The Sun Newspaper Fucks With The Wrong Blogger

Chris Taylor, an occasional contributor here and author of the sadly sporadic (sad because he’s a damn fine writer) unofficial FC United of Manchester blog It’ll Be Off, received one of the many emails sent out by the Sun newspaper in England recruiting bloggers to some kind of bizarre World Cup sweepstakes contest.

Since Chris hates the Sun with a passion — for good reason, since it’s a pile of steaming shit — he ignored the email. The Sun decided to ignore his ignoring and just use his blog as part of the sweepstakes anyway. I’ll let Chris explain:

So yeah. I got an email from The Sun. It basically said that I was to be involved in some sort of sweepstake, and that my blog would receive loads of coverage through The Sun’s website, and Facebook page. And how amazing would that be? The fella who sent me the email signed off by saying, “Let me know your thoughts! I know The Sun isn’t everyone’s cup of tea to say the least but hopefully this will be a bit of fun.” Which is one hell of an understatement.

I ignored this email, hoping that if I didn’t respond, I wouldn’t be involved in all this savage wankery. But sadly I am. My blog is now apparently Chile, and The Sun have publicised this site in a YouTube clip and on their website. I received another email from them yesterday asking for a little coverage of all this on my blog. So here you go:

I want to make it abundantly clear to everyone: I have nothing to do with this. I want nothing to do with this. And I am furious that the good(ish) name of my little blog, that ceased to be a concern some six months ago, is being used by the worst of all tabloids as some fucking publicity machine for their horrendous sweepstake generating iPhone app, and their even more horrendous newspaper. As I posted on Facebook when all this started, “Yeah, sure, I’ll be part of your World Cup blogging network.I’ll sign up the day you explain how it took 15 years to apologise for your Hillsborough coverage. The day you aren’t part of Murdoch’s News International empire. And the day you aren’t a bunch of odious, scare-mongering, right-wing cretins”.

And indeed, yep, here Chris’ blog is, listed as representing Chile (you can Google to find their actual page if you want, I’m not giving them any linkage help):

sun-world-cup-bloggerI’d be curious to know if all the other bloggers in there also gave their permission for their names and logos to be used. I’m kinda sad they didn’t use mine, as there’s surely something legally fishy about the Sun doing this crap.

Edit: So, just from the comments left here, we also know the following blogs names & logos were used by the Sun to promote this crap without their permission: It’ll Be Off; Unprofessional Foul; Sport Is A TV Show; Run of Play; the Onion Bag; Two Hundred Percent; The Ball Is Round; twofootedtackle; The Football Blog.


42 thoughts on “The Sun Newspaper Fucks With The Wrong Blogger

  1. James T

    I’ll admit that we initially responded, wondering if it could be a fun bit of folly. We never heard back from them for weeks, so I assumed it was dead. Then I find out that we’re in the mix via Run of Play’s random tweet that linked to his video. I looked around, and lo and behold, found we were involved too. The vid says something about an “info packet” — no thanks, I can do better myself — that’s to be sent along, but no actual email communication since from anyone responsible for the competition.

    And so, I just keep on ignoring it.

  2. Fredorrarci

    Nope, no permission from me. There are many horrible things I would have done to me sooner than give publicity to that paper.

    And they’ve dragged Michael Palin and Gwen Taylor into it too! The monsters!

  3. Chris O

    Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention Tom / Chris. Miraculously my own website, SPAOTP, has escaped an appearance in The Scum. Grateful for small mercies, as they say…

  4. Brian Phillips

    No permission from me for the use of Run of Play. I’ve been doing my best to make fun of them, their sweepstakes, their video, and everything else since this started — as well as criticizing them from the very beginning on RoP — and I get the feeling that they have no idea this is the case. Which suggests that they don’t really know anything about the blogs they threw onto this list, but just grabbed them semi-randomly. But then, no one ever accused the Sun of spending too much time doing research.

  5. Joe W

    Is it just me who sees the irony in a Murdoch publication using someone else’s content without their permission and not expecting them to get in a huff about it?

    Maybe all you lucky chosen bloggers should put your sites behind paywalls, on the basis that your content shouldn’t be free for all?

    (Though of course you wouldn’t do that, because paywalls are a waste of time)

  6. Graham Sibley

    No permission from us at The Onion Bag either. I’ve just ignored them up to now hoping to completely starve them of any publicity.

