This is NOT how you go about promoting your app

I received an email this morning that first made me do the double-facepalm, then made my blood boil the more I thought about it.  I’m posting it here in order to be instructive to future companies to never send anything like this again.  I’ve also omitted the name of the sender and the company he represents, only because I don’t want to completely destroy his life Peter Shih-style.

Hey Andrew,

I think your audience at MissionMission will really enjoy this release. Not only is ******** a cool app (I’m biased!) but it’s an awesome/inspiring use case they will be able to relate to.

Let me know what you think – I’m happy to tweak, expand, etc. as you see necessary.

Looking forward to hearing back!


Press Release:

Neighbor Discovers Mission District Fire with San Francisco Only App ********

A Mission District man determines the cause for commotion and smoke to be the apartment fire through real-time images of the fire delivered by fellow Mission resident through community-driven mobile app ********.

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 29, 2015 — Last night, many residents of San Francisco’s Mission District were trying to determine the cause for the emergency vehicles and smoke at the onset of the Mission District apartment building fire. One resident, Jonathan W. took a unique approach and was quickly able to not only discover the cause but see the fire in action right on his phone. Jonathan connected with another San Francisco resident, Fritz S., using the app ******** to see what was happening at the heart of the emergency.

New app ******** let’s San Franciscans check out any place in the city, anytime with real-time help from another community member already there. Jonathan took advantage by asking what was happening at 22nd and Mission to cause the emergency. Another ******** member near the fire answered his question and posted a photo of the fire. This photo was then public in the app and quickly became the most upvoted post in San Francisco – quickly spreading awareness throughout the ******** community.

“The ******** community is awesome!” said ******** Cofounder ***. “Not only are people finding the top things happening in the city, knowing what the local weather is like, and finding out if their favorite restaurant is packed – community members are using the app to discover and share emergency situations that could potentially help save lives.”

Next time you need to see what’s happening at ground zero of an emergency – or if you just want to see what your favorite cafe, park, bar, or more look like right now – let the community at ******** help.

Folks, can we all agree that taking advantage of a disaster in order to promote your business is NEVER a good idea?  Seriously.

54 Responses to “This is NOT how you go about promoting your app”

  1. chitrana says:

    That’s big of you. He’s an adult. his life should be destroyed for shit like this…

    • m says:

      Granted, I don’t know many (any) tech workers / phone game designers personally, but my brief encounters with them lead me to believe they are the furthest thing from “adults” in this city.

      This person is far too involved in creating yet another “social media app” to even begin to understand why attempting to capitalize on a tragedy is a bad thing.

      That said, I could see this app doing well in SF and that is exactly why I need to move somewhere else. People too busy watching Netflix to leave their houses will be thrilled.

    • Leary says:

      Anonymous Entrepreneur should definitely thank you for this a year from now.

    • Gregory Mountain says:


  2. GG says:

    I’m more horrified by all the grammatical errors. “New app ******** let’s San Franciscans check out any place in the city, anytime with real-time help from another community member already there.” OOF.

    Just kidding, everything else about it is awful too.

  3. wurple says:

    Same old tech dickheads. They will perish.

  4. mish says:

    Name and shame. It’s the only way!

  5. you guys been trolled says:

    hook, line, sinker

  6. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    Ugh. Super gross.

  7. ALWAYS HIGH says:


  8. Danny B says:

    Sounds like he did a pretty good job of getting that PR posted on MissionMission!

  9. ugh says:

    that guy is an asshole.

    a tech worker.

  10. MrEricSir says:

    It’s the hyperlocal version of hawking 9/11 memorabilia.

  11. BarelySurviving says:

    it’s called CrApp.

  12. ay says:

    I think I just figured who sent you this and checked out their website. gross.

  13. FrederickQSkunk says:

    That nearly 30 people commented here, many of them recommending that someone’s life be “ruined” for this offense, says way more about mission mission than it does this random PR guy. I’ve read this blog for years, and it’s really descended into parody. You guys are so far down the rabbit hole that you don’t even know what’s ironic anymore, how normal people get through a day, how feelings work.

    A newsworthy happened. This random app, designed to let people know about newsworthy stuff, let more people know about it. This guy pointed out that his product worked. End of story.

    At the end of the day, you also make a living off tragedies like these, in this case selling ads against your own posts about the fire. People have been making a living off of “If it bleeds, it leads” for a long, long time.

