Smoothwall has attracted heated debate from customers over its marketing campaign in the wake of fellow web security vendor Bloxx's takeover.
Last week Bloxx was acquired by cloud services firm Akamai, in a move that saw the discontinuation of all Bloxx products under the new owner.
The Smoothwall blog also featured an altered image of the Bloxx logo, which changed "Bloxx, No Nonsense", to "Bloxx Nonsense".
But the marketing stunt recieved a mixed reaction from customers when Smoothwall posted the blog on the EduGeek discussion board, with some labelling it "childish" and others "unprofessional".
"If your marketing department acts unprofessionally, who's to say that the rest of the company doesn't either?" said one user.
Another EduGeek user said:"I don't think anyone has an issue with Smoothwall saying ‘we're an option' for Bloxx customers but 1) pretending that you're not doing this for the sole purpose of making money rather than a deep-rooted concern for Bloxx users and 2) defacing their logo is just embarrassing and unnecessary."
But others were more supportive of Smoothwall's tactics, with one user posting: "Given that Bloxx were trying to sell us into a three-year renewal very recently, I don't think Smoothwall's response is too far off the mark. Very, very glad we gave in our 90 days' notice recently while we were testing other solutions."
In reaction to the comments, Smoothwall removed the "Bloxx, Nonsense" image from the blog after 30 minutes.
But one partner, who did not wish to be named, said the marketing ploy from Smoothwall was indicative of the wider culture of the company.
"We directly compete with Smoothwall in education web-filtering projects and often find the reason for a customer not buying Smoothwall is the hard sales tactics employed by the sales staff," he said. "This way of pushing customers to buy Smoothwall often puts customers off and it has nothing to do with the software – I think there is a similarity to be drawn between the sales and marketing team in their approach, which clearly isn't welcomed by the market."
A representative from Smoothwall said the logo tweak reflected the way customers were feeling, a number of whom it claimed had expressed their discontent.
"We know that many people agreed with why we did it, but it certainly wasn't our intention to cause controversy or create anything that would go viral – but hey, that's the nature of the internet," they added.
"We quickly took the logo down from our website as we felt this was distracting people away from the most important topic of the conversation. The main focus of the EduGeek discussion was to let Bloxx customers know that Smoothwall has a genuine interest in protecting schools; this is our core business and we pride ourselves in keeping children safe online."
Bloxx declined to comment on the matter.
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