05 Mar2014

I opened my marketmanila.com email this evening and got the message below. I am posting the email here verbatim (except that I have masked the sender’s full name to save her any embarrassment though I would have been justified in putting the full name since she did send the email) and respond to it here as well. Anyone who still has any doubts about how some (or many) PR announcements are contracted need not look much further…

“Name Mxxxxxx Mxxxx
Email mxxxxxx.xxxxx@nuffnang.com
Subject Project Proposal: (Large Company)
Message Hi Marketman, Good evening! I hope this email finds you well. I’m Mxxxxxx, Senior Talent Executive of Nuffnang PH. We have a campaign proposal for (Large Company) and we would like to know if you would be interested to do 1 sponsored post and an event attendance for the brand. In a nutshell, (Large Company) will be having a new line of microwavable meals called “xxxxxxx” which is done by the well-known chef, “Top Chef”. For this launch, they are planning to invite you to dine at “Top Chef’s” restaurant, xxxxxx, in Pampanga, for you to be one of the first to try out the newest meals of (Large Company). Tentative event date is on April 8, Tuesday. For the sponsored post, it will be about covering the event and launch, and also post teasers of this in your Instagram and Twitter accounts during the actual event. That said, should you be interested in participating, may (sic) ask for your packaged discounted rates for the deliverables I mentioned? (Bold type MM’s) It would also help if you could share your average daily blog traffic so we can justify the rates easily to the client. :) May I request that this proposal be kept confidential since we are still in the initial stages of this campaign, and there is no full guarantee that this project will push though. We are hopeful, though, that our client approves this soon. For now, we would just like to ask if you are interested in the project. Also, we appreciate it if you could give us a heads up should the client decide to approach you directly. Thanks and I look forward to your response (hopefully) tonight! Cheers, Mxxxxxx
Site http://www.marketmanila.com

Sent from (ip address): 124.107.172.44 ( 124.107.172.44.pldt.net )
Date/Time: Wednesday, 3/5/2014 6:34 pm
Sent from (referer): http://www.marketmanila.com/contact
Using (user agent): Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64; rv:27.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/27.0″

HERE IS MY REPLY:

Dear Mxxxxxx,

Oh dear, you have stepped on a proverbial hornet’s nest, to say the least. Let me do this point by point.

1. Thank you for your email, and your offer, but if I might provide some unsolicited business advice, I would first try to do some basic research about the targets you send your emails to. That way, you would avoid offending anyone, or you would be more likely to succeed in your objectives.

2. If you had frequented this blog or asked some of your fellow business associates about the blog over the past 9.5 years, you would know that I have a nearly PATHOLOGICAL ALLERGY to UNETHICAL INTERNET and PR PRACTICES in general. So much so, I wrote the following types of posts, in case you want to educate yourself further:

– In 2011, a very similar situation, of a potential paid post, from a fairly well-known outfit, with MM response and PR Agency President’s response, here.
– In 2008, Mad Crowd Media tried to inquire about “buying” favorable posts for clients of theirs, first post here, and the concluding post, here.
-In 2007, in a post on why I don’t write for newspapers and refuse to accept freebies (let alone paid posts!), here.

I am sure I wrote other similar posts, but can’t be bothered to waste any more time hunting them down. Basically, I DO NOT CONDONE SPONSORED OR PAID POSTS or “EVENT ATTENDANCE” (basically being paid to show up) where the bloggers/authors do not fully disclose they accepted compensation for attending/writing the posts. Other people may do it, and that’s their business not mine, but I DO NOT, PERIOD.

3. As for your request that I share my “average daily blog traffic so we can justify the rates easily to the client” — let me say this. DO SOME DAMN BASIC RESEARCH! All you have to do is a few clicks on your keyboard, and you could find posts such as this one, with the top blogs in the Philippines (old ranking of MM is 24th), and use ratings agencies like ALEXA, to get daily visitors, etc. This other source says MM is ranked 16th of all global food blogs, which amazes even me. How lazy can people be these days, that they can’t do basic research before they craft a business proposal, particularly when they are paid to do these things?

3. I would NOT EVER use a client’s name if they are NOT CONTRACTUALLY your client, nor if you represent them poorly as a result of the content of your email. In other words, if your client is NOT FULLY AWARE THAT YOU ARE BUYING PEOPLE’S ATTENDANCE AND POSITIVE POSTS, don’t drag their good name into it, as that will simply slam egg on your face. I assume this as you categorically state you are in the “initial stages of this campaign”. In this particular case, as is common fishpan karma kind of thing on this blog, I happen to know the President of the company you mention in your email, and the rest of his family, who in total own a substantial share of the listed company, and they have my contact number on their cellphones, and had they wanted to, could have called me directly — they wouldn’t need YOU to do that and to shell out money as well. Top Chef has also been a guest of Zubuchon and I am sure he could reach me as well rather than tasking a PR agency to botch an approach. But both of those parties are now probably utterly mortified reading this reply to your email, as they are quite aware of how I have always operated this blog…

4. Your request for my “packaged discounted rates for the deliverables I mentioned” is jaw-dropping amazing. First, you assume all bloggers you are contacting have “packaged rates” and do “sponsored or paid-for positive posts”, and second, that they are willing to “discount” them for some strange reason particularly for you.

