MaiWorld.com says its the “leader in affinity USB flash drives” but I question that because the company that sought out Zennie62Media to assist in its CES 2014 promotion of its products does not honor agreements. MaiWorld.com owes Zennie62Media $350, of a total $850 job, and while that’s not a lot of money to some, it’s the principle of the situation that matters most.
When Silvia Vio of MaiWorld.com contacted me, she wrote this:
my name is Silvia and I work in Maikii, company leader in USB flash drives
Maikii is composed of two branch, www.maikii.com (where we customize the
USB keys with logo) and www.maiworld.com (retail branch, where we sell the
usb flash drives of the licensing, as Simpsons, Star Wars etc…). We will
be at the fair with Maiworld, presenting our USB flash drives and iPhone
I contact you because we will at CES in January and i would like to find
one person to help us with the communication.
My idea is “live twitting” at the fair, tell what going on at our booth,
special guest at CES, important events and so on.
I expect these goals:
-buzz in the social
Can you help us with this activities? Are you already done “live twitting”?
Our account to twitter is: https://twitter.com/maiworldcom if you are
interested ti this activities, could you tell me what are the cost for all
days at the fair?
I wrote this in response:
Thanks for the inquiry. I’m press at CES for the 5th year in a row. (See: http://www.zennie62blog.com/2013/12/16/zennie62-com-zennie62media-credentialed-for-international-ces-las-vegas-2014-for-5th-year-81481/).
It reads like you want a stationary person at your booth for the Twitter-based social media. But I think I can fashion an alternative that will meet your objectives far beyond that, and yet not cause me to miss my already pre-set assignment meetings.
More soon today.
So, after some thought, I crafted this agreement:
Here’s my proposal: Maikii would be Zennie62 coverage sponsor. That means:
1. First paragraph mention, with booth #, and website link, in ALL CES-related posts after the deal is agreed to and payment is made.
2. Before-video mention and Maikii logo in all CES-related videos after the deal is agreed to and payment is made.
3. Four Daily twitter tweets on Maikii-booth products under #CES2014 hashtag. (I also control my own retweets.) I can use your account, and mate its activities with my other accounts.
For all of that, the payment would be $850 as a retainer via PayPal. I would start upon payment before CES. So, if payment started today, that’s when my work would begin.
I run 78 blogs and 155 Twitter accounts. I also own this Las Vegas Blog (http://lasvegasfocus.blogspot.com/) where the content will also go, and two Twitter accounts attached to that.
No one offers the kind of service just presented to you, regardless of cost.
Made A Great Network Of Content For MaiWorld.com
I told Silvia that the initial interview them with them their products would not be not part of the cost, but just me working as media, but because they were the sponsor, I felt I had to disclose our relationship while promoting them. Thus, this is the first video we did before I even left for Las Vegas:
And I made this video to announce the sponsorship:
So after a few days I sent over an invoice, but to make it easier for them, I divided the payment into two phases: $500 up front and $350 after the work was done. There was no condition placed on the final payment.
I also threw in something I did not mention: a 728 x 90 banner. I did this because now that Zennie62.com is a news aggregator, I may not be able to get to the CES posts that appear on my blog from publications like the USATODAY or Bleacher Report. Thus, they had even more exposure from the banner.
So I arrived at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, and made visiting their booth 80257 at the Gold Pavilion my first priority. They were setting up, so I made this video:
In actuality, after I turned off the camera, and just as I was about to dive in and lift boxes, Chira said they did not need my help – the complete opposite of what she said on camera. So I went on to take care of my other CES obligations on that Monday, or “CES Press Day.”
As for the tweets, I set up an automatic system of tweets from their account, one that fired off at predetermined time points, nine-times a day. But I also went a giant step further and redesigned their Twitter profile because it was all in Italian. No one would come to see what they had as it was designed – they only had 28 followers. All of their tweets were in Italian, none in English. None.
While CES is an internationally-attended affair, English is the language of commerce and Twitter is the social media platform that’s most used to communicate what’s happening at the convention. Thus, if you’re not using English, and not using Twitter effectively, you’re not going to be in the CES conversation.
Overall, through the week, I made content that caused 101 tweets and retweets and increased their Twitter following to 63. No, it didn’t set the World on fire, but the follower count was more than doubled.
