The agency which handles PR for ASROCK India managed to get a list of names, phone numbers and email address of end users, hardware fans and enthusiasts. How they got the list which can possibly be kept by other companies, some of them being rival brands, is what raises certain concerns.
Judging by the people who were contacted by ASROCK’s PR agency, it was obvious that almost all of them attended power user/focus group meets held by handful of companies. The contact details were kept within the company and not shared with PR agencies. Most of the users know eachother anyways, so it was surprising how an unknown PR agency and a company who never interacted with anyone of us has got their hands on a list of contacts.
ASROCK’s PR agency contacted everyone from the infamous power user list who have been invited and/or attended for some meets via all modes of communication- emails, phone, Whatsapp! messaging service, etc. Seeing that the people who have been invited are the ones who attended power user/focus group meets held by handful of companies (without any help or services of a 3rd party PR agency), it was suspected that the list originated from one of these companies who held a meet in the past. Speculation was then based on who came and who did not come for particular meets, which narrowed down to 2 possibilities of which few people who concurred that could be the case.
However, the PR/marketing managers of these companies have assured that the list was not being shared, and one of them emphasized that the contacts were not even added in their company’s mailing lists, and don’t even use PR agencies.
Who, which company and why? At this point doesn’t matter. It should also be mentioned that some people have thought that I gave away their details to them, and it was also speculated that someone else may have given. The speculation was narrowed down when the PR mentioned the words ‘power user list’ after asking few basic questions, though ASROCK India’s PR said that they’re not sure where they got the list from.
On a side note, the PR agency seem to be in a bit of a confusion of who and what ‘power user’ is, as one of the individuals who were invited told me that when he asked the PR agent whether its an actual meet or a product launch, the response was ‘you work for power user company, yes?‘
For those who do not know, few companies (without the use of 3rd party PR agencies) have invited few end users from Indian tech forums (therefore by default deemed as ‘power users’) in certain cities, and have also flew in engineers of their respected companies to India. This way the advisors, enthusiasts, etc. can put forward their criticisms, feedbacks, issues, praises, rants, etc. face to face.
In other words, its meant to be more a non-PR exercise/ feedback session with non-media end users, some of them are those who have been overclocking and making records, or have been involved in very appreciated activities- like modding- and for those who interact and know ideas and tips from one and another. This isn’t really a new concept. Many companies do this in many countries to gather as much as feedback as possible. Its a beneficial practice, as long as its used the way it should be and not for a publicity stunt.
Hopefully, the contact details will not be shared with other agencies, or in press/media contact lists, especially since ‘power user’ was deemed as a company. Hopefully they’re not deemed as ‘tech bloggers’ either, who also end up in media lists shared in Facebook groups, and therefore get multiple calls and emails during the weekdays. Some people have asked their contact details to be changed and also to be removed, which hopefully is honoured.
ASROCK India will be officially launching their 8 series motherboards on 06-09-2013.