November 10, 2012

how not to handle pr and social media

Over the past few days I've found myself in the centre of some twitter controversy, which is what appears to be the unfortunate right of passage for most bloggers. I've been mulling over whether to write a post explaining what has gone on in detail or not, after all a 140 character limit on Twitter makes it a limited outlet for opinions. If you follow me on twitter then you may have already seen parts of what has been going on but to put it into context for those of you who have not, I have unfortunately been personally targeted by the person that runs the twitter page for Lifehouse Spa. I got into contact with them initially as I thought it would be a great idea to feature a review of the spa on my blog and for that reason enquired as to if they'd like to work with me on this. I then got a response stating that they would like for me to go ahead with the review however they asked that I pay a press rate for my stay to which they would add a complimentary treatment at the Spa for me to write about, which I completely understood. A couple of emails and agreements later I asked if a three night stay would be possible, as I would be paying for this I didn't see that it would be a problem but expected to be offered a two night stay as agreed in a previous email. I then received a reply stating that the two night stay was never offered and neither was the free spa treatment to which I responded by copying and pasting their offer from the previous emails. At this point I was starting to receive a cold vibe from the person handling PR for Lifehouse Spa and felt as if communication with myself was becoming a burden for them, not the greatest way to treat a potential customer. In the end I decided to decline their final offer of a two night stay at press rate as I didn't feel comfortable with the idea of reviewing the Spa without as little as a complimentary Spa treatment to review on my blog. I think it's important at this point to state that the press rate is 2/3 of the normal price so obviously I was left feeling deflated with their broken promises and sent a tweet to Lifehouse to explain this. An hour later I decided to delete the tweet as I had not received a response and thought I should leave the disagreement to myself and not involve the world of twitter. 

A few hours on from the deleted tweet I received a threatening email from the woman in question about the tweet and decided not to respond as I had already dealt with the situation. I feel it's necessary to include the email in this post just to put my point across about the threatening tone that I believe borders on blackmail.


I then logged into Twitter to find a whole host of offensive tweets directed towards myself trying to ruin my reputation. As I said before, I never at any point asked for a three day complimentary stay at the Spa, which means that they decided to lie about myself to all of their followers. Not to mention their snipe at my age, I'm very unsure as to what relevance that has to my dissatisfaction with their way of handling things. As you can see from the tweets below it was obvious that they came from the same person as the email above from the threatening tone directed towards me.


Personally targeting a blogger for simply having an opinion via a company's Twitter page that you handle the social media for is an extremely unprofessional step to take as it is but then things turned from nasty to something that mirrors a hate campaign. The person in question then decided to take to the Twitter pages of the Hotel companies that she handles the social media for to try and tarnish my reputation further by retweeting the nasty comments on the Lifehouse Spa Twitter page on all of those company pages too. So in total that is a whopping 12 companies that she took upon herself to include in the hateful comment and put all of their reputation at risk by doing so. I can confirm that I have been in contact already with all of the companies and received replies stating that they had no idea what was going on and that they would remove the tweet.


I would like to receive an apology from Lifehouse Spa for attempting to put my name as a reputable blogger on the line for the sake of one woman's lack of professionalism, I don't take being lied about lightly. I'm very touched by all of the lovely tweets that I have been receiving offering support and would like to thank everyone for that.

UPDATE: Last night I received the following email threatening legal action if I do not remove my tweets and blog post. I think it's obvious from this post that I have never tried to 'attack' this individual personally which is why I have kept her identity anonymous. Since when did writing a tweet complaining about the bad service I have received a justification for these kind of threats.

58 comments:

  1. Holy shit, this is ridiculous! this person has to get her shit into order. especially the 'bloggers are very welcome to visit us' - yeah for a price and nothing in return and they get free publicity out of it? what the fuck.

    i totally support your point. she should be professional. guess that person has a whole lot to learn in terms of social media, how to handle PR requests in general and how to be a nice human being.

    we should all tweet back saying 'any companies welcome to work with me except for @lifehousespa because theyre full of shit' LOL

    cheer up babes, at least it's very rare cases xxx

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  2. Funny that she took a swipe at your age when she is being incredibly immature herself

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  3. I am actually amazed by this. I just cannot believe how the company would write you such a horrible email and then also take to twitter on it. Very, very unprofessional of them, not to mention rude.

