I recently chatted with Donna Tocci, Public Relations Manager for Kryptonite, a company well-known in blogging annals for some damaging information that was disseminated through weblogs back in the early days of blogging, 2004. She kindly consented to answer a number of my questions, some of which will serve to acquaint you with the situation, while others offer great insight into how to address damaging information in the blogosphere.
I’ll admit up front that my bias is that the adverse effect of the blogosphere on corporations is much overblown, and as you’ll see as you read this Q&A, Donna thinks so too. That’s not to say that blogs and bloggers aren’t an influential voice in the marketplace, but just to help clarify that there are still definite limits to its influence and it’s well to keep that in mind as you craft your next marketing plan or public relations budget.
My comments are in italics as you read along…
Q: Let’s start by having you tell me about the “bic pen incident” with Kryptonite locks from a few years ago, please. What, when, who, etc.
This is such a huge question. It’s really hard to go into it while typing especially when there are so many facets to the story. In September 2004, a cyclist learned he could open his tubular cylinder lock using a pen instead of a key and posted this to a forum, not a blog. The story was picked up by bloggers, people posting in forums and the traditional media. Kryptonite researched the allegation, recognized that some (but not all) of the products using tubular cylinders could be opened this way and went to work creating a plan to stand by our customers. Five business days after the post, Kryptonite announced an outline of a plan for a lock exchange program noting that three business days after that the full plan would be in place. Eight business days after the first post, Kryptonite announced its full, free Lock Exchange Program and began taking registrations that day. We began the first exchanges a few weeks later.
Q: A few weeks? Why didn’t Kryptonite announce its Lock Exchange Program faster, to help alleviate the damage?
Well, the Internet moves at real time but companies sometimes can’t – not ‘won’t’, but can’t. If we’d announced what we wanted to do before we had the back end in place and couldn’t back it up, that would have been the bigger PR nightmare, right?
So, we had to check with factories, find and work with a fulfillment house, find and work with a shipping company, research customs (this was a worldwide plan), talk with our distributors and get their input and concerns, create a space on our website for registrations and make sure the site could handle the traffic and then worry about whether or not all of the respective softwares could talk to each other (website, fulfillment house, shipper). There’s a lot of stuff that needs to be done before announcing a plan like this with so many
Q: How long did it take for your company to be aware that there was negative publicity in the blog community?
We were aware of the Internet involvement with this issue from the first day. This included blogs and forums.
[The common “myth” of the Kryptonite story is that the company wasn’t paying attention to the blogosphere and that it took weeks for it to learn that there was a problem, but as you can see it isn’t true and Donna and her team were aware of the problem from the very first day. –DT]
Q: When you did learn about the negative publicity, did you see it as a crisis management problem, or did it not seem that dire?
Dave, we were working around the clock to research the allegation and create a plan for our customers. We took this very seriously from day one. Contrary to popular belief, the media attention didn’t make us take notice of this situation; we were already well into creating a plan by the time the traditional media were publishing their stories. I’ve seen in print that only after the New York Times article on day five did we come out with a plan and talk to the media. That’s not true. We were talking to the media from day one.
[Again, the “myth” of the Kryptonite story, that the company was out of touch and didn’t know anything had happened until the New York Times broke the story is completely false. Indeed, it is the desire to debunk the untruths and myths about this entire situation that motivated me to produce this interview with Donna in the first place. –DT]
Q: Did your company ever consider legal action against the person who disseminated the information about how to defeat that particular type of lock?
Need to go corporate here. We don’t discuss any legal matters publicly, be they in process or in theory.
Q: A lot of blog pundits are fond of pointing to this situation as an example of why companies need to keep track of the so-called blogosphere, but I’m skeptical. Did it affect your sales figures? Did you get any kickback from bicycle store owners that customers were concerned about this aspect of Kryptonite locks?
Companies absolutely need to keep track of the blogosphere. I agree with that. However, I think it is only a segment of what companies should look at for their marketing and publicity plans. There are millions of blogs, but what are the audiences of these blogs? We know that lots of teens and college students have blogs and, mainly use them to communicate with friends and family. These are our customers, but are they going to corporate blogs? Not so sure about that.
