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What to do with Bad Reviews and Blogger Blackmail?
No such thing as bad publicity, right? Just when I thought the "private gay club" rumour was the most bizarre thing I've heard about us till date I come across "Blogger Blackmail", and it's so much more bizarre!
A while ago a not-very-well-known blogger emailed us a few times asking for free macaron and marshmallow samples in return for posting a positive review similar to others on her site. Now I am a little ashamed to admit this, I caved - NOT because my motivations were to "buy" positive reviews by chucking free stuff at anyone and their nan with a blog, but far worse...I did it for Google, ie: the backlink, which would help improve our SEO rankings.
However, despite my motivations behind caving I am always up for bloggers getting to know our brand so I agreed for wrapyourlipsaroundthis.com to pop into the shop during our super fun floral crown pop-up with Crown & Glory, to photograph and have a few treats. We prepared a cute little treat bag including a s'more, a marshmallow and a macaron for her. She did come with a friend and introduced herself to our shop team who were just about to grab her little stash and offer her some drinks when she asks for 3 large boxes of Muffles, Marshmallows and Macarons, plus two drinks. That's almost £100 worth of stuff!
My face when asked to give away A LOT of hard work for free
As it's a lot more than we would deem appropriate to give out for free for review (especially considering how insignificant this particular blog is), our staff then informed her of prices. The blogger seemed shocked that she wasn't getting all of that stuff for free, a real cringe OMG-don't-you-know-who-I-am moment, and told our staff that that was not the context of the email and regardless of whether she bought anything or not she would be reviewing the shop, further insinuating that if we didn't hand over all that stuff she'd be giving us bad reviews. #BloggerBlackmail is real people. Despite her threats our team was friendly and professional the whole time which is commendable as if I had been there I don't think I'd find the composure! She left empty-handed, only to come back half an hour later to buy 1 macaron and 1 marshmallow and once I was told of this I sensed the attack that was coming. Now that she had paid for it, her "negative" review must be "legit". #ModernDayBloggerBandit
She held up her threats to review negatively by going on a social media rant and posting unflattering chewed up photos of our products and claiming the macarons were inferior and hollow, the marshmallows were not fresh, our staff's service was bad and that our macaron chiller unit was empty and sad looking.
I of course disagree with all of her nonsense EXCEPT for the last point - indeed, our macaron chiller unit is empty and sad looking...because we had a ridiculously awesome and busy weekend during the Crown & Glory pop-up where we sold-out of almost everything, quicker than we could bake and replace! In fact, the whole shop is empty-looking and we're going to have to work even harder to re-stock and fulfill all our orders this week!
The ridiculousness of this all is that I wish I had the gall to go to restaurants and cafes demanding free stuff otherwise I'll be reviewing them badly. Somehow I think if I pulled that stunt at the Ritz I'd probably be arrested for blackmail, extortion, and/or libel. Bl00dy 'ell, forget Ritz, even Maccie D's would have me thrown out!
Blackmailing trolling blogger aside, if you are also a blogger reading this please don't feel like you can't approach us! We still believe in the value bloggers have for businesses, especially small independent businesses like ours. In fact, I have some awesome working relationships (and in some cases, now friendships!) with prolific bloggers such as Rock n Roll Bride, The Awkward Blog, Rock My Style and Bloved to name just a few (all awesome blogs btw so give them a follow on Instagram too!). Whether the blogger blogs as a job or as a hobby, almost every single blogger I have had any experience with has been nice, lovely, and more importantly - integrous. We give them stuff; they may or may not write about it; if they like they link; if they don't we blink...and both parties move on. We all know free stuff tastes the best - it's FREE! So while some may think that these glowing reviews are in a way "paid for" by providing something free, most bloggers have the integrity to NOT post if they really thought something was not to their taste. You know what they say, "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all".
Perhaps wrapyourlipsaroundthis.com wants to make an example of us by showing other businesses how bad her reviews can be if they don't cave to her demands, perhaps her ego is a bit bruised, perhaps she's just eating and drinking her way through life for free. I wish her luck with her blackmail-blog-that-almost-sounds-like-a-porn-site and will be taking our followers' advice of having a great evening ahead of me going through our countless good reviews to flush out the negativity! Thank you so much to our lovely and loyal customers - you guys are awesome and the whole reason why we keep doing what we're doing! We love your genuine and legitimate feedback!
Lots of blog-love,