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COMMENT: If Ruslan Kogan, the CEO of Kogan Technologies wants to be taken seriously as an online retailer, he should put up or shut up. The guy who hyperventilates on his own publicity was at it again this week claiming that he has grown 48% in a quarter but somehow, he seems to have forgotten to include his sales for the quarter, or the previous quarter, which would at least add a degree of credibility to his claims.Quick to take a pot shot at credible organisations such as LG, Samsung and Harvey Norman, Kogan, who has already been in trouble with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for engaging in misleading advertising appears to be using the 48% growth claim to stimulate interest in his business which, I suspect, does a fraction of the turnover of the Big Brown Box web site or the JB Hi Fi web site.

Even Dick Smith did 65% growth online in the last quarter. He also appears to be an expert on big business retailing when he took a swipe at the acquisition of the Clive Peeters operation by Harvey Norman.  Kogan claimed that buying Clive Peeters was “a huge mistake by Gerry Harvey”. He justifies this by saying that combining two of what he calls “ageing business models” is like trying to make a right out of two wrongs.

Firstly Gerry got a great deal. He was able to cherry pick the retail locations he wanted. He was also able to negotiate cheap rents in several prime locations. He also got millions of dollars worth of expensive fit outs which in many cases were a better fit out than what Gerry Harvey would spend on his own stores.

I also suspect that the best of the Clive Peeters stores are turning over more in a month than Kogan turns over in a quarter.

This guy is a serious publicity seeker who will say anything about the consumer electronics industry in an effort to get exposure for his organisation.

Kogan, who buys cheap made-in-Asia products to which he attaches his own brand name, saw one of his hero products a 46″ LCD TV branded “as “absolute rubbish” by one of his own customers this week. This is the same product that weeks ago Kogan was claiming to any media organisation that would interview him was a cheaper and better TV than what Samsung were selling via Harvey Norman stores.

 

PR is a great way to get free publicity and Ruslan Kogan knows this. It’s also cheap especially for someone who spends very little on advertising when compared with the likes of Harvey Norman or JB Hi Fi.

PR should also be based on credible comments, and to claim 48% growth without any substance to the claim leaves Kogan open to criticism.

We already know that bad publicity gets right up the nose of Ruslan Kogan, who earlier this year called in his lawyer when we described his prior marketing actions as “dodgy”. We chose to apologise rather than get into a bunfight with person who appears more at home fighting with the consumer electronics industry than trying to be part of it in a constructive way.

As they say, the pen is mightier than the sword, and if Ruslan Kogan wants to make keep making wild claims about the industry, I for one will always take his comments for what they are, wild publicity stunts aimed at propping up publicity for a very small online retailer who would love to be a Gerry Harvey but hasn’t quite worked out the model to get there.

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