Corporate Gun Control: Salesforce.com Demands Customers Stop Selling Semi-Auto Rifles

Salesforce is a CRM (customer relationship management) software platform. It’s apparently well thought of and their e-commerce services are used by thousands of businesses including many retailers. One of Salesforce’s customers is Camping World. And Camping World sells guns.

Now, like so many other firms in the last year since Parkland, Salesforce is making it its business to tell their customers what lines of business are acceptable.

According to the Amazon Gazette Washington Post . . .

[B]ehind the scenes in recent weeks, the Silicon Valley tech giant has delivered a different message to gun-selling retailers such as Camping World: Stop selling military-style rifles, or stop using our software.

The pressure Salesforce is exerting on those retailers — barring them from using its technology to market products, manage customer service operations and fulfill orders — puts them in a difficult position. Camping World, for example, spends more than $1 million a year on Salesforce’s e-commerce software, according to one analyst estimate. Switching to another provider now could cost the company double that to migrate data, reconfigure systems and retrain employees.

Salesforce has a lot of company in the business world among firms that have decided to weigh in on what legal products their customers can and can’t manufacture and sell. Banks like Citigroup and Bank of America have announced with much fanfare that they won’t finance firms that produce America’s most popular rifles.

Tech companies like Shopify and Intuit, which owns Quickbooks, have terminated the services of their customers that sell guns, sometimes costing them tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and inconvenience.

As National Review’s David French put it . . .

Titans of American banking and communication are taking steps to restrict the use of their funds or platforms by gun makers, gun-rights advocates, and others. The threat is just now emerging, but it may be as great a danger to gun rights as it is to the culture of free speech in this nation, and indeed the two are linked.

Combine these moves with others like YouTube’s targeted demonetization, algorithm changes by Facebook and the politically-motivated shadow-banning of posters by Twitter and what you have is the gradual, but sure de-platforming of the gun industry by much of corporate America.

From the WP:

The change in Salesforce’s acceptable-use policy shows how a technology giant that is mostly unknown to the public is trying to influence what retailers in America sell and alter the dynamics of a charged social issue. While Salesforce is hardly a household name, it is a dominant provider of software and services that help businesses manage their customers. With roughly 40,000 employees and a market value of nearly $120 billion, it has become a behemoth in San Francisco. Its branded skyscraper also towers over the city as the tallest building and a major landmark.

These are moves made by CEOs who care more about getting good press coverage and back slaps by those in their social circle and obsequious media fluffers than maximizing shareholder value and ROI.

This tweet is from Salesforce’s CEO:

When tech giants enter the broader debate, the consequences are magnified because of the critical services they provide behind the scenes to customers. Consumers often don’t realize they’re interacting with other companies when they place an item in their shopping cart or chat with a customer service representative. But Salesforce and other big tech companies wield significant influence because of that reliance on their software.

Some alternative processors and platforms (think Full30, Shooters Network, GearFire and AmmoReady, among others) that bill themselves as firearms-friendly have cropped up to try to fill the void left by the tech giants’ blackballing with limited and varying degrees of success so far.

Meanwhile, the other-ization of the firearms industry by much of corporate America continues apace. It’s slowly being forced into its own ghetto in order to survive. And while the process may have slowed, don’t look for it to stop any time soon.

comments

  1. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Not familiar with Camping World. If it were mine, I’d start spending the 2 million to change software.

    Any company that lets a vendor dictate what and how they sell is worthless and stupid.

    It will never stop….until it is stopped.

    1. avatar WARFAB says:

      This is probably a lot easier for mom and pop stores than big companies like Camping World.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        True….but the dividends are bigger as well. Whoring to a vendor is a poor way to run a railroad.

        Vote with your wallet. There are many vendors that might like a new opportunity.

    2. avatar grump says:

      CW recently bought Gander outdoors (Gander Mountain before CW) who do sell guns. I am guessing SF went after CW after the merger. Here’s info from SF’s corporate “Commitment to Human Rights Page”:
      “Our company values embody a long-standing respect for the fundamental protection of human rights, consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As a global company, we recognize that we have a responsibility to apply high ethical standards to our operations and our suppliers. We also recognize that we have a responsibility to encourage our customers, partners, governments, and other actors to do the same.”
      Note that last sentence. Bow down to the all knowing SF management team who know what is best for the entire population of earth. Their arrogance is exceeded only by their ignorance.

