Should we expect social media influencers not to pay for anything? Or start laying reality down on them now? – The White Moose Cafe vs Elle Darby
The Back Story –
Yet again, The White Moose Cafe have broken the internet with their controversial marketing strategies. However, the bloggers of the internet believe this time it has gone too far. Are they right? Or are they being a bunch of snowflakes? Earlier on in the week, The White Moose Cafe decided to call out “social media influencers” for expecting to get free stuff because of their online presence. Owner Paul Stenson, decided to publish an email sent to him by “social media influencer”, Elle Darby, after she requested to stay in his hotel for free in exchange for publicity. Whilst Paul decided to conceal her identity and generalise the situation, the vlogger/blogger went on to create a video expressing her feelings on the matter and thus revealing her involvement with the hotel.
Here’s the email sent to Paul from Elle;
Since then, the situation has escalated drastically. The influencer industry is up in arms with the way Paul handled the situation. On the flip side, the other side of the internet defends Pauls brash actions. As a result, myself and Gavin find ourselves in a disagreement on the situation. Gavin believes Paul is in the wrong for the way he handled the situation. On the other hand, I believe it was completely fair.
Take a read of our perspectives on the situation below!
The White Moose Cafe Was Right! – Sam John Byrne
First of all, I just want to say, If it wasn’t for The White Moose Cafe I probably would have never heard of Elle Darby. For those of you that don’t know who she is, she claims to be an “influencer”.
She claims that being an “influencer” is her life and it’s how she makes her money. Clearly not enough money to pay for an extremely cheap hotel. Regardless, this isn’t a post of character assassination. Elle Darby blatantly states in her video that she expects hotels and other businesses to give her free things in exchange for exposure because it’s the cheaper option for them. Granted, she’s not the only “influencer” that does this. In this day and age, it’s considered the norm amongst the social media industry. Also in her defence, she was polite in the email and the way she approached Paul.
In return Paul sent this;
Do I think Pauls response was harsh?
Yes. Do I think he’s wrong? No. Paul showed tough love and hit the nail on the head. Making the post public, he generalised the situation for all these social media influencers expecting free shit. He gave a brutally honest response and I admire people who have the courage to say it as it is. When have you ever seen the likes of Robert Downey Jr message a hotel expecting a free stay cause he’s Robert Downey Jr? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Paul knew exactly what type of outrage this would cause which doesn’t make him an asshole but a genius social media marketer. Controversy pays and as a man that has stirred a lot of shit over the years he knows it. For instance, before this incident, Elle Darby’s vlogs averaged 30k views. One call out from Paul shot her video up to 300k views.
And she’s the one trying to help him with exposure.
What about her intentions?
A lot of people assume that her intention was to collaborate but it wasn’t. She was looking for a free place to stay. That was her intention. She was planning a trip to Dublin with her boyfriend for leisure not business. And just because you have thousands of followers does not mean you should expect people to get on their knees and grace you with gifts. How narcissistic can you get?
In this life, you should never expect anything from anybody. And give as much as you can. What you give is what you get back, as the golden rule goes. Clearly, this person has been handed a lot of shit on a silver platter because some businesses are desperate for sales.
Out of spite, she decided to get her following to attack The White Moose Cafe. What did Paul do in exchange? Nothing. He’s currently sitting back, smoking a joint and watching the drama unfold. All she’s doing is digging a bigger hole for herself. Paul made a great point too, he claims The White Moose Cafe is fortunate enough to have such a huge following. However, if any other business did this, the attack would ruin their reputation. As a result, this means workers with no involvement could be out of their jobs. I bet she didn’t even think of the subsequent consequences for others. Always remember, actions speak louder than words.
Paul did not dictate his following to attack her. She did it to herself. Regardless, it’s been great publicity for the both of them and she has Paul to thank for that. Instead of crying about it, she should just think of ways to juice it even more. Paul has made a great shout by slamming down some truth about the social media industry. Elle Darby has ruined her own reputation. As evident from her disabling visible likes/dislikes and comments on her latest video. However, she keeps the video up.
Maybe in future, focus more on your content and what you can do for others and if you’re good enough, the benefits will come to you. The market always rewards those that are good enough.
The White Moose Cafe Was Wrong! – Gavin Quigley
I’m going to start off by stressing that I agree with a lot of what Sam has said. I recognise the frustration of Paul Stenson and The White Moose Cafe. But I am looking at this situation objectively. I will be honest in saying I don’t care about the two sides involved in this dispute.
I also want to emphasise that I respect and understand the fact that The White Moose Cafe is known for being controversial. For anyone who doesn’t know them, Paul might come across as a horrible, horrible person. And maybe he is. But that is irrelevant in this discussion.
Additionally, people need to understand that Elle Darby makes a living as a blogger/ YouTuber. She is a human being who simply proposed a collaboration with another business. Perhaps she is not a good person. She may not know what she’s doing with regards to growing her platforms, but she is human. In my opinion, this was nothing more than a business proposition.
What did Paul do wrong?
As I have stressed, I don’t have a problem with the way The White Moose Cafe runs and operates. Their business strategy is drastically different to most. They do not care one bit what the public think of them, and that is why they’re so successful.
But I don’t like how they handled this situation.
We live in a snowflake society where everyone loves to be offended. There is a generation of people out there who are greedy, self-entitled idiots. What I see in this situation is two people operating a successful growth strategy for their businesses. Paul thrives on controversy and loves to offend people who love to be offended. Elle works in collaboration with other businesses to mutually build each other’s brand. In a lot of cases, she is receiving free products and services in return for spreading a positive opinion about the brand. But in this instance, it was Paul who got so easily offended?
Wouldn’t you agree?
Paul received a harmless email from a woman looking to work with him. It was a business proposal. Forget the ‘influencer’ industry. The fact is a collaboration was proposed. This individual felt that the number of people she could influence and convince to stay at the hotel would produce more revenue for The White Moose Café than the amount of revenue it would earn from her paying full price for her stay. He was open to accept or decline this invitation.
If you are unhappy about societal characteristics, that is completely different. You must still respect people. Those who have put in hard work to grow followings on their social media platforms don’t need to be abused. Forget about the individuals here. Forget about the mentality of ‘influencers’. This is a simple aspect of the business world.
Now every single one of Elle Darby’s fans is going to be influenced. They will not like Paul Stenson or The White Moose Café. Each of these people will trust and value Elle’s opinion much more than Paul’s.
No one is wrong here. Each party has benefited from this dispute. But I felt no need for Paul to publicise it. He makes a great point that no one ‘deserves free shit’. But he isn’t recognising what the email he received actually was. This woman was not trying to get anything free from him. She was proposing a deal to work together.
What are the consequences?
By publicising it, I feel that Paul Stenson looks immature, he looks uneducated as a businessman. But none of this matters. Just look at his business model? In a strange parallel with Elle, his business is him. Once his following grows, he wins. Customer service doesn’t matter like it does to 99% of businesses. Bad reviews aren’t a problem for his growth strategy.
I feel that Paul’s reaction was distasteful as it was a public attack on an individual who did nothing wrong. He could have shown some respect to Elle Darby in his response. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with Elle’s industry, but she is simply a tiny cog in the wheel. Doing her job. Building her brand. Just like you Paul. Why are you so offended?
This is a mad debate and myself and Sam are trying not to kill each other over it.
But who’s side are you on?
Check out our exclusive interview with Paul Stenson and Jason Kidd below:
SJB & GQ.