5. You may certainly “request” that I keep your email confidential, but I have ABSOLUTELY NO OBLIGATION TO DO SO, so I have published your email in full (and have been kind to blot out your name, and later, client names, though it is clear what group you represent). So in future, be careful and please DO NOT USE CLIENT NAMES in communications, as the parties you mention may have NO CLUE what you are doing in their behalf. And they might not officially be your client, period.

6. Considering that I will likely cc: the President of (Large Company) on this post, I wonder if your hope that you get the project is well-placed. So take this as my longwinded answer to your question, I AM NOT INTERESTED IN ACCEPTING PAYMENT TO ATTEND A PR EVENT, WRITE A POSITIVE SPONSORED POST, AND USE MY TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS AS YOU HOPED. And why, pray tell, should I feel ANY NEED to give you a “head’s up” if the client contacts me directly??? Do you have an exclusive on arranging sponsored posts on marketmanila or other blogs? That’s not only presumptuous, offensive and laughable, it’s RIDICULOUS. And finally, I was kind enough to meet one of your requests, as I answered your email in full, yes, TONIGHT, and not TOMORROW.

I apologize if you think this is an over-the-top response to your rather brief email. But I thought your email was rude and offensive and potentially damaging to your potential clients. In future, I suggest you think carefully about what you are writing (and disclosing to total strangers), who your audience or recipient is, and what the potential ramifications of your communication(s) might be.

Have a good evening.

Marketman

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Phaura Reinz says:

    Falcon’s eye just hit the target.

    Lesson learned: Enough unethical and nonsensical PR practices.

    Mar 5, 2014 | 11:39 pm

     
  2. Anna Geraldez Rayos del Sol says:

    Mar 6, 2014 | 12:04 am

     
  3. marilen says:

    NOT FOR SALE!! MM’s integrity, honesty, values. Bless you, MM. Worth a rant!!

    Mar 6, 2014 | 12:32 am

     
  4. La Emperor says:

    So true Marilen, because those things you mentioned are priceless, like yours and mine.
    And for the email sender, I hope you do some more research next time. Follow MM’s advice.

    Mar 6, 2014 | 1:14 am

     
  5. Esquire says:

    This is why marketmanila is the only food blog I trust.

    Mar 6, 2014 | 1:21 am

     
  6. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    I nominate Mxxxxxx to be included in the list for the 2014 fish pan award

    Mar 6, 2014 | 2:09 am

     
  7. Roderick says:

    I second the nomination… Cheers to you marketman…

    Mar 6, 2014 | 5:04 am

     
  8. pixienixie says:

    Tsk tsk. Had she clicked on the “Rant & Rave” category on the right side of the blog and scoured through the posts, she would’ve spared herself from the pain.

    Like Esquire, this is the only food blog I trust, and the only one I visit now. I once followed another local food and travel blog, but after a while I began to notice that the posts were becoming more like press releases rather than honest reviews. Huge turn-off.

    What I like about this blog – aside from the simplicity and cleanliness of its layout – is the fact that I don’t have to think twice about following a recipe to the letter. I once tried out a recipe in a food blog, and it didn’t turn out okay. That got me thinking – maybe it was a paid post for one of the brands mentioned.

    I hope the one who sent the email has learned her lesson.

    Good day everyone!

    Mar 6, 2014 | 7:21 am

     
  9. Mart says:

    *looks at Mxxxxxx Mxxxx*
    *looks down at the fishpan*
    *looks at MM*
    (pause for dramatic effect)
    “We’re going to need a bigger pan.”

    Mar 6, 2014 | 7:27 am

     
  10. ami says:

    Ohhh, I wouldn’t want to be at the receiving end of that email reply.

    Mar 6, 2014 | 8:59 am

     
  11. Jerome says:

    I’m following you site for the past 3 years. thank you that still someone like you was firm enough to preserve a true meaning of honest to goodness way of having food blogsites transparent enough to your readers. ALL THE BEST MM!!!

    Mar 6, 2014 | 10:16 am

     
  12. Rose says:

    This is the reason why I follow your blog, it’s because you have not sold out. Thank you for sharing the request and your reply with your readers.

    Mar 6, 2014 | 10:35 am

     
  13. Armi Cagasan says:

    Oh my!!! I’m from (Large Company) and am so disgusted by this approach!!! They will hear from me! I know you (avid reader for years), and me knowing you- I wouldn’t do this approach ever!!

    Mar 6, 2014 | 11:00 am

     
  14. manny says:

    Am happy to know that there are still men of intergrity. May you continue to be an example and inspiration to all…

    Mar 6, 2014 | 12:12 pm

     
  15. Mon Yadao says:

    Apply cold water to BURN.

    Mar 6, 2014 | 12:57 pm

     
  16. january says:

    i read MM because the content are originals, based from his personal taste and liking, not from PR kit that pretty says the same thing repetitively. well said MM!

    Mar 6, 2014 | 1:28 pm

     
  17. 3n2o says:

    MM = I N T E G R I T Y! clap calp

    Mar 6, 2014 | 1:50 pm

     
  18. denise says:

    MM, I think this calls for the giant copper pan you posted (beside a can of sardines) for a new kind of award hehehe

    Mar 6, 2014 | 2:59 pm

     
  19. Richard says:

    I think you just gave her a heart attack hehe.

