My entry on the "independent" vendor comparison hosted by Citrix's German marketing firm has stimulated a fair amount of interest. A couple of German bloggers seemed to have similar takes on the apparent conflict of interest and hidden sponsorship of the comparison site. I've had lots of hits on the article since WebProNews ran it on their site.
Today I received a comment from R Person. It reads:
Isn't this pretty much in line with what we have come to expect from Citrix? I know in the past they have been defendants in multiple law suits over cybersquatting, making false claims and statements on their website, and other predatory marketing techniques. I think they have proven themselves to be very good at marketing their services, but not in the most honest or fair manner. Comments?
Given the blanket accusatory nature of the comment, the lack of a first name, company affiliation, or email address, you might be justified in writing this off as a self-serving attack by a competitor. And you might be right. Or it could be someone just trying to protect themselves from email crawling spambots. No way to tell. But let's take a hard look at the points raised.
I am only aware of one cybersquatting lawsuit against Citrix. It was opened in February of 2005 by WebEx and accused Citrix of creating multiple domain names designed to intentionally confuse people trying to find WebEx products and information online and hijack them to the Citrix website instead. WebEx issued a press release about their claim and it picked up a fair amount of coverage. After a great deal of searching, I haven't been able to find any mention of a resolution to the suit and the websites are long since gone. An interesting commentary on the brouhaha back from the period is this one from Brian Madden. He points out that the suit could be seen as a marketing play by WebEx rather than a real attempt to get legal satisfaction. This does not excuse or lessen the incorrectness of the domain registrations by the Citrix employee.
The only other complaint I was able to find about Citrix promotional practices came from web conferencing blogger Robin Good in his Kolabora blog. Interestingly, it was also from February of 2005. He didn't like the "free trial" of GoToMeeting which ended up with a charge on his credit card. He did point out in an update that they had followed up, reimbursed him, and tried to improve their process. Recently I was able to get a free trial of their software with no credit card information, so it seems that they did change for the better.
As far as false claims, the only complaint I could turn up in my research was in a blog from the SVP of Marketing at F5 (a Citrix competitor in the networking market). It was pretty tame stuff... he didn't like some bloated marketing fluff in a press release ("extends our leadership" "advances state-of-the-art web application delivery"). Honestly, every tech company is guilty of that kind of nonsense and I don't count it as a sign of willful moral decay and deception.
So Mr./Ms. Person, yes, I think Citrix could and should be more careful in the way they conduct their promotional and marketing activities. These things do have a way of contributing to the general marketplace impression of a company. Am I ready to lump them in with sleazy used car salesmen and infomercials selling miracle weight loss diets? No.