    Maybe it’s a stupid app. Maybe all apps are stupid. Maybe tech will ruin SF, or the world. Whatever. For the time being, there are still humans behind all of this. Actual human beings ,who may not be cool enough to post another awesome pic of their super cool friends eating rad hotdogs on some super sweet rooftop with a view of Sutro Tower, but that still deserve more than this.

    This isn’t really using dead babies to sell air freshener, but whatever. What is the internet good for if it can’t be used to call up a lynch mob to ruin some schmo’s life?

    • m says:

      Let’s be honest here – the app is intended to make someone rich first, then “help people” second. This dude didn’t create the thing out of the goodness of his heart. Clearly, trying to ruin someone’s life over this is a bit much…but there’s nothing wrong with calling out a company / group of people / dude in his basement for attempting to sell a product on the coattails of a tragedy.

      Profit first, whatever else later…

    • troll says:

      hahahahaha the irony in this post. i, just, i can’t.

      ladies and gentletrolls, welcome to the internet.

  14. pdquick says:

    They’re gone at the next earthquake when their phones don’t work for a couple of days and they haven’t set aside any food or water. They’ll call their parents and buy plane tickets as soon as the airports open.

    • Chris says:

      Honey, where you here in 1989? Because no one fled then and no one will flee if and when we have another big earthquake. Unless, perhaps you are a really old geezer and you were around in 1906, and if you were, you should know that San Francisco came back bigger, richer, and more desirable than before the Great Quake. Stop being a drama queen and wishing for natural disasters where people could get hurt or killed (and certainly it would be the poor who would be harmed the most).

  15. Rick says:

    I agree with not shaming the PR person or founders by name, but you should share the name of the app.

  16. MoMo says:

    This is actually the worst pitch I have ever come across. Obviously not written by a Public Relations professional, but by the app founders themselves. Horrible writing, grammar, unfunny, uninteresting, and just outrageous.

  17. eliza deyoung says:

    Techie jerk offs will scatter when all refuse to have sex with them!

  18. Eric Watson says:

    Hi Everyone, I wrote this release.

    I truly believe that the app my small team and I are working on has the potential to be very helpful in emergency situations and in everyday life. If I didn’t believe this I wouldn’t be building it.

    I apologize for the way the message came across. It was written with nothing but good intentions and excitement on my part that we may have helped a tiny bit in a bad situation.

    As for the English/writing comments – you got me, I’m an engineer trying to tell a story. That doesn’t usually work too well…

    • In says:

      F*** S*******

    • Bring Back the Guillotine says:

      Your definition of “helping” is awfully generous. It would be funny if it weren’t so clearly from someone with zero insight into tragedy or being in a position of truly needing help.

      Tech companies, venture capitalists, and real estate investors are a sinister type of vulture, ripping the still living flesh from their victim (served up on a silver platter by End Lee, Scott Weiner, et all.) before devouring its carcass. You are just one more pathetic microcosm of that macrocosm, utterly oblivious to anything but the grand movement of which you see yourself a part, in which mankind will enter some kind of golden age thanks to “creative” and “entrepreneurial” (aka greedy and privileged) people like you bravely inventing ways to profit from other “visionaries” who want to sate their continual hunger for stimulation and identity-building-via-proximity-to-tragedy without having to leave their luxury lofts because, you know, the Mission is still kind of scary and anyway, I am expecting a Postmate with my Papalote burrito any minute.

      Seriously, though, your idea that you or your app “helped” anyone in any way is genuinely nauseating.

    • Zuppy says:

      Eat Shit and Die scumbag.

    • chitrana says:

      Dude–grow up and understand something about the neighborhood you’re trying to help. Understand that your “app” and “startup” is part of a larger story about gentrification. Understand the role your start-up plays in displacing the long time residents of this building. The fire was a tragedy. The future of these residents is an even larger, unresolved, tragedy. Understand that what your app does is best characterized as enabling voyeurism, not “helping” anyone. In a fire, nobody in the building is going to checking their phone. They’re going to get the eff out. So at best, you’re enabling someone a few blocks away to come ogle at the disaster.

      Sigh… I need to get back to work.

    • mike says:

      props for standing up though. i dunno how i feel about all this, but that was not easy.

    • mike says:

      wait wait, nevermind, i read the company tweets and you clearly delight in unfortunate news so you can “help”. ur evil.

  19. one says:

    When bros say they’re “helping” they leave off “ourselves.”

  20. Andrew says:

    GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE you fucking douchbag. seriously. who gives a shit about this????