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Something for nothing

by @garyfallsover
Friday 1st May 2015
 
 

Run247 columnist Gary Dalton questions why and increasing number of bloggers are displaying a sense of entitlement towards being rewarded for writing a few lines about a product

Sponsored by.  With the help of.  Couldn’t have done it without. More and more these days I see these expressions on blogs and tweets by runners with affiliations to different brands and I can’t help but wonder to myself, exactly how much did Wonderpants ™ contribute to your race win?

I’ve written before of the use of social media in promoting running and how, for the most part, it’s a very powerful  tool (HERE). Recently I’ve noticed increasingly how social media (SM) personalities are not only using their profile for the advancement of their sponsors but fairly blatantly brand whoring themselves out for their own gain. Time after time I’ve seen fairly blatant tweets and facebook updates extolling the beauty of a new product and ‘wondering’ how they could get their hands on one of them. Now as Superman has told us fairly clearly, we should be using our powers for good, not evil, so why this trend and sense of entitlement towards being rewarded for writing a few lines about a product to people who mostly don’t care?

Now in the interests of openness I’m a Profeet team member and brand ambassador, I have been for a couple of years and what that means is that I make a pain in the arse of myself in the shop on a weekly basis asking questions about foot flexion and they give me shoes to feck off. And then I go in again and buy more shoes because hey, shoes right? Now I have my suspicions that this isn’t really the way the team member brand ambassador thing is supposed to work but it really does work for me because I love the product and I’d use it whether it was provided to me or not. Though obviously don’t tell Profeet that ok? Every now and then I take the mickey out of my friends who are on the Salomon ‘list’ and ask them how I too can get free shoes and they slap me down by pointing out how rubbish I actually am at running. Which unfortunately is true.

And even more rarely I’ll pop along to a brand ambassadors day in the hope of getting a free pair of socks, the trade off being that someone from freestak will take the piss out of me for being only slightly more popular online than that woman who put a cat into a wheelie bin.

So you see my dilemma. I just can’t take all this online stuff seriously enough. I’m a fan of online interaction, I really am, but I’m in kinda in two minds about how I come across online and there are times I fear I’m not being true to myself and I’m creating a false impression. Then there are other times I’m even more worried that I’m creating an entirely accurate impression and I wonder why anyone ever actually talks to me in real life.

What I can’t do and what I refuse to do is whore myself out for ‘likes’. Agree or not I’ll be true to what I believe and that’s what I feel is missing from a great deal of reviewers and bloggers online. Because once you’re given a product for free human nature takes a hand in how you see it and how you feel about the product. It’d be rude to be critical about something someone has given you and so you feel the need to overlook its faults, minimize its drawbacks and extoll it’s virtues. And all because you know that if you are critical the likelihood of you getting anything else for free is greatly diminished, after all what company wants a reviewer who disparages it’s product?

Now call me a cynical soul but whenever I read a review online these days I always look for the affiliation behind the relationship first. Has the reviewer been provided with the product for free, are they paid for the review.  Is the reviewer a brand ambassador for the company and if so have they made that clear in the review. Because essentially these reviews are just advertising by another name, by using SM personalities companies are getting huge exposure for very very little expense. Want to expose your product in a positive way to thousands of runners for only the cost price of the product? Why just send it to @brandwhoresrus and we’ll take care of the rest. Can’t get a marathon place by the normal route? Just bombard some of the corporate sponsors with pleading tweets until you ‘win’ a place.

A quick google will turn up half a dozen bloggers, tweeters and Instagram personalities who are making a secondary or even primary living for themselves by being ridiculously enthusiastic about all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff. I mean I like Buttshield ™  an all but I’m not sure I’d want to broadcast it to the world.

So who do you trust? Well personally if it hasn’t been reviewed by either DC Rainmaker or James Adams then I’ll take the review with a large pinch of salt. And you’ll notice from James’s page he doesn’t actually do reviews, so that kinda leaves DC.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

About The Author

Gary Dalton

Gary Dalton is a rugby loving, crime fighting, white Irish Muslim ultra runner. Despite all this he's not a complete eejit. 

Gary is originally from the west of Ireland and can't actually remember when he moved to London - he blames a heavy diet of being tackled by prop forwards and potatoes for the memory loss. He hates going out for runs, canals and borderline hypothermia and loves ice cream and going out for runs. 

 
 
 
 
 

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