    Mar 6, 2014 | 3:08 pm

     
  20. ajay says:

    Most likely, this account executive is a newbie, but the country manager of Nuffnang, who is the Philippines’ top blogger, isn’t. Still, no excuse for a newbie not to research. I’ve also cut my ties with Nuffnang a long time ago because of their unsavory approaches :(

    Mar 6, 2014 | 5:19 pm

     
  21. ianpads says:

    I wish you had a LIKE button on your site! that would be awesome! Cheers MM!

    Mar 6, 2014 | 5:33 pm

     
  22. ceej says:

    Uh oh! So this is how other pr firms work pala

    Mar 6, 2014 | 6:19 pm

     
  23. onix says:

    id love to see his reaction when he reads your reply. haha

    Mar 6, 2014 | 8:24 pm

     
  24. Elit says:

    OMG! I think this representative from Nuffnang didn’t even bother looking into your blog. Because if he/she did, he/she would have noticed that your blog doesn’t have any sponsor or ads whatsoever!

    Mar 6, 2014 | 9:02 pm

     
  25. Julianne says:

    Award!!!! Big fish pan or two! LOL

    Mar 6, 2014 | 9:19 pm

     
  26. Nadia says:

    Bravo MM!! Utterly superb!!!

    The email from Mxxxx is a reflection of how lazy young people are these days (I am assuming that he/she is young). They have this “sense of entitlement” about them that makes them feel like you owe them much more than than they deserve to get for their efforts.

    Mar 6, 2014 | 9:38 pm

     
  27. Super.me says:

    I think Mxxxx is not a newbie because he claims he’s a senior talent executive. I think he’s gathering bloggers behind his back and will use that as a leverage to get the project. Tsktsktsk

    This answers why blogs feature same restos/products simultaneously.

    Often, i will be swayed to try out a new resto after reading blogs that swoon over it. After trying it, i often come out disappointed. I wonder if ‘paid’ posts can still be objective?! Doubt it.

    Wow 9.5 yrs of marketmanila! We readers are lucky to stumble upon your site! Congrats!

    Mar 6, 2014 | 9:43 pm

     
  28. MP says:

    Hahaha MART, you made my day! And i actually imagined the scenario exactly as you described hahaha..

    I am glad you replied the way you did MM mainly because I find it disgusting that most of the bloggers I used to follow have sold out and their posts are mostly press releases.. I know it sounds stupid that i used to actually follow their suggestions but my time in the Phil is always limited so i trust when they say a resto serves great food only to be disappointed…

    I wonder what Claude will say when he learns about this..

    Mar 6, 2014 | 9:45 pm

     
  29. shiko-chan says:

    hahaha!! as a young n00b myself not so long ago, i wince for her. but you are certainly within your rights MM, and unless she is one of those armies of unprofessional types these days (…wait a minute, is that still in question?) who respond to constructive criticism with mulish, stupid defensiveness, she will definitely have learned her lesson this time.

    Mar 6, 2014 | 9:47 pm

     
  30. jestonipoe says:

    haha…ooops! hmmm just google search some of the words written in the mail and you can probably know the name who wrote the letter…. If i can guess is it ………. M……??????

    Mar 6, 2014 | 9:58 pm

     
  31. Monty says:

    Well in a weird way, the (Large Company) product just got a ton of publicity. Mission backwardly accomplished. It actually makes me curious what Claude Tayag has in store, similar to the curiosity I had about the lechon belly that “genius” kid “invented” in Cebu. Seriously though bloggers have to pay for their meals so they can give unbiased reviews.

    Mar 6, 2014 | 10:18 pm

     
  32. kristin says:

    oh my! an early 2014 fishpan :)

    Mar 7, 2014 | 7:24 am

     
  33. Elbert says:

    Thank you, MM! THANK YOU! You tell ‘em!

    Mar 7, 2014 | 11:30 am

     
  34. Lois says:

    Thank you MM for making this public. This is just a confirmation that some of the blogs are really used as PR for those companies.

    I also believe that you can never ever give an unbiased review if you did not pay for your meals or services.

    Mar 7, 2014 | 11:49 am

     
  35. Ozy says:

    I think there’s delicadeza in keeping the main client’s future campaigns secret unless it is already actively promoted. You’ve clearly distinguished between communication awareness of agencies and client companies in your previous links, I don’t think it is (Large Company’s) fault that their partner agency offended you. I think your post will be making the rounds, and as such affecting the confidentiality of their campaign. Perhaps it would be wise to remove any mention of the campaign.

    My .02

    Mar 7, 2014 | 1:22 pm

     
  36. Meerkatman says:

    Surely this post had given you a massive traffic. quit being a d*** bastard

    Mar 7, 2014 | 2:02 pm

     
  37. Victor xxxxxx says:

    Hey J,

    “I would NOT EVER use a client’s name if they are NOT CONTRACTUALLY your client, nor if you represent them poorly as a result of the content of your email”

    Just want to confirm that yes, we are not their client, and we certainly wouldn’t want to be represented in this manner if we were.

