Wanna-Be Marketing Agency Bribes Bloggers
Hamilton Nolan of Gawker told a story yesterday that will both entertain and enrage you; it sure did me.
Apparently Hamilton received an email from this wanna-be "marketing" agency called43a. The agency claims to bribe bloggers to "semi-naturally" include links to their "clients."
Clearly, this guy Bryan Clark of 43a has never read a single blog post ever written by Hamilton or he'd know that he's the last blogger on earth who would ever accept a bribe for client coverage. Had Bryan read Hamilton's previous work, he would also have known there was a reason Hamilton was so inquisitive about how it works, what they pay, what other bloggers have participated, what clients 43a represents and how the "marketing" agency gets around editors and their nit-picky standards of journalistic integrity.
Rather than paraphrase Hamilton, I suggest, you click on over and read through the stunning email exchanges he had with Bryan. It will truly blow your mind.
I would like to point out, that all of the bloggers Bryan claims to have bribed have adamantly denied the allegation.
And, the "clients" 43a claims to represent, T-Mobile, Motorola and Dell, have all also denied ever working with, paying money to or even knowing this agency. In fact, Adam Brown of Dell is a friend of mine and when I first sent him the link to Hamilton's article, he was livid to learn that his brand is being used for such a nefarious purpose. (And, anyone who knows Adam knows he would never in a million years work with any agency that bribes bloggers. He is a stand-up guy if ever there was one and quite frankly, he is far too talented to even need to bribe a blogger.)
There are so many things that enrage me about this story. Because so much of what we do is intangible, PR and marketing professionals are constantly asked to prove our value. We are always seeking new ways to measure our success. Even those of us who are very good at our jobs constantly face the gauntlet of metrics and KPIs for something as difficult to measure as brand awareness, something that comes from far more creative work than a link-to a web site.
For a so-called marketing agency to sully our profession with this kind of garbage just makes it that much more difficult for those of us who actually know how to do the job and who value our media relationships to win that next new client. Shame on 43a for trying play with with the big boys. I suggest they stay in the kiddie pool and leave the real work to those who know the job.
A global leader in public relations and social media integration, Jennifer has been at the center of digital communications since the early 90s where she helped launch some of the world's most beloved internet brands. She has been blogging about social media since 2006 and is available for consulting through Anderson Jones PR.
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