Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Who's The PR Firm & Big Bad Blogger?

The local internet community is abuzz with Margaux Salcedo's article from last Sunday's issue of Phil. Daily Inquirer (PDI) here. On her blind item, she told a story of Georgia, a restaurant owner who was harassed by a Public Relations Firm and a food critic-blogger aka. "Big Bad Blogger" or BBB.

Here's the gist of the story:
  • Georgia opens a restaurant between 2000 to 2010 which became successful by word-of-mouth, and later featured in newspapers like PDI.
  • Later, PR Firm approach Georgia to hire them for “word-of-mouth generation”, promising up to 300% increase in sales through blogs and Facebook, in the form of positive reviews by food bloggers and many Facebook "likes". Georgia declined the offer.
  • BBB eats at Georgia’s restaurant, takes photos of the food, and writes a nice review on his blog.
  • PR Firm approaches Georgia again, saying that they can ensure more positive reviews online if Georgia pays them Php 120k a month for 1 year. The Firm claims that BBB works with them. Georgia still declined even if PR Firm lowered their price to Php 80k a month.
  • A “year later”, Georgia opens a new restaurant. BBB eats at her new restaurant, takes pictures of the food, and writes a nasty review.
  • PR Firm called Georgia again and promised that BBB will reverse his bad review if she hires them. 
If the story is indeed true, this PDI article puts blogging in a bad light. Blogging started as an online diary of a blogger's experiences, feelings, and opinions which could be private or open to the public. Its supposed to be sharing the blogger's unbiased views on any issue, since the blogger does it on his/her own free will, expecting nothing in return. What the PR Firm and BBB did shows their desperation to earn money through detestable and unethical means.

Last year while researching about tourist areas in Pagadian City, one of the city's tourism officer asked me over the phone if I was a writer from any newspaper or travel magazine. I replied that I am just an ordinary local tourist. If I answered that I usually blog about my travel experiences, perhaps he might have treated me better by assigning a tourist guide for us, than just letting us explore Pagadian on our own. Well, I would like to see their place from an ordinary tourist's experience, and I'm not a popular blogger to have that "clout", hehe.

To have a first-hand experience of local hotel choices, I availed a complimentary 2-night stay offer of Legend Hotel Palawan last April 2009, with written agreement thru emails that the foundation group I'm representing is not obligated to stay at their hotel. I started this blog a year later (March 2010), and wrote about my review of the hotel 6 months after. Legend Hotel did not even know that I would create a blog a year after, so I guess I'm clean on this one.

I've written both good and bad reviews of products and business establishments. I have received free movie tickets from a popular cinema company when I personally met with them to hear their side, after I wrote here about my bad experience with one of their branches. I was reluctant to meet with them, never hinted about any freebie, yet my negative review remains as is after I heard their side and got the free tickets.

My Mom-in-Law has been giving me regular freebies of espasol and pastillas for many years now, but nobody told me to write a review about her products here and here, not even my lovely Wife. I just realized that I have written articles on other food products, so why not write about my Mom-in-Law's products? Well, those 2 reviews may be biased because of family affiliation, but you will see the veracity of my claims once you tasted her pastillas and espasol.

I'm guilty of receiving freebies on the last 2 above instances. However, I still believe in the objectivity and unbiased reviews, without influence of money and other incentives. I wish that the PR Firm, Big Bad Blogger, and their flock be exposed, so that nobody will avail their services, and hasten the death of such despicable practice.

The questions that persist are: "Who is that PR Firm and Big Bad Blogger?" Was BBB featured in Jessica Soho's TV show a few weeks back? 

Any guesses?
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1 comment:

  1. As a blogger, I have been invited already to some corporate events, and have received proposals for advertisements at my blog (though I honestly don't think my blog is popular). But I have declined all offers. I just want my personal blog to remain ad-free.

    I have nothing against bloggers who earn from blogging. Wala namang masama doon. Pero syempre ibang usapan na yun when you emply harrassment.