Online Fashion store PR Fail

This time last year a bunch of bloggers all got enticed by an online fashion store to post in exchange for product of choice. To do so the company asked us to post their button (free advertising) and our credit would be based on the views we got while the button was up. Off to a crappy start a bunch of flags were raised but many proceeded. Including me (their items looked really cute)

“lets see how this goes” Said some bloggers

“I have nothing scheduled anyway” Said some others. 

So we posted the button and waited. 

Some got a response within days others weeks. 

So our credits were all sent out and we all ordered our product for review. We were offered continuous product (1 per month). For ongoing reviews we were not told we had to have X amount of clicks on the companies links. Not only did this online fashion store want clicks, they wanted comments on our posts. None of this was known upfront.

Now most people involved in social media realize that many people visit blogs, read posts and click on links without ever leaving a comment.  Often comments would be left on Twitter or Facebook as well. These were not counted though (unless you pointed them out and who has time for that?)

I reviewed a purse and really loved it. It was fun and funky and I thought ‘hey lets do another’ My original post was good and included personal pics. After all I had committed to 3 months of ‘free’ advertising with their button. So I emailed them and asked for my credit to be updated . Their response “Due to the lack of comments on your blog and your poor performance we request you post again about this product. Ask your readers to comment and click on our links. Maybe you can disguise the link? Without this, you are less than satisfactory

Really??

Are you serious?

Me, less than satisfactory?

I have been praised for my performance when promoting products forever. This can not be true. I asked around and others too got this message. Turns out, with no giveaway, they wanted 50 comments on each blog post. Who gets that without the post being about drama?

My next email was not so nice. I requested to be removed from their mailing list and I removed their button. I told them this was not a fair practice and I had no intent on tricking my following into clicking nor did I feel spamming them to push for comments, a good idea. They emailed me back and dangled the carrot in front of me by offering more credit.

I passed.

2 emails later I was still demanding to be removed from their list. Not trying to be rude, just bloggers get so many emails a day as is. Who wants to to have to sift through things we know are a waste of time?

This was a bout a year ago. 

I have seen a few blogs post and promote since. That is their business and I really did not care. Maybe it was more of a fit for Fashion bloggers? 

Until today and I got this from the online Fashion company offering me a giveaway for my readers.

Remember I was less than satisfactory and had poor performance.

“I should like to extend my grateful thanks to your support of (insert company name here)
(company name) has released a lot of pieces for spring and summer 2013, and we’d like to sponsor a giveaway on your blog.<<– Email after endless requests to be removed from their list 
Just a few steps:
1. Put on (our company) banner on the blog (please find the banner from this page) <— More free advertising
2. Create a giveaway post which lasts 10 days, and more than three links back to (company name and link)
3. To get more than 50 participants, require all the participants to register as a member of (company name) and make a comment on your post with the account email;<— So 50 entrants, 50 comments
4. Choose a winner from the participants and send her name, shipping address and phone number to (company name) <<—Did you notice it says “HER”?
5. The winner will be allowed to choose one of the following pieces: (links to 8 different pieces)

6. Please also include this banner in the post”

They then go on to list additional requirements for participants including

 Provide the correct shipping information if she will be chosen as a winner.
(comp name) will also provide $40 credits for you if this giveaway post will bring more than 100 visits to (comp site) and more visits more credits. (Data will be based on Google analytics.)
NOTE
1. If there is any fake data, we will cancel the cooperation.
2. If the giveaway will not reach 50 sign-ups, we will not offer the prize.
3. If it reaches 100 visits, we will provide you $40 credits when the giveaway is finished.
4. If it did not reach 50 sign-ups and 100 visits, you can apply for a new giveaway.

So if 50 people do not enter for their $25 item they will not fulfill their end but will keep all the sign ups. 

I have been thinking all morning about how to respond to this crazy request.

This post here is my response.

I WILL be emailing them the link.

I encourage you to comment 🙂 <<–No tricks

Who offers a giveaway and plainly notes they will not follow through if they do not get a certain amount of entries? Wonder if bloggers can disclose this in their post?

Some friends of mine were discussing this too and they all assumed many would not post. Sadly I think many will.  I am not one to tell people what to do. However I really hope nobody posts this. This company needs to be educated on valuing bloggers. We ARE worth more, our readers ARE worth more. If we do not tell them this, who will?

If you are new and feel this is an opportunity, IT IS NOT !! Opportunities come from good companies with good PR reps who value us and appreciate us. Not ones who set outrageous demands and then pull their end repeatably. 

How would you respond to this request? 

 

NOTE- I am withholding the companies name and links. I do not agree with their practices however I am not about publicly bashing anyone. Including reps and companies who no matter what, just do not get it.

