It appears blog awards are like buses; None for ages and then they all come along at once. Yes, after the TGO Awards debacle had finally died down, up pops another “Blogger Award.” This time it’s from an outdoor chain call “Trespass.” No, I hadn’t heard of them either, and I don’t feel great about giving them all this free advertising on my blog.
I found out on Monday afternoon that my blog had been included in their list of Hiking/Walking blogs, along with about twenty others. As I wrote in another post, these days I am not keen to be part of this “how big is your willy” contest, as generally the winners are not those who write the best blog, but those who can drum up the largest number of supporters to vote for them. You need only to look at the winner of the TGO Outdoor Blogger of the Year award to see how that works. However, even though TGO had not asked me if I wanted my blog to be considered for the award I let it go, as I have a soft spot for the magazine.
So what is it that makes me feel like I have been used by this current award scam?
Put simply this retailer is using all the bloggers and the good will of the blogs’ readers to promote their business. They have selected (it was the company’s marketing department that made the selection) NINETY blogs – twenty in each of Running and Hiking/Walking, and ten in each of Climbing, Camping, Cycling, Snowsports and Travel. Those ninety blogs will have a colossal readership ~ probably far more than, say, the readership of TGO. Let’s say that each blog has 300 loyal readers (these are popular blogs, remember) and 10% of these are persuaded to vote. That’s 2,700 voters. Okay, there will be some overlap, but these are illustrative figures, so bear with me. I don’t believe the overlap will be that large, as the company has gone out to find a diverse as possible range of blogs
Most of the bloggers will use social media to spread the word. However, if you try and vote, you find that you need to authorise your selection using your Facebook account, explicitly giving permission for Trespass to have access to all your FB friends as well. Let’s suppose that most FBers have a hundred and fifty FB friends. (That seems to be about average). This means that Trespass now has the contact list for 2,700 x 150 people. That’s 405,000 people added to their mailing lists.
Whatever the overlap, you can see that this is one hell of an easy way to increase your mailing list for very little cost at all. Just the price of a bright young marketing chap, William Wallace. (Yes, honestly.) Apparently all the blog writers were contacted for permission to be included in this marketing exercise, and not contacting me was an oversight.
After a bit of chat with other bloggers on twitter, I decided on the Monday evening that I didn’t want to be part of this. I used the company’s web site contact form to try and talk to their marketing department to have my blog removed from the list. I did not hear anything for two days, so this afternoon I contacted them by twitter and before too long William & I had a discussion and he agreed to remove my blog from their scheme.
In his last email to me he included the following paragraph:
“I understand your train of thought, but I'd like to assure you that our main intention was to highlight outdoor blogs and give a little back to the community. This is a strategy that we hope to follow going forward with more community based activities which hopefully highlight the benefits of getting outdoors and leading a more active life.”
Well. I’ll let you be the judge of that.
I have since discovered that David Williams, writer of the excellent Fellbound blog has also had his blog removed.