We also know that the technology sector is blogging and paying attention to who and what is out there in the blogosphere. Great. We also know that marketers are out there. Great, too. All of these people can be our customers.
However, is the blogosphere the best ‘bang’ for our ‘buck’. And by ‘buck’I don’t mean money. I mean time. I’m not so sure about that. Each company needs to make that decision for themselves. They need to do the research and spend the time to figure out where their customers are, if that’s the blogosphere then they need a blog. If not, they don’t. They do need a good crisis management plan no matter who they are or how they choose to implement it.
[That’s an extraordinarily important question that every company needs to ask itself. It’s not a devaluation of the blogosphere as an important vehicle for communication, just a pragmatic and sensible approach to figuring out the best way to communicate with your specific market. And as for a crisis management plan, well, I’ve been talking about the need for a good plan for years. –DT]
As for sales, again, we don’t discuss actual figures. However, yes, when we stopped selling tubular cylinder products that absolutely affected our sales for ’04. Now, though, we are gaining shelf space back left and right and are back in the swing of things. I believe sales are climbing. We’ve also had a brand study done. Only the preliminary results are back, but they show that our brand reputation wasn’t as damaged as the blogosphere would have you believe.
Also, we know that the majority of the people who participated in our lock exchange program heard about it from traditional media sources. That kind of proves that you have every right to be a little skeptical.
[Another important point. In the big picture the negative publicity that Kryptonite received in the blogosphere hasn’t adversely affected the company in the long term. Much of that is due to the savvy response of the Kryptonite team, but it’s also a mark of the limits of the influence of the blogosphere. We’re an influential bunch, but blogs haven’t completely obsoleted other forms of market communication by any means. –DT]
In respect to your dealer question, yes consumers were concerned with the tubular cylinder issue. We were fortunate that Interbike, the bicycle trade show in the US, was the first week of October in ’04. Our marketing team went to town and created new signage and collateral materials for dealers telling them about the consumer lock exchange program and the one for them. We also replaced dealer stock as well as distributor stock. Here’s a little fun fact for you – we’ve replaced over 380,000 locks worldwide, which includes to distributors, dealers and consumers.
So, we gave the dealers all of the information they would need to take back to their customers. They had the answers to all of the questions customers would ask.
Q: If you could go back in time and craft the perfect rejoinder to those initial few postings about how to hack the lock, before the story took on A life of its own, what would you say?
Dave, we can’t go back in time and, personally, I don’t like hypothetical questions. However, I’ve said before and I’ll say again, I wouldn’t change much. I would post a note on our website about us working on the issue a day or two earlier. That’s it. Other than that, I wouldn’t change anything we did then.
Here’s a better question – what would I do now….:) Now, I’ve spent the time to research what is going on online and have created relationships with some of the more influential bloggers. I’ve treated this like I would do with any traditional media representative. I’m confident that, should something else come up like it did in September ’04, I would be able to converse with a few of these folks and, should they choose, they could write about what is going on with us. That may include that Donna has left the building… kidding… but, you see my point.
There is no way for a company to answer all of the individual blog posts or forum posts during a crisis. No way. There isn’t enough time in a day. Having your own blog or even a website that is easy to change information on, like we do, is a way to get out some information, but just like the traditional media, everyone wants their own quote that is unique to their blog or news coverage. Just like you! 🙂 That is also why companies need to do the research I mentioned above now, before a crisis. Know who the influential bloggers are in your space and start a conversation. Create a relationship or two or ten.
Donna, thank you very much for your time and candor. I believe that this interview should be required reading for everyone who is evangelizing blogging as a market communications tool. Remember, blogging is an important part of a company’s current and future marketing and public relations mix, but it’s by no means the only element, and it cannot become the only element however you spin it. Always remember that ultimately the company has to meet its market, too, not vice versa. Oh, and don’t discount the effect of mythologizing along the way too: Kryptonite handled its situation with savvy and professionalism and has recovered its position, but the “myth” of bic pens and the crushing blow of blogging has grown far beyond the reality of the situation.
