I wrote earlier in the week about corporate double standards. Before we delve into the blatant hypocrisy of 1st In SEO lets look at it’s own website on the “Reputation Management” page where it aims to help its customers with the following:
“Your reputation is the reality that other people have for you. This reality is shaped by multiple factors, including how you present yourself and how others speak of you. Part of this you can control directly: carefully sculpt and cultivate your brand, create and produce content that fits that brand, and avoid errors that cast you in a negative light. If you act carefully and responsibly, and if you proactively present the best of what you are to the world, you can go a long way toward building a positive reputation.”
If that is the product they are promoting why then did the CEO go out of his way to send customers and staff an ultimatum (note the link is ‘mysteriously’ down) to have them declare political allegiance. While there is often a legal requirement to know your customer (KYC) but I’ll be damned if political allegiance/affiliation is one of them. His threat was that Trump supporters or registered Republicans (clients or staff) will have their service terminated or be asked to leave.
1st In SEO CEO Matt Blanchard wrote:
November 10, 2016
1st In SEO Clients,
America has elected Donald Trump, a racist, sexist, fascist, to be our next president. 1st In SEO will no longer do business with any person that is a registered Republican or supports Donald Trump. 1st In SEO will also not do business with business interests that support either the Republican Party or Donald Trump. 1st In SEO obviously has no actual means of determining our clients’ or prospective clients’ political standing. We will rely on the integrity of the men and women who are our clients currently to find another Search Engine Optimization provider if they are Republicans, voted for Donald Trump or support Donald Trump. If you are a Republican, voted for Donald Trump or support Donald Trump, in any manner, you are not welcome at 1st In SEO and we ask you to leave our firm.
1st In SEO will do everything in our power to ensure that we break ties with any person or business that supports Fascism. We will communicate our political stance clearly to all prospective new clients. We will also aggressively advertise the fact that 1st In SEO will not do business with Republicans or anyone who supports our country’s president elect.matt
We ask you, our current clients, to please respond to this letter and confirm where you stand politically. If you are a Republican or support Trump, we will no longer serve you. You will need to find a new SEO provider. 1st In SEO will, of course, provide your website with the same high quality service you have enjoyed until you are able to find a new provider. We will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a smooth transition to a new firm and we will always be available for support should your new provider need our assistance.
To our Democrat and Progressive clients, we want to recommit to you that we will continue to work diligently to improve your internet marketing results in this quickly changing world.
Mathew D. Blanchfield CEO 1st in SEO
Now as a CEO (presumably if Blanchfield is a sole owner) I have no qualms with him wanting to blow his own company up by taking such hypocritical action to accuse clients of exactly the same crimes he charges certain employees and clients who acted democratically of doing. Yet looking at the Department of Labor’s website surrounding work place harassment we find the following.
When harassing conduct violates the law*
-First, unlawful harassing conduct must be unwelcome and based on the victim’s protected status.
-Second, the conduct must be:
–subjectively abusive to the person affected; and
-objectively severe and pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive.
-Whether an instance or a pattern of harassing conduct is severe or pervasive is determined on a case-by-case basis, with consideration paid to the following factors:
-the frequency of the unwelcome discriminatory conduct;
-the severity of the conduct;
-whether the conduct was physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance;
-whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with work performance; the effect on the employee’s psychological well-being; and whether the harasser was a superior within the organization.
-Each factor is considered, but none are required or dispositive. Hostile work environment cases are often difficult to recognize, because the particular facts of each situation determine whether offensive conduct has crossed the line from “ordinary tribulations of the workplace, such as the sporadic use of abusive language . . . and occasional teasing,”2 to unlawful harassment.”
Now as a customer (regardless of his or my political persuasion) I would cancel my contract immediately. Secondly if I was an employee (who was a registered Republican – regardless of whether I voted Trump or not) it is fair to assume that my opportunities for promotion if I chose not to leave would be unfairly inhibited. The CEO has explicitly drawn a line in the sand wishing to favour political ideology over actual employee ability. On any grounds that looks discriminatory. Is it any wonder that the letter has been pulled from the website?
Lucky the company is not listed. Grubhub’s CEO tried similar antics around election time asking Republican/Trump supporters to leave the company and the shares were smashed. Once again, consumers want to use products not have politics thrown in the mix. I can only imagine that 1st in SEO becomes a distant wooden spoon over time with a CEO who exhibits outward intolerance, exactly the things he criticizes certain customers and employees of. If the company has other investors/owners I would call for Mr Blanchfield’s immediate resignation or at the very least firing him because he clearly doesn’t exhibit the traits of a CEO who has the best interests of stakeholders, shareholders and staff alike. What a joke. Perhaps he should read the ‘Reputation Management’ page again and apply those principles to himself.