The era of the digital food critic

You’re planning to go out for dinner, you want to try somewhere new, so you hop onto Urbanspoon and make your judgement based on the customer reviews.

It’s a regular habit and as Khoury pointed out in her post, businesses are finding their products and services challenged by negative online opinion.

 

Negative review on Urbanspoon

Negative review of Chapel St’s Fonda restaurant on Urbanspoon

Negative food review on Urbanspoon

Negative review of Melbourne restaurant Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

 

The emergence of user review sites such as Urbanspoon and Yelp serve as innovative tools. Businesses should understand and take advantage of this tool to increase their sales and traffic.

According to David Legget from UX (a publication dedicated to making the web a better place) reviews create conversation. They create a silent dialogue between the customer and the business. Businesses and their PR representatives need to be equipped with the skills to engage in this conversation.

Kate Conroy a product specialist at Google Australia wrote an article on Mumbrella on how to handle online customer reviews. Businesses need to stop fearing negative feedback and channel that energy into exercising professional constructive responses. Conroy asserts that this can be done by responding publicly  in a calm, professional way, apologising and explaining how you fixed or will fix the problem in question. She also emphasises the importance of responding to positive reviews as well, as this strengthens the rapport between a businesses and its consumers.

A business even uses humour to make the most and put a spin on a negative user review

Businesses can even use humour to make the most and put a spin on a negative user reviews

According to an article published on Gartner – the worlds leading information and technology research company – 10 to 15% of social media reviews will be fake and paid for by companies.

Alison Eveleigh, a solicitor and author of this relevant article on Mumbrella, cannot stress enough how important it is for businesses to not give in to the temptation of deliberately posting false reviews or paying for positive ones. Not only will this jeopardise integrity, ethical business practice and transparency it is illegal as confirmed by the ACCC. The ACCC guidelines are here and the implemented legislations here.

Khoury touches on the argument that more should be done to monitor these online platforms. It is therefore worth exploring services such as Power Review that can help businesses monitor and screen customer content to ensure accuracy, fairness, authenticity and brand protection.

The Devil wears Prada and discloses it, unlike some fashion bloggers today

Do we really know how much fashion bloggers earn from their presence in the digital world?

An investigation by the Australian Women’s Weekly (AWW) has provided an insight regarding the business practices of fashion bloggers.

In its recent March issue, AWW published the Instagram rate card of Roxy Jacenko’s fashion blogger agency Ministry Of Talent.

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Prices varied from $850 to be featured on Sydney Fashion Blogger’s instagram to $200 to get broadcasted on her daughter Pixie’s Instagram.

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Fashion Bloggers and popular social media personalities are becoming human billboard spaces that brands are increasingly willing to pay for.

There is no issue with bloggers being paid or choosing to engage in business rapports with brands. It’s innovative and forward thinking. What is an issue jeopardising the authenticity and credibility of fashion blogging as an industry is the lack of transparency and disclosures of commercial arrangements.

Jacenko spoke to Mumbrella, saying that ‘social media is a new territory and given this there is going to be challenges in finding a clear path’.

It is our job as PR professionals to steer and encourage this new manifestation of business in a direction that is transparent and law-abiding because it can be done without compromising the essential nature of fashion blogging – it just needs to become a regularity. The quirky sister duo from the How Two Live blog provide a good example with their highly acclaimed collaboration with Windsor Smith shoes.

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Laura McWhinnie, a blogger and digital creative wrote an article for Mumbrella here, highlighting the importance of disclosure and the ease with which transparency can be achieveed in the industry. It all comes down to trust. Consumers don’t want to feel duped by people they follow on social media. It’s as easy as disclosing everything, using third-party services and staying true to your brand.

Adhering to these simple recommendations is given greater incentive by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), ruling new regulations stating that fashion bloggers who continue to talk up products on their social media accounts without disclosing financial compensation run the risk of breaching the law.

Tools such as compliance software for social media need to be established and used. Strategic Services Agency, Social Media Explore wrote an article highlighting the glaring hole in helping brands create and manage more effective disclosures. PR professionals have the opportunity to take initiative in this niche of the industry and help create tools to facilitate fashion bloggers in disclosing their business rapports.

