Those loyal readers who can boast personal acquaintance with raincoaster know that if there’s one thing I’m all about, besides Squid, it’s Swag.
I swear, I only worked at Starbucks for seven years because they kept giving me t-shirts! Sometimes I lie awake at night, thinking about all the t-shirts I’ve missed in the last decade…I mean, blogging for a living is all very well, but The Manolo is not handing out the Giuseppi Zanottis right and left, however much we might hope and pray, and so we, the humble blogslaves, take what we can get.
Which, apparently, includes a Zune.
Well, haven’t I said repeatedly that I’d never pay Microsoft another dime of my money? Yes. Yes, I have. And I’m not, but I AM getting their stuff for free which, after the hell they put me through with Windows ME, is only right and just.
Here’s what I got in an email last week:
Hi What’s up?
I stumbled upon your site today and thought you would be great for a promotion that I’m working on for Matchstick, a word of mouth marketing company.
Basically what Matchstick does is put products in the hands of people that are most apt to talk about them, especially online.
The item in question for our current campaign is an high profile mp3 player that has just launched in Canada. You can take the screening survey here, www.matchstick.ca/mp3, and pass it on if you have other friends in the blog community, specifically in Canada (we are based out of Toronto).
If you qualify, you will be receiving the device,
FYI BC bloggers: it’s a Zune. And they want to give it to you for free, provided you tell everyone on god’s green Earth that they did. And you know me: I can’t keep my mouth shut anyway, so here I am, doing so.
I’ve defended Matchstick since 2006 (even mentioning them in my panel at Massive Tech Show) and I have to say that in the last few months they really blew it with me. I know there may be some people who just milk the free stuff, but given the readership of my blog and that it’s an Apple iPod accessory they’re wanting to promote, I know it’s definitely their loss (and their client’s loss) not mine.
If you would like to know about this latest campaign, please talk to me offline as I refuse promote the product publicly due to Matchstick’s policy and their handling of this situation.
I have no plans on dealing with them again in the future, unless my inbox gets inevitably spammed by their team about promotions in which I cannot participate…
Update: After reading email communications between one of the account reps at Matchstick and me, I received a phone call from the Senior Accounts Manager at Matchstick. Here are a few items of note:
– They were truly concerned about my experience and wanted to get my feedback on their processes.
– Just to clarify, the campaign this month would have been for a competing product of the Samsung T10 I already received so that was another conflict. Usually bloggers can participate in two campaigns a year.
– If you do fill out a survey for a campaign this does not mean you are getting the product. They will review your answers and contact you based on the results to ask a few more questions then confirm if you will get the product or not.
– They are aware of the benefits of having a steady database or pool of bloggers with which they have had successful campaigns.
Matchstick read all the comments on this blog post and already has plans to smooth out some of their communication kinks. I appreciate that they took the time to call me back and address my concerns. If they’re willing listen to the voice of the bloggers – or “influencers” as they call them – and take our advice to heart, I’ll certainly be willing to give them another chance. We’ll just have to wait and see if the phone rings (and how many times).
No, I was not paid off to write this and I did get permission from the company to post this update.
It looks like Rebecca isn’t nearly as used to asking for special exceptions as I am. I totally don’t qualify for this one, but I simply said, “I’m too old for this promotion, but my demographic is not, they are perfect for it” and POOF, I was in.
Story of my life, really. I’m not what you’re looking for, but I can connect you with them, so put out for me.
Step Two was not so cool; in fact, I’m not cool with it at all.
UPDATE: see comments on this post for the company’s response.
I was told I’d be contacted by a separate company which tracks conversations about products and I’d just need to tell them who I talked to and what I said and then they could track that buzz across the buzziverse, which sounded like an impossible proposition but whatever, not my business model, is it? So I dutifully signed in to tell them about the people I’d forwarded the notice to and saw my first problem:
There is no log out button that I can see. Ev-ar.
As a part-time security blogger, this does not take me to my happy place and I felt no compunction whatsoever rooting around until I found the right code. For the record, the sign out is
Not only that, but when I said I’d talked to Bob and Ted and Carol and Alice the next screen demanded the email addresses for all of those people, so the company could contact them and track THOSE conversations. Now, last I recall signing people up for a mailing list without their permission is a violation of the Criminal Code of Canada’s anti-stalker provisions. And this does not take me to my happy place, so I left that blank.
I’m fully aware this throws not just a monkeywrench but an entire gorillawrench into their business model, but that is really not my problem, is it? Maybe this will get me bounced from the program and maybe it won’t, but I’m not giving out the contact deets for people. If that’s what they want, I’ll confine the conversation to my blog, where (thanks to WP.com) I don’t have access to the IPs of my readers in the first place.
So: the swag report is, maybe I’m in, maybe I’m out. But now you’re both equipped to apply and forewarned. Bookmark that signout link!