      1. avatar MMurcek says:

        Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis is being sued in North Carolina because the American Flag outside the CW store is bigger than the municipality would like. He says the current flag will stay. I think that’s a hint of the direction he will go.

      2. avatar Mark N. says:

        Last I checked, the Second Amendment and the right of self-defense are “fundamental human rights.” Our forefathers certainly thought so. That this individual human right stands in the way of a socialist utopia controlled by an all-knowing and theoretically benevolent but more likely authoritarian is just too damn bad.

        1. avatar FedUp says:

          For the United Nations, every day is backwards day.
          What we, and our nation’s Constitution, consider Civil Rights, the UN considers an atrocity.

          What we consider Communism, the UN considers Civil Rights.

          Any company declaring allegiance to Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be boycotted to death in the USA. If that’s been in their mission statement for a while, those who do business with Salesforce are merely getting what they asked for.

    3. avatar WI Patriot says:

      They’re the outfit that took over the failed Gander Mtn brand, now just branded as Gander Outdoors…

    4. avatar John Rademacher says:

      Wish i had the right contacts, i could build them a salesforce replacement for 1M and migrate their data over.

      I used / integrated with oracle CRM for quite some time.

  2. avatar Forrest Adcock says:

    What other civil rights do we allow corporations to infringe?

    If my boss tried to tell our customers they couldn’t vote and be our customers, or attempted to enslave even a single one of them, he would be out out of business by the end of the week.

    Why aren’t we suing the absolute pants off of these totalitarian losers for attempts to circumvent the US Constitution?

    1. avatar jsled says:

      Because they’re private entities that are free to do as they please, you dork.

      1. avatar TexTed says:

        Exactly.

        You don’t want to bake a cake, you shouldn’t have to bake a cake, and you damn well shouldn’t get sued over it.

        SalesForce is entitled to “get woke, go broke” if they want.

      2. avatar pwrserge says:

        Private entities can be as tyrannical as any government. “Muh’ private business” is not an argument.

      3. avatar HellBilly says:

        Actually, Private buisness and private property both no longer truly exist in the United States. When laws have been passed and upheld by SCOTUS that farms cannot grow whatever they want and can be ordered by the state to grow what the state desires, and when buisnesses can longer refuse service to any customer, and when your private property requires a payment in rent to the government, none of those things are truly private entities anymore. If you think otherwise, then by all means quit paying your property taxes and refuse service to a gay person, and see what happens.

        1. avatar Specialist38 says:

          What are the state mandated crops to which you are referring?

          As far as I know, you can grow what you want (legal crops) but may not be able to partake of the Govt programs for subsidies

          Enlighten me.

        2. avatar HellBilly says:

          SCOTUS ruling in Wikard V Filburn. One of the most unconstitutional and downright communist moves the federal government has ever inflicted upon the population. Long story short, an Ohio farmer was growing wheat on his own privately owned property, not for commerce or sale, only to feed his own animals. The federal government said he was growing “too much wheat” and was subsequently punished. The ruling has set a solid precedent for statists to fall back on for regulating use of private property.

        3. avatar Paul says:

          That isn’t a winning argument. Government has mandated the planting of crops since our government existed. Before DuPont came out with nylon, farmers were REQUIRED to grow hemp, and government was the major buyer of hemp products, in the form of sails and cordage.

          Note, I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m merely pointing out that the argument will never win in any “legal” discussion.

      4. avatar ddan says:

        It’s a little more complicated than that. Let’s assume that there is nothing in the T’s and C’s of CW’s contract with Salesforce. CW spends a ton of money developing on the SF platform. SF then says, sorry, we don’t serve your kind here; get out. All that development money is gone. all the new money spent to migrate is gone. I’d expect a suit, unless SF has this activity as prohibited in their T’s and C’s. I have a contract with SF that makes no mention of prohibited items – principally because SF is a B2B focused solution.