Dave, according to Bike Biz magazine, which was part of the online furor you describe, the “Bicpick” was first reported by a British bicycle magazine in 1992. http://www.bikebiz.co.uk/daily-news/article.php?id=4637
Why didn’t Kryptonite institute a lock exchange program and take the faulty locks off the market at that time? In light of this information, how do you interpret Donna’s claim that they “took this very seriously from day one”? The 2004 media firestorm must have had played an important part in their decision to replace the faulty locks.
Why didn’t you ask her about the delay?
Thank you, Dave and Donna, for your time in creating a really fabulous post. It’s a must read for everyone in the PR business.
In spite of the fact that most people heard about the faulty locks through conventional media, the news initially came from the blogs, which were at or near the center, the place where the stone hits the pond. The rest of the drama radiated from there. And it’s at that center with the “more influential bloggers” where Donna has established her first line of defense.
When blogs are at the place where the stone hits the water, they can be an incredibly important PR medium.
Dave didn’t need to ask me those questions because you just did! 🙂 I’ll be happy to answer them for you.
Carlton (BikeBiz) probably covered this situation more often than anyone so I’m glad you reference one of his articles. He and I were in almost constant contact during those first two weeks so he has some great Kryptonite info.
If you look at the article you reference he mentions that the article from 1992 went away quickly and does not mention Kryptonite by name. I’ll add to that by telling you that nobody at Kryptonite saw that article when it was published. Since Sept. 2004 we have seen it and it does not state as clearly as everyone seems to think about a pen and a lock.
There was no delay in how we dealt with this internally, Rebecca. Most bloggers will tell you that where they differ from our thinking is in how we dealt with the situation in 2004 online – or rather how we didn’t deal with it there. That’s been debated more than once for sure!
Why believe me about not knowing about the article? You don’t know me and seem to be skeptical of what I’d said to Dave, which is fine, I expect that. However, you are a business person so I’ll ask you these two questions as that: Would any company who knew a security product might be defeated in this manner continue to sell a product line for a decade plus with products that had an anti-theft protection offer up to $3,000 just crossing their fingers and hoping nobody found out about the issue? Yikes! I have to think that no company would take that gamble.
Also, in Europe many of the insurance companies insist bicycle and motorbike owners have security devices that have been tested and approved by independent testing agencies before they will give insurance discounts to them. The idea being that the approved devices are some of the best on the market, therefore providing a better than average deterrant to theft. Sold Secure is one of those agencies and is based in the UK. They not only tested and passed many of our locks, but approved them at the highest levels right through 2004. They certainly wouldn’t have done this if that article was as prolific as it is being made out to be.
I don’t bring these two items up to be defensive, but I know it is the nature of the blogosphere not to trust the PR person – EGADS, not that! 😉 These are examples of things that make sense that aren’t something I’m just ‘spewing’ for corporate speak to support my statement.
Hope that answers your questions, Rebecca. If not, please do post again. I’ll be buzzing by again and would be more than happy to answer any follow up questions you have.
If not, thanks for the questions and have a great holiday season!
Dave, way to get it right. Donna, I have to apologize as I was one of those spreading the myth of the Bicpick “disaster”, but I can tell you know that I’ll be evangelizing your method of response and approach. Also, kudos to you for continuing the conversation here on Dave’s blog.
James – thanks for your comments here and on your site! Tried to post over there but I don’t have a wordpress account.
In response to my comments at http://www.thinkjose.com/article/kryptonite-is-its-own-kryptonite
Dave and Donna,
I apologize if I seem harsh, that is not my intent. It just seems a bit strange that over a year later we finally hear the real story. Perhaps I am falling victim to the myth that has been perpetuated for quite some time. After hearing accounts of the old story from reputable sources such as Hugh Macleod at Gapingvoid, Seth Godin, Steve Rubel at Micropersuasion it makes it hard to shift the thinking. If this is all true with no corporate bs -which I assume that it is from your conviction- then I think we need to spread this and rewrite the story across the internet. This could be turned into a powerful positive opportunity to reconnect with a disenfranchised group of bloggers-etc.
