March 7, 2014 — I was on the phone last week with an industry ‘Big Wig’ who mentioned that it didn’t appear there were very many comments from ITG readers, including in our very popular ‘GateHouse’ timeshare blog section. The ‘Big Cheese’ wanted to know why — which I thought was kind of funny since it’s my understanding the very place where this individual is a company ‘mucky-muck’, like other companies,
forces encourages their timeshare reps to sign a “Non-Disparagement Agreement”.
So Here’s The Scoop: For those readers not sure what a “Non-Disparagement Agreement” is (even though you may have signed one) in a nutshell it is a contractual obligation (or a phrase in an employment contract/agreement, etc.) whereby the ‘associate’ promises not to defame, disparage or simply criticize the company or any persons within the organization. For the ‘associate’, this prohibition extends to the Press, a board of directors (if one exists), competitors, investors, etc. and likely, if a rep is a Catholic, in the confessional booth during the Sacrament of Penance.
That said, there is a way around those Non-Disparagement Agreements. If, for example, you’ll read my opening statement again you’ll notice that I did not name the ‘Honcho’. I did not suggest whether this ‘Kingpin’ is female or male nor did I give any indication of the company name, exact location or any other revealing information about this ‘Top Dog’. I only said this person was curious about something.
Point being, based on the e-mails I receive weekly many ‘reps’ have A LOT TO SAY but with those darn “Non-Disparagement Agreement(s)” and the fear of losing their income and/or being sued, etc. they’re afraid, at least in the USA, of exercising their 1st Amendment (Constitutional) right of “freedom of speech” by posting their comments.
That, by the way, is what I told the VIP with whom I was chatting.
But not to worry. Just as in my vague opening paragraph there are LOTS of ways to air a subject, raise a concern, discuss an issue and perhaps, in time, resolve a dispute, etc. And rest assured ITG posters, by their own choice, can and do remain anonymous doing just that.
And no, I’m not suggesting posting nonsense or knowingly making *false accusations like: “I knew Scoop when after work every day the scumbag and screw-up would toss back 16 cold-ones and an equal number of shots of tequila in just the first hour of being off the tables…”.
A better approach would be: “I know this person who writes about timeshare related topics and it seems to me that individual must be living in a weird kind of third dimension because the ramblings I’ve read are, at best, incoherent…”
Besides if you didn’t take that latter approach and if I didn’t sue you for harming my most excellent name or hunt you down like the street dog you are and put you out of your misery, I could simply respond with, “Your facts are wrong you low-rent, knuckle dragging wanna-be Closer without the ‘C’ moron. It was only 11 bottles of beer and about ½ of the amount of tequila. And quite frankly at the end of each day working around skill-less wanna-be jug-head losers like you I’m entitled to whatever relief I so desire.”
And also keep in mind when posting comments they don’t have to contain negative content that’s subject to the terms and conditions in those lovely “Non-Disparagement Agreements”. You can post nice things about your developer, yourself, your sales or marketing manager, sales volume, your co-workers, etc. and you can do that and name names – or be generic and still remain anonymous.
On the other hand, if the shoe fits it can be fun to warn inform ITG readers about (e.g.) ‘A certain former ‘heat-merchant’ that slithered its way to the near top of the food chain and did so by lying on the tables at nearly every turn in order to be a top closer. And, at the same time, constantly stabbed co-workers in the back while keeping its nose closely compressed to its boss’ gluteus maximus in order to keep getting promoted. And, by the way – as it is widely known this individual loathes that 1st Amendment thingy’, adores those Un-American “Non-Disparagement Agreements” and hates online sources like ITG where we do support the 1st Amendment and uphold the notion that everyone has the right to lawfully express themselves.’
Wow, I hope that was as good for you as it was for me! See how simple it is to get something off your chest? You’ll feel better and I’m pretty darn sure that among our approximately 45-50,000 individual monthly readers ‘some’ will believe and/or post (e.g.) – “Hey, I think I know who you’re talking about…”
So if you have something to say go ahead and exercise your “freedom of speech” rights – right here (and everywhere). Be anonymous if need be or generic in nature and instead of naming names try a conceptual approach to your point of view, perspectives, suggestions, input, recommendations, etc.
On the other hand, as we often do at ITG, if you have proof positive of something like say a Federal or State court case (or record) which is in the public domain, etc. and even if anonymously go ahead and share the news be it good or not so ‘fluffy’ ITG or in our GateHouse timeshare blog.
Naturally, in lieu of doing so feel free to continue e-mailing in all those tips, rumors, speculations, questions, perspectives, etc. as your privacy is protected and the info is always appreciated.
Good Luck Out There!
*False accusations: Be advised that for the past 5 years we have and continue to monitor, 24/7/365, all posts and comments ITG and GateHouse – and as we do daily those false accusations etc. are pulled so don’t waste your time – and the same is true for those free ads some of our readers try to sneak in each day/week.
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Contributing sometimes extravagant, bombastic, emotional, pompous or even pretentious writings about the timeshare industry, Scoop covers an array of industry related subjects each week including inside information, tips, scandals, interviews, forecasts as well as new (good or bad) products and services — and, of course, all the ‘Good’, the ‘Bad’ and the ‘Ugly’.
Stay tuned for what is sure to be a fun ride and check back to Timeshare Scoop du Jour each week for more of the inside scoop.