 

 

KS Swim SS 13/14 Lookbook ‘Ruins’

I want to purchase one of Karla Spetic’s  sophomore swimwear pieces and demonstrate a testament to the history of my home country – Egypt. Her latest collection soon to rein supreme come summer is an obvious ode to the pyramids, hieroglyphics, ancient desert inspired prints and anything monumental to the lavish era of ancient Egypt.  Click here to have a look into making some of this rad swimwear yours.

 

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Post LMFF depression

LMFF has come to an end! It was such a spectacular series of events and I couldn’t be more thankful for being able to be a part of the team that helps put it all together! While I now hibernate at home attempting to catch up with all my uni work and get through this post LMFF depression I am just giving a heads up that I will be posting photos very soon of the week that was! For now you can check out my Instagram (@abrarkadabra) for sneak peeks of my LMFF experience!

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‘Bow Down / I Been On’ by Beyonce

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Beyonce has taken to the social media sphere (Instagram and Tumblr) to share her new track titled ‘Bow Down’.

As soon as you hit play you hear an instrumental and vocal clip that is nothing like the usual diva’s sound. Before it becomes a concern her familar voice comes through and you realise that this track and perhaps the rest of the album to come is a indication that she has taken a new direction with her music.

Perhaps this direction will appeal to more listeners in terms of what is trending in the female music industry at the moment.

Future Music Festival Melbourne Review

Sunday last week was show day in Melbourne for the iconic Future Music Festival. With a day-of-the-dead-set-awesome theme there would be no rest for the hombres (and when I say hombres I mean everyone from the organizers to the artists to the festival goers and anyone else in between that made it a sweet day to remember). Hola my amigos, let me take you back to how it all went down.

Arriving at Flemington Race Course at exactly 2pm meant that I had already missed out on the first act that I had planned to see, young Melbourne duo Gypsy & The Cat. I had heard a lot of great things about this local band and was really looking forward to starting my day off with some mellow tracks, especially ‘Jona Vark’ which to me is one of those songs that is so reminiscent of what a good summer festival vibe should be like. Before any disappoint could sink in I realized that I was at the right stage to see Ellie Goulding and wow is she a megababe or what? The English singer-songwriter settles comfortably in-between indie folk and electro-pop, you wonder what exactly that might sound like then she belts out tunes like ‘Don’t Say A Word’ and ‘Anything Could Happen’ and you know, you just know.

I’m sure by this time my skin had burnt at least four shades darker, so I made my way into some shade, had a few drinks, lunch and enjoyed Rita Ora’s performance of ‘Radioactive’ from afar. Next on my itinerary was an easy move to the Future Music stage where British electronic outfit Rudimental would it rip up live (for the very first time to Australian audiences) and awaken the crowds dancing senses. Boy did they deliver. With majority of their tracks resonating that summer-time-feel-good soundtrack feel I knew Rudimental were doing it good just by looking behind me and sussing out the crazy vibe of the crowd.

At the Mazda stage large crowds began to gather for the highly anticipated young Harlem rapper, Azealia Banks. The weather at this point in time was definitely hovering in the mid to high 30s and with little breeze for comfort the crowd was getting restless – just wanting their good fix of the liquorice bitch to take their minds of the sweltering heat and lack of shade. 4:15pm came and there was no sight of Azealia (can I feel a sense of déjà vu?). The crowd continued to linger for Miss Banks however the delay was too much for some and those who couldn’t handle the wait moved on over to get a pick me up from Korean YouTube sensation Psy. As the Mazda stage continued to look baron (except for one of Azealia’s dancers whom took to the stage to get a sneaky shot of the massive – and extremely patient – crowd) the Future Music stage was going off with the all too familiar Gangnam style tune.

You either love her or you hate her, but when Azealia finally came out on stage it didn’t matter what you thought of her because the energy was high and love was clear. Clad in a teeny tiny leather ensemble and infamous 30+ inch weave the young rapper promised to ‘make some f*cking noise for Melbourne’ and she sure did. Performing her provocatively ruthless tracks from her Fantasea mixtape and 1991 EP, I was impressed by the amount of fans in the crowd that were able to keep up with her lyrical flow. Not even 30 minutes into her performance Azealia brought an end to her set by stirring the crowd with her career launching ‘212’. Once it was over the crowds ears were ringing to the 212 beat and everyone was left either bitter because of the promptness of her appearance or in awe that they had just seen the Yung Rapunxel do her thing.

