I started Alvinology.com back in 2007 as a experimental platform to test content. Eight years later, my little fun blog has gotten a life of it’s own and is more akin to a content portal than a personal blog, staffed by a team of writers. We now run several websites under the Alvinology Media LLP umbrella and receive over 1 million combined page views collectively.
Recently, many marketers and PR practitioners lamented to me on separate occasions on how commercialized the blogging scene has become in Singapore. Some shared the horrors they encountered with a few bad eggs.
It wasn’t always like this. Back in the early days, most of us were just blogging for the fun of it and would jump at any opportunity for a media invite or to work with brands, more for the novelty and experience rather than for commercial returns.
Nowadays, there are just too many opportunities. I get more than 50+ to 100+ emails everyday, inviting me for media events, press releases, even overseas fam trips on a regular basis. I am sure the top guys get even more.
There are more brands and events out there looking to work with bloggers than there are good bloggers in Singapore. In simple economic terms, demand exceeds supply. As a result, the quality of the supply can become really sloppy.
When marketers and PR practitioners with limited budgets or resources, or are just simply too lazy to do their homework properly, they end up engaging a few of these bad egg bloggers. It is for this reason that I find a proliferation of crappy bloggers who are still getting media invites and even travel invites.
This post may offend some of my blogger friends from here on, but rest assured that I am not directing this at any one person in particular (okay, except that one person whom you will find out later). Here are five types of bloggers whom I think giving blogging and bloggers a bad name and that marketers and PR practitioners should avoid them like plague if you ever encounter one of these types.
Have you sat through a food tasting whereby one of those ‘food bloggers’, untrained in culinary skills and has never worked in F&B, ended up giving a veteran chef a long list of suggestions to improve their food or try to teach experienced business owners how to run their restaurants?
This will be the same blogger who suddenly become a fashion expert at a fashion event, teaching designers how they should be marketing or designing their clothes. Next, they will morph into an aviation expert, offering unsought advice on aircraft safety and pricing at travel events.
These guys are the ones I really hate to sit beside at any media event. They will end up insulting the host of event who is too polite to correct them, even though the host clearly knows these guys are making fools out of themselves. Empty vessels make the most noise. How true.
These are the bloggers who will RSVP and attend your event first, whether it’s a food tasting or a travel invite. Everything is fine and dandy during your event. They will chat with you and charm you with their humor and wits.
After the event, they will send you an email to tell you that they expect you to pay them a fee to write about it. Slick.
I call them the ransom hunters because that’s what they are literally doing.
It is different if you say that you choose not to feature the restaurant or brand because it was not what you expected or not relevant to what you usually write about. It is also different if you state upfront that you only want to do a paid advertorial.
Holding people at ransom is a new low.
I have seen a particular ‘food blogger’ who can attend five or six consecutive food tastings in a month, even though the person had not updated his blog for over half a year.
Clearly, this person has no intention of writing anything and is just abusing the fact that he made it into the mailing lists of some PR companies who do not update their invite list too regularly.
This is not just for food tasting. I have seen it happen for a lot of other media events too where there are some guys who are clearly just freeloaders.
If the person is some celebrity or model who is invited to look good at the event, I can understand. However, said ‘food blogger’ has zero to negligible web traffic, not to mention social followings.
The Plus Plus
These are the bloggers who will forward your invites and invite all their friends on your behalf without asking you.
Even if your invitation clearly states that the invitation is for one pax only, they will turn up with a plus one or plus two or even plus ten and kick up a big fuss at the event when you reject their guest.
Again, I think it is okay if you want to bring someone along, but ask first and it is at the discretion of the host to decide if they want to host your guest, not the other way round. It is like getting a birthday invitation to someone’s house and you bring your own friends to celebrate your own birthday at the person’s venue and costs. WTH right?
Sorry, this person is so special she deserves to be in category of her own. She first came to fame when she asked a hair salon for a free haircut and threatened to write bad things about them if they refuse to accede to her demand. The salon did the right thing and told her to bugger off in a nice way.
Yet the notoriety only help her to become more ‘famous’ because web traffic and social followings do not discern between likes and hates.
I still see her getting invited to events (even on hosted travels), borrowing money from people around her, asking money from PR and lots of other questionable behaviors. Check out this blog dedicated to exposing her.
I will not be linking to her blog or social media profiles as it will just drive more ‘fame’ to her, of which she will use it to continue to promote herself and monetize off it.
Seriously, if you are a marketer or PR practitioner reading this list, please stop inviting these bloggers to your events and working with them to ruin your brand.
I am sorry if I offended anyone with this post, but it had been a while before I wrote something so pointed.
Life is easier being a mellow old blogger writing about food and travel, but it gets boring and I am kind of in the grandfatherly preachy mood today.