Dublin hotel sends out fake bill to blogger for exposure

Rachel Hosie

The Dublin hotel involved in the recent blogger controversy has sent out a fake bill to the influencer involved for the publicity they’ve given her.

White Moose Cafe tweeted a picture of the invoice claiming they were sending it out to Elle Darby.

Darby found herself at the centre of a social media storm after the hotel publicly criticised her for requesting a free stay in exchange for exposure on her online platforms.

The UK-based influencer has 83,400 followers on Instagram and 92,800 on YouTube - just two days ago, she had 76,000 and 87,000 respectively.

After sharing Darby’s initial email on the White Moose Cafe Facebook page, owner Paul Stenson announced he would be banning all bloggers and influencers from the hotel.

But he’s now gone one step further by creating a fake invoice for Darby.

The bill is for “the provision of features in 114 articles across 20 countries with a potential reach of 450 million people.”

It goes on to say payment must be made in Euros and “mentions in videos will not qualify as payment.” The total comes to €5,289,000 (£4,664,965). According to LinkedIn, the figure is correct too.

However, despite the hotel’s anger towards bloggers and influencers wishing to work with them, they are clearly open to brand collaboration themselves, as the ‘brand endorsement’ section of their website explains:

“Paul & Jason have approximately 200k followers across their social media platforms. If you would like to get more eyes on your business, the White Moose Snapchat might be the place for you.

“Unlike other ‘influencers’, we won’t feature your brand in a contrived or staged way. We will highlight your product/service using a natural and comedic approach, and we will always be honest about what we think.”.

While Darby’s following may have increased as a result of the controversy, she’s also been subjected to a barrage of abuse online.

She’s been called a “disgusting freeloader” and has even had death threats.

In her latest Instagram post, 22-year-old Darby stands defiant, saying: “Let your smile change the world. Don’t let the world change your smile .”

But many people have responded with more abusive comments: “STOP BEING A F***ING BRAT,” one wrote. “You did not offer the hotel nothing; no portfolio, no audience demographics, no marketing strategy.”

However some also leapt to Darby’s defence.

“If you have never been a blogger or have been a part of the industry, your opinion becomes ignorant and irrelevant,” one person wrote. “Being a ‘blogger/vlogger/influencer’ whatever it may be is HARD ASS WORK.

“Heck here she is paying her bills and having her s*** together at the age of 22. She was asking for a business collaboration. Between two businesses. She was going to put in WORK, to create beautiful content in return for a stay.

“It's not like she was going to stay there and not work for the stay. And if the hotel didn't want to accept this collab be a mature adult and respond back politely declining instead of cyberbullying this girl! I see so many ‘adults’ cyberbullying this poor girl to the point where it makes me cringe.”

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