I agree with you and Donna that the blogosphere is not the end all be all of mediums, but merely another outlet for messages. I think that Donna is off base by saying that her target audience only reads blogs from friends and family and not “corporate blogs”. There is no division in the blogosphere it is one giant entity and when you search for something in Technorati, icerocket, or even google you get results from everywhere. Granted the Kryptonite target audience is more focused on certain items within the blogosphere but the interconnectivity of the web allows stories to float very quickly from business to education to entertainment and back again. Unlike other mass media the internet allows two way conversation to take place in a rapid manner. Its not the end all be all but it is one of the few mediums that allows anybody, anywhere to talk back instantly. Like what you and I are doing right now.
So all of this to say I apologize for my skepticism and I do believe in the power of honest storytelling. I think we need to spread this and change the myth to the real story—even if the myth is more exciting to talk about.
I think Donna could be a huge hero to the company if she set out on a campaign to tell the true story. Talk to Seth, Hugh, Steve, and the other thought leaders that have been telling the story and have them tell your side of the story. Should make for an interesting discussion.
If a person has told me the story and I believe it to be true, why do I need to revisit it? Kryptonite didn’t feel the need to. It was because Dave wanted to get an inside view to communicate back to the blogosphere that we now have Donna’s insights.
What I or anyone thinks about Kryptonite’s response is irrelevant. What matters is that everyone can take something away from this.
The extent to which Kryptonite chooses to do so is its right. It is NOT for the blogosphere to dictate how corporates respond. To do so is arrogant in the extreme. And smacks of control – the very thing the blogosphere hates.
Blog enthusiasts forget a couple of things: Outside Microsoft, 99% of the people I know don’t know who Scoble is and care even less. Is the same true in the US? And I guarantee that outside the blogosphere, Hugh is a nonentity.
The fact blogebrity groupies think A-list bloggers are visionaries is hyperbole and a form of hero worship that contributes little. By definition, you can’t say a person is a visionary until after the event. That smacks of a certain frenzy.
Dave is correct to demonstrate how the issues are evolving. Some question his motives. I can tell you right now: Selling services to corporates about how to respond to new media. I do the same but to one of the toughest markets on the planet. I use blog technology as a metaphor not an end in itself. To do so at this stage would be corporate suicide or a guaranteed blank stare.
Blogs are NOT mainstream. Yet. Their headline numbers belie the fact that many die within 3 months. There are only a handful of blog sites that matter – but to their terribly narrow audience.
Podcasting isn’t on the radar, despite the ra-ra around it.
That is not to say the long term impact remains static. Far from it. But to insist on this or that to large and powerful companies is a guaranteed FU pal. It’s immature. Like the blogosphere. If you think that’s a skewed view of someone who’s clueless, then assess the maturity of the top podcast for yourself from a business point of view. I can see the pitch:
‘Tell me about the most important podcast show out there.’
‘Well, it’s an adult comedy show.’
My view is that collectively, we can be influential as part of a greater whole. The degree of influence may well increase over time. no-one would argue with that. But not by adapting to corporate speak or resorting to threats or profanity.
But by using the brains that got us to this position in the first place to do good. You don’t do that by ‘telling’ anyone what to do. You do that through learning. Which requires a two-way conversation. That’s mature.
After all, how many executives take advice from juveniles? Not many I’ll bet.
Thanks for posting such a well thought out reply. I’d like to address a couple of points in your post, too.
This isn’t the first time that the Kryptonite story, from my perspective, has been told in blogs. Jake over at communityguy.com and I talked last April about this and he has a few posts about it here:
In July, there was quite a lengthy conversation over at Shel Israel and Robert Scoble’s Naked Conversations site. You can view the numerous posts here:
And now here, with Dave. I think we’ve pretty much covered it all in these three exchanges.
Your suggestion to talk to the ‘reputable’ sources you have listed is a good one. However, I’ve tried, on more than one occassion, to start a conversation with one of them and it hasn’t been allowed.
Also, this story is more than a year old at this point. This incident does not define us as a company by a long shot. Kryptonite is moving on from this whole situation. We were true to our customers and we feel good about that.
One of the things I mentioned over on Naked Conversations is this – marketers might not think we ‘did it right’, but our customers do. And, better yet, thieves know we did the right thing because they are being frustrated on the streets every day by our locks. THAT is were, as a security company, we have our best successes.
