Seriously, Timothy Johnson, Your Idea Of How To Do PR For Clients Is A Joke

We have a bemused relationship with most folks from the PR industry here around TechCrunch, and with good reason (trust me on that one).

Most of the time (but not always), we keep our peace when PR flacks go off on us with or without a shred of reason, but sometimes one of them goes off the deep end and we need to point it out. It’s a public service we do for the PR industry to show them the error of their ways.

Consider this a lesson in what not to do in PR.

The culprit in this case is Mr. Timothy Johnson, who just went off on my extremely sweet and mild-mannered colleague Leena Rao because she declined to cover some tidbit of news about a company he represents.

For context, the company Tim(othy) represents is mig33, which recently announced a significant round of funding and decided to not include TechCrunch in their pitch—which is fine, happens all the time since we don’t care too much for embargoes around here.

But it didn’t stop them from trying to get our attention now (as it shouldn’t).

Here’s how Timothy starts out pitching Leena:

Hi Leena,

We spoke frankly last fall when mig33 announced a $9m round and TC was not kept apprised. I promised you a story in the future, provided you took the time to speak with an exec.

I’m writing to see if you want to see if you want a Skype chat with CEO Steven Goh about a press announcement we’re issuing Tuesday, March 1.

The news? We sold more than 40 million virtual gifts in 2010. Also, updates on where that growth is coming from, why, how we’re spending the money, the working relationship with Sugiono (Indonesia) and GREE (Japan), and what’s next in terms of partnerships with handset makers that will have mig33 embedded.

Let me know?

Thanks! I hope we can work together, Leena.


Timothy Johnson

Nice guy, reasonable pitch, right? Only, the story doesn’t stand out that much considering the thousands of pitches we deal with on any given day.

So Leena responds:

Hey Tim,

I’m not sure if just the 40 million is enough. Can you circle back when you have a product announcement?



And that’s where it should have ended. (To put that 40 million virtual gifts sold in a year number in perspective, Pet Society sells 90 million virtual gifts every single day). But Timothy doesn’t take rejection well. He just can’t let it go. His next response is pretty baffling:


– You wrote about platforms that move maybe $40 million in 2009. Platforms. Not communities. Not much since.

– Even if mig33’s virtual goods averaged 50 cents USD – and that’s a HUGE if – that’d mean about $20 million in rev, which is over twice mig33’s recent round

– You guys devote little coverage to SE Asian/Asian sites – don’t you think it’s time, or is FB all that matters?

Really? Wait for a product announcement? Is that a joke, Leena?


That’s right, we never cover Southeast Asian startups. Never. Later, he adds:

Well, when you’re interested again in doing analysis and not just product launches, let me know.

Just wow.


Nice going, Timothy Johnson.

You’ve just managed to get the TechCrunch coverage you desired. Well, maybe not the coverage you wanted, but whiners can’t be choosers.

Just wow indeed.

And by the way, mig33, you might want to reconsider who you work with. Seriously.