Comments

  1. WhispersInspire says

    Honestly, I would just delete and block. I went through the exact same thing with this company and they couldn't understand WHY I didn't want to work with them anymore. Their initial offer was low but, I figured, I'll give them a shot, they have nice things etc. I didn't get this email but, after having received multiple emails AFTER I was called less than satisfactory, I told them I am not interested in a partnership. It's a shame because I can list so many companies that DO get it and KNOW how to work with bloggers. Unfortunately, they will keep up this practice because people will do as they ask. I love and value my readers and I don't want them to be tricked into clicking a link or getting them to comment in a dishonest way. It's also a shame because I did like their things too.

  2. All I can say is WOW!!!
    Not only would I not want to work with a company that treats its partners like this, but I would NEVER SHOP at a company who believes this is an acceptable way to do business!

    I would be torn between just deleting this email, or sending an email back to them trying to educate them on how to actually build relationships with bloggers and proper online marketing techniques.

    My recent post Making my Lawn beautiful for $100 #WalmartFrugalHeroes

  3. Good to know! I prefer knowing what good and bad opportunities look like.
    My recent post Mother's Day : Canadian Version

  4. Like you, I asked to be taken off their list a couple of times last year and still received that email this morning. I made me angry fora moment and then deleted. And, if the truth be told – just last week, I passed the purse I received last year,on to someone else.

    I think we all took a chance, and learned our lesson. As the saying goes – live and learn. And, I know there will be some bloggers who post this and I really want them to hear us loud and clear that it really isn't worth the hassle,or being spoken down to.
    My recent post Banana Boat Natural Reflect for Kids {#giveaway and testing opp. for you!}

  5. chickymara says

    That's really not fair to your community, that you must have 50 entries in order for the company to give the prize away. I'd wonder who is advising them on their social media and blogger programs..As a professional in this field, and a 'runner of blogger programs' I am quite distressed at the practices displayed in the email, and the unreasonable requirements. They make it the blogger/brand climate very contentious. Maybe you should give them my number so I can help figure out a better way to attract clientele and, more importantly, influencers.
    My recent post Pinballapalooza with The Stratford Festival: Help Break A Guinness World Record

  6. They obviously do not have a clue as to how to do honest business. Disclosure is mucho important to our readers – who wants to come back to read a blog where they've been deceived!? Thank you for ranting, without bashing the company by name. Way more classy!
    xo,
    Shannon
    My recent post Blogging 101

  7. ashley picco says

    I never worked with them to begin with, but I do remember everything that went on last year; a little surprised that they would reach out with the offer they did…. I would never agree to their terms on my site
    My recent post Monday Giveaway Linky

  8. Good try, company X! But no thanks :p
    My recent post Old School and New Skool: Two New Blogging Tools for Moi!

  9. that is beyond crazy, it's just plain insulting. I had that button on my blog for about a week or so and pulled it. glad I did. This is not a company I want to be associated with.
    My recent post Strawberry-Raisin French Toast Bake

  10. Chantale says

    Reviewed for them last year. The product was poor quality and broke within 10 minutes of using it. Emailed them and they said there is nothing they can do so I wrote a review on how horrible their product was.

    I also asked them not to email me again and asked for my account to be closed but I still receive emails .

  11. I know who this is referring too. Shame on them. I also never signed up but remember some doing so last year. Shame on them for trying to take advantage.

  12. I think it is a shameful way to practice business and I am glad that I wasn't involved in this experience. I definitely would have deleted any email looking for a certain amount of comments or clicks. As bloggers we need to engage our readers to commend and click but never require them to do so.

  13. carl bainbridge says

    There are a whole bunch of problems with this email from what I see, however the part that this company needs to understand is simple.

    at least portions of what they are asking/requiring break the law.

    If you are going to put the contest out there, you are legally bound to honour the prize to the winner. Big red flag on that one.

    Also requirements to reach certain benchmarks before you get paid, I am pretty sure violates employment standards in most canadian provinces and probably the entire US as well.

    Company needs to completely remove itself from the PR aspect of working their product at all and hire an outside company to handle it. They need to acknowledge and accept that they are completely out of touch with the group they are trying to get to do their advertising for them.

    My recent post Divisions In Autism Community Makes Progress In Difficult Cases Even Harder

  14. jennsraq says

    Wow! That's a whole lot of work for hardly any incentive at all. It seems to me that the company should want to harbor a positive relationship with each blogger so that they'll post an authentic post, brewing with excitement for the product.

