By Paul Pannone
The news of lackluster performance and givebacks to advertisers by Get Married is making its way through the wedding industry and escalating the desire to partner up with another company or totally depart the business. Sources familiar with the story say the Atlanta-based wedding resource owned by the Taylor Corporation is stunned at how the industry is responding.
The CEO of Get Married, Anita Brady, refuses to respond to growing concerns. eWedNewz has learned the company has given back money to selected advertisers that were dissatisfied with traffic from the Get Married web site, simply because they asked for it. eWNz is learning that original communication with the sales staff at Get Married blamed them for the ineffectiveness.
Wedding Water Coolie, Samantha Goldberg, wants to bid on Get Married and change its name to Get Divorced.
The news infuriated some of the members of the Wedding Water Cooler.
Kendra Kroll of WWC said, “People that sell a bill of goods with smoke & mirrors and disingenuous methods should be strung up by their eyeballs. It’s obvious why she’s evading the questions; it’s because SHE HAS NO ANSWERS. Just another pile of shit on a plate.”
Kroll and other Coolies vented their frustrations, bitten by the snake of misleading claims, false pretenses and being told what they wanted to hear. For nearly two years, this newZ source has spoken with countless advertisers and ex-employees of the company and concludes, Get Married failed to give its customers what they promised.
Wedding analyst, Christine Boulton weighed in:
“One of the main reasons I do what I do is to protect the small bridal vendor against people and companies just like this. The sale reps for most companies come at them with fairy dust, promises of unicorns and great piles of sugar plums. Their numbers are almost always enhanced with the use of smoke and mirrors.
Until now and the great investigatory reporting of Paul Pannone, all I had to go on was the lack of sales resulting directly from places like the Knot, Bride.com, Wedding Wire, Get Married and Grace Ormond. Bridal vendors would pour money into these product on the sales pitch alone. When they would complain to their sales reps, the answer that they almost always got was along the lines of “It’s your fault,” telling them either your website sucks, you aren’t following up on the leads.
While the website part may have held water, it was usually more an issue of them not getting any hits from the advertising platform in the first place. As for the issue of not following up on the leads, that doesn’t matter if the leads were bogus in the first place,” according to Boulton.
I asked Boulton to omit mention of my name; she flatly refused. We agreed that our collaboration has shed light on some very devious and deceptive practices in the industry and will continue to do so.
Another WWC member gave his opinions on the deceptiveness that exists in the wedding industry.
“I agree that some media salespeople are deceptive. That’s unfortunate. Some sales people in every industry are deceptive. Some salespeople actually believe that what they’re selling is real. That’s the most horrifying part of the problem — they don’t believe that they’re being deceptive. I honestly believed that The Knot and Brides and others were delivering what they said they were delivering. I watched as small businesses poured hundreds, thousands of dollars into these advertising programs and received nothing in return.
I selected not to compete in this arena because I thought that my web site couldn’t deliver anywhere near what others were promising to deliver. So I watched as The Knot, Brides.com and others made huge profits while I sat by the sidelines being told that I was an idiot for not getting into the game. As it turns out . . . I did the right thing. I didn’t cheat anyone. I didn’t lie to anyone. I didn’t cash in on a lot of revenue that was easily available from a naive group of advertisers who believed that the internet was the answer to all their problems.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times — there is no silver bullet. If you’ve been around the block, you should know better than to place your limited quantity of eggs in one basket. There’s nothing that we can do as wedding professionals to prevent small business from being naive — to prevent them from making the same mistakes that many have made before them. The only thing that we can do is help them to pick up the pieces after they’ve made mistakes and help them to make better choices going forward,” according to Jim Duhe.
Duhe told eWedNewz he became a fan of Get Married in 2009, feeling they had all the right components to become a leader in wedding marketing. He said the television and web presence was innovative and appropriate for the time but began to have second thoughts when the company launched a print publication and trying to be all things to all people.
A suggestion from WW Coolie, Samantha Goldberg, says, “Let’s buy Get Married and call it Get Divorced.
Goldberg’s run in with the previous owner and CEO of Get Married, Stacie Francombe, made headline newz earlier this year. Both Goldberg and Francombe maintain a working relationship as members of the Wedding Water Cooler since Francombe came forward to denounce some of the past practices at GM.
eWedNewz continues our investigation into this story and welcomes your thoughts. Please post them here or contact me at Paul@ewednewz.com or 516-312-0090
All Rights Reserved