How Do Bloggers Benefit From the Coach Poppy Project?
By: Jennine Jacob

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A couple of weeks ago, I got a pitch from Coach about this thing called the Poppy Project. You can install the widget on your blog and your readers would interact with the poppies and the one whose readers interact the most wins a grand prize. Or if they spot a coach bag then you get a “gift.”

Sorry, I had to squeeze that video in somehow..if only I could be that excited! Back to the point… the prizes and gifts in the pitch were not specified, yet,  a lot of bloggers, 334 blogs to be exact, have the Coach poppies on their sites. Was I missing something?

 

Dana Jonhson-Williams from The Art of Accessories, talks about her experience with the Poppy Project:


I joined the Coach Poppy project because I saw a few bloggers join and thought to myself, “it could be a fun way to win a Coach gift card. I’m down for games, I win on Twitter a lot, what’s the harm?” Aside from the program being a bit vague (never got a confirmation email, had to search out the fine print to see how long it would run, and didn’t really get what the secrecy behind what the prizes would be and how they’d be awarded) I thought why not.

Well, after 2 weeks of having a long string of poppies running down my left side bar I thought, “Why am I advertising for Coach for free when I’m not getting anything out of this at all?” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a few folks email me or leave a comment on a post saying they found me because of the contest, but I don’t have tons of traffic coming my way. At least not enough to justify this massively growing advertisement taking up space on my blog. I also wasn’t that enthusiastic about tweeting phrases continuously during the day to promote the project or to get people to get my poppies to get even bigger on my site. What really killed it for me was when I was on my iPad and I felt like the poppies were bursting all over and were taking away from my site. I immediately deleted it because hey, I didn’t sign a contract and I knew I was not going to come even close to winning.

This contest also made me think about IFB and the Fair Compensation Manifesto and how much I valued The Art of Accessories. I don’t make a living from my blog, but I do want to feel like I’m engaged in a project that I’m promoting and I just didn’t for the Coach Poppy Project. Perhaps something else will come along that I feel is mutually beneficial to me, but until that happens, I’ll be keeping my site to myself.

 

There are arguments for participating in campaigns like this. Prizes, traffic, exposure, legitimacy  (even though any blog can participate in the Poppy Project, you can sign up right now by clicking here.) all of which really help a blogger get off the ground. Getting new readers is so important for bloggers at all levels, especially for the ones just beginning.

 

In practice, however, the campaign leaves a lot to be desired for bloggers. On some blogs the poppies actually cover the posts, many of the poppies cover the sidebars, existing badges, they’re in prominent places above the fold and they’re animated, causing readers to look at the poppies, if anything, out of reflex. The poppies also occupy prime advertising space, not to mention interactive ads are way more expensive than static ads. So what Coach is getting is advertising on 334 blogs to promote their products. Yet all they offer is a chance to win something, or a chance that one of your readers will win something. In exchange for giveaway traffic, which many bloggers report (including myself) doesn’t stick, so it’s not even particularly healthy traffic.

 

So how, exactly, do bloggers benefit from campaigns like the Coach Poppy Project? Maybe I am missing something.

Comments

  1. Corrin says:

    I initially participated in the Poppy Project as well. I’m a long-time Coach customer, I thought the promotion was cute and catchy, and I did receive quite a bit of new traffic and my comments increased. Then I received some complaints that my site wasn’t loading properly and I started to have the same “a-ha” moment described. I may be a brand enthusiast, but why am I turning over my blog in return for so little?

  2. Suze says:

    I can’t even do the Coach thing because I have wordpress, and it’s not self hosted. So I just ignore it every time it comes up on someone else’s site.

  3. I remember the first time I saw it– in fact, it may have been on Dana’s site. I remember being like OMG CAN I TURN IT OFF! Because I found it so distracting I couldn’t focus on the content…

    Like I’ve said before–marketers are getting smarter every day, and finding new ways each day to take advantage of bloggers, our traffic, our brands & images. WE NEED to be smarter than them in order NOT to get taken advantage of.

    • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

      yeah, at first i had no idea what i was looking at, and was ‘oh this is it?’

      it’s true, bloggers do need to be smarter, but it really takes lifting the veil of silence when it comes to campaigns like this. a few people were telling me not to post about these kinds of things, but why not? how is anything going to get better?