    I'd hate for any other blogger to think about working with them and risk the same treatment so tomorrow I will be tweeting this post.

    If they get in touch with you again I would just totally ignore them and be above it all.

    Fee xx

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  4. WOW this is unbelievable! Just checked out their twitter, can't believe some of the things they have been saying! And so publicly as well, as a PR/comms agency they should know ANYTHING that is posted online can soon be seen and saved by anyone, even if it is soon deleted. I'm studying PR at University and am very utterly shocked at the level of unprofessionalism, awful things to say so publicly, and like you said how ridiculously childish and immature they have acted. Also SO bad to retweet it from other hotel accounts when it has nothing to do with them, even if they are owned by the same company. The issue is nothing to do with them, just further ruining their reputation!Jess - you handled yourself wonderfully and have been completely honest throughout. They on the other hand have made an absolute spectacle of themselves, and completely tarnished their reputation. Awful publicity for the brand!

    Sorry for the rambly comment, just so so shocked and it has wound me up haha!
    Samya x

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  5. This is so shocking. I am so sorry this happend to you. I will let my twitter followers know about this company. Thanks for letting us know about it.

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  6. wtf. how embarrassing for them, someone needs to be fired for this for sure - have you thought about trying to contact head office? or would you have to go through the same person to get in contact with them?xxx

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  7. This has seriously shocked me, what a disgusting lack of customer service and just general manners! I seriously hope they go out of business for this!

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  8. don't fret!! Just by reading her tweet you can tell who is being immature (& a bully!!)

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  9. yes indeed, drawing attention to your age when she has clearly been so immature as to take half an hour out of her working day to go through all the various twitter sites and insert all the various nasty comments. Very childish indeed.

    Also, her grasp of the English language is rather poor. If this is the best Lighthouse can do for their PR person then there's not much hope for them. Most PR people I've had the pleasure of dealing with are articulate, friendly and intelligent, as well as being mature despite their ages.

    As Fee says, rise above it. There's always a learning point and hope to god nothing like this happens again but perhaps hold off on the twitter "disappointment" card next time as it didn't accomplish anything and actually made things worse. After her email of "you are getting nothing" I would have just walked away. Their loss.

    Take care!

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  10. This is horrendous! What a childish thing to do to you, she's no better than a school bully. Someone needs to teach her some common courtesy and manners!
    Don't let them get to you, as others have said before the best thing to do is to rise above it. Perhaps getting in touch with Head Office is worth a go? If you have proof of the emails they sent along with the tweets then you have a perfectly valid complaint.

    Mollie xo

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  11. What the actual f**k, you did nothing wrong it's all them being immature and unproffesional you deserve an appology for sure.

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  12. This is such an awful way to treat you! She was way out of line retweeting the tweets! x

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  13. That's so rude, don't let it get you down lovely, if that's the way they handle there PR then it would of probably not of been a nice place to stay :( <3 x x x

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  14. I cannot believe how unprofessional this PR lady is. I have worked in PR for ten years (still do) and i am a blogger so i can see both sides of the coin. This is not the way to do PR and the other hoteliers who have employed this lady should be having words to her professional conduct. I really feel for you and it is horrible to be targeting in this way. But rise above it and remain professional and not personal in any future correspondence you have with this lady or the spa hotel. Good luck and let me know if you need any more advise.
    Sarah x
    www.goldieluxe.co.uk

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  15. Disgraceful handling of PR! I would probably seek a solicitor too, give them all conversation and want to know if they have any grounds to stand on but I don't think so. You just tweeted to them your dissatisfation with their customer service. That is just your opinion and you should not be penalised for that.

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  16. This is just bullying and is frankly appalling. I wouldn't be surprised if they were doing this partly because they think that they can scare you based on your age. Don't let them get you down.

    Could the spa business association or anyone like that be of any help? Just in terms of giving you advice on what to do even if they aren't linked to them at all. http://www.spabusinessassociation.co.uk/

    Hope things get better soon! :)

    Rosie

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  17. That is so terrible, stand your ground!!xx

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  18. I'd be interested to know what your original tweet said? The fact that you left it out of your blog post is a bit suspicious to me.

