Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Salam, Bloggers! The Arabian Nights Village in Abu Dhabi wants you!

Desert in Al Ain, UAE
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's one of the most witless emails I've received in a long time, from a company calling itself 'Smart Comms' and a bloke who's given himself the job title 'Digital Scientist'. You can tell we're in trouble already, can't you?

David, the digital scientist, wants to offer all UAE bloggers the chance to qualify for a free-of-charge stay at the 'Arabian Nights Village', apparently a one of a kind cultural experience in Abu Dhabi. That's it, that's all the detail in the email. All bloggers have to do to 'qualify' is send David a list of their social media followers, specifically:

1) Unique Monthly Visitors to your Blog:
2) Twitter followers:
3) Instagram followers:
4) Facebook fans:
5) Other Social media footprint?

Based on these numbers, presumably - rather than any qualitative or content based analysis, David will work his 'digital science' and select bloggers to join in the 'exciting activities' at Arabian Nights Village.

Presumably David will find this post one day as he trawls the UAE's blogs to find new victims for his 'digital science'. So here's a message for him that is infinitely more satisfying than replying to his email.

Look, David. I don't want to go to 'Arabian Nights Village'. I don't know what it is, what it does, what it's like or even who's behind it. I'm not particularly interested, but you've hardly piqued any shred of residual interest I might have had. I certainly don't want to "take a first-class Desert Safari and stay in houses inspired by Emirati lifestyles from throughout the ages" - not that I'm uninterested in Emirati culture, far from it. But from the tone of your mail, I have the nasty feeling that whatever 'experience' you're offering consists of being hauled around with a ring through my nose and being forced to endure a number of humiliating encounters with something lacklustre before being beasted into posting about it in awed and gushing prose that you would, ideally, dictate. I could be wrong, but that's a chance I'm taking.

I have very little interest indeed in responding to your invitation to validate myself to you by proving I have sufficient followers, friends or other online contacts to jump over your arbitrary bar. Why on earth you thought spamming every blogger/social contact you could scrape from the web with a mail like this would get you any result other than opprobrium, I don't know. I mean, you didn't even take the trouble to address me by name or contact me in any way prior to this. What on earth did you think you were doing? What in the name of all that's chocolate flavoured did you think the 'social' is there in 'social media' for?

Maybe you'll get lucky - maybe there's some rube out there who'll trade his/her twenty followers for a night out with you and your village. But, for the record, David, it's a 'no thanks' from me. Best of luck with other 'bloggers'...
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Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

And there I was thinking it was an exclusive invitation!

This is yet another episode in the dumbing down of the UAE PR industry, which was initiated by the folks who put together a data-base of contacts and presumably then sold it on to PR organisations.

Each day I am addressed as "Dear Editor", under "bcc", and this ensures the "spam folder" is regularly topped up.

BTW this proliferation of idiocy seems to have morphed from LinkedIn.

Maxine Redding said...

Sadly, their are so many 'review' blogs these days that are purely set up for freebie hunting that will respond to this kind of twaddle that they will never learn.

Sad but true.

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

Alexander, could you not open a page for all of these invitations, then they might reach the correct target audience.

This afternoon I have been addressed as a #UAEBlogger by Acer's latest PR Company - wallis-mc.com - needless to write I will not be attending on 3rd October!

Mother Inferior. said...

Quite offended I didn't get one :)
But yes, his invitation will very much be taken up, and then some - Maxine is right.

Sarah Walton said...

Didn't get the Arabian Nights Village, but did get the Acer one. Interesting, because I don't blog on gadgets but do blog on travel. The 'scientists' are obviously plugged into the wrong frequency.
And site stats for a night at a campsite? That's akin to asking someone to show you their underwear so you can put sand in it. Eejit.

Devina Divecha said...

Hahahaha. I was approached for this one and just trashed it... couldn't be bothered to reply.

Also got the Acer invite mentioned in the comments ... they emailed me at my WORK address and not the one listed on my blog and called me a "UAE Blogger" then asked me to "keep my dairies free" ... think I need to go milk my cows now.

Stacy said...

While we are ranting, I can discuss the marketing folks who offer "to work with your site in some capacity such as through contributing unique content or by providing a display for placement. The article will be professionally written in line with your site’s tone and voice and will reference our client, one of the UK's largest insurance brands."

Yeah, that's a quote from the pitch. How on earth are they going to write something in my voice and tone? Are they going to make up an expat experience along with a recipe? The offer was an administration fee of £80 annually. Right.

You tell 'em, Alex!

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

I actually replied, politely to the email from the 'digital scientist'. Wish I had read this before so I could have just sent them the link!

Grace @ Sandier Pastures said...

It takes 365 muscles to write this post and only 34 to reply to the email with a "No" LOL

I am rarely addressed by my name (a very simple name, mind you) but always Dear Editor, Blogger or Sandie.

I didn't get the ACER invite but got the Lenovo inviting bloggers to come have fun. Do you mean I just show up at the venue and declare, "Hi, I'm a blogger, can I come in?"

And I'm not even a tech blogger.

The spray and pray technique is the only PR strategy most agencies and digital 'scientists' know. Sadly, that is also called spamming at the receiver's side!

David said...

Hi Andrew it's David. Have we met? Your description of me is uncanny ;)

I have scripted a response to your post, full of witty retorts and mind blowing repartee, but it's already over a page long and I started to bore myself.

I would be happy to post it if anyone shows any interest in a response to their comments or yours.

In the mean time, as betting is illegal in the UAE, I would like to propose a friendly wager if you choose to accept.

In the spirit of hospitality that I was endeavouring to promote I would like to invite Rupert, Maxine, Mother Inferior, Sarah, Devina, Stacy, Sally, and Grace, whether they have a blog or not, and from my own pocket, (no freebie), to join me on a 'First-Class Desert Safari and to stay in houses inspired by Emirati lifestyles from throughout the ages'.

We will leave Andrew at home where he can safely blog about the latest email he has received and then after we have hit the dunes, ridden some quad bikes, relaxed in the pool, eaten delicious food and have had a great nights sleep we can then decide who had the most fun and who is most satisfied.

The offer is on the table, let me know if and when you would like to arrange it.

If you would like all the info before you say a big loud YES! at the top of your typing lungs, here is the website www.arabiannightsvillage.com and my phone number +971 556 556 903 even if you just want to talk. These were both included in the original email :)

(And because there are no hard feelings and I will always support the freedom of bloggers to speak their mind, of course Andrew is welcome to join us! We won't offer him any special treatment though, oh no, as in the true spirit of Bedouin tradition all our guests are welcomed as guests of honour)

It will be a pleasure to meet and speak to you all.

HRH David - Defender of Humans, Master of Sandy Duning & Ruler over all the Dominions of Bayt Dawood

(I made up my own title this time)

Cheers, Dave ;)

David said...

Sorry Andrew

I of course meant Alexander.

I'm on a creative roll today making up names!

You can call me Daniel from now on if you wish.

David said...

Sorry Andrew

I of course meant Alexander.

I'm on a creative roll today making up names!

You can call me Daniel from now on if you wish.

David said...

I'm secretly relieved none of you took me up on my personal offer, which is now off the table, as my funds have never been as extensive as my ability to extend the hand of friendship.

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