domain into a browser it redirects to Bennett's website. It seems to be a legit domain at least. But for whatever reason, the email address they used to contact me and provided in their communication as a contact point didn't work.

At that point, I figured, "well, I guess they aren't that concerned about it." I had reviewed the article and I didn't see anything wrong with it other than it was the story of Glenn's allegedly dissatisfying experience with the group. Glenn claimed that they had failed to meet certain objectives and he felt things weren't working as expected. At the end of the story, Glenn stated that he contested the charges to his credit card and won. Aside from the alleged specifics included in Glenn's account, that was the gist of his story.

The article certainly didn't paint the group in the best of lights but I also called out in the article that when I researched the group that I did not find anything very negative about them either. I also made sure to call out that I was not suggesting the group to be scam but that sometimes even legit companies can do shoddy work. But I didn't go as far as to say that this group had done either. The statement was a general statement about all businesses. I mean, who hasn't had McDonald's mess up an order? How hard is it to read a screen and put the items on the screen in a bag? That's just shoddy work, right? It may not be intentional but its still shoddy. The statement and surrounding context was aimed at encouraging others to set expectations, to hold others to the standard of service being sold to them, and to protect themselves. It wasn't a dig at any one group or individual.

And then yesterday afternoon I get a message on Instagram. I don't see the message in my notification, only that I have one. I open the app and go to the messages. And what do I find? I find a message from Bennett Media and Marketing. The message just is a generic opening message and then attached to the message is a copy of the letter I had gotten a few days ago that Google was unable to deliver my reply.

Bennett Media and Marketing Instagram Message

Image 4: Instagram message from Bennett Media & Marketing

Hmm. That's odd. They sent me an email on 1/26/2024 but used an address that I couldn't reply to and now they send me this on on Instagram in the afternoon of 1/26/2024. If they're that upset about this and want to resolve this, why can't I send an email back to them at the address they used and the letter said to use?

Maybe there is some technical glitch somewhere. People always like to blame technology when things don't work they way they think they should but its usually more of somebody just didn't do something they were supposed to. User errors are not technical glitches but I digress.

Given that Google had tried repeatedly and failed to deliver my original reply to their request, I provided a similar statement back to them via Instagram. Again, I indicated that the story is based off Glenn's statements and supporting evidence so I have no reason to think them false but that I am open to hearing what they think is false. I go so far as to suggest that I will update or remove the article based on their feedback but that I can't take action if they can't articulate what about the article is in question.

My Reply to Bennett Media & Marketing via Instagram

Image 5: My reply to Bennett Media & Marketing via Instagram

This time, my response was even faster than my attempt to reply to their email. I sent this reply within minutes of getting their message on the social media platform. They did not respond. I only got back the auto-response. Someone is obviously using the account because they messaged me to initiate that chat but they've not replied. Even after a day has passed and the account has remained active, I've not gotten a reply.

These events aside, I have chosen to take down the article detailing Glenn's experience. But not because of Bennett Media & Marketing's Legal Department's vague letter. I took it down because I haven't been able to re-establish communication with Glenn. He mentioned receiving a cancer diagnosis as part of his story. I haven't found any recent activity on his social media pages. He hasn't replied to my email. I don't know if he has succumbed to the cancer, is busy fighting the cancer, trying to distance himself from my article, or what. I simply don't know where Glenn is and without him as the story's source to attest to its accuracy, I see no value in keeping the story up.

This is my website so if anyone is angry about its content it will be me they come after, not someone like Glenn. Given that the story's accuracy has been called into question and the original source is missing, its not worth the risk to me and my family to persist Glenn's claims on my website.

However, I will say this, Glenn's story included some difficulties communicating with the group. How true Glenn's claims are, I can't say. But I can say that I've tried communicating with the group and have been running into some difficulties, as demonstrated above.

Draw what conclusion you will from that but to me, if this group thinks that my pitiful little website with its insignificant traffic numbers is damaging its brand with Glenn's story then they would make communicating with me more of a priority than what I've experienced so far. To date, they've been happy to send vague messages filled with legal terms, presumably meant to scare or intimidate me, but no real specifics. Even the tone of their message shifts from "we" to "I". There's no contact name associated with the letter, just "Legal Department". The email address included in the letter is undeliverable.

At the end of the day, I question the authenticity of the letter. Not that it wasn't sent by someone at Bennett Media & Marketing but that their intent is really to pursue legal action against me if I didn't remove the article. This just comes across as more of a scare tactic to me than a real legal threat and actionable cause. I could be wrong though. I'm not a lawyer. But the inconsistency in the letter from "we" to "I", the vagueness of the contested content, the lack of a representative's signature (who apparently is open to a conversation but only anonymously?), and everything else documented here just gives me that impression. If this was my company and my legal department sent this, I'd be looking for a new legal department. I'm just saying.

And let's be clear, their letter claims the article includes statements they believe to be defamatory and contain false accusation. First off, the accusations made by Glenn are what made Glenn's reported experience a negative one. As for which might be false, Bennett Media & Marketing has yet to express any details. And the defamatory content, its the same. Defamation is the damaging of one's reputation through lies and false accusations. However, in order to claim defamation has occurred, the claimant must prove which statements are false. So far, Bennett Media & Marketing's Legal Department has failed to make such a case.

And funnily, the email I got from the Legal Department included the following statements: "I am more than willing to engage in a respectful conversation regarding any concerns or criticisms you may have" and "If you require any additional information or clarification, please feel free to contact us at
legal@bennettmarketingteam.com"

So far, both statements seem to be false. I can't contact anyone at that email address. I've tried and Google says it can't be delivered. I've attempted to have respectful conversation with whoever "I" is via email and Instagram but haven't been able to get a reply through either channel. How can we have a respectful conversation if you use a bad email address and don't reply to your own Instagram chats that you initiated?

We'll see how this drama unfolds. The fact that I've removed Glenn's story should satiate their original request but something tells me that they won't be too pleased that I've documented this interaction either. But since this is all my firsthand experience supported with screenshots, there is nothing stated in this article that can be argued as false or defamatory.

Sure, this article might be seen as brand damaging but not because I made false statements. The only statements/accusations made here are that someone from Bennett Media & Marketing has contacted me via email using an address I can't send replies to because I've tried AND that someone, potentially the same person, from Bennett Media & Marketing has contacted me via Instagram with the same message but has yet to reply to my attempt at having that "respectful conversation".

None can deny that the email was sent to me. None can deny that I tried to reply that same day. None can say that Google didn't try and fail to deliver my reply to the address provided to me in that email. None can say that Bennett Media & Marketing didn't contact me via Instagram or that I replied to their message via Instagram only to get no response from them aside from their configured auto-response. Those are the inarguable facts of the last few days and the only accusations made in this article. Defamation can only be claimed if the accusations can be proven false. Any accusation in this article is supported by screenshots to prove the accusations true.

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