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November 22, 2010 at 9:45 am #970828::
I noticed a big bold bright advertisement for
in the form of a banner right up the top of flying solo, and it concerned me for reasons i’ll outline below.
Firstly I realize that Flying Solo has to make money, and will of course run advertisements from big organizations such as Telstra, Intel, Netregistry etc, which I have no problems with at all. In fact I would have no problems with 99.99% of potential advertisers out there.
on the other hand I see as a predator type company that offers an inferior quality product compared to practically everyone else on the market, but at a predatory price designed to drive the market down and damage small businesses.
Specifically the problems I have with them are:
1) Many uneducated new small business owners working on a budget feel that going with them is a good option to save money. This then often results in businesses handicapping themselves by making them look unprofessional in terms of their communication collateral.
2) The predatory pricing designed to stifle competition negatively affects many genuine honest printers, graphic designers, print brokers etc by forcing them to compete their good quality products against rubbish. Many in this category are forum members here, including many paying members in the directory.
3) Flying solo running their advertisements will to many signal a “recommendation” of their services as a good option for printing, to the detriment of the customers themselves (whether they realise it or not), and also to many of the same small business that flying solo claims to represent.
An excellent article on this type of practice is the below. The article relates to the Signwriting & Digital Printing industry in Australia, where another company with similar ethics company is doing a similar type of thing to what
is doing, but in some ways going even further. Even though not named, everyone in that industry knows exactly who is being referred to (PM me if you need to know). Though the industry is different the concepts are the same, and I encourage the administrators to read the article in full for some good insight on the affect of this type of company has:
MattNovember 22, 2010 at 10:30 am #1046270OneArmedGraphicsMember
- Total posts: 314
Advertisments – WHY?????
They make me cringe too having seen a couple of colleagues use their services and not realise just how poor value things were. (One was even paying for the website service. Dreadfully over the top fees for very outdated inclusions)
I recently got full colour business cards from Moo for just the postage.
Price is going to attract a lot of newbies to them and from looking at comments online & seeing samples at Flickr, some learn from their ‘mistakes’ and some are perfectly happy to keep using them.
Saying that, I don’t really think you have any right to comment on the sites advertising policy. Well, you have right to comment of course, maybe just not the right to question it?
RobbieNovember 22, 2010 at 10:36 am #1046271::
Advertisments – WHY?????OneArmedGraphics, post: 56522 wrote:Saying that, I don’t really think you have any right to comment on the sites advertising policy. Well, you have right to comment of course, maybe just not the right to question it?
Interesting thought Robbie.
I take the view though that even though Flying Solo is a business, it’s also a community. If you see something you don’t like in a community you are actively involved in (be it online or in the “real world”), you have a right to question it to those in charge, to at least get their thoughts on the matter.
Doesn’t mean they have to act on it or agree of course!
MattNovember 22, 2010 at 11:13 am #1046272JohnSheppardMember
- Total posts: 940
What’s wrong with predatory pricing? In that industry you could try as much as you like to create a monopoly, but I doubt it is possible?.
Every industry on the planet has a competitor who uses price as their point of difference?
IMO, the real issue is the same one sided omission of facts almost all marketers use and its no exception to the above mentioned company. The day all marketers add “Our price is low, our service is poor, but that’s ok if that’s what you want” to their blurbs is the day all our problems will be solved.November 22, 2010 at 11:24 am #1046273Peter – FS AdministratorMember
- Total posts: 1,889
Thanks for your post Matt and for your comments Robbie.
In accordance with our guidelines around public disputes and defamatory content, we have removed the named reference to the advertiser in the original post and ask that any ensuing discussion respects this ruling.
Public disputes: Flying Solo is not the appropriate channel for disputes or arguments between named individuals or companies. Any gripes should be taken up directly with the company concerned. It is our policy not to get involved, and any such discussions will be edited to remove names, or more likely, deleted.
I am sure we can discuss the principles of the issue without naming brands.
In this instance, the ads promote services for a legitimate business that has offerings for the micro business audience. Clearly, each business has very different priorities when assessing their purchasing decisions.
