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I may be jumping on the bandwagon a little here.


I have identified myself as a blogger for fourteen years. I have opinions on the debacle between Elle Darby and Paul Stenson, of the White Moose Café and Charleville Lodge Hotel in Dublin. I’d like to share those opinions.


Brief bit of backstory

Just in case you didn’t know, Elle Darby had contacted the Dublin hotel and cafe about a “possible collaboration” suggesting some kind of deal/offer/discount or free accommodation for her and her partner. The benefits for the hotel would of course be, publicity from an blogger/vlogger and influencer.

Mr Stenson did not like the offer one bit and decided to ‘out’ Elle Darby on social media for such a ludicrous attempt at finagling free accommodation in his hotel.

The story went viral, Mr Stenson banned all bloggers from his business in the process, Elle Darby responded… upset at being publicly shamed and criticised and so on.

Bloggers have weighed in with their opinions. Non-bloggers have said some stuff. Some of it has been ugly.

Anyway, the latest chapter involves Mr Stenson sending Elle Darby an invoice for €5,289,000. That’s for all the free publicity he says Elle Darby has taken advantage of, at his expense. He is of course bluffing and not really invoicing her but, it’s a clever swipe at the whole world of bloggers and free goods for publicity. Haha!

“Payment must be made in Euro. We do not accept Sterling. Mentions in videos will not qualify as payment.”


Elle Darby has witnessed an increase of just under 20,000 in her youtube subscribers since these shenanigans began so, i don’t know? Is that impressive?

And, should everyone maybe just back away now before someone really gets hurt?


“I think this is about treating people with respect and not throwing them out to the wolves.”


My opinion

Here’s the first thing. It doesn’t really matter what I think. Or you either. Not really.

In an ideal world this matter would be kept between the two parties aforementioned. Mr Stenson could have just said no, or piss off or whatever… but, we now live in an age when public shaming is a daily occurrence. People lose their jobs, friends and reputation every day as a result of this kind of drama on the Internet. I’ve witnessed first-hand the sheer ridiculousness of a public shaming with nasty consequences. It’s unpleasant.

So, I said I identify as a blogger at the start of this. I better explain that.

I’m not the type of blogger who asks for free stuff or for collaborations. I’m not that big of a deal. I have been given free stuff though. Coffee. T-shirts. Beer. Coffee. T-shirts… I think that’s it.

I’ve also been offered free lunches in exchange for “reviews” and “free publicity.” Like I said, I’m not that big of a deal but, you see Mr Stenson, businesses do want to offer free stuff by way of ‘collaboration’ with bloggers of all types.

I know first-hand of businesses who have seen an increase in sales/subscriptions to their products and services because of my online influence. I treat this as a privilege, not a reason to boast. I only say it because in light of this story, I firmly reject the ridicule being hurled at the term ‘influencer’ by people who don’t know what they are talking about.


“It still blows my mind just how ignorant of the power of influence via social media many people are.”


Hang on though, maybe I’m not giving Mr Stenson enough credit, maybe he knows about the power of influence and is still irked by it. The way he describes his businesses on their respective websites suggest he knows exactly what he is doing.

But, bloggers and influencers have come under fire.

People think;

Freeloaders. Never done a days work in their life. Lazy. Entitled.

And that’s simply not always true.


“I think if you are worth collaborating with then people will collaborate with you.”


Sure state the bleeding obvious eh…

But, if you have millions of followers on social media then you probably get to a stage where you don’t need to ask for collaborations anymore.

But asking in the way that Elle Darby did is not ridiculous as some have been suggesting. Blogging/Vlogging is a legitimate business. She is running her own business. You or I don’t have to like it or agree with how it works. It certainly has nothing to do with self-respect and dignity. Millions of bloggers around the world work very hard. They just work hard in a different way from you.

And you don’t have to be under 30 years of age to understand any of this. I’m 40 and started to blog when Elle Darby was 8 years old. Over 30’s are not the problem in this story.


I am Darby & Stenson

We have a small clothing brand called Ruckus Collective. Since we launched it, we’ve had quite a few people suggest that they would promote our shirts if we gave them one or some free.

I have given away a few shirts but, not to the people who tried to blag freebies.

Why? Because they won’t benefit our business. They are just blaggers.

How do I know this? I have eyes and the Internet and can see just how much influence they have… or have not.

Was I a bit angry? Yes.

Did I publicly shame them? No, because that’s rude and at some stage on the Internet, surely someone has to act like a reasonable person.

In the end it’s not about the free goods or the offer of collaboration or the offence caused/taken… I think this is about treating people with respect and not throwing them out to the wolves.

On the other hand, for one of the people in the story I think it might just be one big publicity stunt.

How will it all end?