      • Ella Mode says:

        Yeah, why not? The poppies aren’t on IFB, so there is no imagined bad done here.

        • Linda says:

          I think the fear is that posting about it here is just giving more publicity to their campaign – but that’s only if you believe that any publicity is good publicity, as this article definitely portrays the campaign in a negative light.

      • Oh, I DEFINITELY think IFB is the place to be posting about these kinds of things… because if we don’t talk about them in a public forum, how ARE bloggers going to get any smarter (and be able to out maneuver sketchy brands)? Discussion is the key to getting everyone on the same page, and I’m frankly glad IFB tackles that silence!

  4. Sharon says:

    I just went to someone’s blog today and seen those “flowery things” which now I know (thanks to this post) are poppies. I thought is was part of their blog and I found it so annoying I left.

  5. Tiffany Neal says:

    I don’t think you’re missing anything. Admittedly, I love Coach but I think the poppy strings look annoying on blogs and I don’t like how they cover the content. Plus, I just don’t see how it helps bloggers in any real meaningful way.

  6. Becca says:

    I’ve been wondering the exact same thing! As I see endless poppy tweets clogging my twitter feed and the growing sidebar ad on some of my daily reads, I’ve been wondering what Coach is doing for these bloggers to make it all worthwhile. Apparently, not a whole lot.

  7. i thought this was in theory a brilliant campaign but it really goes to show that all social media campaigns are just trial and error at this point … there is no standard of practice and there are very few guiding case studies.

    i think a lot of bloggers got on board with this because they wanted to be seen as being associated with Coach after the bag project, which used a handpicked coterie of very successful projects. It looks like Coach “picked” your blog…

    • I completely agree with you. I think most thought it would be “cool” to be associated with Coach-yet in all reality, Coach isn’t doing anything for these bloggers which goes right back to the IFB Manifesto.

    • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

      so true. the way they pitched it was like ‘our favorite bloggers’ yeah? all 334 of them? and anyone can join in a minute?

      but you’re right about trial and error, the thing is, most bloggers dont say anything when it’s an error. and sometimes they should.

    • Ella Mode says:

      So true. That’s how it seemed in the beginning. But I DID discover this by someone (a blogging FB friend) explaining it, so that helped me.

      Isn’t that alluring though?

      Honestly I see myself as a bag designer in visuals and also in a practicing-sewing way. I’m working my way toward not stressing out so much when sewing leather (a mistake in a stitch means start over, leather and $ lost, ahh!). And I don’t like bags without some leather, so I’ve felt stuck in actually selling purses.

      (I may make shoes in the future, at least that’s part gluing, lol.)

      Anyway, so the fact that I had stopped my old-running bag blog because I couldn’t afford to buy bags, hence tease myself, so keeping up with styles drove me depressed … well I felt awful because I no longer had a chance since I started over almost from scratch in my blogging. Argh. I stopped for my sanity and to re-focus before all these great opportunities arose. (Gosh, the web keeps evolving!) I would love a piece of some genuine designer tie-in. But oh a designing opportunity – I would die for. Le sigh.

  8. i meant very successful bloggers – not projects …

  9. I don’t think you’re missing a thing, and I’m glad you posted this. It’s a gimmick. There is no way I’d give Coach that that much of my time, MY paid for blog space, and aggravate my Twitter followers with incessant “GROW POPPY GROW” just for the chance to win some prize. In fact, I hardly ever enter giveaways on sites unless it’s something that I truly like and would wear.

    I think bloggers need to educate themselves and think before jumping on every bandwagon that rolls by. Participation in things like this undermines our power to profit as bloggers with legitimate partnerships that are mutually beneficial.

    ♥ V

    http://www.gritandglamour.com

    • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

      i have never won a prize from a giveaway. :(

      you are so right that bloggers need to educate themselves, it’s hard to know when you’re doing the right thing by saying no, when you don’t know when you’re getting a bad deal.