Yes, it may sound like ‘fluff’ or ‘bs’ when I talk so earnestly, Jose, and I know my title works against me on this, but really it is only passion. I honestly believe in this company and what we do on a daily basis. Thieves stink and we work every day to do our part in putting them out of ‘work’.
Thanks, again, for such a detailed response, Jose, and do post here again if you have additional questions or suggestions. I enjoy learning every day so suggestions are welcome. Additional questions I’ll answer without hesitation – unless, of course, they come in when I’m offline 😉
Happy Holidays, Jose.
What about the Wikipedia, which has the following text on the discussion page for Kryptonite Lock:
“The article finishes with “the company responded with a lock exchange offer”, implying that the matter was concluded. However, none of the shops I’ve bought kryptonite locks from have any knowledge of the lock replacement program, which implies (a) that most locks are still vulnerable, and (b) the lock replacement program has problems worth mentioning. For example, does it only apply in the USA? Ojw 12:26, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Is that still true? Relative to the purpose of this post, is it something that Kryptonite should have addressed “long ago”?
And the main Kryptonite Lock Wiki refers to the “2004 Kryptonite Blogstorm”. It has a wiki link to Kryptonite_Blogstorm, but that simply redirects to Blog which doesn’t even mention the term blogstorm. (What a mess!)
I would argue that the Wikipedia is supposed to be encyclopedia-level quality and customer-service issues should have no place in an encyclopedia.
But, since the issues have been raised there, AND LEFT UNANSWERED (including the “2004 Kryptonite Blogstorm”), they become memorialized.
So, the question remains: What can and should any company do about the “echoes” that remain after a “storm” has mostly died out?
— Jack Krupansky
After a bit of digging I did find those resources and posted them on my original article at thinkjose.com So definitely shame on me for not digging a bit and where the heck was I when this started bubbling back up. Apparently I am so behind the times in my neon Ray-bans and with my mini-disc player.
Still its a good conversation to have about how corporations interface with the web. I think we still have a long way to go before the twain shall meet.
I just checked my archives, and while I might be wrong, I don’t think I made a big deal out of the kryptonite thing…
if anything, I would have written about how the story is more important that the actual facts…
I still maintain Kryptonite handled his terribly. Any crisis can be mitigated through effective communication. The vacuum of silence will be filled by misrepresentation, drivel and poison (I think Schopenhauer said that).
All the interviews reinforce for me is that as a business they responded well (except it turns out the problem had been flagged years before and they did nothing then). As communicators, they did lousy. If they new about the commentary, but didn’t respond, it’s pretty much the same as not knowing and not responding. No response is no response.
And for the record, about that time I bought a neat new mountain bike. I needed a lock. The blog coverage specifically caused me not to buy their product. If they had communicated what they are communicating now, I might have done so. To answer the question posed by Kryptonite: “here are millions of blogs, but what are the audiences of these blogs?” – it’s me, the bike owner. The interview gets worse, reinforcing further cluelessness about the blogosphere: “We know that lots of teens and college students have blogs and, mainly use them to communicate with friends and family. These are our customers, but are they going to corporate blogs? Not so sure about that.”
And then, worse still, they correct the misperception that they only found out about the problem in last year when bloggers started getting into it. Oh no, they knew about it in 1992 – and it would appear they did nothing? That’s meant to inspire confidence?
I had the privilege of working around some of the best crisis communicators in my agency days. I once asked why there were so few case studies on this type of thing. I got an interesting response – post crisis, all you want the focus to be on is how the business is moving forward – you don’t want to get into the mechanics of the crisis, it just casts further light on your problems. A pretty good idea in my book. Seems like Kryptonite is determined to teach us what not to do pre, during and post crisis.
It seems that Andrew maybe only read the interview and not the comments after the interview by his repeating of misinformation. This is what I’ve posted over on his site.
Happy Holidays one and all!
Andrew – while you are certainly entitled to your opinion I’d just ask you to do one thing – please reread my first response to Rebecca on Dave’s site. It clearly states that we did not know about the article in 1992, and gives some pretty good business examples of why you might want to believe that. Again, I probably can not sway your opinion about our communication, but I can defend true facts.