The next few hours of my Future experience were quite a blur. Not in the sense that I was drunk or anything but more because the heat was getting intense and a lot of acts were happening back to back and all at once. Being the keen festival-goer that I am I did not want to miss out on anything. I started with A-trak’s banging set, was wowed by Steve Aoki (his hair is immaculate considering the humid heat Melbourne was hosting) and his crazy crowd surfing antics, puzzled by how young French-Progressive-House producer Madeon’s set was one capable of challenging the most mature industry professional and of course smitten by The Temper Trap. I will always have a soft spot for Dougy Mandagi and will always go weak in the knees when I hear the ‘Sweet Disposition’ riff (obviously even more so when it is live).

It was just after 7pm and I found myself back at the Future Music stage, this next act that I saw was bonkers. Absolutely bonkers. That is the perfect word to describe the amazing performance that was delivered by British babe Dizzee Rascal.  I mean if there is an act that can deliver on a level beyond entertainment and also engage with a massive crowd it’s got to be Dizzee. I was quite mobile throughout the performance starting out at the front, moving through the centre of the mosh pit and all the way to the back but it didn’t matter where I was the energy resonating from the English MC was infectious. Playing perfect dance tunes like ‘Here 2 China’, ‘Dance Wiv Me’ and ‘Bonkers’, I could totally see why he is a favorable addition to any music festival line up.

The day (or should I say night) was coming to a close and I was faced with a bit of a cacophony having to choose between The Prodigy the pioneers of the big-beat sound, Swedish DJ Avicii or Bloc Party one of the bands I grew up listening to. Although the stage set-ups were faultless (thank you Future organizers) and everything was fairly easy to access, by this time even a 200m travel seemed like an uncomfortably tedious battle. Surviving on water, chilled drinks, an array of junk food and the thriving party vibe; I mustered every bit of musical devotion in me and decided to catch a bit of all three. I was in challenge mode. 8:45pm. Warrior’s Dance Arena. The Prodigy. Amazing. One of the best live acts to ever be seen.

I really built up the suspense to seeing Bloc Party, as they were one of those bands I regularly had on repeat throughout my high school years. They also had the added pressure of maintaining the high I was on from the little bit of The Prodigy I had just experienced (I now understand why they are regarded as legends as far a dance music is concerned). Making my way through a seemingly lifeless (perhaps due to the heat) crowd of people at the Mazda stage I found myself front and centre of the Bloc Party set, and unfortunately uninterested and disengaged. I don’t know if the band members were drained from the weather or half asleep but it wasn’t all there. I really enjoyed their performance of ‘So Here We Are’ but that was as far as it went.

Disappointed that Bloc Party didn’t live up to my expectations and annoyed that I left The Prodigy early there was nothing like Avicii’s ‘Levels’ and ‘I Could Be The One’ to bring me back to finish the night on a high. Not necessarily a fan of the Swedish skyrocket I was taken aback by what I was experiencing. Each individual in that crazy crowd was one in the same, hearts were open and Avicii was absolutely killing it. The atmosphere was surreal. The official EDM headliner of the FMF 2013 was actually insane and despite me not thinking twice about it I am glad I ended my first ever Future experience with Avicii.

That post-festival depression you get after such a good day but also that sense of relief that its over just consumed me wholly. I can’t even comprehend what a day it was. I loved every moment of it and can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

Photos by C-PASH for AAA backstage will be posted soon!

Peace,

A!

Azealia Banks Melbourne Side Show

Aching legs – check, ringing ears to the 212 beat – check, bindis and glitter all stuck in my hair – check, post gig depression the morning after – check, making good friends with strangers in the line from 5pm and also in the mosh – check, experiencing a concert that felt more like a party hosted by Azealia Banks – priceless!

Last night I was at the Palace Theatre in Melbourne attending Azealia Banks’ Future festival sideshow. I was adamant to stick it out front and centre so didn’t hesitate to line up early at the door, upon seeing the line I was greeted with a sea of youth. There was an abundance of glitter, bindis, ripped denim, short booty shorts, bare midriffs, burgundy and dark purple lippie (worn often by the babe Banks herself), gold chains, docs, fan made Azealia get up and of course the cigarettes and alcohol being lit up and consumed to pass time! This crowd was everything Azealia was, a generation defined by the Internet, the blogosphere and the social media, but brought together by the same love and passion for the game of rap and vocal excellence.