  10. DWJ says:

    I do think it’s a lot of trial and error too. I admitted that I thought, “why not?” and then as I let it go I was like, “ugh, this is taking over.” I deleted it without a second thought, but other folks, especially newer bloggers might not do the same. And I saw a comment that I’d agree with too, I’m sure some folks did it to appear to be affiliated with Coach. I think this promotion is vague and we’ll still see more and more groups trying to figure out how to engage through social media but how to also make folks feel like they’re an active participant. Only time will tell.

    • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

      oh yeah, i know when i was a new blogger, if i got 10 hits from a site, it was the most exciting thing. plus the excitement of having a brand contact you. it’s all complicated the psychology behind these marketing campaigns and why people participate.

  11. I was in the middle of trying to install the widget, when I had the same thought. Needless to say I quit while I was ahead.

    Kendra
    http://closetconfections.com

  12. Emily says:

    I first saw the Poppy Project on a very popular blog, but I didn’t really understand it, nor did I want to support Coach (not my favorite brand). Then I saw it on a relatively fledgling blog and I knew something was up. This article shined light on Coach abusing bloggers for promotion and providing little in return.

  13. Thanks for posting this! I saw this campaign and was curious what was in it for the bloggers. Interesting that it’s all very vague, obviously for a reason. I went to a blogger event with Marshalls/TJMaxx. I really like their approach with the 25 or so bloggers there because they asked us how we can work together. Not only did they target their bloggers appropriately, they seemed like they cared about having a mutual beneficial relationship. We’ll see if they stay true to that.

  14. Victoria says:

    I do feel that bloggers need to be savvy. I feel like this stage in the game that many are getting taken advantage of by big companies. This is huge for Coach. They are getting the exposure, not the blogger. Coach isn’t making bloggers do this, they agree to. I see it like the Coach logo bags that people carry around. It’s free advertisement for them. I guess Coach is just used to people doing whatever to have the “C”s attached to them :)

  15. Kate says:

    I replied via twitter, but felt I had more to say than the 140 character limit would allow! At first I thought I just didn’t ‘get’ the poppy project… but I don’t think there’s much to get. Anyone can sign up for it, it makes pages load way slower, it’s distracting and takes over your blog, etc. Not to mention my twitter feed being filled with “GROW POPPY GROW!” messages on a daily basis. I really think people just got excited about the possiblity of associating their blog with coach, and there are probably a few people out there who would think ‘oh wow, this blogger is working with coach!’ – but once you realize anyone with a blog can sign up to do it, it loses any sense of being special. Props to coach for coming up with mass free advertising, but I think bloggers are being taken advantage of with no real benefit to them! That all said, if you’re doing this because you think it’s fun and like seeing all the pretty poppies on your sidebar, then go for it! To each their own!

  16. Jillian says:

    I just think it’s cute and kinda fun… though if it’s covering posts that is the fault of the blogger for not putting it out of the way of the content… i made sure mine only covered links in the left column but you can ‘x’ out of it so it’s perfect… :)

  17. Grit & Glamour said it best-”I think bloggers need to educate themselves and think before jumping on every bandwagon that rolls by.”

    I think so many times that bloggers are so eager to partner with ANYBODY( which by the way, as stated in this article, Coach didn’t SELECT these bloggers. ANYONE could sign up) which in turn, may give you a 2% increase of your overall traffic ( I mean, seriously, look at your analytics, is it really sufficient?) but in all actuality, these companies aren’t doing much for these participating bloggers. There are a few great bloggers I know who draft contracts for anyone asking for promos on these blogs (including compensation). These bloggers are smart and business-minded. However, the majority, including participating members in the Poppy Project, weren’t really thinking how it was going to affect their blog. I’ve gone to so many blogs where now, I can’t click on certain pieces of content because there’s a heavy spew of these damn poppies cluttering their blog. It’s not appealing, attracting, or an accessory to these blogs. It completely distracts me from reading what they wrote or being compelled to comment because I just want to get the hell out of there. To be honest, I’ve even unsubscribed to a few blogs because I can’t deal with that poppy thing and I have no clue how long that’s going for.

    POPPIES- (shakes fist in the air) DAMN YOU!

  18. Kate says:

    ALSO – can’t believe I forgot to mention… love that you posted double rainbow! Bahahaa! Amazing.

