This originally ran a year ago - but it seems payola still pays.
I guess this is a bit of an open appeal to the watch brands out there to NOT continue to do business with the online magazines, blogs, and "influencers" that require financial reimbursement for coverage. One of these outlets has at least indicated that a certain news piece or review was "sponsored" but think about that for a minute - a brand is PAYING money to have their watch reviewed by someone who refuses to do the review UNLESS THEY KNOW THEY WILL GET PAID BEFORE THEY EVEN WRITE IT?!? How in God's name is that even remotely going to be an honest review? And does this mean that although a brand might have news, if the services weren't paid for, it won't be covered? It's an interesting question -
"If a brand has a new release but they didn't pay blogger/instagrammer/influencer X, did it really happen?"
Little inside tip for you folks running the brands and making PR/Marketing decisions, most of us who cover you know which blogs, "instagrammers", online magazines, "influencers", etc. CHARGE fees to cover you. In fact, we even know the amounts because they have been so "professional" as to create pricing sheets. And most of us find it funny that you continue to not only fund these knuckle-heads, but to listen to you crow about this purchased coverage as if you'd just won some sort of award of excellence.
In fairness, for better or worse, the watch business is a business. I got involved out of irrational, uncontrollable, often unrequited love. And to this day that is what keeps me going. NOT the all-expense-paid trip to the Hamptons, NOT to learn to surf in Hawaii, NOT to stick it to some young entrepreneur trying to launch his/her watch by charging him/her thousands of dollars that he/she can't easily part with in exchange for just a mention on my blog.
It is NOT supposed to be this way. It is deceptive, and it is dishonest. And you have the power to stop it.
So watch brands both big and small, I've been told that perhaps I have an irrational desire to see things a certain way. To want people to at least attempt to operate in an honest, and straightforward manner. And in complete truth - had I been the first puppy at the feeding dish getting fat while the runts died from malnutrition, I might live in that same ethical place that the people you bankroll do, swanning about to your events, demanding payment for "service", playing the game. But if I'm honest, I think that deep down you are all better than this. And your brands are better than this. So may I suggest that just as we say when you visit a national park in the US that you "Please don't feed the bears". And we change it to:
"Please don't feed the Hipsters"
As I said in a previous post - paying for advertising, the occasional press junket, and goodwill swag? Fair enough. Brokering coverage in an online magazine, blog, etc.? That is not real coverage. And like any abusive relationship, the longer you keep giving in to the bully, the longer they will be able to manipulate and bully you.
I would like to leave you with a quote from one of my favorite all-time movies - Millers Crossing. In this scene, Johnny Casper is complaining about paying to "fix" a boxing match, and having his fixed fight become a losing proposition because another person will "sell" the information to another group regarding the fixed outcome of the fight. I use this example because I personally feel that it is endemic to the watch business. And frankly, it shouldn't be.
"It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust? For a good return you gotta go bettin' on chance, and then you're back with anarchy. Right back inna' jungle. On account of the breakdown of ethics. That's why ethics is important. It's the grease makes us get along, what separates us from the animals, beasts a burden, beasts a prey. Ethics. Whereas (insert person you paid for coverage) is a horse of a different color ethics- wise. As in, he ain't got any."