    I wonder the randomness of the choices of blogs to teams – i’m sure “Brazil” would be a very willing winner. And a quick look at the site has shown they’re galdly joining in.

    Though the idea of winning an interview with Shaun Custis appeals purely for the chance giving him the Matt Bianco treatment.

    Shall we organise some concerted opposition – it could be fun.

  7. Elliott

    Guys,

    If you did not give permission for the Sun to use your blogs and logos on their website, please email me immediately. futfanatico [a] gmail [dot] com

  8. Ian

    None from me, either. Just an email while I was packing to go away. I had been planning some sort of reply, but I think Chris has just about nailed it.

  9. Sam H

    It’s interesting isn’t it – if we were to use one of their photos, they’d be on us like a tonne of bricks.

    They just helped themselves, it would seem, to your permission.

    The Sun, The Mirror, The Mail – they’re the main three I do my best to avoid paying for.

  10. KT

    I know we’re two countries separated by a common language, but why “sweepstake” and not “sweepstakes?”

  11. Stuart Fuller

    We (theballisround.co.uk) agreed to do the prediction league for the 3 England games only but not the sweepstake which we were simply entered into without us agreeing to it.

  12. Tom Dunmore Post author

    KT – why math and not maths? Eh, there’s probably an easy answer to both I don’t know….

    And thanks everyone for letting me know if you gave permission to the Sun or not — I’ll keep updating the list above.

  13. arseblogger

    They emailed me to tell me I was in it, reaction here towards the end of the post – http://www.oleole.com/blogs/arseblog/posts/schwarzer—gallas—joe-cole-and-sun-prizes

    Do they need permission to enter you into something you don’t have to do anything with?

    I’m no huge fan of The Sun but it’s not like we’re being hugely exploited here. To be honest, I don’t think anyone who reads the paper gives the slightest shit about any of the blogs and they’re hardly using our logos to make money.

    And I’m hoping all my Christmasses come at once and I win the cool prize of interviewing a football journalist. After 8+ years blogging this is exactly what I need to take my website to the next level.

  14. Tomato Queen

    RE: sweepstake

    American sweepstakes and UK sweepstake are two different contests so it’s not just a matter of singular or plural in this case, it’s how the contest works. In the US, sweepstakes generally require an entry number or entry ticket, either free or paid, for a set prize or set of prizes. In the UK, a sweepstake is an entry in a contest that is assigned to the player. So if I have entered a sweepstake in the UK, it could be a list of horses in a race, and I am assigned my horse in order (if I’m the first player, I get the first horse in the gate). A sweepstakes in the US might cost me nothing to enter, I just send in my name, and I might win a zillion dollars, or a bale of hay, all depending on what’s being given away by whoever is running it.

    Howay FCUM!

    Love and kisses, TQ

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  16. Ian

    “they’re hardly using our logos to make money”

    That’s not, as far as I am concerned, the point. I couldn’t give a tu’penny damn about the logo (or even if they make money from this little venture), but I do care about the name of my site (and, by implication, me personally) being used as if it’s in conjunction with The Sun in any way, and it clearly looks as if it is. The matter of it being with or without my permission is almost neither here nor there, since there is no way in a thousand years that I would have agreed to it.

  17. Stuart Fuller

    But Arseblogger you will only win IF you promote the competition on your blog. Would be interesting to see who is prepared to do that….

  18. Chris Nee

    I can say nothing more than Stuart Fuller. Agreed to the prediction gubbins, don’t recall anything about a sweepstake or pinching my logo.

  19. Brian Phillips

    One thing worth tacking on here is that as far as I know, they don’t even do the bloggers the basic courtesy of linking to their sites. So there’s not even the possibility of getting readers/traffic from the deal. Most of us are probably okay with not suddenly having a rush of Sun subscribers on our sites, but still. Linking isn’t even Internet Etiquette 101; it’s like learning where you keep your pencils on your very first day of school.

  20. Chris Taylor

    By the way. We are linked to, through a clickable image. I’ve received five hits from the sweepstake site today. And 140 odd from a Liverpool FC forum.

    I also think our blogs were culled from the SoccerLens awards. This is the only link I can think of between the sites.

  21. arseblogger

    This is all getting quite fraught, maybe we need a support group.

    Ian – I see your point completely, I just don’t think it reflects badly on you or your site in any way. Especially if you’ve just ignored it.

