|INFLUENCING THE INFLUENCERS
Apr 07, 2003, 4:30pm
The Internet has brought us a lot of things, a lot of new terminology, and a whole new category of experts who influence public buying opinions.
For the last item, a term has been born: "influencers".
I'm an influencer in the coffee and espresso world. So much so that I have to be really careful about what I write on any publicly accessible website (even this one), and when I do write opinions on the subject of coffee and espresso, I have to be damned sure I'm confident in my opinions. One importer of espresso machines I talked to recently told me that my words and opinions were responsible for one specific product going from 75 sales a month to some 450 sales per month, in just one year.
The web is full of influencers. Some do an awesome job, some don't. Some are the most trusted opinions I can value, some I regard with a bit of distrust in all the words they say. Where do I draw the line? Basically it's a feeling about the person or persons running the site. If they make it evident that they understand the power that they wield, the sales they can influence, and they treat that as a heavy responsibility, then I have a lot of trust for them.
I won't mention the influencers that I have trust issues with, but some influencer sites I respect a lot include Digital Photography Review, Howard Chui's Site, and the Norwegian site, InfoSync just to mention a few.
Savvy companies are starting to recognize the role and influence these websites have on the marketplace. And the key word is savvy. I normally don't have much positive stuff to say about Microsoft, but big time kudos to them for organizing the Mobius 2003 event, where they picked up the tab to fly two dozen key Influencer web site owners to Paris, hotel and some expenses included. Microsoft even got non-Mikeysoft cheerleaders to attend.
We're seeing this in the digital camera Influencer market as well - companies like Nikon, Canon and Olympus are picking up the tabs for travel for influencers to go to conferences and trade shows, often with no strings attached. These companies (including Microsoft) realise that they are dealing with a new breed of news and opinion providers that don't have massive expense accounts or huge advertising dollars that can cover expense accounts. What the influencers do have is time, passion, and the effort involved to pump out content to the max, and do what their title says: Influence purchasing decisions.
With few exceptions, I don't think this is going to happen in the world of quality coffee and espresso :). The SCAA flew me out to Boston last fall for a "hi, how are you" meeting, but it looks like that is a one time deal. I'm doing a lot for the SCAA this year, including my committee participation, giving a seminar and chairing a panel, and of course going to Boston to attend the SCAA trade show, but it's almost 100% on my own dime - and that dime looks to be about $3,500 worth of expenses for Jeanette and I.
I've looked over my "CoffeeGeek" travel expenses in the last 12 months (up to the end of April this year). It's a bit scary. Seven trips. Total expenditures: $9,250, give or take a hundred bucks. You might be saying "oh, but you can write that off". Well, you have to have the income large enough to make it a write-off expense that saves you tax money. I don't, not yet from the CG site.
I did get one break for this year's conference, and it's a huge one. Jim at 1st Line Equipment has graciously ponied up some of his travel miles to get Jeanette and I a hotel room for the duration of my time in Boston. There's no strings attached, but I'm giving mention of it here as a thank you to Jim. I didn't ask for it - he offered it up.
So why am I writing this? Because along with Jim, I wanted to recognize the companies and individuals who have in the past help support the expenses I have when traveling in the name of CoffeeGeek (as well as some future promises).
Baratza, LLC, who covered my flight and hotel room expenses for the Anaheim SCAA show. I still can't thank them enough - CG was not making anything at the time, and I couldn't have gone otherwise.
1st Line for their covering of my hotel expenses this year in Boston at the SCAA show.
SCAA for inviting me to Boston last September, and picking up my hotel and flight tabs
Both ESI and Elektra SRL have offered to cover my hotel expenses if I go to the Milan Expo in November, this year.
|Previous Ten Daily Rants
|The continued fallout on auto gratuities
|| 6:35pm, 08/09
|Final thougths on price gouging, auto gratuities coming soon
|| 1:50am, 03/04
|The Real Reasons for Olympics Auto Gratuities
|| 8:20pm, 02/19
|Vancouver Olympics - Nice Prices, Profiteer (gouger) Restaurant Listings
|| 1:15am, 02/18
|More on Auto Gratuities
|| 7:45pm, 02/16
|Price Gouging in Vancouver During Olympics (and Price Heroes!)
|| 1:20am, 02/16
|Ideal Mac (or any pc) netbook....
|| 9:05pm, 12/22
|NetMacBook Hackintosh Update
|| 1:20am, 12/20
|NetMac... er Hackintosh... er NetMacBook. Yeah
|| 6:20pm, 12/17
|Balance Board Wii Game I'd like to see - Boxing!
|| 5:00pm, 07/26
Photos from Algonquin Park
Photos from my trip to Algonquin Park this fall with my Mom and two brothers.
Making Snow for the Fortress
One of the worst jobs I ever had... till I got out.
Tools I Use
The tools I use to build websites and lead a tech life.
iPod and iTunes Offline
iMark's iTunes and iPod isn't iPlaying anything right iNow.
Most Recent Songs
Fiddlers Green by The Tragically Hip
Around The Bend by Pearl Jam
Here With Me (Rollo's Chillin' With the Family Mix) by Dido
With arms open wide by Creed
truffle pigs by Matthew Good Band
In the News
Burundi and Beyond - NY Times
Great article by Peter Meehan - provided some background.
St. Petersburg Times
Side mention in an article about good machines
AP Story on Espresso
Background and information provided
NY Times - Grinders Article
Especially proud of this one - got the reporter to focus on grinders
Globe and Mail
LOL - showing bad reporting, dude says I'm an American-based site!
The Olympian, WA
Talks about my love for the El Sal Siberia Pacamara
Seattle Times - Clover
Interviewed for comments on the Clover brewer
NY Times - How it Works
Background and information for various espresso machines
Time Mag Article
Just a brief mention, article about roasting beans.
Front page article about consumers getting into specialty coffee.
Quoted reference to what I wrote in an article at CoffeeGeek.
USA Today - Barista Jam
Intereviewed for my thoughts on what the epitome of espresso is.
The Wall Street Journal has interviewed me 3 times. This is the first time my name got in a story.
Interview with Reuters, Jan 2 - this is the USA Today version.
My Other Stuff
Launched Dec 22, 2001, this is THE online community for espresso and coffee fanatics.
It's all new, as of March, 2002. My personal coffee obsession site.
My company's site - needs an update!
Hey, if you feel the need to buy me something, check here!
Great gadget site run by the guy who used to do Gizmodo.
This is how I get my daily news fix.
The most active forums for digital photography online today.
Need my Daily Zen fix!
A blog about car stuff. Vroom Vroom.
An industrial design blog. Very cool stuff.
Friends and Family Plan
Beata's got her own blog! She updates it most days.
Riddla on Flickr
Matt Riddle's flickr account, updated regularly
Irdy, my friend from Jakharta, on Flickr
Canon EF 24-105 f4 L Lens
The best lens I've ever owned. Super sharp and quick.
A full frame dSLR, with luscious colour reproduction.
Alzo Digital Lights
Some amazing florescent cold lights for product photography
Canon Xsi dSLR
Amazing technology and image quality in a tiny package.
Latest prosumer camera from Canon - a much better upgrade than the 30D
Great 2.2lb computer that does most of my travel / writing needs
28mm f1.8 Lens
A great lens for closeup work and full picture photography
Finally got the right tools for freezing green coffee.
Canon 50mm 1.4
Most amazing lens I've ever owned. Produces stellar photos.
Super wide angle (full frame fisheye) zoom for my Canon 20D