  19. I have been wondering why many of my favorite bloggers have so generously handed over their blogs to Coach.

    Coach, I love ya, I really do, but if you want advertising space on my blog, you are going to cough up a bit little more than some colorful graphics and a mysterious phantom gift.

  20. Honestly, I was too busy being annoyed by the constant “grow poppy grow” tweets of people I follow to even want to learn more. Reading all this, it definitely doesn’t seem very beneficial to bloggers. It just seems like free advertising!

  21. It’s a pretty thing but aligning a blog, especially a newer one, with a company is a very bad thing. Keeping it unbiased and fresh is a better thing. It’s seductive to receive p/r letters addressed to dear blog owner but (not) they’re extrapolating real estate. I’ve done one review and loved the product but the accompanying anxiety has made me realize I won’t even do reviews. I don’t want to have to say bad things.

    Most bloggers, the majority, have under 1000 views a month and you must be careful not to give it away.

    Someday perhaps Coach and others can line up to give you advertising money; not yet is not a bad thing.

  22. Stylst says:

    It is tricky since Coach isn’t being specific about what the bloggers get out of it. However they do get a small bump in traffic, although it is small. And they get a link back from Coach.com.

    Plus the blogger chooses to opt-in for the campaign and they can take them self out of it if they want to.

    For the next campaign it would be nice to see coach be more specific with how many bags they are going to giveaway.

    We (Stylst.com) are working on new ways for bloggers to get paid by companies since right now there is a big lack of congruency.

    • Ella Mode says:

      Hm. The longer this lasts the more chance the link (just the one) could help a new domain/blog beat the G sandbox.

      I just changed my domain name, so that sounds interesting.

  23. I’m participating in it as well, and not seeing a lot of traffic results from it either. I’ve spent countless hours searching through the trail to possibly find a prize, and have come up with nothing. If Coach is going to do something like this, they should compensate the bloggers who are participating i.e. a giftcard for a certain dollar or percentage amount, or a free prize.

    It is not fair that we’re doing their dirty work, when we as bloggers, have little chance to win from this contest. Plus I feel bad tweeting every 5 minutes about the project…it takes away my effectiveness as a blogger, and makes me sound more like an advertisement which can potentially turn people away.

    I’m debating about deleting mine b/c it’s not really fair anymore.

    • WendyB says:

      What’s there to debate about? Everything you say shows it to be a negative. Go ahead and delete!

    • Ella Mode says:

      I just stopped tweeting about it pretty fast. I also varied my tweets and had them make sense. I asked one friend (know very few Twitter users IRL) to tweet it if he’d like. (Yeah, I only know tweeting dudes!!)

      Of course, my poppies are still pretty and not like an overgrown bush. I think I want to keep it that way. I know I can’t win the top price anyhow.

  24. MJ says:

    Its funny because I saw this on numerous blogs and tweets and for some reason wasn’t so inclined to do it. I thought that something just wasn’t right. Reading this definitely confirmed things! I think as bloggers we should also trust our gut and if something doesn’t feel right, most of the time it isnt!

  25. Thanks for this. I am one of the participants as well, and honestly, I did it because I thought it might get my blog some exposure. Even that 2% increase some mentioned is a lot when you are only a couple months old! I hate tweeting things like this, yet found myself falling under the COACH Poppy spell and annoying my followers with the Grow Poppy Grow tweets (I’ve tried to stop that now). I can understand larger/more popular/established blogs not needing to participate in something like this, but if you are trying to introduce your blog to new people, it’s an easy way to do it.

    It hadn’t occurred to me that the appearance of the Poppy’s may actually turn off some visitors though. They definitely aren’t a part of the design aesthetic on my blog… maybe I should rethink teh whole thing.

    • BI—I admire your honesty here. It takes a strong person to respond as you did. Good on ya.

      • Thanks, but I don’t really know if it’s worthy of admiration! LOL It’s funny, this is another one of those things where I think it COULD have been a great idea. You could get new exposure for your blog, your readers could potentially win prizes AND be introduced to new blogs, and you yourself could check out the participating blogs. It all sounds good. It definitely sounded good to me, and I have gotten some increased traffic.

