Paid Influencers: Yay or Nay?

Posted by Mark

A couple of weeks back I posted a list of prices some local instagrammers charge for paid posts. Many readers felt the prices were absurd while finding the whole processes unethical, but how do brands feel about paid influencers?

Ali Ashkanani, the owner of Elevation Burger (whom also advertise on this blog) posted his view about this on LinkedIn and with his permission I’ve gone ahead and posted it below:

——————-

Paid Influencers: Yay or Nay?

Mark Makhoul, the profound blogger 248am.com, blogged about the card rate of number of influencers in the social media. The post has raised some controversial questions that I summarize in two sides;1) the value to money of the practice, and 2) the ethical side of advertising without declaring it. I personally worked with many of the influencers that Mark has mentioned in his blog. And I like to share my experience on the buy-side of this practice in Kuwait.

In 2012 I met for the first time with a sale’s rep of one of the social media management companies, and the service he was offering was new to me. He had a list of tweeps with high number of followers and a price per tweet. I’m not going to hide my first reaction, I really thought the prices are exaggerated and could not find the rationality of value to money in the pricing. At that time I only asked questions, and didn’t sign up for the services.

I thought that I need to look at the practice more thoroughly. At first, why are they called influencers? And why do they get paid for endorsing something they already like! The simple answer is they have a significant number of followers on social media, which translates into high exposure for what they post. The high number of people came from the fact that people find what they share is interesting. And as their pages becomes more popular, just like any other media, the value of what appears there increases. I believe people working at Ghaliah Tech or influencers can better explain these specifics.

The other way I liked to look at the influencers is simply to compare them with athletes, models, actors, or other conventional celebrities. The rate card for advertising by conventional celebrities are substantially higher than influencers, yet we don’t question their value to money. In fact, big brands, like Coke and Nike, invest heavily in conventional celebrities, and the results are clear from their brand awareness and company’s results.

Social media has helped us all evolve our practices, from connecting with friends to doing business and exploiting new markets. Part of the evolution was the emergence of new class of celebrities, those celebrities who don’t have their photos taken by experts and don’t have their videos edited by a whole production staff. The influencers are casual cool people that we like. Most of the time they shoot their own photos and videos by their smart phones, with no extra or unnecessary efforts to deliver their messages.

In the past, we only recognized celebrities by their profession that allowed them to appear in our lives frequently due to the limited media. And for many of us, we don’t really share much of values or interests with those celebrities, we don’t really know who they really are, but we were stuck with them. Today, our celebrities are our influencers, people who we selectively follow based on our personal interests. And just like brands have always gone after celebrities, other businesses utilized the technological advancement and emergence of new class of celebrities.

The new class of celebrities is a natural and healthy evolution, as this new class is filling significant gaps in the branding and advertising. In the past, only big companies could afford to pay celebrities to bring their brands to public. Today, with the influencers, the new class of celebrities is more affordable for all business scales. Branding is no longer limited to companies with deep pockets, celebrities are available for big and small companies.

At Elevation Burger, I have worked with influencers since the beginning of 2013, specifically at our store openings. We invited @Acsia_AKF, @7amadQalam, and others, who I believe have given us a good brand awareness on social media.

So is their value to money of what they do from business perspective? Probably there is, but is their service priced correctly? Maybe this question requires more digging

On other hand of the controversy comes the ethical question. And I think the answer to this question is straight forward, a paid post is not an endorsement and not having it clear eventually means misleading the followers. I asked many influencers about the ethics of the practice from their perspective and it looked a bit different.

For many influencers they presume that their followers know they are posting paid ads, and this assumption is based on how each has defined themselves on their bio. Also many influencers take pride in what they do and they still consider their paid ads as endorsements as they would only do business with brands with certain values that matches theirs. And there is an increasing number of influencers that are clearly mentioning the related business parties and clearly distinguishing between their posts and paid ads.

I like to observe the evolution of the social media and the businesses that it’s creating. Social media is a total new sphere of networking and relationships, a new market place, and I think it’s interesting to see how it solves it’s problem. Today Mark has raised the awareness of this market on his blog, I have put my comments on LinkedIn, and I’m sure there are many others discussing it on Twitter or Instagram. Eventually the market will shape itself and it will define its standards.

