Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Modest Proposal

This was an open letter that was sent out to members of the watch industry.  As it also concerns you the readers, I wanted to share it with you as well.

If you are reading this you either:

A.  Work in the watch industry
B.  Are a watch enthusiast
C.  Suffer from chronic insomnia

In fairness, those are three good demographics and I feel confident that any blogger or online magazine would be thrilled to have them.  But over the past few months I have personally come to question the manner with which some brands operate.  Moreover, I am becoming more an more disillusioned by the way other digital and print media outlets operate.

Some simple truths:

1.  Brands shouldn't have to pay a backhander for coverage, regardless of how rich they are or how often they do it.
REALITY - many do, which forces the smaller brands to pay as well even though they often can't afford it.

2.  Brands shouldn't pull a "Trump" on writers and outlets out of retribution for what they feel is unflattering coverage.
REALITY - but they often do.

3.  Writers, bloggers, influencers should not charge fees for service to anyone but their employer -  i.e. the website management, the magazine publisher, etc.  "Paid" or "Sponsored" content is just another name for payola.
REALITY - more and more "sponsored content" is appearing.

4.  Writers, bloggers, influences should not feel required to cover a brand.
REALITY - The brands exert pressure, pander to the writers they feel are important, and often show a great deal of bias.  Owing to this, a lot of writers end up out of the loop, and in the end opt not to cover the brand.

So, after a great deal of thought I have decided to make some changes.  You will notice over the next few months that no new advertisers will be added.  Moreover, you will also notice that one by one, advertiser's banners will be coming down as their contracts finish up.  The exception to this is the top banner.  The top banner holder will only receive "standard" coverage, and none of their products will be accepted to review.

Over the course of the past 6 years I have been continually baffled, surprised and amazed by the luxury industry and its relationship with writers.  In the auto industry, it is pretty much expected that car reviews will be brutally and sometimes scaldingly honest.  Why should the watch business be different?

So here's the deal:

1.  As of today, no new advertisers will be brought in.
2.  Current advertisers will stay on through the course of their agreement.
3.  Tempus Fugit will continue to NOT accept any form of payment for content.  All content will be determined by yours truly.  You don't have to kiss my ring, but you do need to treat me with the same courtesy and respect as any of the other guys and gals who write about the industry.
4.  We are turning a brand new page - I hope that we are turning this page TOGETHER.  Meaning that if I have not covered your brand, for whatever reason, I would like to re-establish a relationship of mutual respect.  I want to cover your brand, but just as you should expect me to be fair and balanced, I will expect you to be fair and balanced in how you share news, etc.  Stop playing favorites.  Simple as that.
5.  I will continue to call it like I see it, which may sometimes be uncomfortable to read.  But I will also continue to promote you like crazy when I feel that you do something particularly good.  Jean-Claude Biver himself, if he is honest about it, would have to admit that while I have been critical of some decisions, mine is pretty much the only outlet to praise Hublot and Tag's charitable actions.

In the near future, a PayPal button will be added to the Tempus Fugit site for those who wish to donate to the upkeep.  Upkeep means paying for travel to BaselWorld, NYC for event coverage, etc.  So that we are all 100% clear I operate Tempus Fugit at a loss, and I do it because I ENJOY doing it.  I have a day job to pay for my dinner, Tempus Fugit is my dessert ; )

In closing, I would like to particularly thank those who have supported the blog through advertising.  You have made it much more doable, and I cannot thank you enough for the support!

Thanks for tuning in, and I hope you continue to do so.

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