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June 10, 2008

We get email: From John Laurence of Safety Smart Gear, regarding his company's Spokelit


You may or may not recall my May 29, 2008 post about this cool product, designed to make bike riders more visible at night and keep them safer.

Well, guess what?

Not 42 minutes ago (actually, 41 — at 9:20 a.m.) in came the following email from John Laurence of Safety Smart Gear, the company selling the Spokelit:

    Hello Joe,

    It is clear that you have taken our content, which is fine, but you could have at least referred our site as the source. I personally wrote the description and modified the bicycle graphic [top] that you have on your blog.


    John Laurence

    Safety Smart Gear
    240 Sturbridge Road
    Charlton, MA 01507
    email: [email protected]


Maybe I haven't woken up yet or I fell into a Bizarro World wormhole but having just gone back and reread the offensive post, I see that:

1. The very first sentence reads, "From the website:" — why, then, does John write, "... you could at least have referred [sic] our site as the source."

2. If John meant I could have at least linked to his site as the source — doesn't providing a link direct from the price concluding my post do just that?

In my world it seems to, no matter how many times I click on it.

You'd have thought I was stealing his copy and trying to make money off his product instead of providing priceless exposure (try buying a spot on bookofjoe — many have but no one has yet succeeded, for any amount of money), thereby boosting sales and profit for him and his coworkers.

Perhaps I should just delete that first post — and this one, come to think of it — instead of giving Spokelit pride of place here a second time.

Maybe, though, as I alluded recently in another similar situation, John's playing a deep game and has gotten into my head so well he's exploiting my innate annoyability and predictable reactivity to get even more exposure.

If so, kudos to him.

But the next person who tries it may not fare so well.


Fair warning.


Stop press — this just in, 18 minutes after the post above appeared:

"Didn't mean to light your fuse just stating facts. I'm 'pissing you off' for saying something about what you took from my site? Get a compass. And don't bother emailing me back. I have blocked your email."

John Laurence

Safety Smart Gear
240 Sturbridge Road
Charlton, MA 01507
email: [email protected]
website: www.safetysmartgear.com

"I have blocked your email."

Heh, heh.

That'll work.


Stop press — this just in, earlier this afternoon:


    I am sorry for any misunderstanding. It was not my intent to upset anyone.


    John Laurence

    Safety Smart Gear
    240 Sturbridge Road
    Charlton, MA 01507
    email: [email protected]



All's well that ends well.

June 10, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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Wow, Joe: you let him off easy with that non-apology of his. I don't think I would have. I sure don't think you could have any misunderstandings about the childishness and hostility of that second message.

You're a calmer guy than I.

Posted by: Andrew | Jun 11, 2008 3:39:10 PM

The "Flashflight SpokeLit" is a new product release from Playhard Inc and NiteIze Inc. Two companies that are really interested in creating fun and innovative ideas. There have been lighted LED bike and spoke related products in the past, but this one really takes the cake. It's disguised to look like a typical spoke reflector, is water resistant and has replaceable coin-cell sized batteries. If you ride after dark, you should have lights on the front and back of your bike and with the SpokeLit, another dimension of safety is offered as the cyclist can be seen from the side.

Just one of many creative products under the Flashflight brand... take a look for yourself and see the full range of innovative ideas: [www.flashflight.com] - Use promotion code "G-BOOKOFJOE" in the promo code field for a 5% discount on your order. Thanks for the great review!
Keep the peace,
Jeff @ Flashflight

Posted by: Jeff Scott | Jun 11, 2008 1:23:51 PM

More proof that you don't need to know how to use a tool in order to be one.

Posted by: Fred | Jun 10, 2008 9:31:39 PM

I dont even understand his complaint. You didnt copy his content for profit , just educational purposes. How could he not want that to happen ?

Me thinks he has been in his garage too long , all that isolation and petrol fumes.

Posted by: Lloyd Shaw Vibra-Train | Jun 10, 2008 8:31:28 PM

Yeah, what all the previous posters said ... times two!

If this loser knew how many items I've bought after seeing them on YOUR website, knowing that you do not take advertisements!!!!

Posted by: Charlotte | Jun 10, 2008 6:49:07 PM

What a dolt. I say rip out the first post, and kill the links to buy it.

Posted by: Rocketboy | Jun 10, 2008 5:38:03 PM

In the real world, I'll drive past (using $4/gallon gas) any number of establishments presided over by jerks and purveyors of bad customer service to get to the establishment where people are courteous and friendly. I do the same online. Sayonara, Safety Smart Gear!

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 10, 2008 4:17:09 PM

Your chain, my dear Joe: This fellow is yanking it. Has to be. Ineptly and in a tool-like fashion, yes, but there you go. Is it possible for anyone to be ignorant of how links *and* search engines *and* viral marketing opportunities work, in 2008? Really?

(Not that I disagree with Thomas Warfield -- tone matters. But as someone who in Professional Life receives mail from plenty of tech folk who start the correspondence with precisely this fellow's tone, I wouldn't be shocked if it came to light that he thought this was How It Is Done.)

I suspect, after looking at the fellow's site, he is smarting from having paid some rent-a-lawyer to draw up an ignorant and most likely unenforceable site-usage terms-and-conditions document. I hope he didn't pay money for that mess; seeing as he probably did, it's easier to kick up a fuss at you than to admit he got took.

Posted by: AG | Jun 10, 2008 3:41:11 PM

Wow, I continue to be astounded by the cluelessness of some of the people whose products you feature on your blog... do they not have the slightest idea of how internet marketing is done? If you sell a product on the internet, you want people to take your graphics and copy and put them on their blogs and review your product. I love it when that happens.

I doubt the guy is playing a clever game, because if you were doing that you would want to do it without using language that would anger people or turn them off. Instead, you would try to compliment the host. BookofJoe rocks!

Posted by: Thomas Warfield | Jun 10, 2008 1:53:48 PM

This person's rude behavior has totally turned me off to EVER considering his (admittedly nifty) product. What a bozo!

He should be fired for his bad PR.

Posted by: laura | Jun 10, 2008 12:48:09 PM

You know, I was going to buy his product because it was cheaper than the one with the nifty messages and I do need some new bike lights...

...now I think I'm going to go ahead and throw my cash at the one with the nifty messages.

Posted by: Mary Sue | Jun 10, 2008 12:25:44 PM


With 303k visits in the month of May I would think the average retailer would be kissin' that big rear end of yours for the exposure. What's he thinking?

My compass would say pull all the posts about his product.

I guess he thinks he's selling gasoline, so no need to bother about that pesky advertising.

We're just up the street from you in Alexandria.

Mango Mike

Posted by: Mango Mike | Jun 10, 2008 11:13:47 AM

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