Sunday, July 12, 2009

Russia, Nicaragua... ESET

What these two countries and an antivirus software developer could possibly have in common? I'll tell you what -- they all regard Abkhazia, a breakaway Georgian region, as a country (although, as I've heard, the parliament of Nicaragua still hasn't ratified Ortega's recognition of Abkhazia and so-called "South Ossetia").

I discovered this fact last Monday, when I was browsing through ESET's website (my trial version of Smart Security 4 had expired and I was looking for purchase options). While the presence of Abkhazia and "South Ossetia" in the country lists of Russian websites and software products is a common rule after Medvedev's recognition (some displayed Abkhazia even PRIOR to the recognition), the rest of the world usually respects the territorial integrity of Georgia and avoids listing its breakaway provinces among legitimate states. So it was rather unexpected to see something like this on a Slovakian company's website:

Generally, ESET seems to have a thing for including autonomous regions in country lists -- like Aland Islands (Finland) for instance -- but that's not really our business. But Abkhazia is certainly OUR business, so I decided to let them know how wrong they are. I sent a short letter to Christopher Dale, ESET's PR manager, aiming for the weakest point of all companies -- the sales numbers. Here it is:

Dear Sir,

I had decided to buy ESET Smart Security 4, but then I saw Abkhazia in a country selection list and changed my mind. If you think a couple of extra purchases from this Russian-controlled province is worth loosing a lot more Georgian customers, then be my guest. Maybe it's just business for you, but it's politics for us.

Rezo Kaishauri

I had little hope for a positive response (or any response at all), so I decided to start a thread in a political section of Tbilisi Forum -- the largest Georgian-speaking web community in the world. The reaction was immediate, and soon a squall of angry letters rained upon Dale's mailbox.

Apparently, the massive onslaught did its work -- in a few days ESET silently removed Abkhazia from their country list, as you can see below:

Some may say, who cares about country lists, when there are much bigger problems. Well, we care. Because every small victory matters in this great war for people's minds.


Anonymous said...

It's pretty surprising that have dared to put Abkhazia on country list on first place.


Good job Rezo!

Nikoloz said...

edit you too :)

guga said...

saRol Rezo... marTla saRol...

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