Their were several problems beyond my control, like the location of the booth. The booth was at the “Gold Pavilion,” a giant tent at the extreme northern edge of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Gold Pavilion was not only out of the way of the flow of CES traffic, but MaiWorld.com’s booth was in the back of it. So, you had to walk to the tent, and then all the way through the football-field-sized room to get to see the MaiWorld.com booth.
I had to ask four CES people if they knew where the “Gold Pavilion” was.
So I did find it.
Was It Because I Was Black?
Someone asked me if the MaiWorld.com folks knew I was black, as if that might be an issue with them. I said I didn’t think so, but now I wonder. The idea that they would have an issue with me in that way did not really cross my mind until I actually met the folks at the booth in Las Vegas. They were fine, but did seem a bit stand-offish and what can be called superficially friendly. For example, they did not invite me out to get to know me – not once. They also did not provide me with product to promote them – no USB flash drives. The one I have, a car, I had to buy from them.
Think about that.
So how am I supposed to be an advocate for a product they will not even give to me to promote?
But the real kicker was they did not even have the Marvel USB Flash Drives to sell or even give away – the display they had was a “demo” – as much as you can demo a USB Flash Drive.
And on top of that, the MaiWorld.com folks didn’t want any one who didn’t have an “exhibitor” tag to play their spin game to win anything.
Think about that.
So you come all the way over to the booth to see the Marvel products and maybe get one, only to be told you can’t spin the wheel to win anything because you don’t have the “exhibitor” tag – oh, and by the way, there’s no Marvel USB flash drives.
That problem almost fell to me too, but I insisted on playing and being able to win something. I did. I won one of their sleeve for iPad products, which I’m going to give to my Mom, and I made a video about it:
The video resulted in even more exposure for MaiWorld.com.
In all, there are 22 CES-related videos that mention MaiWorld.com at the start of them, and to date total over 5,000 views to date, and the view count will just grow over time. This video of me using the Sony Personal Viewer is already over 1,000 views, alone:
…and mentions MaiWorld.com in it.
And then there’s my BMW i3 video, which I expect to take off beyond the over 300 views it has right now:
..But, hey, it’s 300 views!
So I do all of that, and when I return I don’t get a single email of thanks. Nothing.
Nor did I receive my $350 payment.
I had to threaten to block their Twitter account just to get attention, and when I did, I go this note:
sorry but we are preparing for another fair for this weekend and we are quite full, moreover, before answering you, I wanted to analyze the work and compare with Chiara.
here our considerations:
– It is true that the number of followers is doubled, but it is also true that it was a very low number, just from 30 to 63.
– Tweets were about 90 in total, a good number but they were really so repetitive… it would be nice to change the content as I have suggested to you during the show days.
– the Visits to our site from twitter and http://www.zennie62blog.com were in total 14, I really don’t think you can say it is a good number… maybe the reason why is that most of the links in your initial tweet were in error.
– You never show the products in your tweet and video, and it would be nice to do that
– 800 views of the video was a good result, most of them anyway are people has seen the video from Italy, friends of Chiara (and she is not so happy about that!
She writes “You never show the products in your tweet and video” – so take a look at the videos above I showed you above. The one about the iPad sleeve is – wait, that’s one of their products, right? Right?
Oh, and the video with Chiara shows a photo of their so-called Marvel USB Flash Drives.
As for others in the videos, I was under the impression Chiara was the spokesperson for the product. Her friends seeing her should not even be something mentioned in an email to me.
As for the tweets, what she fails to note is they were augmented by other tweets I made during the course of the show. Moreover, she also fails to note that not all of the tweets had the link error, and the ones that did, I fixed. Silvia also fails to note that I made a number of blogs that have links to the MaiWorld.com site. Plus, she doesn’t even have the right code in the MaiWorld.com site to evaluate traffic in real time!
In all, she was just making up reasons not to pay me. But the bottom line is they did not consult me on how to market what they did at CES and their lack of sales is not my fault – what I did worked. WELL. And, as I said, the changes I made to their Twitter account were to bring them more into the mainstream of English commerce.
The way I was treated by MaiWorld.com was awful. By contrast, I had friends in public relations and other startups take me to dinner over the course of CES – not MaiWorld.com.
The lesson for anyone in social media is to be careful who you do business internationally – get it all paid up front or don’t do it. With MaiWorld.com, an agreement you may think you have is not one they will honor.
A very sad day.