The whole controversy of how Samsung allegedly stranded a couple of Indian bloggers has been doing the rounds all day today. I won’t repeat the story but it has led many people to question about the credibility of tech blogging scene in India and how it really works. Most major tech companies these days have two separate PR arms – one for the regular press and another for the blogger community. However, the opinion of who is a blogger and what a blogger is expected to do for the company has been a closely guarded secret for the public but the few who work on these projects and bloggers who participate in these programs. After our story about the Samsung blogger fiasco at IFA, an insider reached out to us on how Samsung’s Mob!ler works and it really blew my mind away considering what has happened in the past 24 hours. Read on…
First things first. Samsung Mob!ler is a brand ambassador program in which people sign up to be a part of it. From the looks of it, the program is not just about Samsung giving access to its products and some occasional goodies but more importantly what the “Mob!lers” can do for Samsung in return. Usually it is about writing blog posts and reviews, doing hands-on videos, interviewing people and so on. The idea essentially is to attract people who are passionate about Samsung as a brand and the company rewards them for their effort. The Mob!ler program is not for a journalist or a “professional blogger” as one is really signing away their allegiance to a particular brand by becoming a part of the program. Really.
The rules are simple, the insider, who prefers to be anonymous, tells us. The company will give some tasks to Mob!lers that they have to do within a specific time-frame. Timing and the quantity is essential. “The idea was to write good things, upload as many pictures or videos in order to get freebies that usually includes phones and tablets. Many participants don’t even have proper URLs for their blogs and have a Blogspot.com sub-domain,” he told BGR India.
Here’s a copy of the introduction mail our source received earlier this year. (Emphasis mine.)
Hope you are doing well!
We are delighted to invite you to be a part of the Samsung Mobiler 2012 program and be associated with the Samsung Mobile India community.
Samsung Mobile India initiated its association with few gadget freaks and bloggers in 2011 to utilize their talent & creativity for Samsung Mobile platform and named this program as Samsung Mob!lers.
As a Samsung Mobiler, we would require your efforts in the following areas in year 2012:
1. Review Samsung Mobile handsets
Samsung Handsets are shared with the Mobilers on a regular basis to write reviews, articles, unboxing videos, video reviews, etc. As part of this program, mobilers generate content in other areas with regards to mobile phones eg. OS comparisons, tips and trick, applications, etc. with this we would like to cover all aspects related to phones not just devices.
2. Drive innovative content for Samsung Mobiles
We would like this year to bring forth more innovative content driven by Samsung and Mobilers together as a team. To do so, brainstorming sessions will be conducted between Samsung Team, Mobilers and Digitas to bring forth innovative ideas on the product and help each other in delivery. We would like to have the first such session next week for 3 new Android Duos phones that Samsung is launching soon.
3. Provide support to queries on Samsung Mobile India Facebook fan page (Samsung Answers)
While driving sales and promotions is one important aspect of creating a customer, customer satisfaction through the product life cycle the ultimate objective of any Marketer. We get extensive queries on our social media handles on a daily basis regarding technical and hardware issues. However, as the market and sales grow, the customer queries also increase. Samsung Mobilers are expected to participate in customer interaction and help answer queries on social media by becoming our ‘Champions.’
4. Provide regular reports
While doing the good job is one thing, making it visible to the right people is even more important. Only if we inform the global team of the great work being done by Mobilers in India on a regular basis, our subsidiary (Samsung India) will only then be nominated for participation in global events on a regular basis. Thus weekly sharing of the reports of the work done by you are also every important. (Reporting formats will be shared with you)
5. Participate in campaigns, events, contest and launches
As a mobiler Samsung expects you to promote the contests, events, new product launches on your online space or whichever way you can drive traffic on all of the above.
We know it’s a lot of work and the gratification will be just. For your efforts put in Samsung Mobiles will be gifted to you. To keep it fair and open for all, the prize will be announced before the project comes up and the best efforts will be rewarded. However not only will the project decide the winners, but also the other work done during that period combined. Besides other goodies will always keep coming in as a token of appreciation for your hard work.
To officially start this year, we would request you to reply to this mail if you would continue to like to be a Samsung Mobiler, latest by Feb 17th, 2012 (Friday). Once we have our final list of Mobilers we would then go ahead introduce them on our social (Samsung Mobile India Facebook page) and own media (Samsung.com) platforms.
We hope that your journey here will be a gratifying one. You would get maximum support from the whole of our team and we look forward to having the best relations with you.
Awaiting your response to go ahead.
There is absolutely nothing wrong for any company to have a program like this. Remember, this is an opt-in program and works well for regular folks. In fact, most companies have similar programs. But for a professional blogger or a journalist joining the program is the equivalent of committing Harakiri.
Image Credit: Amit Bhawani