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
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
Sent from (ip address): 22.214.171.124 ( 126.96.36.199.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:
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.