It is inevitable that individuals, particularly in related industries, will have very different views and experiences on products and services on the market.
As ‘community custodians’, we will endeavour to respond to these situations and concerns quickly and professionally. However, the decisions made won’t please everyone
As always, your input, comments and discussion are welcomed and a great help as things evolve around here.
PeterNovember 22, 2010 at 11:46 am #1046274::
Fair enough you have removed the name of the advertiser, in hindsight I should probably have PM’d you the info rather than displaying publically – for that I apologise.
However I would appreciate a response to my concerns, beyond the current discussion on whether or not I should have actually named the company. In particular would be interested to know the following IN GENERAL.
Does Flying Solo in any way vet who advertises on the site, beyond ensuring the business is an actual business?
Does Flying Solo take into consideration the overall best interests of the community when allowing or disallowing advertisers? Or does simply whoever wants to pay get a look in?
I would also be curious to know (although you may not want to say, and that’s fine), is the advertisement in question paid for in cash, or just an affiliate one? If affiliate based, there are LOTS of other good options out there…..
As another example, Robert has a passion close to his heart of working to get the big banks to improve. Now banks are neither all good nor all bad, but as a hypothetical example, would you accept an advertisement from a big four bank for a particular offer, if the offer was one you considered detrimental to small business, especially the inexperienced?
Looking forward to your response,
MattNovember 22, 2010 at 10:57 pm #1046275Robert GerrishMember
- Total posts: 1,274
Some responses below to your questions…marketingweb, post: 56536 wrote:Fair enough you have removed the name of the advertiser, in hindsight I should probably have PM’d you the info rather than displaying publically – for that I apologise.
Thanks Matt, no problem.marketingweb, post: 56536 wrote:However I would appreciate a response to my concerns, beyond the current discussion on whether or not I should have actually named the company. In particular would be interested to know the following IN GENERAL.
Does Flying Solo in any way vet who advertises on the site, beyond ensuring the business is an actual business?
All our display ads publish directly onto the site via our ad agency, so no we do not vet every single ad or campaign. However, we have outlined a number of specific product/service categories that we don’t accept any advertising for, and, we entrust our agency to highlight anything that is likely to be contentious before it runs.marketingweb, post: 56536 wrote:Does Flying Solo take into consideration the overall best interests of the community when allowing or disallowing advertisers? Or does simply whoever wants to pay get a look in?
We’ve always put the community needs at the very top of our list. We regularly say no to campaigns and advertising opportunities that we feel don’t serve, or aren’t relevant to our community. Yes, advertising does enable us to deliver our support and services, but it’s a balancing act that we take very seriously. We also ensure our agency have a good understanding of our audience and they of course track interest via online activity.marketingweb, post: 56536 wrote:I would also be curious to know (although you may not want to say, and that’s fine), is the advertisement in question paid for in cash, or just an affiliate one? If affiliate based, there are LOTS of other good options out there…..
In terms of this specific campaign, I don’t think this is relevant to this discussion either way (and right now, I don’t know the answer!). While there are many opportunities out there, we tend to avoid affiliate marketing.marketingweb, post: 56536 wrote:As another example, Robert has a passion close to his heart of working to get the big banks to improve. Now banks are neither all good nor all bad, but as a hypothetical example, would you accept an advertisement from a big four bank for a particular offer, if the offer was one you considered detrimental to small business, especially the inexperienced?
My passion is actually directed at helping all corporate business better understand the needs, characteristics and motivations of micro business. I don’t pretend to understand how the big end of town run their businesses and if a campaign appears online such as you describe, there are others better qualified than I to pass judgement!
As always, we welcome all community feedback, positive and negative, as it helps us continually improve things. So don’t hesitate to keep it coming.
RobertNovember 23, 2010 at 1:09 am #1046276AstridMember
- Total posts: 459
I don’t know if we are talking about the same ad – if it’s the one taking the mickey out of graphic designers and them charging $250 per hour, I was only hoping for users here on FS to not take that headline seriously
Designers who are charging that fee won’t be here.