        After reading this post, however, I went and really looked at my stats. The bounce rate for the visitors I’ve gotten through the Poppy Project is REALLY high. Comments few and far between, and I don’t know if any have really converted into followers.

        So I deleted it. Yes, I thought it was fun at first and there was no apparent harm in it. Then I went and looked at my own blog post about the subject and there it was: I had highlighted a bunch of COACH products from the Poppy Collection and advertised the COACH site. All for what? A high bounce rate? My bog doesn’t need that.

        Bye-bye Coach Poppy project!

  26. Thank you so much for clearing this up! As a relatively new blogger I’ve found myself scratching my head at the Coach Poppy Project…trying to figure out what exactly the catch was.

    Nice to see bloggers wake up and smell the rose.. err… poppies? Sorry Coach, as much as I love you, your poppies are somewhat distracting and taking advantage of bloggers’ otherwise valuable ad space.

    lots of love! xo

    http://www.wply.blogspot.com

  27. That sounds like a clever plot for free advertising and link building. No ma’am! I’m proud of Dana for realizing that our blogs are worth so much more and we will not give advertising away!

  28. I’m so glad you had the guts to write about this. I did participate in the “project” and got tired of all of the tweets myself. I took it off because just as you all said, what am I really getting from this?

    I’m so glad that you all are around so bloggers won’t get duped into this crap!

    Thanks so much for the article!

  29. Bree says:

    I hate it when big companies try to take advantage of bloggers, thinking we don’t get the big picture. Oh, we get the big picture, we ARE the big picture!

  30. MissMae says:

    I thought about doing it to see what kind of traffic and prizes it would bring but then I read the part about having to repeatedly tweet over and over. No one is going to want to follow your twitter if all you do is promote companies like that. Plus there is such a small chance of winning any of the prizes.

    I’m really glad that this article was written because it is unfair that a company can get away with this. At the same time it is a pretty brilliant marketing campaign, even if it ends up pissing people off.

  31. lisa says:

    I hadn’t encountered the Poppy campaign until now. Thanks for the informative post Jennine!

    Generally I try not to get involved in campaigns where it reduces the content of my blog posts and tweets into thinly veiled advertisements, or situations where I’ll feel as though I’ve been taken advantage of. It sounds like Coach is guilty on both of those counts.

  32. Vyque says:

    Many marketers still have the mentality of get as much as you can for as little as possible. Many don’t realize that by creating my symbiotic relationships they have greater ROI in the sense of brand loyalty and lasting relationships with top influencers. But I still applaud Coach for testing out a large social media campaign and I hope they learn from this!

  33. Piper Page says:

    I can understand how a new blogger or a blogger with a new blog would do this. For an established blog it could do more harm than good but for a blog in it’s infancy that backlink  could actually be benificial, but for how long?

    This goes back to the idea that large companies often leverage the ‘star’ quality of their brand image and use it to take advantge of this new and often very inexpensive form of advertising. 

    I don’t think we should judge the folks that signed up. We all have to do what we think is best for our blogs and businesses.  
     
    I tend to get annoyed when I see companies offering bags, shoes, etc for a mention or as a means of sponsorship. How often does the average 9-5 employee work for shoes?

    Don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth. if you intend to make money from your blog, don’t be shy about it. The companies that want virtually free advertising sure aren’t.  

  34. Nichelle says:

    Entertained the thought for about 5 seconds, chatted about it, but wasn’t willing to give up the real estate, so I didn’t sign up, and kept it moving to things more beneficial to my site and my brand..F.U.P.M ;)

  35. Piper says:

    Sorry for my errors above. I was on a mobile device and couldn’t see what I was typing after the first line! :(

  36. tineey says:

    I joined the Poppy campaign on launch and thought it was a great project since it utilized social media to power to poppy growth. I’ve also found many great fashion blogs I didn’t know about it by following the “poppy trail.”

    The first 3 days I participated I received a great deal of traffic from the campaign & leader board. My blog benefited since I was on a prominent place on the leader board initially. I also actually won a $100 Coach gift card the first few hours of installation..

