I had been a very loyal customer to a previously small, previously local greeting card company called Tiny Prints. (In the past, it was tiny*prints, then TinyPrints.) Unfortunately, it was purchased by a larger corporation, and as such, their procedures and formerly excellent customer service changed.
Originally, the company was generous with bloggers, recognizing our influence and the amount of time and energy it takes to thoroughly and thoughtfully review a product. Unfortunately, as it changed hands, the compensation for reviews became smaller. But, because I still "believed in" them, I agreed to review their holiday greeting cards
last year. Our cards turned out fine, but I remember being disappointed that the designer review no longer exists (unless the customer pays a fee) and thus, the "personal touch" that made Tiny Prints so attractive was gone.
Many years ago, a designer actually phoned me to double-check the spelling of my oldest son's name, since it is unusual. And then the designer personally emailed me the proof. That doesn't happen anymore. And so, last year my enthusiasm for Tiny Prints went markedly down.
I was sad then, but I'm even more so now.
I received an email today from one of the marketing people at Tiny Prints requesting that I remove links to their site "ASAP" because my support of them was hurting their Google ranking. They offered no compensation to do something that would benefit them, but harm me.
I've inserted the "nofollow" attribute to my past links to save their precious ranking, but maintain my own online integrity; however, I've posted a disclaimer so that anyone looking at those past posts will note my disappointment with the company.
The irony -of course- is that because I had been so prolific with my praise and support of them, the task of updating these posts was very time-consuming. I was punished for being enthusiastic about this company.
Alas, Tiny Prints has lost a customer. And, I know other bloggers who are taking their business elsewhere as well. Tiny Prints could have handled their request much better. It is a shame.
Apparently, some bloggers have received a follow-up email saying to disregard the previous request. I did not receive that email or any other communication after the first email.
To be clear, I understand that sometimes companies will request updates of bloggers who have posted about their products in the past, but this usually comes with a familiarity of the client-blogger relationship. But, in this case, the marketing person wrote "Our team may have worked with you in the past which resulted in links back to our site."
I've wrote about their company multiple times since 2008. Some posts were compensated in the form of free product, other mentions were completely out of the kindness of my own heart. So yes, I feel slapped in the face.
Some bloggers received yet another follow-up, this one offering a small sum of money to change the links. This is insulting TWO ways: 1) That only some people received an offer of monetary incentive and 2) that said incentive is so small.
Tiny Prints' treatment of this really belittles the work that bloggers do, and is turning their backs on the dedication/loyalty we had to the company.