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  19. You are not doing yourself any favour hun, your last article might scare sponsors and make them weary? there doesn't seem to be anything negative online coming from them? hope the next post is about something nice, not this sort of stuff. luv xx

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  20. It's stupid because they know that at 18 years old, it's unlikely that you're able to afford solicitors, meaning you'll delete all of the bad press about them. What a ridiculous company. I've never heard of them, yet they could have got their name out to 1900 people.
    Hope you're alright!
    xx

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  21. @johnifer as I said in the post, the tweet was deleted within an hour of being posted and I can't remember the exact words to be able to quote it. However the gist out it was just my personal dissatisfaction with their way of handling PR, it was not a statement and simply a comment/opinion.

    @Anonymous to be honest I'd rather have a blog with no sponsors at all than one that is ran dishonestly. The reason I started my blog in the first place was to share my views online and is something that I have never tried to shy away from. If you don't find all the tweets directed towards me 'negative' then that is fine and your opinion. I'm not prepared to try and sugar coat my blog simply to satisfy people that can't do their job properly.

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  22. I can't see many bloggers want to work with them after this! What a shocking display of behaviour!

    I hope you're ok and that it hasn't put you off your stride, keep going sweet.

    Amy xx
    http://alittleboatsailing.blogspot.co.uk/

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  23. As I said on twitter, If you had demanded to try every treatment for free and told them you were expecting to stay for three weeks without paying a penny they STILL shouldn't of done what they did.
    Their job as PR is also customer service and that does not involve throwing your toys out the pram and having a massive tantrum about something they didn't like.
    It was not handled at all professionally and I personally think whatever you did/didn't do or said/didn't say is totally irrelevant in how they approached the situation.

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  24. As I said on twitter, If you had demanded to try every treatment for free and told them you were expecting to stay for three weeks without paying a penny they STILL shouldn't of done what they did.
    Their job as PR is also customer service and that does not involve throwing your toys out the pram and having a massive tantrum about something they didn't like.
    It was not handled at all professionally and I personally think whatever you did/didn't do or said/didn't say is totally irrelevant in how they approached the situation.

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  25. 'online battle you have decided to have' It's pretty clear she's the one who has started a battle and as she keeps mentioning, I'm sure you also have all the emails as clear evidence too so I wouldn't worry about it. You are entitled to an opinion just as much as anyone else, just because she didn't like it, she's acting like an immature teenager. I'm sure all these other companies aren't happy with her making tweets like this on behalf of their company. If anything, it's her own professional image that is being harmed. I would definitely contact head office and make a complaint. She seems no older than 18 herself and shouldn't be acting like that in her position.

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  26. That actually can be done in photoshop darling, I used to love your blog posts but that has put me off a bit....... especially the use of bad language, once anyone resorts to that you know you have lost any argument.......

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    1. Of course, pretty much anything online can be fabricated using photoshop. However, in this case a lot of people viewed their malicious tweets before they were deleted. I also have all email correspondence that I am more than happy to forward to any of my readers. It's a shame that you have decided to take this stance as I am just being completely honest about the whole situation. I'd also be interested to know what 'bad language' you are referring to as when dealing with issues like this it is something that I would never do, if you could quote me on what you found offensive that would be good.

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    2. This is probably them trying to be anonymous!

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  27. This is appalling. I hope you emailed her back and told her to stop slating your name and you as a blogger before you take down your blog post. I seems like her personal opinions are affecting her job and it actually makes her look bad. You showing other bloggers this creates awareness about the company and ultimately will show a decrease in bloggers wanting to work with the hotel.
    X

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  28. We're on your side, Jess.
    That company has acted ridiculously and will be targeted negatively by other bbloggers in return.

    Sorry on their behalf xx

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  29. That's awful - shame on them and now you've exposed them for what they are. I hope that clueless woman who threatened you gets the sack!

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  30. The bad language, that you, and your followers use, in the Twitter stream on your page, that I, and by the way, EVERY, potential Spa, hotel etc.can read. Tell me something, what, do you think, any places you may next want to visit, will make of what you have done here?.......do you think they will want to run the risk of inviting you to visit????? .......just a thought......

