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Clover to Boston media: Leave us alone

Clover, the non-meat food truck and Harvard Square restaurant, takes exception to being put in a Weekly Dig "Best of" listing:

What are these "best of" things anyway? They're a way for these publications to (a) advertise by piggybacking on businesses who are "awarded," and (b) a way for publishers to drive more traffic to their website/ publication. Does any of that have to do with food? Does it have to do with low prices? Does it speed up our serve times? Does it have to do with our relationships with our customers? Does it have anything to do with sourcing ingredients? No, no, no, no, no, no.

Dig Publisher Jeff Lawrence responds in his typical, understated manner:

You pompous pr*ck!

Via Boston Reddit.

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Comments

The Weekly Dig - are they still in business?

I used to pick up a copy every week. But they stopped delivering to all the newspaper boxes I know of, a long long time ago. Seriously, I thought they were long gone.

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Still online, anyway.

In other news, Christ, what an a**hole. The clover guy, I mean. So much for Humility. I really liked them...and now I kind of don't. The comments on the blog post are priceless, though, particularly Ayr's thin defense of his ivory tower.

“best truck/brick and mortar”? Look, we’re THE ONLY one in town

Sorry bud, but Redbones has had a food truck long before you did, if I remember correctly anyway.

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and this is going by contexts of his business, he's the only vegan option food truck in town.

Redbones doesn't serve that clientele.

And he's dead right. Calling out the game might not be the smartest thing to do as a business owner, but good for him for not staying quiet to something so absurd.

This kind of "Journal-adalism" is cheap and easy, but really doesn't benefit anyone but the person reaping the add revenue, and, maybe /sometimes the business being spotlighted.

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The category was food truck/brick and mortar. In THAT category, Clover joins B Good, Fillbelly's, Redbones, Kick Ass Cupcakes and, soon, Speed's.

He's actually dead wrong, especially given the regular location of his business. His customers in the Financial District and Fort Point didn't come across him through general search or a casual stroll through the area. Clover made its bones after being featured in several lists much like the Dig's. Clover's received pub from Boston.com, the Phoenix, Boston Magazine, the Globe and the Herald.

Their business, much like Speed's, wasn't a strictly organic affair. It took a lot of people pointing in their direction to bring the customers and, yes, a bunch of those people happened to be press.

Absurd? It's absurd when a publication is asking you to pay to be featured in one of those lists. The Dig's owner made it clear that "journal-adalism" (a reach of a term) isn't what's going on here. When you're there of your own merit and are being introduced to a new audience in our increasingly transient city, the only thing "absurd" is shrugging that off.

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When I was working at one of these freebies, probably over half the "best-of's" were paid for, and the others were places we only wished would advertise.

Sometimes we gave them free ads just to be in our paper. So if the balance of power was tilted that far back then, it can only have gone farther in the favor of businesses now.

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is really going to pay for a whole bunch of ad space. The Dig could spare itself the headaches and base their picks on reader votes like the Phoenix does, but you're always going to have some Daily Shopper-reading loon accusing you of panhandling for ads instead of, you know, living in the city and writing about the cool shit you see along the way.

By your logic, Adam only covered the JP Whole Foods story to get those sweet Whole Foods banner ads on his JP posts.

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Other way around, actually: WF found out about UHub because of all the WF stuff I was posting (and people were commenting on). They did set one condition on the ads: That they only appear in posts about Jamaica Plain (or the home page when a JP story was prominent). Makes sense for them and was cool for me (beyond the revenue), because I got to figure out how to link ads to specific content.

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Ayr says "it doesn't help us do anything better".

Mr. Dig then launches on an insult-laden tirade (he "doesn't save negative emails", by the way):

"ignorant and misguided"
"curt and condescending"
"shows your true colors"
"dolt"
"You pompous pr*ck"
"You have a problem, ayr… and your problem is you."

Ad hominem, bitches.

The whole thing reminds me of the villain falling away from the screen screaming "YOOOOOOOOUUU NEEEEEEEEED MEEEEEEEE!!!!"