    Side note: I actually bumped into a someone who worked with Coach for the Poppy project and they were so excited that someone actually won something from it. So I guess they are experimenting as well, on the other side.

    In the long run, when the project became more diluted with other bloggers, it lost its appeal and traffic to the site dwindled from the campaign. Also, I did not want to SPAM my twitter feed with “grow, poppy grow..” as it adds no value to my followers.

    Eventually it just became a huge advertisement for Coach taking up a huge chunk of my blog real estate. You live & you learn!

  37. Jennine, thanks for writing about this, I was completely unaware of the project and I’m so glad to have read this before potentially finding out and maybe even signing up.

    I’ll have to echo the arguments presented by the bloggers before me, it really does sound like an ploy for Coach to get free advertising without actually providing any compensation or much benefit at all.

    Thanks for the heads up!

  38. Casey says:

    I think the question a lot of bloggers should be asking themselves is not only whether they will get a fair return for promoting companies (especially established brands that–let’s face it–have deep advertising pockets!), but if it makes sense for their blog and fits with their purpose. I was recently approached with an offer to work with a well-known clothing company on a blogger project that involved styling a specific range of their line. While the offer was quite tempting–and included a monetary (gift card) compensation–in the end I decided not to participate because the brand wasn’t one I normally purchased (even in the thrift store!) and didn’t feel that it worked well with my style direction or blog. As I said to my husband when discussing my decision: it would seem weird to be suddenly promoting “Brand X” on my blog like that, wouldn’t it? This may be a bit OT, but I think in many ways this is one aspect bloggers need to view possibly product promotions.

    I hadn’t heard about the Coach project until you brought it up here, but have seen enough similar team-ups with bloggers/big companies lately to be familiar with a lot of the permutations of this sort of thing. Honestly, I always wonder to myself who is benefiting the most? Nine times out of ten it is the company and not the blogger. I think many companies look for eager bloggers to prey upon (hate to say it, but it’s true) and use their reader base to the company’s advantage.

    Right or wrong, I think the bigger issue (as you’ve brought up in previous articles) is really that as a blogging community we need to be more mindful and wary of handing over our blogs as advertising platforms for big companies. Questions like “are we just giving this away for free”? “Do I get anything worthwhile in return?” (whether of the monetary or tangible traffic sort). “Does this fit with the overall theme of my blog?” Too often most of the pitches I get do not make sense for my blog or the time I’d have to invest in working on the posts/promotions (let’s face it: blogging can be “work” and one should be fairly compensated!). Which is sad because I’d be happy to work with companies if their offers were less about taking advantage of me/my readership (which yes, I feel a sort of motherly need to keep from barraging them with constant ads! ;) and the products they wanted to advertise/promote made sense within the overall theme of my blog.

    Anyway, enough ranting! But thanks again for this insightful article and discussion it prompted!!!

    ♥ Casey
    blog | elegantmusings.com

  39. WendyB says:

    I fucking love the double-rainbow video. Someone showed it to me at a dinner recently and I laughed so hard I cried.

    This is a great post. Though the poppies are less annoying to me than the endless string of giveaways. I assume that giveaways are one of those things that are EXTREMELY ANNOYING but effective, and everyone gets mad traffic from them so it doesn’t matter that one person like me thinks it’s tacky. But it’s still tacky.

  40. Gabriella says:

    I received this pitch as well and at first I thought, “Wow, we’re finally on Coach’s radar.”

    But then I didn’t get a confirmation or follow-up and I started having the feeling that they probably reached out to many blogs. I also sell ads on my site and get paid for them and I started feeling like this would be a free ad for Coach so I skipped it.

    I don’t think we’re missing out on anything – if anything, we are a bit more cautious because we know companies are always looking for a free ad.

    Congrats to Coach for coming up with something that doesn’t seem like an ad but is – and getting away with it. Not sure they’ll be as successful next time…

  41. Wow, don’t know whether to be relieved or sad that I’m not on Coach’s radar! It does sound like a really shoddy deal for all the bloggers involved, but I guess it must be performing well for some of them.