    But Arseblogger you will only win IF you promote the competition on your blog. Would be interesting to see who is prepared to do that….

    Well surely you can only win if your sweepstake team wins the World Cup, no?

  22. William Topping

    Hi,

    If you have made your logo yourself you can always sue the Sun for illegal reproduction of copyrighted material. I would phone their legal department first and ask for recompense if they are going to use your logo or to remove you forthwith and pay you your standard charge for using your copyrighted work without permission, say £250. Otherwise you are legally entitled to take them to court, and of course, you’re going to win, because you are the copyright holder.

  23. Stuart Fuller

    Arseblogger – Yes and that of course…

    Not aware of us being in the SoccerLens awards but we do contribute to their site….We have seen a massive 13 hits from the Sun’s website in the past week alone.

  24. Ashley

    Here’s Pies view – I am sure we will be hearing from The Sun shortly…

    June 16, 2010
    The Sun takes the piss out of bloggers (and fails to deliver on traffic promises)

    As part of its World Cup coverage, and to promote its sweepstake iPhone app, The Sun newspaper has been running a World Cup bloggers sweepstake. If you look at the sweepstake you’ll probably be impressed to find out how many high profile footy blog have agreed to be part of it.

    Except they haven’t. Whoateallthepies, who are Uruguay in the sweepstake, received an email which we subsequently ignored. Not because we hate The Sun or anything (from a journalistic perspective both the website and the paper are incredible IMO and I have several friends who work there), but we felt it was back to the bad old days when old media used to patronise blogs and use them for their own promotional activities.

    So it was a great surprise to find Pies on the chart. There are apparently a lot of other blogs who haven’t given The Sun the go ahead either and you can read a lively debate about it here http://pitchinvasion.net/blog/2010/06/15/the-sun-newspaper-fucks-with-the-wro

    Personally I think it is pretty low of The Sun really to do this and would like Pies removed from the chart asap. Also The Sun ought to know better. There are several bloggers on the list whose instant word association with The Sun is Hillsborough, followed by Apology. It isn’t a clever thing to do to annoy those guys.

    If they don’t remove us then we will be setting up our own World Cup sweepstake and The Sun will get the plum team of Slovakia (by far the weakest team so far) or maybe it should be France (because like The Sun they are not adverse to bending a rule or two).

    From my perspective the most interesting part is that The Sun promised to drive shed loads of traffic to the site. So far I am pleased to say that of the 60,000 people on whoateallthepies. tv in the last 24 hours only two have come from The Sun. Cheers guys.

  25. arseblogger

    The traffic thing is interesting. So far I have received a grand total of 0 referrals from this thing. Not that I want them or need them, but that’s what it is.

    I’m not bulling for them to remove me either – it’s just irrelevant. I do agree with Ollie though, it’s a fairly cack-handed attempt to ‘engage’ with blogs.

  26. James T

    Funny — got an email from the PR company this morning asking for my predictions. I don’t recall giving any for the England/USA game, though they said they had some. Think we’re pulling out as well.

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  28. James T

    And, to be clearer, we’ve received no communication from The Sun whatsoever. None. Only two emails from a third party, neither of which were responded to.

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  30. ejh

    I assume that all this has been passed to somebody sympathetic on a rather better newspaper than the Sun?

  31. Brian

    Hey all…Brian from Premiership Talk here. We were given Greece (oh great!) in the sweepstakes, and never emailed them with ANY response, but today they sent us an email saying since we didn’t publish something on our site we were being taken out of the sweepstakes. Not wanting to miss out since all of you were participating (I assumed voluntarily) we released an article pointing readers in that direction.

    Like the rest of you, we have since seen ZERO traffic from their end, and after following this I’m pretty set on deleting the post we made about them.

  32. Richard

    Hello, Richard from The Football Blog here … sorry to get in late on the act, I just came home to find this had all kicked out and the news story was featured on The Guardian website!

    Anyway, I was contacted about taking part in this sweepstake and replied to them saying I wanted no part of it. So not only did they incorrectly take what seems like a number of bloggers’ silence as a thumbs up to go ahead and include them in the sweepstake, they actually went against my request and included me anyway. Were they really that desperate to promote their app?

    I’m sure those involved have now received the e-mail confirming the termination of the competition, although I don’t remember seeing the word ‘sorry’ anywhere in it.

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