Reading through that thread, there's one person with a chip on his shoulder taking the low road, and it's not Clover.

Oh, and speak to any local business owner that ragsheets like the Dig "support", and they'll tell you all about which direction that support goes. Stuff like the award plaque costing a zillion dollars. Or you have to buy expensive reprints of the issues you were featured in (so the next time you're in a restaurant that was featured in a magazine or local ragsheet, and notice a stack of said rags, now you know why.) There are a zillion different ways these publications bend business owners over in ways that are convoluted enough to offer plausible deniability.

In the age of blogs, twitter, facebook, customer email lists, and so on - Clover's absolutely right. Technology has brought back and amplified word-of-mouth.

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Providing a zillion reasons to take the Dig's side on this one.

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I still see it in newsboxes around Porter and Davis squares. Maybe all the papers have been taken by the time you get to their boxes?

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I used to pick up a copy of the Dig every week, too, but they stiffed my husband for two items that he wrote for them (which they published), so I stopped.

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I still read the dig. I've realized that if I don't get a copy by Thursday or Friday (its loaded into boxes on Wednesday), I usually can't get a copy. I've also found some locations are better at getting them than the other. Like don't even bother at a T station after Wednesday. You wont find one. I find ones obscure locations to be better..

As far as the Clover guy.. what an a$$hole. really. Its obvious that he totally blew is hypothesis because *HE* was picked. Sounds like someone needs some iron from a big juicy steak sometime to curb his bitchiness. I agree, when business slows down, he'll be begging for some free advertising from the media. AND He should be glad it was GOOD attention, not some 'investigative story' on how its not really vegan or they fry foods in animal fats or some such nonsense. Any restaurant would hill for a "best of" story..

It just shows what kind of business he runs and wants to portray. He's an just an unprofessional a$$hole. I certianly won't eat there now. (not that I would..)

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A few years back I was doing some freelance writing and got assigned a story on Clover for a local newspaper. I tried contacting the Clover folks through their website and social media, but didn't get any sort of response. Then I went to track down the truck and was told they did not want any media attention then, but maybe later. Aside from not being able to get paid for the story, I was definitely annoyed that someone couldn't have just shot me a quick email letting me know this.

When it comes to media attention, yes, the website or publication is trying to attract readers, but they're also giving you free publicity. If you don't want it, that's your prerogative, but you can at least be professional about it.

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what's wrong with that?

the office i work for is routinely contacted cold by fly-by-night publishing houses in asia about using our [architectural] work in various books and magazines. We say no all the time. They want to take our work or rather our images of the work (they never pay for professionally shot photo rights) and our text, for free, to put into a layout and sell books for $70 apiece. They add nothing to the body of work in the books. No criticism, no reading. They offer to trade a nebulous commodity, "exposure", in exchange for use of our brand, our portfolio, our images, to turn a profit. We get "free exposure", but only after we've invested labor into collecting and submitting the information.

I have learned that not all press is good press, and few free things are actually free.

So Clover would rather spend their time making food than talking to freelance reporters about making food? I can relate to that. Sounds like my kind of place (but then I already knew that!)

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When you look at the back of Boston Magazine or the Improper Bostonian or even the Phoenix, it's not unusual to see the only restaurants listed in their "dining guides" to be strictly advertisers.

That being said, if business starts to fade I'm sure the owner of Clover would kill for free publicity.

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Just read this while finishing off a BBQ seitan sandwich from Clover truck at Longwood. Damn it's good.

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This makes me glad I don't read the Dig and would never go near Clover in a thousand years.

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Hey, the dig doesn't pick based on ad revenue. This much we know is true.

The dig isnt the *cough*cough*cough* the phantom gourmet *cough*

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Applied for a job at Clover's Dewey Square truck last Spring. They had me and two others applicants work an unpaid 3 hour shift, and charged me $5 for sandwich after manager recommended it (I assumed it was free).

I mentioned this in the comment section of Clover's recent post, and Ayr edited my remarks to say "wasn't hired" instead of "worked unpaid shift and was never contacted."

Angry is no way to run a public facing company, Clover.

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