    Kudos to you for taking a stand. Best regards to you and M.

    Victor

    Victor xxxxxx
    President and CEO
    Large Corporation

    Names and company name removed by Marketman from the post and this response since the company has confirmed they are not clients of the PR agency and are not likely to become their clients. I applaud the swift and clear response from the Company named, and I hope PR agencies learn a lesson from this exchange…

    Mar 7, 2014 | 2:17 pm

     
  38. Cris J. says:

    Sapul! Lagot!

    And that’s why I so love, love this blog site. :)

    Mar 7, 2014 | 3:17 pm

     
  39. Elaine says:

    Tis my reason as well for frequenting this blog all these eight years since I first stumbled upon it. You never sold out to these brazen pr companies. Stay healthy as these types of emails maybe hazardous to your health :)

    Mar 7, 2014 | 3:25 pm

     
  40. Marketman says:

    Hi Victor, thank you for your email and for bringing further clarity to the issue. I have removed any reference to company and named campaign after you email as the contents of the original emailed are factually in question. However, as I state throughout the post, I had no doubt that few companies would condone this type of PR approach for any of their events. Thanks.

    Meerketman, perhaps you forget, that while traffic is nice, IT IS UTTERLY IRRELEVANT ON A NON-COMMERCIAL SITE. So don’t go making tangential arguments aside from shooting the messenger — when the truth is, if the moronic initial email was never written, then there would be no need for this post at all. This isn’t about me, it’s about unethical internet/PR practices that are far more rampant than most wish to believe. And you probably thought I wouldn’t let your email with false tag name through, but I did, because it only emphasizes how small-minded you are…

    Ozy, I do agree with you in some senses, and particularly since the company mentioned has now categorically denied they are clients or will be clients of this PR agency. So I have indeed removed company names, though I think this has actually burnished the company’s image and reputation, rather than doing it any harm. As far as the PR agency concerned, if you go to their site, they seem to suggest they are one of the largest agencies that get internet advertising for bloggers, but nowhere did I find a suggestion that they engaged in pay for post or attendance kinds of engagements. Placing that on their site would bring up all kinds of issues regarding ethical internet practices…

    Mar 7, 2014 | 3:54 pm

     
  41. Not Abe says:

    Hi MM, hope this finds you well. Lol kidding. This post is kinda rude. We get it, santo ka, walang PR, hindi nagpapabayad for years. But you didn’t have to go to as far as publishing confidential things (name, campaign, etc). Kawawa si Ms. Nuffie. What if matanggal siya sa work because of this post? Kaya ng konsensya mo yun? Nagttrabaho lang po yung tao. Sige lack of research. But still, to post everything? Anyway, just my two cents. Congrats nalang at hindi ka pa katulad ng ibang blogs na bayad lahat ng laman. :p

    Mar 7, 2014 | 4:40 pm

     
  42. lantaw.com says:

    I got a similar email before from NN, I did not even bother replying to it :)

    Mar 7, 2014 | 5:00 pm

     
  43. Zarah says:

    I salute you. Paid posts are all it’s about nowadays. It’s sad.

    Mar 7, 2014 | 5:38 pm

     
  44. corrine says:

    Very amusing !

    Mar 7, 2014 | 9:44 pm

     
  45. Mrs. Kolca says:

    Kudos to you MM. This is why you’re #1. We love you, man! :)

    Mar 7, 2014 | 10:11 pm

     
  46. Marketman says:

    Not Abe, ikaw ang nakakatawa. My post is rude? The emailer was the victim? That’s really funny. Very, very, funny. What warped sense of ethics and professionalism you must have.

    If Ms. M never wrote the original email with such carelessness, she and her company would not have found themselves in a predicament. If she was careless enough to mention a potential or actual client’s name, disclosing event information that she was probably NOT at liberty to disclose to strangers, that is an error of serious professional proportions. If she is removed from work as a consequence of her actions, that is between her, her employer and perhaps any client they may have offended. I for one hope she is not fired, it is the industry that condones this kind of behavior that should be ultimately indicted. Just because she is a worker and does something potentially unethical or unprofessional, doesn’t mean she is immune to real life consequences. If you stole a kilo of beef from the grocery an claimed you didn’t have much money, or lied about a coworker to save your skin and were found out, or you paid for a copy of a stolen final exam for your Biology class, do you think you should NOT be liable for the consequences of your actions? Seriously?

    And if she sends me an email, that is by nature, NOT necessarily a confidential communication, and particularly so when it EXPLICITLY suggests payment in exchange for attendance and a positive post (an UNETHICAL and in some countries ILLEGAL request) and other mentions on social media, why wouldn’t I have a right to publish that email?

    As for Ms. M’s senior manager at her company, she quickly emailed to say this, and I quote:

    “Hi Sir,

    I would like to apologise for the incident with Mxxxxxx. Rest assured that this is not how we do cold calls, but due to pressure and urgency, this was overlooked. We deserve this kind of public reprimand.

    Again, our sincerest apologies.

    Best regards,

    xxxxxx
    xxxxxx
    Nuffnang Philippines”

    So if their senior managers admit to “deserving this public reprimand”… what more needs to be said? Ignore for a moment that pressure and urgency should not excuse the content of the email, period. But the apology was swift and they agreed the rebuke was deserved.

