This time, it’s the dismal treatment dished out to the blogging community by some communication business ‘experts’ that has me in a lather. First I’ll rant then I’ll produce the evidence. Some of you might do this stuff professionally. I know that for sure, most of you do it more professionally than I do. Some of you even earn a living from blogging. I don’t. In my other life, I run a communications company. (Go on, click the link.). When it comes to digital strategy, engagement and audience building, we know what we are doing. We also know the value of ‘influencer endorsement’.
That’s why I get pretty peeved when weasel companies approach me in my food blogging role and offer me derisory inducements to promote their event, product or service. The behaviour brings to mind the Spanish Conquistadors trading their journey worn underwear for jewels with the ignorant natives on the New World. It is cheapskatery and poor practise. It needs to be exposed for what it is.
Until recently I have managed to laugh off most of the offers. Of late, I have had email offers of:
Cheapskate 1 – The advertising offer
£70 Sterling (no less) for permission to advertise on my blog for a year.
Cheapskate 2 – The sponsorship company
£85 Sterling to provide “editorial endorsement” for another product. An extract from the email with the brand hidden to avoid their embarrassment;
I am writing to you, because we are running a new sponsored article campaign for XXXX, this time XXXX promotes the final match of XXXXX 2013. XXXX has created a new video called “Road to the Final”. The post will include a video and some editorial content consisting of your thoughts of the video campaign over all.We would like to offer you £85 (around 100 Euro) for the mentioned sponsored article.
(Wow, “around €100” for producing a video, writing an article, posting a blog and selling my soul.)
Cheapskate 3 – The food festival
But things got worse with a recent food festival in Dublin. It started with an innocuous enough tweet;
@conorbofin Hello Conor, would you like to go to the XXXX in Dublin? DM me your email!
I ignored it, as I had been to the event a year previously and found the concept not my bag. However, a couple of weeks later, blogging daughter received a similar tweet. She liked the idea and responded. The sender went on to suggest that a father / daughter food bloggers thing might be good for the event. Tickets would be on the way to us. In return, all we had to do was blog about the event before, during or after. If we could shoot some video and share that socially while we were there, that would be good too. Daughter thought this was fair enough, we could do a post and ignore the additional social sharing stuff and that would be OK.
I relented and we decided to go, despite the addition of the Wife, other daughter, and a boyfriend as paying (me paying) gusts. Then came the follow-up email saying that “there is always a price”. We would have to provide links on our blogs to the sponsor. All this in exchange for two tickets to an event and roughly €20 in non exchangeable event currency for daughter and I. We changed our plans and the event went on without us.
On reflection, it was the gradual reveal of more and more terms and conditions from the original “Hello Conor, would you like to go to the XXXX in Dublin?” that really got up my nose. If we had been offered tickets, we probably would have gone and may even have had good things to say on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Vine and even perhaps, here on the blog.
But all this above pales into insignificance beside
Cheapskate 4 – The Cookery Programme
The production company for a very popular cookery show got in touch with blogging daughter and I. They invited us to appear (on the side) on the celebrity version of the show – in their words (names hidden to mask their shame);
“We are looking to invite some of Ireland’s most influential people that are involved in the food business. I wanted to check if this would be something both yourself and Lucy would be interested in attending as two of our guests and if so what would your availability be like.
We would like our guests to talk about the food in detail and voice their opinion on various elements of each dish. This task will be filmed as part of the series on Thursday XXth YYY. You would need to keep the full day free.
Let me know what you think. I look forward to your reply.”
I consulted with blogging daughter and we agreed it would be fun. I re-arranged a couple of meetings, marked myself on the calendar for a day’s holiday and responded in the affirmative. This was confirmed with a “Thanks Conor, I will be in touch soon regarding this event.” The next day, I got a mail that simply stated;
At the moment the list is at full capacity but can I keep yourself and Lucy’s details on it if some extra people are needed?
Daughter and I were both a bit disappointed and thought the behaviour pretty shoddy. However such is life. But they didn’t leave it there. They wanted to prove their total self-serving cheapskatery. This week, I got a mail from another person in the same company. It reads as follows;
Hi Conor and Lucy,
Hope you are both very well and don’t mind me putting you in on the same email! My name is PPP and I am working for a TV production company called YYY. I am presently working on series three of XXXX and I am contacting lots of lovely food bloggers, cookery schools, farmers markets, artisan producers etc., asking for some help with our applications process. We will be opening up the application process to the show next week and I was wondering if I was to send you on a short blurb and a link to the website, would you be happy to share it with your readers on your blog? A Facebook post and a few Tweets could also be great!
We are really looking for the best of the best out there, and the people who apply are what make XXXX! Of course, if there is anyone you know personally who might be interested, do tell them we are going to be open for applicants very soon!
If you are happy for me to send you on the information, do please let me know! Once I hear back from you, I will send you on all the details as soon as the applications go live!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Now why do I not feel like sharing the love? Are we Irish food bloggers just a bunch of saps who look like we will do anything to promote anybody else’s commercial enterprise in return for either a pat on the head or a derisory payment? I have occasionally been accused of being a bit of a cheapskate myself. But, I’m not that cheap. I think I’ll cook a meal instead.
Now, if any of you global food giants want to make me a decent offer….
If you are interested: I took the picture on my iPhone while on a cycle through the Sally Gap in the Wicklow Mountains. They don’t suffer cheapskates in Wicklow, oh no they don’t.