11/07/2012 02:26 pm ET Updated Jan 07, 2013

When Press Kills Your Product

Sidecar's founder swings by the Warby Parker bus

Companies will go to any lengths to get press. Think Taco Bell's '96 April Fools' stunt (and New York Times ad) claiming they bought the Liberty Bell and re-branded it the Taco Liberty Bell. Or when auctioned off William Shatner's kidney stone for $25,000. But getting press isn't always the golden ticket.

Andre Golsorkhi, founder of Philadelphia-based data marketing engine Sidecar, dropped by the Warby Parker Class Trip Bus to tell us how Sidecar didn't exist until a press-fueled traffic surge hit.

"Our product was actually a consumer app called Snipi," he told us. "It was social shopping, sort of an early version of Pinterest. Then we hit the front page of The Wall Street Journal, we were on Mashable, and launched a big partnership. It gave us a 50x increase in traffic."

The spike, Golsorkhi told us, also gave him enough data to conclude that people weren't engaging the way they had predicted. So the team scrapped Snipi, and focused on building B2B software. "We also realized our team, from executive on down, is best at solving business problems."

And so Sidecar, which bills itself as a fully automated online marketing solution providing everything from paid search to email marketing and conversion analytics, was born. A capital raise later, the start-up counts 40+ online retailers as clients, many of them among the 50 largest in the U.S..

As for the bus, "[Warby Parker] is an awesome brand, and an awesome business model," Golsorkhi said, noting that his girlfriend picked up a pair of glasses.

Catch up with the bus, which hit DC today here.

Now go forth (and press on).

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