Earlier this month, Campagne Restaurant in Kilkenny, Ireland posted a screenshot of an e-mail on Twitter.
"In exchange for a vegan meal for two (we would ideally like to try several items on the menu), we would be happy to provide significant online exposure on both our blogs and social media accounts," the bloggers wrote in the e-mail, promising to live tweet the experience.
The start of another week in paradise.. pic.twitter.com/zLP3bhBORV— campagne restaurant (@campagnekilkenn) September 19, 2017
"I don't normally tweet about them, but this one just struck a chord," Mr Byrne told The Telegraph, adding the restaurant receives about 10 such requests per year on average. "I don't think restaurants should entertain them," he said.
On Twitter, the reactions came fast (and furious):
But the online exposure!!! It's "significant"...— BeoirFinder (@BeoirFinder) September 19, 2017
Wow... people actually write & send these emails, so brazen & just ridiculous— Carol @ Gin&Griddle (@GinandGriddle) September 19, 2017
Would love to eat there, if you pay for my airfare I'll gladly post positive reviews.— joshua hascup (@THEJoshHascup) September 22, 2017
Some travel writers and bloggers called the e-mail embarrassing:
Urgh. They are giving the rest of us travel writers an awful name. Trust, we aren't all THIS bad - and idiotic.— Lara Ceroni (@LaraCeroni) September 22, 2017
This really embarrasses me as a food blogger. On behalf of the good ones I apologise.— DrPond (@MissPond) September 22, 2017
This makes me mortified to be a blogger!!! I never announce that I'm coming!! If I like the place, I'll have my photo's and do my own thing!— Creative Yoke Blog (@Creativeyoke) September 22, 2017
Others defended "influencers" and said it was all part digital marketing:
The opinion of bloggers is often more trusted nowadays FYI— Emma lavelle (@fieldandnest) September 22, 2017
Your reaction just shows how behind you are in digital marketing and influencer marketing— Mollie Clarke (@mollieblog) September 22, 2017
I don't see anything wrong with this. My blog is my business and I wouldn't make money if I didn't pitch to brands!— Kirstyleanne (@kirstyleannee92) September 22, 2017
Turns out, the bloggers did manage to get the restaurant "significant online exposure," with many writing they would love to eat at the restaurant (and pay the bill):
Hah, that's hilarious! Their job was done for free as I'm now aware of you and will be looking to try out the food. I'll be paying of course— Reuben Gray (@TaleOfAle) September 20, 2017
Wow #SeriousNotions— Step House Hotel (@Stephousehotel) September 23, 2017
Hope you're having a busy weekend chef Great publicity right there and not a free meal in sight
They just didn't get a free meal in return. Click for more trending news