        Shopify hosed at least one AR manufacturer; customer doesn’t own their data, shopify does. they cut you off and good luck getting your customer data and recurring transactions back from them. Even periodic downloads are useless as the credit card data are hashed.

      5. avatar Reason says:

        Can they tell a minority owned company they can’t use their software? Don’t think so. After all if a baker can be put out of bussiness for not baking a cake I think a good laywer could figure out grounds to sue for in this case.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      We don’t sue. We vote with our wallets. If SalesDorks have a competitor then pro 2A business leaders need to go there and tell Marc Benioff to get lost.
      Otherwise, this will be the norm from now on.

  3. avatar MarkPA says:

    Strikes me as a form of “restraint of trade” which would violate Federal law.

    What if woke vegetarians told their customers that they could no longer do business in meat? What if woke anti-Communists told their customers they could no longer sell Chinese made products?

    How much different would such practices be from – say – Kellogg’s telling grocers that they couldn’t carry General Mills corn flakes? Or any products produced by General Mills?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Strikes me as a form of “restraint of trade” which would violate Federal law.

      It’s not a restraint of trade within the meaning of the Sherman Act. Besides, every contract restrains trade to one extent or another. That doesn’t make those contracts illegal.

      1. avatar Mad Max says:

        It violates 18 U.S.C. 241.

  4. avatar Erik Weisz says:

    One step closer to the end of Fight Club.

    InB4 don’t talk about Fight Club

    1. avatar Testicleez says:

      You just broke the first 2 rules of fight club.

  5. avatar John Boch says:

    Guns Save Life is migrating to CiviCRM for managing our membership data. It’s open-source and free to use.

    You don’t have to pay SalesForce or Wild Apricot to do these things.

    John

    1. avatar TexTed says:

      Which is how it should be.

      May they prosper, and may SalesForce.com go broke.

  6. avatar Spectre_USA says:

    As a newly trained conscript in the SalesForce world, I can tell you that it’s kind of crap.

    Had I had any say in choosing the product, it would have been a thumbs down on that basis
    alone, but them using their clout to push their political agenda is bogus.

    I hope their foray into the anti-2A world ends up biting `em in the ass. Unlikely, but still.

    1. avatar doesky2 says:

      Yep. I have to work with the output of hundreds of support agents that recently adopted Salesforce dictated by corporate and it BLOWS!

      The transistion cost millions more then planned because it BLOWS.

    2. avatar Dave says:

      I’m in the same boat. I work for a high tech company that is also a customer of Salesforce. I have posed the contrived scenario to our HR department as to “what if Microsoft stipulated their builder customers not build abortion clinics”. Point being, anyone who was pro choice we be as infuriated when they used Outlook to open their email as we are when using Salesforce. So I am pointing out that you can’t really have a political neutral inclusive work environment (which I think most rational corporations strive for) if your employees are expected to use products from a politically active supplier. No word yet on our company policy, I encourage others to do the same.

      In my mind the choices are 1) bear it 2) quit and go quietly 3) personal boycott, possible firing but maytr to the cause, drag you former company into the politics they probably didn’t want. They drew first blood!

  7. avatar Lee Magnus says:

    If you are looking for a retail and ecommerce platform and a company that supports the 2nd Amendment, is created and supported 100% by US-based firearms enthusiasts, and includes functionality (ATF integration) specifically designed to support firearms businesses – Check out the following:

    http://www.hydraccm.com

    1. avatar M10 says:

      Hail Hydra!

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        M10,

        You sir or ma’am win the Intertubez for the best comment of the day!

  8. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

    I don’t know about sales force, but facebook, google, and youtube have all sought common carrier protections in certain law suits. Since they have sought common carrier protections they should be heavily fined for an editorial action they take against legal products and people legally using them.

    In other words the phone company can’t cut off your phone service because they don’t like your politics. in certain law suits these companies have said “We are like the phone company, so you can’t sue us for X” Well, then they should be treated as such.