    As for the comment from lantaw.com above, they apparently received a similar email before from the same company, so it is apparently not an isolated case… For lantaw.com, I receive a dozen or two of these types of emails a month, but mostly they are asking if I am interested in doing this or that, and I ignore almost 98% of them. I only get really irked when they blatantly offer to pay for a post, pay for a positive review, compensate for attendance, etc.

    The more people act with integrity and think through the potential consequences of their actions, the less likely these kinds of situations would occur…

    Mar 7, 2014 | 10:12 pm

     
  47. Marketman says:

    FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE INTERESTED, READ THIS UPDATE OR REVISIONS TO THE FTC’S ENDORSEMENT GUIDES IN THE U.S., HERE and explained HERE. There are very logical reasons why people who take payment or compensation to mention and endorse a product should be subject to disclosure or other ethically based considerations. I didn’t make these rules up, BUT I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY WITH THE CONCEPT AND LOGIC. So read them and educate yourself. If you are a blogger or PR person who interacts with bloggers, you should read the full set of FTC rules as well. Educate yourselves. Ignorance is not an excuse.

    Mar 7, 2014 | 10:32 pm

     
  48. Noel says:

    @Not Abe: you make it sound like being a saint is a bad thing.

    Mar 8, 2014 | 5:17 am

     
  49. Roch says:

    Wow! *Slow clap* :)

    Mar 8, 2014 | 3:25 pm

     
  50. Tish says:

    Hi MM,

    What an appalling “pitch”. I work in PR & we’ve always had a strict policy on earned and paid media. Meaning, if we’re not asking for ad space, then we shouldn’t be asking about rates.

    That being said, I find this post insightful and timely. I’m a believer in the power of a good story and I feel that pitching a good story, with no strings or payments attached, is the best and most respectful way of engaging the media. Kudos! :-)

    Mar 8, 2014 | 6:46 pm

     
  51. Eva Mondragon says:

    Stunningly unbelievable! Sadly, there are many PR people who operate in such manner.

    Mar 9, 2014 | 2:42 am

     
  52. shiko-chan says:

    For Not Abe and those similarly “soft”-“hearted” (or “headed”?), “just doing her job” is no excuse and it’s far past time we stopped indulging such brazen idiocy in this economy. A job done badly enough deserves to be given to someone more worthy of it. A wage should be earned, not merely demanded.

    Sorry, pet peeve haha. This country could just really use a LOT more professionalism in its culture. But then this blog explores that theme a lot better than I ever could ;)

    Mar 9, 2014 | 9:17 am

     
  53. JE says:

    I think the massive readership of your blog, coupled with the varied demographics of your readership, technically makes your blog the white whale for all firms that do online marketing.

    Mar 9, 2014 | 2:40 pm

     
  54. Zoren says:

    You could have reprimanded her privately, but instead, you had to publish everything, airing your dirty laundry for the public to see.

    I could understand you had previous encounters like these before, but to bring them all back up again? Granted, the cold call was done in bad taste, but so was your action of putting it on the internet. Reeks of something that lacks class.

    Mar 9, 2014 | 10:00 pm

     
  55. Marketman says:

    Zoren, you are entitled to your opinion, as am I. And it is my blog so I can and will chose to publish what I think is relevant, and that which may have very positive results for many individuals/institutions in the long run. And considering that both the email author’s boss and the potential client both seem to agree or see merit with the post, I have no qualms about it whatsoever.

    People need to be prepared to face consequences of their actions, particularly when they write emails such as the one above. I did not initiate the situation, the emailer did. If you are offended by the publishing of her email, it was her dirty laundry, not mine. Funny how some people focus on tangential issues, and not the essential CRUX of the matter. I suppose you would think that it’s probably acceptable behavior, and not reprehensible behavior, to pay for positive posts on blogs…

    Odd how the only folks with a dissenting opinion on this post (meerkatman, Not Abe and you) are all new commenters who have never before participated in this blog (and your IP locations are all in Makati at that). Perhaps you should have read a bit more of the 3600+ posts on the blog before you venture into suggesting you are qualified to offer an opinion on “class” or the lack of it.

    Mar 9, 2014 | 10:32 pm

     
  56. Zoren says:

    Oooooo….. I quiver in awe with your 3,600++ posts.

    Doesn’t mean that I just wrote now means I haven’t read your previous posts before. I give it that the recipes you place here are good and tasty. Can’t say that for this particular post of yours. And yeah, I knew you’d play that “It’s my blog” card. Everyone who owns a blog does. I’ll give it to you, though, you are more willing to post those that do not agree with your opinion.

    Speaking of which, it doesn’t mean that your opinion is the more popular one among those who have commented means it is right. I remember somewhere in the news a few days ago about a thief who was caught stealing fish and paraded to be publicly humiliated. I think it was in Batangas. Popular? Yes. Right? No.

    And the email of the supervisor… haven’t you thought that maybe that was sent to you after your little bruhaha here just to appease your ego?

