Chris Harris seems to have a hard-on for YouTube influencers. It’s being going on for some time. Just in the last couple of months he put some kicks in on a video with Remove Before Race.
As a huge fan of Chris Harris, his apparent preoccupation with denigrating influencers is a bit embarrassing. Either his criticisms are as shallow as they seem or he is dancing about the issue. If he has a point, I wish he would get to it.
The latest example of his digs turned into a real s*** show.
Long and the short.
Chris Harris put out this Tweet.
Which led to the comment you see underneath (his Tweet)
Which led to this
Harris provided the petrol, the influencers provided the matches.
This bomb was not enough however.
Harris then decided to add more oxygen to the already raging fire by doing a podcast about his original tweet….
As I said, I’m a huge fan of Chris Harris but this particular podcast was unfair.
I’ll break it down.
Litchfield believes a line was crossed. Fair enough, he’s entitled to his opinion. He asks the question, do people realise that influencers are being paid so much? Again, unfair. Maybe people do, maybe they don’t, so what?
Ian goes on to give an example of how Gordon Sheddon didn’t ask for any money for to work on his car.
I’m not sure how this fits in?
Was Sheddon giving him publicity in return? If not, why would he ask for money?
Ian talks about the Subaru days when Litchfield would supply cars to EVO Car of the Year and how EVO never asked him to pay to have his cars featured and if they did, he wouldn’t have taken them seriously. In this case I think he would be quite right. ECOTY is supposed to be a comparison of the best cars, for the readership to know there is a paid entrant would destroy the entire premise of the article.
Lets not forget that if this Yaris deal did go through the influencer would have to put a notice saying the video “contains a paid product placement”. This Yaris deal was not going to be a comparison, it would have been a product feature.
OK, you could easily argue that the influencer approaching him were completely clueless about the business but there is another side to this. The influencers time is worth money also. They do not have unlimited time to go round making videos, they have a price.
If that price happens to be 25K so be it, if Litchfield thinks there is a negative ROI in that transaction he can turn it down.
Personally I think it is wrong for people to start questioning the price people charge for their services. For example, if a customer took their R35 for a stage 3 engine at Litchfield and thought the price was too high, would they be justified making a podcast lambasting Litchfield for the price they were charging? Would Ian think they were being fair if they did so?
Chris goes on to talk about how that suspension would have been portrayed had the deal gone through and here I think he has the complete wrong end of the stick. Chris believes it would have been a review but again, that video would have had to have a declaration saying this is a paid product placement. I don’t see the issue. Ian says videos never show this label, on this point, I would disagree.
Chris makes an interesting point with tyres. He says if he is given free stuff he would still give an honest review. Dunlop gave him tyres, he said they were shit, they called him and said “but we gave you free tyres” and he said “and they were shit”. Perhaps “point” is the wrong term, perhaps double standards is more accurate?
We have no idea what this influencer would have said about the suspension, he/she might have said it was wonderful, they might have said they were shit, we will never know but Chris seems perfectly happy predicting the future of something that will never happen.
Chris compares it to the magazine “world”. How magazines would never ask manufacturers for money to feature their stuff. That may be true but magazines certainly feature advertorials and advertisements in their magazines and again, the influencer would have to put the paid placement label on the video which effectively makes the video an advertisement and advertisements cost money.
Chris has an internal dilemma about lap timing equipment, should magazines have been charging the providers of the equipment for being featured in their magazines. Honestly. I thought they were. I’d say they missed a trick. I think Chris even says as much with his videos where timing was involved, he should have been offering a spot in the video for a timing equipment manufacturer. The American media are years ahead of the rest of the world in this respect.
All in all the whole situation doesn’t make any one look good.
Did the influencer make an idiotic offer? Yes.
Is it a crime to ask the questions? No.
Was it immoral? Did it cross a “line”? As long as everyone is open with their audience, I don’t see how.