I was considering being annoyed with that ad for half an hour, but then let it go — this kind of competition is everywhere, not just here.
Whoever wants to go with these kinds of offers will do so anyway and if price is the main priority I can’t and won’t compete.
AstridNovember 23, 2010 at 1:18 am #1046277::
Thanks for your thorough and well put together reply.
Appreciate where you are coming from, and will leave it at that. I don’t want to create some big blue in any way, just wanted to raise the issue and leave it to you to enact as you see fit.
Thanks again for providing such a great community for us all.
MattNovember 23, 2010 at 2:41 am #1046278Past-MemberMember
- Total posts: 1,815
Advertisements – WHY?????
I’m going to go with Robert’s suggestion to keep comments flowing … I understand where Matt is coming from – and I also know that Matt appreciates the FS community here and the work that Robert, Peter, Sam and Jayne do – as do I.
I also agree with Astrid – I too get upset momentarily with some ads, and then end up taking the same attitude she has and let it go.
However, I received a newsletter this week that had an advertisement (not yet seen on this site) that was promoting outsourcing for $5 per hour and discounts for referrals etc. As the minimum adult wage in Australia is $15 for employees, this to me is an ethical dilemma and not acceptable and I was so upset thinking of the unemployment and loss of jobs for Aussies in the future that I thought about it all night. But I physically can’t do anything about it because these people have a right to run their business even if they obviously don’t value people’s work at all. I personally think there should be a level starting playing field and a minimum that you should outsource that is equal to a minimum in Australia, but that’s another story.
For my own field, there will always be, and always have been, competitors who base their business on price only. Astrid, (hope it’s ok I mentioned you), and I don’t choose not to compete on that level. She is incredibly good at her work and deserves respect and fair payment for what she produces, as do I. Getting upset at those ads is not going to help either of us or anyone similar.
I don’t know what the answer is. For what it’s worth, I don’t like seeing those ads either because they devalue the soloists on this site trying to make a living and many of them can make you feel depressed. But I understand that the ad agencies just take the bookings and go with it. And advertising is what helps pay for these forums, like TV etc. whether we like it or not.
We just have to show our point of difference and hopefully have enough people referring us that know our strengths, talents and services. Just like Robert promotes in his CD The Referral Virus.
By the way, as a Libran, I tend to see both sides of everything, which can be very annoying at times.November 24, 2010 at 5:32 am #1046279::
I personally try to buy Australian when ever I can.
Sometimes it is difficult.
Even on a pension (old age), buying Australian is out of reach.
However as far as trade or professional people are concerned I will always buy Australian.
Look at our economy, if you dont keep the dollars in Australia, perhaps in a few years time there wont be an economy.
Think about Aussies.November 24, 2010 at 10:12 am #1046280::
Thanks for your comments, and I agree buying Aussie is very important.
I do however also think there is a little more to this one than just Aussie vs “not Aussie” – it’s a case of people being sold what I believe to be rubbish product, which they will often then not realise how amateur they look and do damage to their business.
I actually received a business card today from a friend, printed by the company in question – I asked him if he printed his own cards at home (a polite way of asking why they looked so bad). He told me they were purchased online from said company, but he was looking to get some “proper” ones next time.
MattNovember 25, 2010 at 2:06 am #1046281::
Just goes to show you ” getwhatyoupayfor” ‘pay peanuts get monkeys’
What an oportunity to recommend one of our quality printers eg EmroyNovember 25, 2010 at 7:00 am #1046282::Burgo, post: 56817 wrote:Just goes to show you ” getwhatyoupayfor” ‘pay peanuts get monkeys’
What an oportunity to recommend one of our quality printers eg Emroy
Of course, but I guess that was my point. We can recommend all we like in the forums here, discuss what options are good not etc so that people can get a good result through community input.
However if a printer that most (although definitely not all) would agree is a poor option has their big bright banner up the top of the site, then this is a sort of a contradiction as I see it.
Hope you don’t see me as being contrary Burgo, I think I’m going to leave this one now!
MattNovember 25, 2010 at 8:37 am #1046283
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