  42. Ella Mode says:

    I am relatively pleased with the project’s traffic results for me. I’ve made site changes, like finally changed my Feedburner URL to reflect a new site name, and not ancient. And those changes affect my traffic, so personally this helps me to regain levels when I’m at a bit of a lull.

    I wouldn’t have joined if I weren’t a fan. I saw it as free advertising for COACH before I joined, but I don’t mind that. Maybe even COACH could notice little me for future blog relationships.

    If there is no affiliate program, or a blog doesn’t qualify, don’t we sometimes promote products for free when we just blog about them? COACH was like this before they appeared on ShopSense (yay). To me, this is kind of like that, I want to endorse COACH. (OK I’m a COACH ‘ho.)

    I haven’t researched the quality of the traffic, but even when we PAY for advertising, new fans aren’t guaranteed. I kind of see this as also free advertising for my blog.

    I’m happy that what I imagine here are a lot of fresh faces at my blog, which can’t hurt. They’re coming from a lot of sites I hadn’t heard of, and that’s cool too. I don’t know if the hits really boost my stats that positively, but I won’t complain.

    I originally had the poppies on the right sidebar, but moved them when I added an AdSense block to that part of the site.

    IMPORTANT! DON’T let the poppies cover your Adsense; this is not allowed! Be careful!! (Also think of smaller computer resolutions.)

    Another note; anything under the poppies is un-clickable, so plan well. I’m seeing the obstruction as a temporary evil. So yeah, when DOES this end???

  43. Found you through IFB’s roundup, and thought this was an excellent post.

    I have a couple blog friends who have signed up for this and while I want to support them, I find myself not wanting to visit their blogs because of how annoying those graphics are. I thought for a millisecond I might do it too, but then I remembered I’m not that big of a fan of Coach products anyway (and I used to sell them in the handbag dept at a retail store!)

    I don’t think it’s a fair deal for these bloggers, especially because a)they’re not getting compensated for this advertising and b) they don’t even know what the end prize is going to be.

  44. Annija says:

    I started a blog literally a couple of days ago, so I’m struggling to get some traffic to my site. I suppose this project is more suitable for new blogs that need promotion more than anything; I can’t think of a reason why established blog owners would go for it though.

  45. Chelsea says:

    I have to admit, my blog is currently part of the poppy project. I thought it would be fun at first and being affiliated with Coach might get me some more traffic- that’s really all I was looking for as I don’t have ads on my blog and my blog is not a source of income for me.

    It is a bit odd (and annoying) that Coach really does not outline how to maximize this project, how to use it, and what the benefits are…

    I have remained a part of it because it has increased my traffic to some degree and it doesn’t hide any existing material on my blog- I placed it in a corner that is free space anyways.

    I see really no harm in it. Bloggers are participating willingly and can remove it at any time. I don’t feel they are being taken advantage of because they have been the ones to initiate this on their blog, not Coach.

    And I promote brands and stores I really like (mostly locally owned ones though) for free anyway. I wouldn’t have put it on my site if I didn’t love Coach in the first place.

  46. Erin Higgins says:

    When I first saw the contest, I loved it because my blog is currently giving away Coach purses so I thought it was great. In one day my site http://www.stylecheckup.com moved from 300+ to 128. Thinking this was the greatest thing I happened to open my site in IE instead of Firefox and my site was malfunctioning…it was almost gone but the Poppy’s remained. Sadly I had to remove it from my site. I did however “follow the poppies” and read some of the other blogs so that was cool. Their code caused some javascript errors and I wasn’t going to pay a web guy big $$ to fix it just so I could have Coach poppies growing on my site. BTW I love your site! Maybe we can exchange blog posts…saw you on Linkedin :) Erin Higgins

  47. Chelsea says:

    Jennine, I’d like to thank you for your article that enlightened me on the controversy of the Poppy Project. I wrote a reply previously saying I was ok with the Poppies on my site…I wasn’t wowed by their existence or any of the minimal pros, but wasn’t aware of any cons.

    Well after I read this, and then some of the comments…I started to think about what really mattered most to me: How is this affecting my readers?

    After seeking some feedback from those who view my blog, I realized it was slowing them down. I understand how frustrating that can be, especially if your computer is an older model. So bye bye poppies.