Also, I ask you this – as I asked over on Naked Conversations this summer. You might not buy a Kryptonite lock because of how we communicated this issue. That is your right. However, shouldn’t you buy a lock based on the effectiveness of the lock? Thieves don’t care how we communicate an issue, they care about whether or not they can defeat a lock on the street. Since we replaced 380,000 locks worldwide, we’re pretty confident that we are still frustrating those thieves. That’s one of the most important factors for us.
I’m with you, I’d like for us to get past this, but with people still writing about it, like you, it seems that time hasn’t come yet.
Happy riding, Andrew. Whatever brand of lock you bought remember to always use it and use it properly, that is more than half the battle when defeating thieves. I truly hope your bike is with you forever!
Is the Kryptonite Exchange still going on?
I have dilly dallied on this but will be upset at Kryptonite –and the bike store I purchased the lock from– if they smirk and tell me time’s up.
Here is an interesting question for Donna (though unlikely to answer) or for the readers of this blog — how many of you are unlikely to ever again purchase a Kryptonite product as a result of this? How many of you would not have this opinion if Kryptonite had handled their communications more effectively? By the way, I am (was) a Kryptonite customer and I do read blogs. And I take advice from juveniles when it is important to getting my product right. In my reading of this Donna and Kryptonite STILL don’t get it, even though they are a great example of the new media 2.0 reality — the marketplace is a conversation. Your customers are talking and defining your brand. Join the conversation or ignore it at your peril.
I’m a long time cyclist and kryptonite customer. I was very impressed by they way the company handled this. They swapped my two locks out without hassle or complaint. Who cares if it took them a few days to get the program together? If they did or didn’t ignore the “blogosphere”, who cares?
They turned a crisis into an opportunity to demonstrate trustworthiness, then delivered.
Seems to me some folks are more concerned about rubbing Kryptonite’s nose in its own poo than they are about securing their possessions. Unfortunately the “puppy trainers” in the former group, or critics in the world of corporate marketing, do have the ear of many people that influence how much shelf space a given brand occupies in the retail level marketplace. Fortunately for Kryptonite people like me who realize that there was probably less than a dozen competant bike thieves on the planet who got close enough to a computer in those 3 or 5 or 8 days to really put a bike at risk, still buy the best lock for the buck.
I just purchased a New York “Fahgettaboudit” U-lock and I believe it is currently the most effective lock on the market.
Maybe you pundits should go pick on the folks at Masterlock, currently marketing their “cut-proof” street cuffs as such, even though I doubt they don’t fully know there are links to this:
Popping up on review sites like epinions all over the net.
Excellent interview provides a lot of missing information about the Kryponite crisis. Glad to hear from Donna Tocci to better understand what really happened. I used the Kryponite case in my latest posting on Crisis Communications and referenced your helpful analysis. For more, see: http://jon8332.typepad.com/force_for_good/2007/01/will_you_be_rea.html
Well, here’s one of the issues of blogs and the blogosphere: no one verifies anything.
I’ve gone out there and told the right story in comments, but people prefer to believe the stories that help them with their own philosophies and personal agendas.
How many of the memes out there should be properly fisked? Probably all of them. I did it with FedEx Furniture, and still get hits from Wikipedia about it.
Any bike lock that uses a rotating cylinder type of combination lock can easily be broken into in less than a minute. I just bought my son a brand new bike and liked the look of the Kryptonite lock and purchased one for him. After a few days. I remembered that as a kid (I’m 50 now) that I could easily break into this type of lock. Just gently pull the lock apart and start rotating the right-most cylinder. When it reaches the correct location it will “snap” into place. The lock usually even separates slightly letting you know that it the correct number as well. Then try the other cylinders. After a little practice you’ll find that you can unlock it in less than a minute.
The link to the bikebiz article is broken, apparently they remodeled their website. So much for permanent links. But the story can still be found in archive.org, though: http://web.archive.org/web/20040917010240/http://www.bikebiz.co.uk/daily-news/article.php?id=4637
And it’s fascinating that this blog post still receives comments after all thi time :-).
