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How NOT to Respond to a Negative Online Review — a Cautionary Tale

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You can’t afford this type of PR.

If your business has ever had a bad review online, you know how tempting it can be to respond in less-than-polite terms.

But that’s generally the wrong way to go, as one tech entrepreneur learned.

Denis Grisak created a product called Garadget, an app-based garage-door controller, Inc. reports. And one customer was none too satisfied, leaving scathing reviews on both the company’s forum and Amazon.com.

User rdmart7 said on the company forum that the app wouldn’t stay open and the product was “a piece of s***.”

On Amazon, posting as R. Martin, he wrote: “Junk – DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY – iPhone app is a piece of junk, crashes constantly, start-up company that obviously has not performed proper quality assurance tests on their products.”

Grisak replied on the company forum:

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Robert,

The abusive language here and in your negative Amazon review, submitted minutes after experiencing a technical difficulty, only demonstrates your poor impulse control. I’m happy to provide the technical support to the customers on my Saturday night but I’m not going to tolerate any tantrums.

At this time your only option is return Garadget to Amazon for refund. Your unit ID 2f0036… will be denied server connection.

In other words, the reviewer’s product was rendered useless. And that was a dismal PR move for Grisak — the type that no startup firm can really afford.

Media outlets ranging from Hacker News to Inc. to the Atlantic covered the exchange. And Garadget ended up with additional negative feedback like this review on Amazon: “Would normally have recommended this device but unfortunately this device relies on manufacturer’s cloud services and if you do something trivial to piss off the manufacturer they will brick your device. Look elsewhere.”

Grisak told the Los Angeles Times he regrets his response.

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“I was overprotective of my product and it was hard to take this criticism,” he told the newspaper. “It’s not going to happen again.”

The Atlantic reports that Grisak has restored Martin’s connection, but that Martin is, nonetheless, trying to return the item.

“I should have bought him back with kindness,” Grisak said.

Read more at Inc.

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Video: No, Those Aren’t Bugs on Your Dog … or Your Husband

This pet owner was a bit confused about anatomy.

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A video about a vet tech’s experience with a slightly confused dog owner has gone viral on social media.

The dog owner thought her pet was covered in bugs. But the tech could find no sign of an infestation.

The supposed bugs turned out to be something else altogether.

But convincing the headstrong owner of that fact was no easy task.

The video by Tik Tok user @hoops0926 has racked up 4.4 million views and 993,000 likes.

Watch the video:

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More than 70 Chinese Exhibitors Cancel Their Booths at Global Pet Expo

Instead of sending U.S.-based representatives, the companies have opted out of the annual show.

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According to a report from John Gibbons, AKA the Pet Business Professor, more than 70 Chinese exhibitors have cancelled their booths at Global Pet Expo due to the travel restrictions relating to coronavirus.

Since we first shared a statement on the issue from Global Pet Expo Officials, the show has updated its website with the following:

“With less than 14 days until Global Pet Expo, we are gearing up for another amazing event! Currently, we have more than 1,000 companies from 28 countries around the world planning to exhibit. Buyer registration is strong and we’re expecting over 7,000 buyers from 80 countries. Two weeks from today, Global Pet Expo opens its doors and we can’t wait to welcome you to our world.

As we eagerly prepare for the Show, we are confident that Global Pet Expo will deliver a successful business experience for all participants. However, we want to take a moment to address how the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will impact some of our exhibitors. We have been in contact with exhibitors from China. The vast majority have notified us that they will not be exhibiting and will not have outside representation available to take their place at this year’s Show. Moreover, any foreign nationals that have visited China within the last 14 days are barred from entering the United States. Therefore, these attendees will not be able to participate in this year’s Global Pet Expo.

The health and safety of all Show participants are paramount. The Global Pet Expo management team is working closely with the Orange County Convention Center and surrounding hotels to stay apprised of developing precautionary measures to further reduce potential health risks at the Show. Additionally, we will continue to follow the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, and will provide emerging information accordingly.

Over the next two weeks leading up to the Show, we will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available. We look forward to seeing you in Orlando!”

We’ll keep an eye on the situation, and you can also look for updates on the Global Pet Expo website.

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C.J. Foods to Acquire American Nutrition

ANI operates five manufacturing facilities throughout the US.

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BERN, KS — C.J. Foods Inc., a custom manufacturer of specialty dry pet food, announced an agreement to acquire American Nutrition Inc., a supplier of dry, canned and baked pet food and treats.

This transaction creates “the largest independent manufacturer of super premium pet food in the country, producing a total of one billion pounds of pet food annually,” according to a press release. It is expected to close by April.

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Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition of ANI will enable CJF to offer a full portfolio of pet food and treats with national and international distribution, according to the release. David McLain, CEO, C.J. Foods, will join the board of directors. Tod Morgan remains chairman of the board and Bill Behnken, current president and CEO, ANI, will serve as board member.

“This acquisition creates the leading manufacturer of super premium pet food with a national footprint, focused on producing and delivering the highest quality products to our customers,” said Morgan.

C.J. Foods “has a rich 35-year history in super premium pet food manufacturing with a wide range of international capabilities serving the leading super premium brand owners and retailers,” acccording to the release.

ANI operates five manufacturing facilities throughout the U.S.

“C.J. Foods and ANI are two world-class manufacturers with complementary capabilities that make the combination a win for our customers,” said Behnken. “It truly enhances our ability to provide higher levels of innovation to meet the ever-evolving opportunities in premium pet nutrition.”

“CJF is thrilled to be moving forward with ANI to strengthen our customer value proposition with a continued singular focus on innovation and food safety, leading the industry with on-trend products,” said McLain.

C.J. Foods is a portfolio company of J. H. Whitney Capital Partners, a Connecticut based private equity firm that has owned C.J. Foods since 2014 and acquired Lortscher’s Animal Nutrition (LANI) in 2018.

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