Tick Pick CEO did right thing to handle public relations mess

Say what you will about distant, big city CEO types, with their limousines, Lear jets and lifestyles most people can only dream of. At least one Big Apple executive — Brett Goldberg, co-CEO and co-founder of Tick Pick, a secondary ticket sales website — got a taste Tuesday night of what it is to be a Yooper, and on his buck, no less.

“I’m understanding why people have so much pride (for the area),” Goldberg said, surrounded by smiling locals at Black Rocks Brewery on Marquette’s North Third Street. “It’s beautiful.”

Things weren’t so beautiful Monday night, though, when a Tick Pick customer service representative put his (or her) boss in a bad spot via an online exchange with a Marquette resident.

The local person had rightfully called Tick Pick out relative to an obvious flaw in its website: The Upper Peninsula had been left off a map of Michigan. The Tick Pick response: “We got the important part of Michigan, isn’t that good enough?” Also included, reportedly, was a reference to the U.P. being little more than a forested region.

Bad things followed online for Tick Pick. More than 1,000 people from across the region dissed the site on its own Facebook page, plunging its rating from 4.3 stars to less than 2. People up this way were angry. They felt disrespected and they wanted, not unreasonably, we believe, something done about it.

Facing a tsunami of bad publicity, in stepped Goldberg. Rather than throwing lawyers and PR suits at the problem, he got out front right away, issued a personal apology and pledged to further make it right by flying to the U.P. That trip culminated in Goldberg’s visit to Black Rocks Tuesday night where beers — lots and lots of beers — were on him.

In addition, he’s set up a 10 percent discount code for Tick Pick transactions, using the key word “Yoopers.” It’s good through July 4.

While the way Goldberg handled things involved inconvenience and certainly included some cost, it was done exactly the right way. Apologize, take responsibility and then pick up the tab. We’d offer it as an a shining example of how to bring to heal a looming PR disaster.