    1. avatar Pg2 says:

      No, the phone company can’t cut your phone service because of your opinions, not yet anyway. Maybe you’re not familiar with the looming social credit system were facing?

      1. avatar HellBilly says:

        Sesame credit. Now on display in Communist China. And you’re correct, there are many entities in the US that will bring that system here. It makes the whole NSA surveillance system look like child’s play in comparison.

      2. avatar Mad Max says:

        It used to be called Fascism.

  9. avatar Michael in AK says:

    soapbox, ballot box or cartridge box…..

  10. avatar Foster says:

    Sounds like a new opportunity in the land of freedom!

    1. avatar joefoam says:

      I was scrolling through the comments to see if anyone else recognized an opportunity for a new business venture. It’s not like the market disappeared as the idiots at SF would like to think by restricting their customers, the consumers will simply go to another outlet.

  11. avatar Pg2 says:

    Stories like this are only going to increase. Anyone wonder why corporate America seems to speak with one voice?

  12. avatar Stateisevil says:

    Why ban something that is responsible for a handful of murders each year, most prominently in mass shootings, while handguns murder like 10k? Feels.

    1. avatar WhiteDevil says:

      Rifles, nor handguns, are not “responsible” for any murders. I understand and agree with your underlying message, though.

  13. avatar WI Patriot says:

    I’m quite sure there are alternatives to the software under threat, switch, hit ’em where it hurts the more, in the pocket…it’s high time that salesforce.com be taught a lesson from which they’ll never recover, put ’em out of business…

  14. avatar former water walker says:

    Golly I don’t have a big enough bizness to use Salesforce…and why would it cost a million bucks to switch?!? I’m sure there’s plenty of competition who’d gladly step in to shoulder the load.

  15. avatar MB says:

    Hey Marc Benioff (@Benioff) Go fuxk yourself… there are other software platforms, or we can create our own. Don’t need you or your opinions. A smart competitor will swoop in and take those customers you throw away, and them maybe your best customers later….
    I’m selling all my CRM stock and buying RGR (Ruger) and they pay a dividend, we get squat from you.

  16. avatar pwrserge says:

    If he want’s to ban my 2nd amendment rights, I don’t see why I shouldn’t get to ban his property rights. How about we nationalize his company and see how he feels when HIS rights aren’t respected. This is why the “free market” needs regulations. Otherwise, you begin to get unaccountable assholes like this vermin acting as a government body. Tyrant’s don’t need the force of government to be tyrannical. Fortunately, the answer to tyrannical monopolies is the same as tyrannical governments, the frequent and public application of the 2nd amendment.

    1. avatar Mad Max says:

      I would propose that publicly-traded corporations be required to provide their services to everyone equally and not discriminate in any way. All legal transactions must be processed.

      Sole proprietors and closely-held corporations should retain all of the rights of individual citizens and be exempt from regulations regarding publically-traded corporations.

      Publically-traded corporations now pose more of a threat to individual liberty than the US Government. They need to be restricted just like the government.

      They are no longer private corporations once they become “publicly” traded.

  17. avatar WhiteDevil says:

    I’ll never understand people that have the desire to be limited on what they can own or what they can do. It must be some twisted issues that are hidden deep within their psyche or something. I don’t know. It’s beyond creepy and weird.

  18. avatar fmteter says:

    Plenty of competitors out there that will be willing to step into the gap Salesforce is creating: Oracle, SAP, HubSpot CRM, Zoho CRM and Insightly are just a few of the competitors likely strategizing over this news today.

    Salesforce will get some nice press, but they’ll lose some customers over this.

    1. avatar joefoam says:

      You’d have to ask Dicks Sporting Goods how much their virtue signaling cost them, and if they are publicly traded how happy are the shareholders.

  19. avatar Alan says:

    Businesses seemingly need to tell this Salesforce.com, in plain English, to PISS OFF. By the way, if established businesses opt to quit using the services of this Salesforce.com mob, who is going to fill it’s rice rice bowl, might be an interesting question.