    Mar 9, 2014 | 10:50 pm

     
  57. Marketman says:

    Zoren, the supervisor’s response was perhaps more likely to save the reputation of the company she worked for, which has international offices/presence and who should presumably abide by acceptable norms of internet ethics and behavior. The rules on paid for endorsements are much clearer in more developed western markets, and the original email likely violates those guidelines/laws. Read the FTC guidelines and understand why.

    So I gather the “public humiliation” is more of the issue for you than the fact that he was trying to “buy” a post. Well, you forget, I didn’t name him in the original post, so it wasn’t so much about him, but the content of his email. Nor is there a photo of the person who wrote the email…

    I suppose in a situation where a private individual is caught red-handed stealing public funds with the help of senators and congressmen you might suggest they be privately reprimanded and given a slap on the wrist, rather than a public trial published on national television for the whole country to watch whether he is found guilty or not guilty on the basis of the evidence presented and the vote of judges on the bench. Yeah, right.

    Or for something simpler, if your best friend at school was caught trying to buy a copy of the answers to your final exams in internet ethics and mathematics, would you advocate he be reprimanded in private and let off the hook? Or formally expelled from the school for unethical behavior and intellectual dishonesty and have it marked on his transcript? Obviously, I would fall in the latter camp. And most universities of any repute would probably expel the student described…

    Mar 9, 2014 | 11:34 pm

     
  58. ros says:

    Wow for the dissenters; reminds me of the Mok Award girls/ladies.

    @MM
    “Funny how some people focus on tangential issues, and not the essential CRUX of the matter.”
    –Some people just doesn’t know how to deal with clarity and logic. For critical thinking skills at an early age has little exposure or of no importance in the public school system here in the Philippines. Where the authoritarian traditional system(i.e. it is right because I say so, do it because I say so, etc.) is still rampant. A high school student would be very lucky indeed if he/she would caught a whiff the meaning and understanding of words like fallacy, logic, rational, invalid, etc.

    @Zoren
    “And yeah, I knew you’d play that “It’s my blog” card. Everyone who owns a blog does.”
    –And that is somehow/suppose to be bad/immoral/illogical? Because….?
    Could you please elaborate a bit more. Enlighten us please, seeing that this in an “ad-free”(meaning your clicks on this site literally doesn’t cost nor benefits the site owner anything) and “personal” blog.

    Does MM is somehow withholding your right to free speech? NO

    People (especially those young’uns who doesn’t know what a “card catalog” is) needs to understand that the right to “free speech” (specifically in the cyber-age) DOESN’T entitles you for a platform, nor an audience for that matter.

    This is not your Facebook wall where every little brain-farts that you type-in is cuddled and is given the out most importance; in exchange for a chance that it might generate the currency of “Likes” that will raise the website’s ad revenue.

    The OWNER of the blog/site (especially an ad-free site) has ALL THE RIGHTS on choosing on what will be the content of HIS/HER website. Hence the term WEB MASTER.

    To have dissenting opinion is your own right. The right on whether that opinion is to be posted/become a part of someone’s own website IS THE WEB MASTER’S RIGHT. In a similar manner that the Master of the House has the right on whether or not one is welcome in his OWN House. And like the Master of his own house, the Web Master deserves all his due respect and civility when we are in his domain; whether or not we share the same opinions.

    See, it’s a privilege. Are you not amazed that any comments that you may have that is allowed to be posted, could be read all over the world? That your ideas and opinions could reach Kampala, Rakkestad, Jujuy, etc. and vice versa. I know I am.

    Yes, MM is right that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I would also add that all opinions are not equally valid, and can be tested in the real world. When tested against the real world some opinions are correct and others are categorically down right wrong.
    And the incapacity to change one’s own opinion that is inconsistent with real world, hard facts data, is being delusional.

    So please, again; on the off chance that I might be delusional, further elaborate on why do you think that it is somehow in a bad light; that a blog owner has control on the content of his blog and that this somehow invalidates any opinions and views that was raised by the blog owner.

    A http://www.plosone.org research link regarding this theory of yours would be great!

    “Speaking of which, it doesn’t mean that your opinion is the more popular ….”
    –I believe MM has enough class to know/to be familiar what an argumentum ad populum is. And yes I agree with you on that one. I just couldn’t see how MM is guilty of committing that logical fallacy in this post.

    Mar 10, 2014 | 3:31 am

     
  59. Marketman says:

    ros, thanks, many of my sentiments exactly. You have saved me a half hour of typing… I am off for the day, briefly inspecting a mini-project out of town with no internet access, so I hope folks behave themselves while I am away… :)

    Mar 10, 2014 | 6:18 am

     
  60. Teddy says:

    Bravo! Love seeing you put that clueless stupid person in his/her place.

    Mar 10, 2014 | 11:21 am

     
  61. jsncruz says:

    This incident is a great case study on how to NOT do digital PR, and how to NOT manage digital partners for social-led campaigns. Should be good learning material for social media marketing students, once dissected :)

    Jason

    Mar 10, 2014 | 6:55 pm

     
  62. Mart says:

    Me thinks Zoren knows first hand what a fishpan tastes like. :-)

    ros summed it up quite nicely. If you have your own ideas of how to run a blog, then publish your own blog. If you don’t like how someone else runs their blog, then stop reading!

