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“Influencer” gets rekt – this is whats wrong with it

Elle Darby outed her self ( some say it was poorly disguised ) as the email sender. Here’s her response. ( comments on the video have been disabled )

Ok so my thoughts on this are somewhat divided, her practice of reaching out before going to a place to get support or whatever is not uncommon, I’ve done it before and had success, I’ve turned away deals that havent been worth it too.

The key thing to remember, human nature suggests that every one is going to try and get as much as they can for the smallest investment, i.e. she’s going to want free accommodation for a couple of simple posts that may or may not have value depending on a number of factors, the hotel is going to want as much exposure for the room / extras as possible which is understandable, deals like this should make all parties involved happy to be doing the thing they are doing.

I turned down a deal with a district council here in NZ a while back they offered to cover accommodation but wanted us to showcase a whole bunch of stuff that wasn’t relevant and would have ended up costing us more than the price of the accommodation, to create the content they wanted. We ended up doing a deal direct with the host for a discounted rate and everyone was happy. win win right? easy.

now lets go back to the initial email.

It’s not addressed to anyone, which is pretty rude not only that she’s obviously not taken the time to see if they have done this sort of thing before, or what their social media presence is like. if she had, this whole thing might never have happened. The response from the hotel is pretty funny to me, understanding how the game works. However I’ve seen other combative posts on that page and that seems to be their m.o. which is cool if that’s the brand, you do you its your platform. As I say if she’d checked this she might have seen it coming?

Overall the base premise of her logic isn’t unreasonable, taking a step back and looking at the request objectively. Offering exposure or endorsement which can be classified as advertising on a large platform in contra for something. This happens all the time and as I say we do it / have done it, will do it again depending on what it is, however we will always tell you guys if that’s the case i.e. ” X company have been awesome and hooked us up for the Y product/service in this video” a lot of the time things that get reviewed are followed with the email ” hey if you like it you’re welcome to keep it ” ( thanks Samsung for the Gear S3 😉 ) to which you can find a blog about here – Once i knew it was a gift situation, it changed from a review to an article about smartwatches and my experience with the one I had which is all transparent in the post. I actually need to update cause there have been some really good software updates that have been really good.

The idea of a review is for it to remain unbiased, unsolicited and genuine. – All of our car reviews are set up that way we don’t take any money for advertising from the car manufactures for the reviews because then it becomes an advertorial and the credibility is gone. and for us doing what we do, we rely heavily on maintaining that credibility with our audience. Credibility with our audience is pretty paramount to us. If our audience thought we were ” upto no good ” as it were, we’d lose them, and the whole thing will fall apart. Our audience is more important to us than advertising dollars.

Now there is a flip side to all of this, Value..

the value of any social media post / content is entirely subjective, however it can be measured via a point of sale.. but lets be fair no one wants that cause it’l have a direct result of what you can do vs what you’ve offered. We measure all sorts of things, that’s why we have things like loyalty codes with people like Playtech who have been supporting us for a very very long time. which is also why you see us there a lot in vlogs or tagged as the place where an Instagram picture of a new gadget is placed ( of course we were there to see the new thing that’s the point) But …

Something that came up in conversation the other day was the de-valuing of the industry by way of giving away the product ( which in the case of an influencer is their posts) for free.

If you want your platform to be worth anything you have to say ” hey this is worth $X and i wont do it for less” you need to be reasonable with this but if you think you’re right then stick to your guns. The problem that’s coming through now is that people are giving up that space for freebies, and PR agencies are following by only offering product for free in contra for a post. if you do that thats fine, that’s on you, but you’re devaluing yourself and everyone else that is in the game.

Of course there are many things you can do in other places to make income using the same platform, and PR agencies are not the be all and end all of contacts you want to have. This was made prevalent with the recent ” screwing over” of small creators on Youtube who had the goal posts shifted for the partner program. However if they don’t meet those prerequisites then its not like they were making much out of it anyway so they need to keep on the grind.