  20. avatar IAmNotTheHulk says:

    Opioids kill tens of thousands and ruin millions of more lives, but oh don’t go after the big pharma that “pushed” them for decades.
    Hypocrites die just like any other muggle.

  21. avatar S says:

    IANAL, but I would think that any company as big as CW would have had a bunch of lawyers involved in negotiating their contract with SF. I would also suspect that any competent contract lawyer would include/demand clauses in the contract pertaining to a guaranteed right to renew the contract under certain terms (after all it costs to switch vendors) and a failure to perform clause. If such clauses exist and are well done, there could be an actionable breach of contract by SF should they act on their new terms of service (either at or prior to renewal of the contract).

  22. avatar Mmmtacos says:

    As an administrator of a Salesforce instance I can tell you the people who are most likely shitting their pants right now are the sales reps at SF. On one hand they’re told their clients can’t sell X product and on the other hand they know they’ll get shitcanned if they lose any sales. That and I bet admins whose primary business is selling firearms are also pissed. They know their alternatives are just other Silicon Valley companies who may end up following suit behind SF.

    I really hope this hurts their stocks in a bad way. Nobody likes a bully, and nobody wants to do business with someone who says they won’t do business with someone that is 100% legal. SF is the 800lb gorilla in the room when it comes to CRMs, and one of those extraordinarily large companies most people have never heard of (they’re currently #240 on the Fortune 1000 list). Their rapid growth has only been in recent years though as they’ve climbed out of the horrid web 1.0 days.

    Maybe this is hubris and it’ll get the best of them, I sure hope so. Since I can speak with some authority on the matter I’ll certainly do my part and recommend people stay far and away from Salesforce if they’re shopping for a CRM.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      Many companies are moving to in-house CRM systems. There are various reasons to do so, the biggest ones being data security and control over the platform. Somehow, I don’t see this trend reversing for large corporations in the near future, especially when the writing on the walls makes it clear that they are beholden in their business decisions to a third party.

  23. avatar Rocketman says:

    So Salesforce.com is headquartered in the People’s Republic of San Francisco….it figures.

  24. avatar Mark N. says:

    This circumstance is the result of software licensing,where you don’t actually own the soft ware that may have cost tens of thousands, maybe even millions of dollars, the soft ware company does and the buyer is just a licensee. the upside to licensing is upgrades and patches (a service), the downside is that they get to jerk your chain and have a much stronger hand in negotiations and renewals, since they “own” the product.

  25. avatar Top says:

    But, how many of these companies will come out and say they won’t do business with firms that deal in pornography or the Hollywood movie industry that promotes violence or objectifies women in movies? These industries are “believed” be as bad for human welfare as legal gun ownership and the firearms trade, so if they are going to take one stand against the violation of human life, go all in. Alas, you’ll only hear crickets.

  26. avatar strych9 says:

    This whole thing is starting to remind me of some of the polling that was done leading into the 2016 election. I can’t prove it but I start to suspect that in many ways political forces are behind this kind of thing.

    I became highly suspicious of the polling in favor of HRC when I saw a poll out of Florida where the internals were way-the-fuck off. The kind of thing any freshman poli sci student would catch. If you expanded the demos for the actual population you came out with really wonky numbers like that 55% of the women in Florida hold a Masters or PhD. Unpossible I told myself. Or that black women were 24% of the population when the African American population of the state is something like 17% overall. Definitely impossible.

    So I started looking around and I found a pattern: Those polls associated with certain companies were skewing their samples in ways that made no sense. It certainly couldn’t be an accident that was simply being overlooked because pollsters KNOW how this works and tweaking your sample to make it match demos is normal so there’s no way they didn’t know how off these numbers were. So it was intentional one way or another. They either did it on purpose or they didn’t adjust their samples to match populations. Either way, they knew it was off and ran with it anyway.

    The correlation that I found was that the polls that did this consistently over the months I looked at the data all had two things in common: They were commonly cited by other news sources and they were all either run by a public university or a company that had a TV broadcast license issued by the government (CBS for example).

    Then came the Podesta hack which shed some insight into how the HRC campaign may have been pressuring certain polling groups to skew their data in HRC’s favor when the campaign’s internal polling showed something much different.