    Continuing to hound a blog author about a certain topic (or a certain type of topic) only means you have unresolved issues of your own (which could be resolved by carefully reflecting on the author’s and other comments in such posts) or you are the one of the unfortunate subjects detailed in such topics and still feel the sting of public humiliation.

    If it is the latter, don’t worry. One good thing about the internet is it provides anonymity. And our gracious blog author did provide such in this and most other cases. So I think it is best to just lick your wounds and move on.

    Mar 10, 2014 | 11:53 pm

     
  63. J-Jay says:

    Well, this pretty much serves as a flag for my blog selection. Any local blogger with a Nuffnang affiliation is suspect. If this is how they run things, then I guess it’s fair to say that anyone who agrees to do business with Nuffnang has agreed to the terms stated in the email.

    Mar 11, 2014 | 9:37 am

     
  64. Marketman says:

    J-jay, I am not sure I would go that far. Nuffnang also conglomerates advertising, and helps bloggers who want to obtain advertising and monetize their sites do that. I don’t have any advertising, but I can see how others would choose to have it, and as long as it is clearly an ad, there is nothing wrong with that. It is with SPONSORED POSTS and veiled endorsements that I have a problem. If bloggers clearly indicated that a post was paid for or sponsored, I sincerely doubt they would maintain much credibility or readership for long, unless they ran their blogs professionally, and didn’t compromise their objective opinions/endorsements. If you go onto Nuffnang’s website, they mention or acknowledge some bloggers who have reached 30+ sponsored posts per year, which was quite a surprise for me to read… and if they were all paid, say a speculative PHP10,000 or so each (purely an estimate not based on any evidence at all) — then that hypothetial blogger would be receiving PHP300,000 a year for sponsored posts, plus product freebies.

    I once attended a communications conference for San Miguel, and some folks at that conference asked how I could remain ad-free, and I said it was just a personal thing… but they went on to say that some top bloggers are paid upwards of PHP1 million for a banner ad that runs the entire year… as soon as someone opens the blog, they see the advertisement. And if they get say 20,000 page views a day, the advert would in theory be viewed 7.3 million times a year, or roughly 14 centavos per hit. Wow! That’s amazing revenue for one ad! Less taxes of course, assuming the bloggers pay that… So it can be substantial business, and we should all be wary of what we read as “highly recommended” on the net…

    Mar 11, 2014 | 10:27 am

     
  65. Kasseopeia says:

    I agree with Mart, I think we will need a bigger fish pan to accommodate the “new” comment authors up there.

    This is why I’ve been a MarketManila.com reader for the past 8.5 years (eep! Test of age!) – aside from the gustatory stimulation, my neurons get a workout. Keep it up, MM!

    Mar 11, 2014 | 5:42 pm

     
  66. Risa says:

    Does anyone feel any discomfort with, “We deserve this kind of public reprimand.”?

    I’m not any PR person by any long shot, but…it gave me a mental picture of Bill and Ted dumb-chanting, “We’re not worthy. We’re not worthy.”

    [The reference to Bill and Ted, the phrase "dumb-chanting," and my sentiments toward the original quote feel EQUALLY awkward. Oxford comma, and all.]

    Mar 12, 2014 | 2:12 am

     
  67. Rita_N says:

    wow! talk about professionalism and discretion (insert sarcasm here).

    good for you, MM, for keeping them in line. hope they learned their lesson.

    Mar 12, 2014 | 2:24 am

     
  68. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    ‘It is with SPONSORED POSTS and veiled endorsements that I have a problem’ otherwise known as ‘blogola’.

    Mar 12, 2014 | 2:26 am

     
  69. MP says:

    Thank you Ros, well said.

    I feel sad when people defend those in the wrong and say “paano kung mawalan siya ng trabaho”? Shouldn’t one think of the consequences of ones action before doing anything, much more for any undertaking one is paid to do?

    After so many misses, I have learned to filter the opinions of bloggers and no longer rely on them for decisions on which restaurants or products to try unless I am sure that they do not get monetary compensation to heap praises on something.

    Mar 12, 2014 | 7:45 am

     
  70. Mart says:

    Just wanted to share a “brainfart” while perusing the comments of this post again:

    Reading a blog that is paid for endorsing products or a restaurant is like watching those cooking commercials which are sponsored by some food company which uses one of their products as one of the ingredients.

    As contrasted with watching a show like “America’s Test Kitchen” where they do actual product testing to come up with the best ingredient/product that will work for what they are aiming at for their recipe (e.g. brand X is better for a crispier beading, etc).

    Mar 12, 2014 | 8:23 am

     
  71. Marketman says:

    Risa, I have to admit, I had NO IDEA what you were referring to, so I googled it, here, and had a really good chuckle. As in really good chuckle. :)

    Mart, spot on, I really don’t like it when cooking shows feature say a particular product in the recipe, and are major ad buyers on the same program… Several Filipino cooking shows have succumbed to that, and I do think I watch them far less often now…

    Getter Dragon, “blogola“, I like that…

    Mar 12, 2014 | 1:30 pm

     
  72. Cris J. says:

    I think my blood pressure went up as I read the additional comments made here. As I read… I remember the phrase… “arrogant sense of entitlement”… applicable to some guests here.. :P … because that’s what we are in MM’s blogsite… guests…

    Mar 12, 2014 | 4:08 pm

     
  73. Juls says:

    I think your rant MM serves as a wake up call too to those popular travel bloggers who readily and shamelessly accept junket trips from travel agencies, airlines, and tourism promotion boards. Even if they argue that it’s the destination that counts, the method by which they are procured is ridiculous. How can you not write a positive review when you are being billeted in 5-star hotels, being plied with luxury buffets, or treated to free admissions? They may not have been paid per diem/stipend but the free trip itself is already payment in itself.

