As you are no doubt aware by this point, my beloved snowblower ad has indeed been taken down from Kijiji. But this is not a time for anger or for red hot flames of vengeance to strike down those that would oppose the awesome might of my words. It's a time to celebrate the time that the world was united under one common cause: to sell my snowblower.
Before I tell the story, I want to say that the folks at Kijiji are some fine people with a great future ahead of them doing wondrous and magical things. And while those of you that are used to my blogging voice may be used to a certain, how shall I put it, modicum of sarcasm, there is none to be found in that sentence. They've been nothing but professional, supportive and up front with me through this journey.
I checked Kijiji at around noon to check on my count. It wasn't there. I panicked. I hit refresh. I hit refresh again. I checked my email and found the boiler plate email from Kijiji notifying me that the ad had been pulled. I immediately sent a message to the Kijiji Support Team asking why my poor little ad that never hurt nobody had to go and find a place in electron heaven.
Then I had to go back to work, because I actually do have a job that they pay me to do and everything.
After work, I hopped on Twitter and asked for some help with why my ad was pulled when I thought it was safe. Shawn was the lucky PR guy that got to talk to me (and also, as it turned out, answered my earlier support request that I didn't see until later). Big kudos to him - in 140 characters or less, he was able to explain the situation to me and keep me calm. I'm a guy that just lost a 500K viewed ad, so you can imagine my emotional level. Shawn, if you're out there reading this right now, I salute you with this picture, the only one that exists of me with my moustache from this year.
|It's not really a moustache. It's more of a lip-brow to match my eyes.|
The short answer is because of the dreaded bad publicity that I had been warned about.
Now, you're probably thinking the same thing that I was thinking - with all the coverage that the ad has been generating, and all the hits that it has received, how could there be negative publicity? I mean, 500,000 laughing people is pretty decent, right? And I held up my end of the bargain not to go on a crime spree (please note that I am NOT the guy stealing all the sex toys in the area).
The longer answer is that the publicity isn't JUST on the part of the media. Kijiji does have a business to run, and like all successful online ventures, they have a community. While I believe that the majority of the community was probably pretty happy with the success of the ad (my inbox kind of feels like they all sent me a message), the other side of the coin is that there had to be people that weren't.
Remember, Kijiji doesn't want ads for things that have been sold being kept up for long periods of time. In fact, it doesn't want them at all. The comedy and publicity is good, but there is a limit, and my ad was bending the rules by staying up even though the product was gone.
So, eventually, something had to give, and Kijiji is, as I mentioned, first and foremost a business. And if my ad started to make their regular users uncomfortable because it was outside the law, then they had to take action. Plus, as Shawn put it:
We're not too concerned, but a lot of people are looking for a snowblower, and I'm sure are tired of seeing yours (no longer available).Once again, a victim of my own success.
Am I angry? Maybe I was a little. But all anger is rooted in sadness of some kind, and I'm a lot sad. I was really hoping it would stay alive and beat the record. But I take solace in having the all time highest viewed English ad on Kijiji.
On to happier news!
With the news that I was working with Gene Fowler at loogaroo.com, Global News contacted me this morning to see if they could get a quick interview with me. I was agreeable to the proposition, but honestly, the job that is actually paying me money to live on has to come first during working hours. So I agreed on the caveat that we meet during my lunch and do it then. All was good and the interview was set.
Sadly, the interview did not go well.
In fact, you could say that it didn't go at all due to a camera malfunction. We were set up in the lobby of the Delta, ready to go, when the camera decided it would refuse to record. It continued to be an anti-camera, diligently not recording anything at all for the remainder of my lunch time. The reporter for Global was a really nice guy and was desperately trying every trick in the book, up to and including phoning for help. I know the gut wrenching feeling of trying to do your job and your tools not cooperating, so I had genuine compassion for the dude.
I finally had to go, and we agreed that once he had a working camera we would try to reconnect in my building to capture some magic. I then walked the three blocks back to the office, against the wind and into the rain. Really, all I needed was a sad saxophone playing in the background to finish the scene. And, of course, the moment I walked through the front doors of my office my phone rang; he was calling to let me know that the camera was working again. Doh.
He was going to shoot someone from the business association as scheduled, and I agreed that he could give me a call when he was done there. When the call came, and I went downstairs to meet him, I half expected something else to go wrong. Like there would be a video of adorable kittens playing piano in Buctouche, but I sat down and we were off!
The interview went pretty well I thought. If you caught it, here's a spoiler: That's not my laptop. Also, if you watch my fingers while I'm typing, I'm writing things like "This is not my laptop. In fact, it is not even turned on. This is a fraud. Don't believe the media!" True story.
Thus concludes Ironic Moment Number One: The same day that a national news organization takes an interest in my story, the ad gets pulled from Kijiji (again, big thanks to Shawn!).
Now on to the Ironic Moment Number Two (which is funnier, really)
If you didn't catch the news piece, there was one teeny tiny practically not noticeable thing that kind of made it difficult to watch. Yes, my name. I didn't even think to say my name a few times for him so he'd be okay with it (though I did spell it for him). So through the entire piece, I was referred to as "Weh-Ming Chow". I can't fault him, it's a common enough mistake that I've learned to live with from an early age, but I should have used the old mantra we have: "It's Cho like go, not Chow like cow" (from hence was born my sister-in-law's twitter account ChoLikeGo).
But they mispronounced my name while showing my blog post of the day entitled, as you may remember blognostifans, "SAY MY NAME". An article in which I expound at some length about the ways in which my name has been bungled. Ooooh the irony, right?
WRONG. That's not irony. That's rain on your wedding day/free ride when you've already paid/the good advice that you just didn't take coincidence.
The irony isn't even that the name of the journalist with the recalcitrant camera was Brion (pronounced Bri-on, not Bree-on, you jerks). And also, Brion was a totally nice guy that with some slightly better equipment is gonna go far!
No, the irony is that just before we were filming the piece, the following was posted as a comment to my "SAY MY NAME" post. This is from an old work colleague, named Carmel:
It made me feel happy that in the name game of life..I am not alone. Oh and by the way...you always called me Carmel like it rhymed with bell, but it is actually pronounced as if it is spelled Carmal...just saying...lmao
I felt awful when I read that, so I immediately (or as soon as I was aware of it) responded with:
@Carmel - Waaaaait a sec, Carmel, is that you? Why did you never say to me "Weh, you idjit, you have been pronouncing my name wrong for YEARS." It seems like it should have come up at some point...
Notice the time stamp on that? That's 12 minutes before the start of the news broadcast in which my name was bungled. You'd think that those of us with different names would make more of an effort, yes?
Well, Brion and Carmel, I humbly accept the keys to my glass house.
BTW - you know who else shouldn't throw stones? EVERYBODY. It's dangerous and someone is going to get hurt. Put the stones down, and stop whipping them around like some kind of game, because it isn't and you're going to put out an eye.