7:30pm on the dot the doors opened and a flood of people gushed through the doors. Resisting the urge to admire the beautiful venue (it’s an immaculate location) I made my way quickly to the front and secured a great spot for the rest of the night. Fast forward a few hours, after all the supporting acts (including lady dj Nina Las Vegas) and you will get a restless crowd that just wanted to get their good dose of Azealia. The almost 4 hour wait created such a tense vibe in the crowd but as soon as she was seen walking on stage – all sense of anything was gone, it was insane. She was a little pocket rocket in her tight chocolate coloured cut out attire and infamous 30+ inch weave of rapunzel hair, she was exactly what and who we all thought she would be. Promising to make some noise and f*ck Melbourne up she got the crowd warmed with a quick verse of the ‘Out Of Space‘ track from her Fantasea mix tape and delivered from then on many other songs from the 1991 EP, the Fantasea mix tape and also her new album Broke With Expensive Taste. With every song and every gap in-between Azealia was so engaging with us, this is what makes me accept that she cuts her shows so short. I’m not sure if she’s just a cheeky lazy girl, physically incapable of going for any longer or actually has a legitimate reason for not playing her full scheduled time slot but with the delivery she provides in the time she is on stage it’s much more than some artists I go and see who come on stage perform their songs and piss off almost arrogantly back stage. She posed for photographers and everyone in the front, she interacted with the crowd after each song, even replying to some fans with ‘I love you too’.

Music wise, Azealia was flawless. Each song was perfection, almost better than the studio recorded version. Although she displayed some restraint she didn’t hold back with the tracks she did play especially her career launching ‘212‘, her personal favourite of the Fantasea mix tape ‘Luxury‘ and ‘1991‘. However like most great shows Azealia was finished before I could even register what I had just experienced. Like everyone else in the crowd wanting just one (or four) more song, I waited around after she exited the stage hoping to see a return. There was no return and the crowd was left either bitter because of her short cut performance or in awe that they had just seen the young rapunxel do her thing!

One security guard dissed her show saying it was embarrassing, disappointing and ‘too ghetto’ – I wanted to just remind him that this is a 21 year old young lady straight outta Harlem NYC, if anyone is licensed to come across as ‘too ghetto’ all bets it’s fucking her! As for the disappointing part I may agree to a small extent in that the liquorice b*tch was supposed to play a 10pm to 11:30pm set however only ended up on stage for much less from around 10:25pm to 11:20pm. Apparently this has happened before, with the likes of her 25 minute Splendor In The Grass incident (crowd got mad angry), however it cannot be denied that she left the Melbourne crowd smitten with what she did provide and for those loyal fans who arent too phased with the promptness of her show she will perform again in Melbourne this Sunday with the Future Music Festival Crew. I will be there and so should you!

*All photos accompanying this post were taken by me on my iPhone. 

photo photo photvophobto

Alexi Wasser

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‘It’s really easy to get stuck in your head. I know this first hand. so sometimes you have to remember certain things in order to put life in perspective. You have to reframe the world for yourself. Here are some sentences that help me when I get stuck in my brain: “we’re all gonna die, it’s just a matter of when and how, so don’t be so concerned with what people think of you. This time here isn’t forever, so there’s no time to be so self-conscious or concerned about others liking/not liking you. Do what makes you happy and do it anyway you can,as long as you don’t stop you will get there’

I’m not one to usually post stuff like this but seeing as I am currently sitting all by myself in my first lecture at RMIT university in a brand new course I feel this is quite relevant! 2013 may or may not be my year, that doesn’t really matter because regardless I will still definitely use it as a platform to launch myself out there, correct all my mistakes from the previous year and achieve all I have set out to accomplish! I won’t post anything like this any time soon again but I hope this speaks out to someone in someway!

 

P.s For a pep talk in the form of a slap in the face in the form of a blog visit Alexi Wasser’s blog IMBOYCRAZY by clicking here!

 

Peace,

 

A!