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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

VUE CINEMAS: UK chain's Online Marketing Strategy Manipulates Film Bloggers

So you get an email from VUE CINEMAS, one of the biggest cinema chains in the country. And they want to publish an article on your blog. Amazing, right? Maybe you've finally made it as a blogger? 

Unfortunately, no, this isn't the case. They're using you in a rather cynical way. 

Companies used to pay for advertising. That was the old way, back when things were in print. Now they manipulate people online, for free.

What you might not realise about your blog, is how valuable it is, and how much Google likes what you're doing. The more you play by the rules, the higher up in the rankings you'll get, which means that more people will discover your writing. 

These things improve naturally based on: the amount of years you've been blogging, the quality and relevance of your content, and the amount of people who link to your website. 

Most bloggers have been approached by companies. Often they're mid-size companies that have nothing to do with your content. Like a life insurance company offering you $85 to link to their site. That's a choice you have to make -- do you need the money that badly? Is it worth compromising your site? When Google spots your film website linking to a life insurance website in every article, they know you're not playing the game right, and you'll soon find yourself disappearing from Google searches. 

Vue Cinema are playing a very clever game. They're approaching bloggers and film websites with the promise of 'good content', in exchange for you linking to their website. However; this is purely a selfish act on their part; gaining links to their product, their website.

When people link to them; two things happen. 1) They eventually climb higher in the rankings, taking over their competitors. 2) Your site sinks down the rankings, because you're diluting your site's ranking by branching out to them. 

You get nothing from this - and gets everything. Why does it matter, you ask? When enough bloggers and websites do what they want, they make hundreds of thousands in extra revenue. You get nothing, just a lousy and irrelevant article on your website. 

Maybe it is love, as much as it can be, for somebody--

Somebody who sold you to Humble Pie for fifty bucks and a case of beer! I was there! I was there!

I was just about to share the email conversation that I had with the Vue team, who tried to get me in on this scam. But I just read the privacy notice at the end of the email, apparently if I share the content, I may be breaking laws. How convenient! But in my last email back to them, I wrote; "I'm happy to interview you on the website about how you think you are contributing good content to the net and film blogosphere. Shall we do it? Will be a good platform for you to present Vue and their brand through being open about your practices." 

I got no response. 

The film blog community has a great history of supporting itself, linking to great articles and to friends we make along the way. Keep it that way. Your website is important to people and it's valuable. Don't do the corporations any favours, they're doing nothing for you. 

This article was NOT brought to you by Vue Entertainment. 

Care to share?


  1. It's great that you raised this point because some people don't know that they can get their blogs in trouble. Although I never knew that Google sort of bans your site if you link to some businesses and stuff (had found out about it at your blog a few months ago), I always avoided such risky actions, although I've been approached LOTS of times by different sites dealing with online classes, real estate, even casinos! etc. Not to mention Google, I suppose if a link published by you at your film blog will lead a reader to some insurance company, that reader might not be back.

  2. Well done on calling them out. I wouldn't dream of going into that kind of deal, but a more inexperienced blogger might.

    As of me I don't even have ads on my blog. Not a single one. Doing this as a hobby and since I'm not self hosting it I don't have any costs for it apart from my time and effort. And again: I do it for my own enjoyment.

    Blogs that are clottered with shady deals and a ton of ads really put me off, especially if they force me to come visit them since they've set the RSS feed to only show a sample of the post.

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