I think the grind these days is also left out. People think a few sexy selfies on Instagram and a ” blog post” – (I say that sarcastically) about ” things to know if you’re XYZ” is a real blog and worth anything to anyone, its not creative its repetitive, as is much of what you see these days. In fact you can tell whos getting paid to post things on IG in NZ cause its so small you can see everyone posting their same but different post at the same time and they go and like and comment on each others posts – which I was explained is done via ” post pods” where they all get in on it together and comment on each others stuff to tweak the algorithm – I’m not even mad that’s pretty smart

This dances a fine line, if someone wants me to promote their product I’l be pretty damn careful about how I do that. because if you’re getting paid to post it then that person paying you wants a glowing post singing praises, but lets be fair nothing is perfect for everyone and if they do this with 10 different people they are all going to have different results and thus different opinions, some good some bad.. but they have been paid… so what do you do? It seems a lot of advertisers aren’t keen on this and people like us end up getting cut off from the supply chain of review products. This has created a thing where independant review outlets ( like us in essence) started the practice of saying everything is awesome. I saw a site the other day and nothing on that site scored less than a 7.5 out of 10 as an overall review score. Now come on, there were things in there I know to be shit because I reviewed them too. But, if you want to stay in the supply chain you have to do what they want? right? wrong! – I bombed the Toyota GT86 pretty damn hard and yet I have more Toyota’s coming to review because ( I assume) they understand that I’m not going to like every feature of every car and my reviews will reflect that – Watch that review here

shameless Instagram follow me please segway.

Now if you find yourself in this position you could post it anyway and email them before payment and say, “hey man the thing is shit I understand if you don’t want to pay me but this is what i think”. Or, you could change it to only the positives and put it out and get paid, or you could abandon it all together. typically the first is what I would do. I would certainly never pull out the negatives just to get paid, but people do. Some people wont even try it, they will just get the post done without really trying the thing and boom pay day. which I think is totally shit

A good example of this is Burgerfuel, they regularly hook us up vouchers for burgers, and I eat them.. however.. Any post that reads ” review” means that I’ve paid my own money to buy it from a store wherever I might be when I wana do it and said nothing so that I get what any other Joe Bloggs off the street would get thus making it as close as possible to what you’re gona get if you choose to go and try one yourself. if its not for me I’ll say its not, BF have had some epic bangers but there’s also been some that I’ve not been fond of, and its not fair to the people that read the reviews to say they are all good all the time, its just not the case nor is it possible. I still make jokes about the great harajuku chicken disaster of 2016 cause I think it’s funny. I feel like this is the best practice feel free to disagree if you want. I generally save the vouchers for when I’m out and about and just want a quality feed. Actually, full disclosure, not ever thing we review we pay for, quite the opposite in fact, this burger thing was just an example of what we aim for, however when it comes to things like cars / technology etc, these are sent out to us for review and that’s exactly what they get. then the thing is usually sent back to whoever it came from. sometimes as I mentioned things are gifted as a bit of a kick back/ thanks for being cool etc. but we’l always say that.

speaking of things I think are shit, I’m so far over the term “influencer” as i said in a previous video, if you call your self an influencer you’re probably an asshole. Video here

I wouldn’t have such a problem with the game if it was open, honest and transparent but its not.. it just isn’t

I think one thing to note is much of this is related to instagram, sure it bleeds over to other social platforms but most of the wana-be influencers base off Instagram, Which is a bit silly because New Zealand ( where we live) is a facebook heavy country, far more than any other social platform. I guess its just easier to buy followers on Instagram, and don’t for a second think they don’t. They do and its not hard to prove at all.

Anyway, if you’ve seen my rant videos you’l know I’m not excited about where this game is going but I think we’re not in the same environment as many of these types anyway so do I feel effected? a little but not really.

If you do any deals with anyone make sure its worth it, if supplemented or complimentary accommodation is going to make a trip possible, do it – show off the place but be honest and open about the fact you’re there on their dollar not yours. I don’t think its self importance to ask if you have something of value to offer in trade. but if you’re only offering another fucking selfie in the room saying thanks, maybe try a little harder.

ok fuck it I’m done. as always, all of this is open to conversation and questions – this is not me barking at you guys, its a conversation starter, granted a lot of this stuff is really only interesting to other people in the game but its a big part of my life cause its what I do everyday.

– Nick

Shot on my Samsung S8+ – Thanks Samsung Nz xoxo

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Empire motoring Journalist, BMX Rider, Yoga Doer and Burger aficionado. Always down for a laugh and or good food!

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