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Home > Media

Ask-a-Man: Really Not That Loathsome. Apparently.

16 March 2007

A couple of months ago, we wrote a fairly scathing piece about a new online service called Ask-a-man, a business based around the very flimsy idea that women could learn a lot about the men in their lives from other men. Because all men are the same. And women are thick. Amongst the things we wrote were:

'We can't remember ever seeing a website, or indeed any new business in any medium, that's going to give us so much pleasure when it fails.'

We also wrote:

'Ask-A-Man is the biggest load of patronising garbage we think we may ever have seen on the Internet.'


'Ah, yes. Ask-A-Man.com. Because no one has more integrity than a bunch of ex-salespeople and a clutch of desperate out of work actors pretending to give a fuck.'

Not very nice, we're sure you'll agree. But heartfelt, and that's the important thing.

A week later we got a call from a man called David. David works for the PR company hired by Ask-a-man.com. David wasn't happy. He felt we'd been unfair. Firstly he pointed out that stating that the men they employed to dole out advice were not a bunch of out of work actors (something we'd surmised from the fact that they - or at least some of them - had been sourced from the website for The Stage, where out of work actors go looking for something to do). David pointed out that they actually had some guy from 'Emmerdale' working with them. He was even in 'Shakespeare in Love'. Would he be answering the phones, we asked. Once in a while, yes, we were told. But mostly he'd be doing PR.


David works for PR Motion. Click the logo to enter the site.

Mind your eyes. And don't allow them to be drawn to the words 'a selections of our clients', because it'll just make you shudder.

Anyway, if someone feels we've treated them unfairly, we at TFT like to give them the right to reply. It seems only fair. So we asked David to email us Ask-a-man's response. He said he would.

He didn't.

We waited a couple of weeks before getting in touch with them directly and trying to persuade them to send us something. Eventually Vivienne Hallack, director of Ask-a-man got back to us.

This is what she had to say:

'There were certain aspects that we felt unfair as we had not even gone "live" at this point. I appreciate not everyone feels there is a need for this kind of service. It's inevitable that when you start something new and different there will be good and bad press. What I felt was wrong was that because some but by no means all of the recruitment for the men was from The Stage the author assumed that the men involved are out of work sales men and actors. Even if they were it does not mean that they would not be good at this, but it is inaccurate.

I can see the funny side of how a service like this can be "sent up" and in fact we are in planning with various comedians to do so for Comic Relief. Bearing in mind we do offer advice that is purposeful and a service with integrity I would like the opportunity to have a reply published... It would be nice if you could publish something useful about us as we are really not that "loathsome".'

Consider it done, Vivian. And well done for having a sense of humour! And double well done for your sterling charity work. For if there's one thing that we at TFT know, it's that people who get involved in charity do so because they care, not because they want lots of lovely publicity for their loathsome, loathsome
business idea.

Lest we forget.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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