Ali Ashkanani
CEO at TABCo Food


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Jazeera Airways Blunder

Posted by Mark

durex

It seems whoever is handling the Jazeera Airways twitter account also handles the twitter account of Durex and last week confused the two by posting a Durex advert under the Jazeera account. Either that or Jazeera Airways want to promote their mile high club.

Jazeera Airways quickly pulled the ad down and posted an apology but not fast enough since someone managed to grab a screenshot and now their mistake lives on the internet forever. [Link]

Thanks Basel


google plus share facebook share twitter share

How much do instagrammers get paid?

Posted by Mark

instagramcelebs

Ever been curious to know how much local instagrammers get paid to post adverts on their accounts? Well then here are a few of the most popular ones and how much they charge per post:

@7amadqalam (323,250 followers) KD400
@abdullahboftain (75,180 followers) KD450
@ahmad_asb (134,700 followers) KD450
@alimubarak1 (68,152 followers) KD450
@ameralshaibani (204,455 followers) KD450
@ascia_akf (1,005,559 followers) KD850
@azizbader (497,708 followers) KD850
@basharnoo (342,316 followers) KD400
@batoul_alkandari (224,233 followers) KD450
@bb_alabdulmohsen (59,123 followers) KD350
@dalalid (866,687 followers) KD850
@daneeda_t (358,396 followers) KD450
@dr_shammat (887,156 followers) KD750
@elham_alfedhalah74 (1,758,795 followers) KD900
@faisalalbasri (474,132 followers) KD850
@fawaz_alfahad (111,874 followers) KD400
@groupwanasah_ (444,647 followers) KD350
@hayaalshuaibi_79 (814,972 followers) KD700
@kaftanusman (516,835 followers) KD500
@nohastyleicon (811,541 followers) KD850
@omaralothman (92,482 followers) KD500
@thedietninja (351,952 followers) KD550
@therealfouz (216,096 followers) KD500
@theveeview (631,973 followers) KD500
@yousif_alblooshi (171,520 followers) KD350
@ygolsharifi (238,247 followers) KD450
@zori_ashkanani (327,100 followers) KD400


google plus share facebook share twitter share

WiMD Internet – 2 Years Later

Posted by Mark

wimd

It’s been two years since I started using WiMD for my internet and yesterday I went and renewed my connection for the third time. I have a 10Mbps WiMD connection which I love since I’ve rarely ran into problems with it and when I did they were usually fixed right away. My only other option for a reliable internet connection is DSL but my phone line can’t handle anything higher than 2Mbps. The issues I’ve ran into with WiMD are varied but the biggest one is when my connection speed dropped overnight from 10Mbps to under 1Mbps. After coming over and investigating it turned out that a new building had been constructed down the street from mine and blocked my direct line of sight to the WiMD tower. I was lucky enough to get my issued fixed just by moving my receiver on the roof higher up and further to the edge but I’m not sure what I would have done if I couldn’t do that.

Other than that issue my biggest issue with WiMD over the two years has been their prices. They were expensive. When I first subscribed with them it cost me KD523 for a year while the second year was slightly better costing me KD480. But, yesterday when I went to renew my connection it turned out they had lowered their prices substantially and I ended up paying a much more tolerable KD310 for 10Mbps.

wimdprices

KD310 signed me up for their 10Mbps connection with a 200GB download limit every month while the previous two years I had subscribed to their unlimited package. But according to WiMD’s records, the maximum I used the past year was 150GB a month so a 200GB limit was more than I needed. After two years I would still highly recommend WiMD as an alternative to DSL in areas where the DSL speed is severely limited by old infrastructure. You just need to make sure you have a direct line of sight to their tower.


google plus share facebook share twitter share

AbiDoc Relaunched

Posted by Mark

abidoc

AbiDoc is a website that allows you to search, find and book an appointment with a doctor all via their website. They originally launched last year but I wasn’t a fan of the website back then, it felt outdated and really sluggish but now they’ve given it a major facelift and relaunched it. The way it works is very simple, you select what kind of doctor you’re looking for and then select your area and the website will list all the doctors and their available timings.