    I think that they are absolutely missing the mark and either using illegal practices, or at least unethical ones. I'm thankful not to have been approached by them and feel sorry for those that continue to allow themselves to be treated this way as a blogger. 🙁

    I'm glad you took a stand and said NO MORE.
    My recent post Papa’s Pearls by Diane Flynn Keith – Review

  15. Thank you for posting this and maybe bloggers that are newer at working with companies can learn from this.
    My recent post project: decals

  16. 1heart1family says

    That is crazy! The company is being unfair and disrespectful to all bloggers. Not only did they insult you, but they are insulting your readers by not providing a prize if their expectations are not met. Unreal! Thank you for sharing how a PR company should NOT act
    My recent post #Giveaway Event is all about DAD! Bloggers needed!

  17. Absolutely nuts, selfish and outright outlandish. Why bother to reach out to bloggers if they think we are not worth our weight in gold. They pretty much are asking to hijack bloggers blogs and spend outlandish hours and weeks of time promoting a possible.. POSSIBLE giveaway.

    FAIL big time your right!!
    BTW tactfully wrote and said to the point.

  18. Michelle says

    Wow!!! Sadly, they will get bloggers that agree to those terms. Someone has to be for them to even send out those crazy requests. Delete and moving on to a company that realizes and respects the value of a blogger.

  19. Journeysof TheZoo says

    Unfortunate that this has happened to you and others in the industry. Hats off for taking the high road while still informing your peers and consumers that this goes on and is not industry standards. At least everyone can make a decision with their eyes open.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo
    My recent post Link Up to The Zoo's Weekly BlogLovin {#BlogHop} May 9

  20. WOW! I never thought I would see a bad post about this company! I know exactly who you are speaking of! LOL I worked with them last year on a giveaway and review and had the same issue. Very unprofessional company, but what could be less expected from a spammer of a company based out of Hong Kong that has grammar issues. The whole business etiquette they have towards bloggers is disgraceful.

  21. I do know who you mean…and I originally got sucked in because my teenaged daughters expressed some interest in some of their items. Problem is, some of their products were really — like REALLY — poor quality and the majority were overpriced. And their standards are a bit much. I can't force people to click on the link! And, that's not how advertising works, anyway. I mean, when you purchase advertising in a magazine or a newspaper (not that my blog is on their level), you don't have any way of measuring the ROI. Yet, we bloggers are forced to produce tangible results or we're penalized. The bottom line is, they're getting PERMANENT advertising on our blogs for a very low cost…and wow, did they really exploit the bloggers who did participate (sadly me, briefly…before I came to my senses). This giveaway nonsense, though, is beyond unacceptable!
    My recent post Outlets at Sands Bethlehem: You must. You really must. #spon

  22. Beth Gallinger says

    I completely agree with everything you said and I don't have anything to add from the point of view of a blogger. I'm commenting as someone who enters a lot of giveaways and contests. I'll jump through a fair number of hoops for contest entries, but making it mandatory to subscribe to a company's (not blogger's) email or join their program is my red flag, particularly if I've never heard of the company. 95% of the time, I'll skip those giveaways, no matter what is being given away.

  23. Jennifer says

    It is super sad that a company would actually request that the entrants sign up to their newsletter as mandatory and also to put a number on how many enter or they don't give a prize out. I wouldn't waste my time with this. I did put up the banner last year and was thrown off by how they choose how much your review product is based on clicks. I know many people who wont click ads. I ended up taking down the banner and deleting all emails from them.
    My recent post Working out with Lunaling (Review)

  24. as soon as something is so much work that my $/time is wasted just figuring out what I am supposed to do for this 'free' stuff…I hit delete. Working with bloggers should NOT be complicated. If it takes me more than one step or two…buh bye.

    I hate when pr people and or companies get into all this lets make deal stuff….not professional and demeans bloggers too
    My recent post Thanks Mom

  25. I worked with them once last year and was also less than satisfactory. I took down their button, attempted to be removed from their emails and refused to do anything further with them. Then, they sent this "wonderful" offer to post for free and not honor the giveaway without fifty comments. I hope no new bloggers work with this company and think this is an acceptable practice.
    My recent post Stay and Play at the Chicago Westin O’Hare

  26. I see a lot of company's try to get away with practices like this and the sad part is that there are bloggers out there hoping to work with anyone to get future offers with other company's. The thing with this practice is that they are working with bloggers with small numbers and since we all like to cross promote there are ways of getting around company requests but sadly since this company chooses to say you must have 50 comments on each post or they will not offer the giveaway what guarantee can u offer your readers. NONE so I would delete this request as well. AS Far as their button goes I'd send my rates over for that and send over my rates for giveaway posts only. It's hard work and obviously they don't appreciate it. company's that do value advertising and claim blog post as such. Thanks for the post I'll be sure to pass the word on.
    My recent post Thursday Giveaway linky

  27. Who offers a giveaway and REQUIRES that the entrant publicly state their email address in the comment? What happened to PRIVACY?
    My recent post All-Purpose BBQ Rub

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