In a recent tweet, Mikkel Svane, CEO of Zendesk called Freshdesk “A Freaking-RIP-OFF”. Instead of engaging in a war of words in bad mouthing competition, we decided to present the facts as it happened and let our customers and readers decide for themselves. If you are a Zendesk customer we would like to invite you to sign up for a trial of Freshdesk and decide for yourself.

Here is how the story unfolds…

On Dec 2nd cloud analyst and blogger Ben Kepes (@benkepes) tweeted

“Seems to me that #Freshdesk is an unethical troll trying to cash in on #Zendesk‘s good name.
But that could just be me….”

Obviously we were hurt that a noted industry speaker and analyst would publicly accuse us of unethical behavior. So we responded on Twitter. The conversation is shown below

Well. So according to Ben Kepes, he thinks we are an unethical troll, because our name (Freshdesk) seems to piggy back on Zendesk. What a naive observation from someone who is respected as an industry analyst.

Our question to Ben – Does Zendesk own the english word “desk”? Then what about companies like estreamdesk, ReadyDesk, Tremendesk, Wonderdesk and TopDesk? Are they all ripoffs too? Too bad you can’t accuse them because many of these companies were founded before Zendesk. Maybe according to you, then Zendesk is the ripoff?

Within minutes, one of Ben Kepes followers Christian Marth (@cloudgroupsyd) on Twitter continued the attack with a new twist -

“@benkepes bunch of Indian cowboys #freshdesk”

Now it is getting nasty. Here is our response and the entire conversation

We would like to invite Christian Marth (@cloudgroupsyd) to sign up for a free trial of Freshdesk, try the product and then pass comments on Product innovation or lack thereof. Passing judgement on Product innovation based on the founder’s nationality reflects poorly on the intellectual ability of the person making the judgement.

Ben Kepes had also cc’d his tweet to Mikkel Svane, CEO of Zendesk. Here is what Mikkel had to say -

and faithfully retweeted by Ben Kepes

So why would a noted industry analyst like Ben Kepes make an unnecessary comment about a product that he has never seen or tried?  What was his motivation? We were initially upset but then decided to get to the bottom of it. Thankfully it was quite easy to find.

Ben Kepes is a paid blogger for Zendesk.

His company Diversity lists Zendesk as a customer for his consulting services.

Ben Kepes - You called us “unethical troll” for having the word “desk” in our name. As a respected cloud analyst and blogger, we wish you'd exercise better judgement and ethics when making negative comments about a company especially when you are being paid by their competitor. 

Why is Zendesk suddenly afraid of Freshdesk now?

Ben Kepes has been blogging for Zendesk from May 2010 and that means he certainly knew about us much before yesterday. Maybe they thought we were small fish and would remain that way. But with all the customers who have been switching over from Zendesk and our recent funding from Accel Partners, they probably realize we are not going to go away anytime soon. So they came up with this brilliant, half-baked social strategy of bad-mouthing us on Twitter.

Mikkel Svane – We respect you and salute you for what you have achieved with Zendesk. We are all players in the same industry. In fact you are the reason that we even exist today.

Please let customers have their choice on who they want to do business with. This post is not intended as a personal attack on anyone. We were accused of doing something we have not and this is our response to make one thing clear - Freshdesk is not ripping off anybody. Period.

We all know a great man who once said

- Girish Mathrubootham
CEO – Freshdesk

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