    I came to the conclusion that it was likely (again, I can’t prove it) that Podesta and his friends were pressuring these companies with the threats that if HRC won she’d be able to affect their access to public money or their license to operate and that his threat was likely backed by “Even if we lose, the party will win eventually and then we’ll get you”.

    And so I look at Operation Choke Point and I wonder if some of what you’re seeing in the payments processing world isn’t based on a fear that eventually Democrats will win the Executive and full Legislative branches and then do what they’ve promised: Punish those who didn’t tow the line. Even if being “openly gun control” isn’t popular, they can do this with stealth and fuck the companies that manage the money under the guise of “financial regulation” to achieve the same effect. To avoid that these companies may just be playing ball in advance.

    After seeing how fucked up the internal workings of the DNC were last time around… I wouldn’t be shocked.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “So it was intentional one way or another. They either did it on purpose or they didn’t adjust their samples to match populations.”

      It could have been done as a psychology play on the voting public.

      Such as – Produce polls showing HRC is so far ahead that Trump supporters wouldn’t bother to even vote at all.

      But it’s a double-edged sword – Polls showing HRC far ahead might have motivated her base to not bother to vote at all. “Everybody” knew HRC was gonna win, so their vote wasn’t necessary.

      It won’t play out like that in 2020. Over 2 years in, the Leftists are still enraged Trump won. Pissed-off people *vote*. That’s what happened when Obama rammed the ACA through. Obama lost big time in his first mid-term, losing 63 seats in the House, and 6 in the Senate.

      Good-bye Obama’s “Fundamental transformation of America”.

      Because we were rightfully pissed, and enraged what Obama did to healthcare. We risk the same in 2020 happening to *us*…

    2. avatar Pg2 says:

      You thought polls were real until 2016…..?

  27. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Although willing to debate things in an academic debate (as in pretending the world isn’t as it is, and can become perfect), I live in the real world, and take it as it comes. Although an absolutist about the Second Amendment, I am not a purist. The laws (SC rulings specifically) are what they are, and are available for use by anyone who can use laws to press their point. Which all means, it doesn’t matter if SalesForce is not a government agency. If the SC declares that one can be compelled to engage in commerce, using the commerce clause, then that is a ruling available to anyone. Which means gun owners, gun retailers, ranges, lobbying groups.

    The law and SC decisions are there to skewer the virtue signaling businesses that try to prevent legal trade from using their products. SF is making a claim no different from a company that states it will accommodate everyone without discrimination, except in certain circumstances that violate that business’s religious principles.

    So while academically, and in the vacuum of purist debate I agree commercial companies can sell whatever they want to whomever (or not sell), we are not living in a hollow debate in an academic setting. We should take the law as it is, and drive it up the nose of every company that tries to restrain legal trade.

  28. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    If these corporations don’t cease breaking the law they will discover what the @nd is all about. The founders were not talking only about governments. Screwing with a nation’s or person’s finances is NOT a transient reason.

  29. avatar LL says:

    As soon as I saw WAPO, I knew this was a BS campaign. Jeff ‘Bezoar'(Hairball) oughta stick to Amazon and stfu.

  30. avatar Aleric says:

    I work for a Bank Card Processor, no software company has the right to tell ANYONE what type of business they can do as long as its legal and above board.

    1. avatar Shallnot BeInfringed says:

      Well, it appears they did… Whatcha gonna do about it?

      (Do not construe this statement to be in any way supportive of Salesforce or their policy… just saying that it’s a fait accompli, and there’s absolutely nothing the common man can do to stop them at this point.)

  31. avatar Jim Casey says:

    Salesforce, Citigroup et al are NOT goverment entities, and as such, are entitled to do business as they deem appropriate.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Salesforce, Citigroup et al are NOT goverment entities, and as such, are entitled to do business as they deem appropriate.”

      Actually not quite correct. The SC has a history of forced commerce.

      And if government can force small businesses to violate their religious principles, why can government not be used to prevent any other interference in legal commerce?

    2. avatar Pg2 says:

      Like baking wedding cakes.

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