Not all the clinics and hospitals in Kuwait are available though, only the ones that have signed up with AbiDoc in the same way not all restaurants are available on Talabat. For example I searched for “Physical Therapist” in “Salmiya” and got “Sorry, No Exact Matches Were Found” even though the Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute is located down the block from my place. Still, the site contains a lot of doctors and the more popular AbiDoc gets the more will want to sign up with them. Check out their new website [Here]


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Aloo ISDN by Fasttelco

Posted by Mark

A couple of weeks back Fasttelco hooked me up with a product they have called Aloo ISDN. Aloo ISDN is a phone line to use when traveling which will allow me to make and receive unlimited calls to and from Kuwait for free. It’s a really great simple product but a bit complicated to explain so I will try my best to be very clear.

– When you sign up to Aloo ISDN, Fasttelco will provide you with a local number, in my case its 22200XXX (XXX because I don’t want everyone to have my number)

– Once you get the number you then need to download the free app “Media5” from the app Store and follow Fasttelco’s setup instructions. I am personally using the application “Bria” instead of Media5 but it isn’t free. Both these apps work on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

The product requires the internet to work so your device needs to be connected to WiFi or 3G/4G LTE. I used Aloo this past weekend while in Lebanon and I thought it was great.

Before I left Kuwait I forwarded my Viva number to my Aloo number so that any phone call I receive while in Lebanon I would get to answer using my Aloo number. You don’t have to do that but I found it easier than giving everyone my “travel number” and that way I also avoid getting calls on my regular number and paying roaming charges.

The product works. I didn’t have access to WiFi while in Lebanon but I did have a 3G connection. I used the Aloo number a bunch of times and only on one occasion did I have a connection problem but at the time I was driving on a mountain road so my guess is the 3G connection was dropping. Using the number is fairly easy. When you get a phone call the app would pop up and ask me if I want to answer the phone call. To make a phone call I just launch the app and either dial the number or find one from my contact book. I was actually surprised I was able to use the service with a Lebanese 3G connection since the connection in Lebanon isn’t that fast. If it works in Lebanon it should work even better in European countries or the States.

If you travel a lot and pay a lot of roaming charges then this product could save you a lot of money. For a regular number is costs KD70 the first year and then KD60 every year after that so unless you make and receive over KD60 worth of roaming calls a year Aloo is not worth getting. They also have more premium numbers, the number they gave me for example is a silver number and costs KD120 the first year, gold costs KD200 the first year, platinum 500, diamond 1000 and royal 5000. All the numbers then cost KD60 a year after that. If you’re interested in signing up or getting more information you can call Fasttelco on 1838485.


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Who’s ready to publish the next Kuwait blog?

Posted by Mark

The above is my favorite quote from John Haye’s column in the Kuwait Times today. Check it out [Here]


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Kuwait didn’t request any user data from Twitter

Posted by Mark

Twitter updated their 2012 user information request page and it turns out Kuwait did not request any data about any local users from Twitter last year. Actually the only Arab country to request user information was surprisingly Qatar. Check out the full list [Here]

via @Nibaq


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Free Internet with Elmnet

Posted by Mark

Elmnet in collaboration with Qualitynet are currently giving away 2Mbps internet for free at InfoConnect. Sounds too good to be true? Well it kinda is. Here are some things you need to know:

Pros
– It’s for everyone, expats and Kuwaitis
– It’s free and it’s 2Mbps

Cons
– You can only use their software to browse the internet
- You can only browse the internet and do nothing else internet related (no torrents, no online gaming etc.)
- You will have three ad banners on the screen the whole time framing the browser, one on the left, one on the right and one below
– You can only use it on a computer. You can’t use it on your smart phone or any other device like your gaming system or tablet

The salesman wasn’t sure if it would work with Macs or Linux operating systems

works on Macs but not Linux

Update: According to a spokesperson from Elmnet the connection isn’t limited to just browsing. You can use the connection for other internet activities like downloading torrents and streaming music from apps like Spotify etc.


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Internet prices at InfoConnect 2013

Posted by Mark

KEMS
Approx. 20 to 25% off on subscriptions

Fastelco
KD40 per year for 2Mbps
KD80 per year for 5Mbps
KD140 per year for 10Mbps
KD299 per year for 20Mbps
KD499 per year for 50Mbps
KD999 per year for 100Mbps

Gulfnet
50% off on subscriptions

Qualitynet
Free 2Mbps internet with Elmnet. Details [Here]

Thanks Phoenix


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Page 1 of 3812345678910Last



Contribute

If you have anything you think would be interesting to share on this blog
[Email Me]