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    1. If you could quote the 'bad language' that I have supposedly used on my twitter page then maybe I can address your issue however you seem to be failing to come up with anything. If any of my followers decide to use bad language it has nothing to do with me whatsoever as I have not retweeted anything offensive from anyone. I am sure that anyone working in PR with any sense will be able to see from this post that I have handled the whole situation very well and have simply tried to draw attention to a companies unprofessional behaviour. Sorry but I don't think you are understanding that in the blogging world 'keeping quiet' as it were about issues we feel strongly about would go against everything that the community is based on. I think your tone is quite rude and I think you should probably have a think about the way you are approaching a young girl that is simply trying to prove the point of freedom of speech.

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  31. Aaaahhhh I understand now, when you say ALL comments mean so much to you, what you actually mean is ALL comments that agree with you, and any others are rude or offensive.......I get it now.......amd there's me thinking that the freedom of speech you quote, is for EVERYONE in the blogger world......I stand well and truly corrected.....

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    1. To be honest David I'm not really sure of what your problem is. I've asked twice now for you to explain what tweets you found offensive which you have failed to do. If I did not believe in freedom of speech then I would of just deleted your comments rather than taking time out of my day to reply.

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  32. This is actually disgusting. I can't believe a PR company would act like this! To individually target an individual is just appalling, terrible PR. And to threaten you like that! I also don't get why it matters if you're 18 or not, their being the immature ones. Sorry this has happened to you xxx

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  33. this is awful jess! I have sent them celebrity clients before. Would they treat a journalist the same I wonder...

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  34. funny, you have given them a lot more coverage than you would have had, hadn't seen the hotel before and now want to visit, it looks lovely

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    1. It was never my intention to put people off from visiting the Spa itself. I am sure it is a nice enough place. So far the blame is all being placed on one woman's lack of professionalism however it will depend on how the management team deal with the situation as to how the Spa's reputation will end up.

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  35. Oh gosh, Jess, this person is behaving atrociously. Whether you're 18 or not has no bearing on anything, she clearly is the immature one x

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  36. ^ ^ ^ Jessica hasn't questioned the Spa itself just the way in which their PR have behaved..

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  37. As much as I agree with what you are saying and see where you're coming from, by making a blog post about the issue you have probably put yourself in a bad position in the eyes of other companies.

    It would have been more worth while to complain to their management about the way you were treated directly, so that they could speak to the employee involved, and handle it the way they want to. If they regularly have communications like this with potential clients, they will probably get enough private complaints to know that this type of communication needs to stop and something needs to be done.

    To be honest, you probably are worth following their requests of deleting this blog post, and then privately discussing the matter with them. Legal battles are never fun, no matter what your age, and as a company rather than an individual (like yourself) they would definitely have the upper hand unfortunately. (Also, they are ridiculously expensive whether you win or lose.)

    Thankyou for bringing this all to our attention, so we know that you feel you were treated unfairly, and it will probably change a lot of our minds about visiting the spa in future, but you are probably best to delete everything, as they have said they are willing to drop everything at this present moment.

    Sorry if this is a long comment and I hope everything is sorted for you soon and I hope this isn't taken in the wrong way! I enjoy reading your blog and will continue to do so :)

    x

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I understand your point however it is my personal preference that I'd rather have a completely honest blog than be the kind of person that is scared to share how I feel just for the sake of the potential of a few small minded companies being put off working with me. I have been running my blog for three years now and have worked with tons of PR companies on a regular basis and have never had a bad experience until now. Threats of legal action also do not scare me as I know full well they would not have a leg to stand on!

      Jess x

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  38. Agree with the post from 23:34, your problem is with one person not with the company so you should have tried to sort this with the person or speak to the hotel directly. No matter how they handled the issue, it seems that you are the only one attacking.

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  39. I would let go, don't see what you can gain from any of this. My husband works in PR and sometimes mistakes happen, professionals are only human too. Trying to ruin the hotel's reputation or the person's reputation will only cause stress and sorrow. Sometimes we need to be fair and let go. If they deleted the tweets, I don't see the point.

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    1. I get that mistakes happen however this individual continued with the same threatening behaviour and blackmailing for days in a row. There is no way that I am trying to ruin the Hotel's reputation which is why I sent them an email about the whole situation and will keep my blog up to date with the way they handle the issue.

