Elle Darby vs. Paul Stenson: storm in a teacup

Elle Darby vs. Paul Stenson: storm in a teacup

Elle Darby vs. Paul Stenson: storm in a teacup, legitimate controversy or fake drama? Youtube is buzzing, several major news outlets have picked up on the story, #Bloggergate is trending on social media. In a few short days this has become a major hype in social media circles. So who are these people, and what is the big controversy? Let’s take a look 🙂

Elle Darby vs. Paul Stenson: storm in a teacup

Last night, while reading about something entirely different online, the following headline caught my eye: LUXURY DUBLIN HOTEL BANS ALL SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS. Intrigued, I read the article and did some searching on Google. With emotions ranging from amazement through amusement to outright bafflement, I ended up going to bed way too late as I read the posts, counterposts and reactions. This thing is as polarizing as Donald Trump on steroids.

The nutshell version

Elle Darby, a social media influencer, sends an email to various hotels, asking for a free 4-night stay for herself and her boyfriend. In return she offers a review of the hotel. Paul Stenson, owner of The White Moose Café and the Charleville Lodge Hotel, posts her email on his Facebook page, and basically tells her to go jump in a lake. Elle then has a dramatic meltdown on Youtube, claiming that she was exposed, humiliated and victimized.

Paul Stenson’s post:

Elle’s Youtube response:

Subsequently, a social media war has erupted, with Elle’s Youtube followers and various other bloggers/vloggers giving the Charleville Lodge Hotel 1-star reviews to lower its score, and Paul upping the ante by banning all bloggers from staying at his hotel, among other responses. Both sides are getting as much criticism as praise. There is so much heated debate and hysteria that the feedback loop obscures the real issues. So let’s analyze this entire thing to see what’s really going on.

So what is really going on?

  • Elle’s email itself is spam, in my opinion. It’s in the same league as those canned spam mails every website owner gets continuously: “Hi, I couldn’t help noticing that your website is not optimized properly for Google, so I’m reaching out to you blah blah”. It’s unsolicited, it’s annoying and it wastes everyone’s time to read it.
  • What is she asking for? Four nights in a hotel, for two people, for free. I tried going to the hotel’s website to see what this would cost, but the page wouldn’t load, as there are too many people trying to access it. You can bet that it’s not peanuts, though.
  • What is she offering? Exposure on Social Media. That sounds great, until you ask yourself some questions, like: Does Paul need the exposure? It’s not a very large hotel, from what I gather – maybe he really doesn’t need more advertising.
  • Secondly, while 97K Youtube subscribers and 76K Instagram followers sounds reasonably impressive, the question is not how many there are, but WHO they are. Are they potential customers? I seriously doubt it. From a quick look at her followers, they seem to be mostly teenaged girls into fashion/fitness, and horny teenaged boys anxious for Elle to get naked.
  • Was she publicly bullied, humiliated and exposed, as she claims? No, she wasn’t. Paul had blanked out all means of identifying her in the email that he posted. If she hadn’t made the Youtube video, nobody but her would have known who it was about.

Paul Stenson is no stranger to controversy, it turns out when you dig a little deeper. He’s been in the media often, by offending and/or outraging various groups, including vegans and breastfeeding mothers. If Elle had done her homework, maybe she’d have thought twice about contacting him. In this matter, I see nothing reprehensible in his conduct, or the way he’s handling the fallout – in pure marketing terms, he’s a genius, and he’s getting way more exposure from all this than Elle could have given him in return for the freebie she was turned down for. And as dramatic as she makes it all seem, this entire escapade has probably gained her more teenaged girls and horny boys than she could have hoped for. Win-win for both parties involved, despite the hysteria of the fans.

Comments (2)
April 26, 2018

I looked at her YouTube page, I found three videos from her trip to the United States in which she claimed to have collaborated with Universal Orlando. I have not watched them, because I have tried to watch some of her other videos and realized that because I am not a teenage girl, I am not her target audience (this is not a criticism of her, just a statement that she and her videos do not interest me.) I can say that if I were a hotel owner, I would want more than just three videos for a 4 day 5 night stay. I would want full control of the products and media she produced to be used as I see fit for as long as I see fit.

    Fit The Trends
    June 15, 2018

    Sorry, your comment was in moderation and I missed it 🙂
    Yes, I totally agree with you.

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