    However, I would love to be part of a Coach project that benefits everyone! :)

  48. roni says:

    This is crazy, especially since I’ve never even heard of the project(like many other commenters). This seems like a cheap ploy to take advantage of bloggers who definitely don’t receive anything substantial in return. Coach is not even that hot. If Louis Vuitton was doing something like this, I’d probably be all over it!

  49. vicki says:

    I saw these doodle like poppy things on chictopia first and found them so distractiing, and it totally covered areas of the site that I then couldnt access.. not a fan of this ‘project’

  50. Tiffany says:

    At first I thought this was a great idea nad pretty clever but now it’s just straight up annoying! it’s very distracting for readers you can’t disable it! I think it’s a great idea for the sidebar or maybe Poppy should have made it smaller!

  51. Cate says:

    I’m really glad i saw this. I actually joined the poppy project late last week because it kept turning up on blogs i read often and i figured it was some huge fashion blogger secret no one would tell me. it was only after i went digging around that i realized that not only does the promotion end in about a week or two, but the chances of me or my readers winning anything was minimal at best and non-existent at worst.

    i hadn’t really thought about the cons of this project until i read this and i’m glad i did. truthfully, i’ll probably keep the poppies because i think they’re pretty and right now they haven’t grown enough to obscure any of my content (i have a huge beyond ridiculous header so the poppies have occupied that space for now) but i am at least grateful that from here on out i’ll have the presence of mind to think about what my blog will be getting out of this mass promotion for a store i hadn’t even heard about before now and will probably never shop at.

    great article. thanks for the insight.

  52. melanie says:

    I think it is brilliant on the part of Coach to do this…it is completely free advertising for them. Bloggers are getting added exposure and a chance to win something. It is nice to see corporations engaging in the blogosphere, and I would think that for the ultimate winners, and those who have won prizes along the way their pay-off is well worth the effort. For me, I find the Coach widget to be annoying. As the poppies “grow” it does seem to interfere with the overall design and readability of most sites. I hope they improve the design of future widgets. I also feel that constantly tweeting and asking others to tweet the combined hashtag at a chance to win something makes me seem deranged. I thought I would give this project a chance, but I will certainly think twice the next time I’m approached to do something like this! Thanks for your great post on the topic! :)

  53. Laurie says:

    The constant “grow poppies grow” tweeting was obnoxious and I unfollowed people who did it. I didn’t even realize it was part of a contest until now!

  54. Katy says:

    I joined about two weeks ago, not because I am in love with the Coach brand but because I was interested to see if it was a reader generator. I thought for sure I would see the Poppy Project show up in my Google Analytics report. But in the roughly 14 days I had it on my site the project only drew 15 people to my site, with an average staying time of 33 seconds. I’d consider that a failure for me, but a major win for Coach.

  55. Katy says:

    Oh and one more thing… I assumed the top blogs would be the ones that were the most popular. But if you looked at the list of the top blogs that had grown the largest poppies, most of them were only a couple months old and had on average 20 followers. They must have been tweeting day and night about the project.

  56. Mike Johnson says:

    I think this might be a case of a good idea poorly executed. The whole poppy blog campaign’s heart was in the right place–ofering blogger’s value by giving them a theme to belong to, incentivizing them various ways… it’s all very savvy social media. But in this case it went array.

  57. Kate says:

    I didn’t even know about this until now and I’m so glad that I haven’t signed up knowing what I know now. Just another example of companies trying to get advertising without giving any compensation.

  58. Carly says:

    I am a recent blogger…started in Feb of 2010…but my belief is to stay true to yourself and blog about what you know, love and want to communicate to everyone. I am not a fan of coach, never have been, never will be. I saw this “Poppy” on a few of my fav daily blog visits, and was curious, but never thought to enter, because I am not a fan of the brand. I am thinking about taking down my google ads too? thoughts? does anyone REALLY make any money from those ads???

  59. This is a different sort of opinion that many people dont usually talk about. Sometimes I fav stuff like this on Redit. I dont think this would be the best to submit though. Ill take a look around your site though and submit something else.

  60. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers? I鈥檓 kinda paranoid about losing everything I鈥檝e worked hard on. Any recommendations?

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