    Mar 12, 2014 | 11:30 pm

     
  74. Lissa says:

    MM, I’ve had 2 opportunities to work with Nuffnang and their blogger network and unfortunately, the blog-PR set up is just as you described. It is pitched to us (in Marketing) by another agency like it’s the most normal thing in the world and when I checked some of the bloggers they have on their roster — they have a Rolodex of bloggers you can choose from (!)– the tenor of the writing is simply appalling because they’re very obviously paid to write it. Makes you ask yourself, does no one find this blog-PR method unethical? Your post answered it.

    Mar 13, 2014 | 12:32 am

     
  75. star says:

    I remember the article that Margaux Salcedo wrote a few years ago about a Blog-Marketing firm. It disgusts me to no end that unethical Blog-PR practices not only continue to spread but has become worse. What’s even more atrocious is that there seem to be more people who condone this behavior.

    Undecided though which is more outraging – the post sponsorship/bribery or that some of these “bloggers” can’t even write yet are being paid for it.

    Mar 13, 2014 | 2:01 am

     
  76. Kristine says:

    I sat down to a business lunch with a PR who worked for a restaurant chain, and she let slip that the company paid for blog entries and Instagram posts. She didn’t seem to think that that was wrong–she even told me the rates for some of the top bloggers. I gave her a short speech about why that kind of practice destroys the entire spirit of the enterprise for all honest writers out there, and just ruins it for all readers. And how it’s all going to bite in the ass the businesses who hire them one day. It just sickens me to the stomach to think that people think this is normal practice.

    Mar 13, 2014 | 8:47 pm

     
  77. Marketman says:

    Kristine, yes, the problem is on several fronts… that restaurants pay for posts (not just ads), that bloggers accept the payola without disclosing to their readers they have received compensation for the post, and readers, for being gullible and misled… and trying the recommendations of bloggers who accept the benefits…

    More than a few folks here and in private emails have confirmed that what I wrote about is fairly common practice, so that really sends a clear signal about internet ethics in the local setting…

    Mar 13, 2014 | 9:19 pm

     
  78. millet says:

    Mar 14, 2014 | 4:20 pm

     
  79. Vic Mayor says:

    I was always intrigued why. Market Manila website didnt have any ads like a lot of other “Top Blogs” out there. The website has been in existence for a long time already while other newer blogs have Ads left and right. After reading this post of MarketMan and MarketManila my respect for him and his website has leveled up. What we get from Market Man is not the opinion a Restaurant or Company wants to convey but his own honest to goodness opinion. Mabuhay ka Market Man, Mudaghan unta ang pareha nimu!!

    Mar 14, 2014 | 7:33 pm

     
  80. mary chen says:

    i feel your sincerity MM. a few good men.

    Mar 16, 2014 | 4:59 pm

     
  81. B says:

    Mabuhay ka Marketman!

    Im happy you don’t let people with a twisted sense of right and wrong get to you. I also cringed at the posts of Not Abe and Zoren. Reminds me of paid PR spin doctors or lawyers who twist the facts to try to prove they are right. At least, on this side of the world they are the minority.

    Zoren – I believe Marketmans “popular” opinion is also the right opinion.

    Not Abe – That same person would have lost her job anyway sooner or later for incompetence and basically not doing her job. Maybe, its not the right job for her.

    Marketman for me is the most honest and reliable food blog out here. I believe that truthfulness is a class act on its own. His fishpans are a public warning and to be forewarned is to be foretold. Somebody “smart” just forgot to do their homework.

    Mar 19, 2014 | 6:42 pm

     
  82. ara says:

    I’m late to the party but I just wanted to say, the email doesn’t seem to preclude negative/neutral reviews/posts or declarations/disclaimers that post are sponsored. Just too bad the PR person had not the slightest clue whom she was dealing with.

    I really like that this website is ad-free. Unfortunately, not too many bloggers (who else in PH? Meron ba?) can afford not to monetize their output and as someone who relies a lot on online info to see what food/restos are worth checking out and spending my hard-earned money on, I really wish there was more of MM’s sort.

    May 13, 2014 | 4:00 pm

     
  83. Monty says:

    I just want to comment on the food that caused this whole thing to erupt. I have tasted all 3 dishes that were being promoted and I can safely say that all of them were pretty horrible. I didn’t expect much really, but for a “Top Chef” to lend his name to this junk doesn’t help his reputation one bit. Maybe the “Big Company” should have held an open competition wherein chefs could produce their own chilled meals that would still taste good when reheated in a microwave.

    May 23, 2014 | 7:59 pm

     

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