An Australian online shopping site has apologised for using the bush fire crisis in Tasmania to try to build the number of followers for its Facebook page. In an announcement on Facebook, Sellitonline.com.au promised to donate electricity generators to help those in Tasmania without power… but only if there were enough likes for its page. It posted a message saying: “What we need you do do is get everyone of your friends to join sellitonline Facebook page and the more people we get will determine how many generators we donate.”
The post quickly drew criticism with one poster saying “Don’t manipulate social media for your own benefit”. Another added more bluntly: “F*** off with your opportunistic marketing trying to take advantage of other people’s tragedy.”
Since 4th January, Australian emergency services have been battling blazes from Warrumbungle National Park in Tasmania, where 130 homes have been lost.
Sellitonline removed the post and apologised.
“Very sorry if anyone was offended by this, the post was removed asap as sellitonline didn’t want to upset anyone,” the company told AAP in an emailed statement. “All sellitonline wanted to do is help the people in Tasmania.”
The company, which sells a range of hardware and other goods, said it donated one generator, worth $1000, to Tasmanian man, Allan Archer.
“He rang this morning to pay for it (and) we told him that there is no cost and we are donating it to him – he cried with happiness,” the company added.
Following the apology, a short conversation appeared on the page where one user has gone to great lengths to ensure the company is forgiven, claiming that it deserves “understanding and appreciation” and that after donating one generator, have in fact “come through” for the disaster-struck region.