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If you were on twitter yesterday (17 August 2015), you couldn’t have failed to miss the macaroon fiasco (or #bloggerblackmail). It was seriously big news yesterday and everyone and their dog with a twitter account had something to say about it and the debate went on and on…
So what do macarons have to do with it? Well to sum up…
A foodie blogger contacted an independent cafe/patisserie asking if they’d like her to write a review. The business said yes they could offer her some beverages and a sample of their treats. The blogger went along and was unhappy with the non-VIP treatment she received and the mere eight macaroons that she was offered. Blogger demanded more, £100 worth of sweet treats more… and the cafe refused. Blogger threatened to write a bad review (hence #bloggerblackmail), bought two items and left. Blogger then posted several tweets and Instagram images of the ‘terrible products’. The cafe owner wrote a blog post, the blogger wrote a blog post and the debate spilled onto twitter…
So who was in the wrong?
Well both of them were actually – but the blogger moreso. Communication between brand and blogger was poor and there was no agreement. So when the blogger’s expectations (however unreasonable) weren’t met, a conflict arose. As with all business contracts, a written agreement must be made so that both parties understand what they’re promising into. If the blogger wasn’t happy or sure about what the brand was offering, she should have asked for more before she went there. You would never agree to do a piece of work and then demand more remuneration at the last minute and then threaten blackmail if you do not get what you want. In fact, it’s actually illegal and the cafe were right to refuse. But they were wrong to lower themselves to the blogger’s level by writing a blog post about this experience – tit for tat won’t get you anywhere.
These sorts of miscommunication issues happen more than you realise, they’re just not aired in public. I see them on blogger forums and I’ve dealt with the odd rogue blogger myself in my day-job in Digital Communications. It’s so easy to avoid these sorts of issues, all you have to do is follow these simple steps…
1. Have a clear brief from the brand – know what is expected of you
2. Clearly state your remuneration – what do you want in return for your work?
3. Discuss until you have an agreement, in writing
4. If you cannot come to an agreement then be polite, thank the brand and walk away – another blogger will take them up on their offer
Bloggers don’t want to give poor reviews – trust me. Unprofessionally bad reviews will send warning signals to other brands and they’ll lose confidence in your ability to write a fair review. I believe it’s better to not write anything at all then to write a scathing review. A balanced review is fine!
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