I appreciate the insight, but as for handling the matter openly and honestly, I think a search on the Kryptonite site for ballpoint pen says it all.
I think they could have done better and the defensive attitude right off the bat doesn’t help.
As for impacting sales, maybe it didn’t. I know I didn’t buy a Kryptonite lock for my bike because of this story…
As a manufacturer you must have known about the issues with tubular locks long before the bic pen incident.
Vending machines etc, used the same type of locks for a while, until they found how insecure they really were. Kryptonite could have changed the design before this happened.
Selling a high security lock with a low security locking cylinder never made sense.
I’m not sure what is going to be achieved by speaking with a paid PR shill of the company in question….
I know that it’s fashionable to not trust PR “shills”, Shlucky, but the fact is that many of them understand the situation better than anyone else in a company and know the ramifications of actions, good and bad, along with the truth of the fallout. People from the outside often just guess or suspect things without ever doing any fact checking find out what’s actually true.
Your milage may vary. 🙂
I agree with daves reply, PR teams really do understand the ‘big picture’ when it comes to disasters like this and can really pull a company through a bad run
I know it takes time to get a lock exchange program in place or a press release approved, but how long does it take to put a banner on every page of your website that says: we are very concerned with a video that is making its way around the Internet (you can view it here). As we establish the best course of action, lease let us know if you own a Kryptonite bike lock and we will notify you promptly (and first) with the best course of action.
Instead, I went to the product page of the specific Kryptonite lock that was picked and saw this:
– Our toughest bicycle security for moderate to high crime areas.
– 1/2″ (13 mm) Through-hardened Kryptonium (TM) Steel shackle resists bolt cutters and leverage attacks.
– Patented deadbolt locking mechanism for extensive holding power.
– Pik-Safe(TM) disc-style cylinder with a disc-style key.
I’m not dumping on Kryptonite or Tocci – nobody likes to deal with crisis, but the web was the one (and probably best) place where Kryptonite could have responded (or at least acknowledged the issue) in a matter of minutes… and they did not.
Brian, Locksmiths London
Once again I’m reminded of the time I bought that useless lock and what it’s like to feel ripped off. The Kryptonite lock exchange program that lasted little more than one year had already ended when I called for a replacement. Their response to me was, “No.”
They had my money and I had a worthless paper weight with two keys, so here’s my two cents since I paid for it. I still have the lock and keys, all barely used and in mint condition. They still have my money. That’s what I think when I see a Kryptonite lock or read the drivel written by PR people who are paid to put the sheep to sleep with “words that work”. Please, save us the condescending “happy riding” comments and reminders to use my lock and ‘use it properly’ and just replace the damn lock.
If the people at Kryptonite really cared as some would have you believe, their answer would be, sure, send us the lock and we’ll replace it. Even now.
The tubular pin tumbler locks formerly used by Kryptonite weren’t necessarily any more or less secure than traditional in-line pin tumbler (“cylinder”) locks. It depends on the particular pin combination used: If all the shear lines are at the same height or nearly so, a lock is easier to pick than one that has wide variation in the shear line heights. Consumer-grade locks with loose tolerances also tend to be easier to pick than high-quality commercial locks built to tight tolerances. Tubular locks still retain some advantages over cylinder locks in various applications, particularly when mounted in a steel door or access panel.
The Kryptonite New York Chain With EV Disc Lock ($75) rates well by owners but it weighs a little over 6 pounds making it a strain to carry around. Look for a chain lock with the highest grade of steel and for ones with the least amount of space between the links. The more space between the chain links, the larger the area to put in a tool to separate and break them open.
The shackle is stiff and very hard, so twisting and cropping are all but impossible. It’s a clever lock, too. A dual bolt central locking mechanism armored with two steel sleeves prevents the lock being drilled and makes it extremely resilient to both hammer blows and other striking attacks.
[…] Debunking the Myth of Kryptonite Locks […]
Are they still replacing old, pickable locks? I can’t see any mention of this on their website and you can’t even ask a question on there: It just says your query cannot be submitted after you waste time filling out the form. Well done Kryptonite! Plus there’s not even a phone number on the website where you could leave a voice message with your question. Guess we’re just not worth it.