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  40. It looks like what you are seeing as a threatening behaviour is the pr lady trying to protect herself from what you are doing maybe? the e-mail says you have contacted her clients, you would probably act the same way yourself? They could go for the Data Protection Act not sure of e-mail correspondence can be posted online.

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    1. I contacted her clients in regards to asking them to remove the retweets from their twitter pages which unfortunately was something I had no choice but to do since she decided to involve them. If she did not want other clients being dragged into the situation then she should of not gone ahead and posted information about me on all of those twitter pages too. Since I had not signed an agreement form to keep all email correspondence private and I have not mentioned the name of the woman in question then legally there is nothing they can do but also from a moral point of view it would be ridiculous.

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  41. I happen to know the person you speak of and she is actually a really nice person so that surprises me. She is well connected and influential but also harmless so your e-mails to her clients will have gone against you. She would not threat anyone for nothing sweetie. Hope what you said in these e-mails can be verified.

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    1. No offence but if you choose to post your comments anonymously then it doesn't look too great. I'm also unsure as to how you would know who I am referring to if I haven't included her name. And my final point is that a few of her clients emailed me back apologising and sounded embarrassed about the whole thing by explaining it wasn't something they would ever want to be involved in. If you want to comment further on this post then I'd advise you to unclick 'Anonymous' as I won't be accepting comments from people that won't identify themselves any more on this post. I'm happy to have this conversation via email with you if you would prefer not to reveal your identity on my blog.

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  42. The letter we received from you says she has developed a bad reputation. Other than your own personal view and attempt to do that yourself, other than the bloggers you have contacted via twitter and e-mail, is there anyone else that can confirm she has a bad reputation?

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    1. I have never said in any 'letter' that 'she has developed a bad reputation', so that statement is completely false. I have also not contacted any bloggers via email and think you will find that all of the comments on this post and on twitter are what people felt compelled to write because they are so dismayed at what has gone on. I refuse to comment on who she now has a 'bad reputation' with as I think it is quite obvious. If you feel the need to hide your identity behind an anonymous comment then I think it says more than anything I could reply with. Please stop leaving this kind of comments on my blog as so far you have come up with nothing constructive whatsoever.

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  43. I haven't seen any of what happened over Twitter and I can only comment on what I have read from this post, and I have to say that the PR lady in question has attached unprofessionally, not only for herself but for the company she represts. In her email, she said "it would take five minutes for her to send an email to all UK hotels to inform them of the risk they take to work with you... " not only did she write a threat she also acted on it, by sending tweets out from the other companies she represents.

    We are all human and what she has done was in the heat of the moment, but she should never ever ever of used the voice of the company she is there to promote and represent as her own! She has crossed the big fat line in the sand and over stepped the mark by doing so. If she had a problem with you (which clearly she does) she should on vented on her own Twitter, Facebook, Blog, email, text, phone call, post it or over a big glass of wine with friends. Never as the face of the company she works at, she no doubt knows what she has done is wrong, she can't back peddle as it is on the internet to see and now is trying to cover her tracks.

    I work in PR, advertising, marketing and events and I would never dream of using the company I represent to voice my own views.

    Stay strong and please don't let this effect you or your blog. Stay true to yourself and everything will work out,

    Lou
    www.thekeypieces.co.uk

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    1. Completely agree with everything that you have said Lou! Thanks so much for the comment. Couldn't of said it better myself.

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    2. No problem and please forgive my spelling mistakes (attached = acted in the first para). :)

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  44. Obviously the anonymous person is someone from the company still trying to make you look bad. Well I've just discovered this post and I absolutely agree with you. You have done nothing wrong and just because this company has many followers and a 'great' reputation they think they can get one over on you. You're blog looks great, I will be deffo' following. x

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  45. Jess,
    you are being honest and even handed despite a number of direct threats and much provocation, I'm very proud of you xx

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  46. Wow......... just wow how extremely unprofessional and rude I think you have reacted in the perfect way, she is now obviously hoping you drop it with the threat of legal action, she has dug herself a big hole and is trying to reign it in and quickly, maybe she shouldn't have been so quick on the keyboard and thought about her actions. You have done nothing wrong she is being a bully fullstop xxxx

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