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Jul 28, 2008 04:56 PM

ATK/CI/CC and the potato salad debacle

Sorry if this is posted elsewhere. I got onto this through another site, and was fully entertained all afternoon reading the comments. I think that Cook's Illustrated must be a pretty unhappy place at the moment.

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  1. That was amazing and disgusting and mindboggling. Thanks for sharing that link. I'm shaking my head in disbelief at those stooopid ATK folks -- and it may not be Chris Kimball. My god, if you think what that blogger did was pilfering, take a look at Martha Steward, infamous for copying recipes without attribution.

    1. Wow.

      There is something so UNwholesome about the online triumvirate of ATK/CI/CC. Years ago I went hunting for a recipe and they demanded an email address. I had always walked away when confronted with this kind of strong arming but I really wanted the recipe. I coughed it up and soon after asked to be removed from their spam list. I asked three times to no avail and finally had to block them at the ISP level as they cleverly slid through my spam filters. It left such a bad taste I pretty much avoid anything to do with them.

      I finally had to block ATK emails at the ISP level.

      Funnily enough I can't remember which recipe I 'had to have.'

      1. The more and more we hear things, the more this company's reputation plummets. On top of which they seem to have a Jekyll and Hyde aura to them. I'm tempted to stop watching their television show -- which I really enjoy -- because of the unctuous ways they handle all their other ventures.

        1 Reply
        1. re: HarryK

          Customer service there is absymal. I attempted to cancel my online subscription to CI. It literally took me months of emails, phone calls and letters to obtain a proper credit to my credit card. And talk about attitude! I think that this "Deborah" person is the corporate role model for customer service. I will not give CI, CC or ATK any more of my business, no thank you. I am so over this whole company and CK's phony country hick schtick.

        2. Wow. This just shows what complete idiots they are at Cooks Illustrated!

          I found it interesting that the publicity company shut the conversation down after the blogger wrote her: "However, I was just informed by a wonderful cook friend that lists of ingredients are not copyrighted, only method. So I know how to avoid the land mines next time, yes? Later." Looks like Deborah Publicity Lady knew that the blogger had it right - and just said "Stop Emailing me."

          And their list of ingredients is nothing special - all this brouhaha over nothing. Yowza, that publicity company really doesn't get it when they've pissed someone off, it gets back out there hundredfold on the various blogs and message boards, doesn't it? Yet one other reason to avoid ATK/CI/CC like the plague if they attempt additional strong-arming like this and their collection agency.

          I love that the blogger re-posted the recipe for the potato salad saying "INSPIRED BY (UGH) you know who and you know from where... f***ers". :-)

          1. This little story seems to confirm that the Kimble Konglomerate is rotten beyond its marketing department. That's sad, because for the most part I think that they have a good product.

            On a more general note, the story is an example of a company's not understanding the way that information and opinions move around in the modern world. As the blogger points out, what she was doing could only have helped. She was getting the word out about them, and implicitly endorsing them to her readers, who presumably value her opinions. It's hard to buy publicity that good. Now, if the blogger had been creating a free searchable index of ATK recipes, that would be another thing entirely.

            4 Replies
            1. re: mhoffman

              I think someone else had it right, it's the bow-tie thing. It's a well-established medical fact that if you wear them too often it restricts the amount of blood flow to the brain and causes confusion and irrationality.

              1. re: mhoffman

                It's not really a question of understanding communications. It's intimidation and misdirection as a matter of policy. Companies have to be able to prove that they aggresively defend their trademarks and copyrights or they could lose legal use of them in a real court case. That causes no end of frustration for small businesspeople (and bloggers) who get caught up by companies overstepping their bounds. The aggresive defenders count on the fact that the small business person won't know their legal rights and will be cowed into giving in.

                The Spouse, who is an attorney, and his co-workers have no end of stories about clients being bullied by companies with attitude. The only answer is to know your rights and, when you're in the right, tell them where to stick their Cease & Desists! (Also know that they have more money than you and a law firm on retainer. It pays to know when to stop being the hero.)

                1. re: rockycat

                  I know very little about defending copyrights, so I'll defer to your expertise. However, if what ATK is doing is just good business practice, then the system that incentivises this behavior is really messed up.

                2. re: mhoffman

                  >>"This little story seems to confirm that the Kimble Konglomerate is rotten beyond its marketing department. That's sad, because for the most part I think that they have a good product."<<

                  my feelings exactly. i wish someone with a crappier magazine/cookbooks would pull this kind of stuff.