In the summer of 2006 a viral marketing wave blanketed Vancouver. Matchstick, an exciting company out of Toronto, was offering bloggers free stuff as long as they wrote about it, which sounded too good to be true regardless of how questionable their methods were.
Initially John was contacted about getting a free Nokia 6682 and although I had my concerns and doubts, everything worked out wonderfully and he still uses the phone today, and I had mine up until I got the iPhone.
After such a pleasant “no strings attached” experience that first time, that we blogged about and promoted, when I was contacted about the Samsung T10 campaign last fall I was fully on board. My T10 arrived with all the bells and whistles, I wrote a blog post, posted notes to Facebook and told my blogging friends about it even getting Keira hooked up with the mp3 player as well.
Fast forward a few months and I was contacted by two separate Matchstick representatives about the Dove Chocolate campaign. Having had such a positive experience on the two previous promotions I was on board and even blogged about it in advance (on my site and WetCoastWomen). I know several bloggers who signed up because of these posts and received some delicious chocolate. Unfortunately I wasn’t called back about the promo and never received any Dove.
This week I had another email from Matchstick, this time about a portable iPod charger. I thought this was perfect, right up my alley and I would definitely review it for my blog. I had a great talk with the helpful rep from the company over the phone although only a few hours after confirming my shipping address I received an email:
“Due to the fact that youâ€™ve participated in a Matchstick program within the last 12 months. Once we enter into the fall of 2008, we would be more then happy to include you in a new Matchstick program.”
Now this isn’t a matter of “I can’t get free stuff anymore,” because if I really wanted a portable iPod charger, I would probably just head over to Future Shop and buy one myself. The fact that I was emailed, given the survey, had the interview and was approved stings a bit as well but that’s not even the kicker. What gets me is that over the six months I have been emailed by varying Matchstick representatives a total of four times, and other bloggers have emailed me about Matchstick’s promotions at least a dozen times.
I would simply like to ask that if I am on a “disqualified” list, that I not be emailed, called or contacted in any way by this firm. I feel like a real sucker for writing about the Dove campaign (after being emailed and filling out the survey – not once told I didn’t qualify) because I gave them a lot of promotion to thousands of readers across the country meanwhile little did I know, I was ineligible.
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 😉