10 Ethical Grey Areas & Illegal SEM Practices (And How to Solve Them)

10 Ethical Grey Areas & Illegal SEM Practices (And How to Solve Them)

Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite subject in digital marketing: oversight and ethics. Specifically, how the lack of one brought the other into question.

In this piece, we’ll take a quick trip down memory lane to see just how we got to the state SEM/PPC ethics are in today.

Then you’ll find 10 ethically questionable practices that are happening across the industry.

For each one, we’ll take a look at why it’s potentially problematic, whether it’s unethical or actually illegal, and whether oversight of some type could help.

Full transparency, an episode or two of Real Housewives inspired this article. Let’s get to it.

Learning to Spot Ethical Grey Areas in SEM

I started in SEM some 16 years ago, and one thing I noticed is that there was almost no oversight from any party other than the search engines themselves.

Because of the lack of oversight, there were a lot of shady and questionable practices within the space.


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Some were well worth an indictment or subpoena. But with a lack of regulations and oversight, it was hard to say if an operation was being unethical.

Still, you knew it when you saw it.

How little oversight was there in the SEM space? It wasn’t until 2009 that the FDA stepped in.

Finally, it told pharma companies and Google/Yahoo (Bing wasn’t there yet) that advertisers need to start complying or get fined.

For a fun read, here is the 2014 version of the FDA guidance — but before 2009, it was left up to the brand’s legal team to interpret the rules.

The moment you fail to comply with any form of government regulation within the industry, your operation’s ethics come into question.

Then you get letters from places like the FDA.

A perfect example is this one from 2020, scolding Outlook Pharmaceuticals for their ethically questionable practices that did not align with the federal guidelines.

So that begs the question, in an industry whose oversight resembles the chaos of someone asking for seconds at Thanksgiving before everyone has had their first serving, what is and isn’t considered ethical practice?


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What is a grey area?

And who gets to decide that?

Partial spoiler… To save time on the “who” part, I’ll give you a quick answer: No one. There is no formal oversight board in SEM.

However, most anyone who has been in the space for more than a handful of years or more can easily help point out the inappropriate and unethical players and practices.

It is the unwritten responsibility of these industry experts to bring awareness to this (preferably without doxing), to help aid in stopping the practice.

(Side note, if you want to see who some of the industry leaders are, go to Twitter at 12 pm EST every Tuesday and follow #ppcchat hashtag.)

Now to address the topic of ethical/unethical practices.

Yes, some of this is considered subjective (i.e., selling/leasing Google Ads accounts to unknown overseas third parties). Some of it is pure cut and dried, blatantly wrong/unethical, and potentially illegal (i.e., pretending you work for Google).

Here’s my personal opinion (although shared with many) of things that are and are not considered unethical, and whether oversight could aid in it.

1. Renting or Leasing an Ads Account from a Third-Party Source (or Even Worse, Selling Them)

Yes, it is highly unethical (and potentially illegal, depending on the funding source).

This practice has been around for a while. I’ve found multiple social media groups (and oddly some ads on Google), that facilitate the sell/leasing/renting of Google, Bing, and Facebook ads accounts.

It’s safe to assume that if you’re running into this, something illegal has either already gone down — or is about to.

Never engage in this practice. If someone in your operation is doing it, you do not need/want them in your operation.

Could Oversight Help?

Oversight can help prevent or slow this but is unlikely to stop it.

Google has started requiring advertiser verification and it helps marginally, but without a formal law in multiple countries or threat of legal action at the point of sale, this practice will run rampant.

Screenshot from Facebook.com, September 2021

Above is a Facebook Group selling Google Ads Accounts. Yes, I did flag the group, in case you’re wondering.


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2. Operation Claims They Work at/for Google in a Cold Call/Pitch Scenario

This is an incredibly common practice by predatory freelancers/agencies. It is in fact misrepresentation of a company.

While I don’t know the full legalities, I believe we all recall in 2018 when Google filed a suit with the FTC on 5 agencies in Florida, who took part in this practice (part of it was also tied to a robocalling scheme as well).

I shouldn’t even have to say this, but yes, this is also highly unethical.

Could Oversight Help?

If there was a formally certified oversight board that could provide a license/verification of agencies/freelancers, etc (i.e., a verifiable ID for advertisers), this has the potential to reduce this practice.

3. Package/Bundle Pricing on the Website or Formal Price Quotes Before the Work is Scoped

This is incredibly common, and not an illegal practice at all. This is most commonly seen on operations that target SMB’s (small-medium businesses) and/or those who want a “one-stop shop.”


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But here is the reality for all, the work is often never what one thinks it will be.

Pricing out the work, or giving the rate, before one even knows what is entailed (i.e., asset builds, tagging, reporting, meetings, etc.) is often a recipe for disaster.

The work may be much more than the price or much less than the price, and in the end, the brand is the one most likely to lose out (either overpaying or getting substandard work).

This is a gray area and can vary from scenario to scenario.

Could Oversight Help?

Oversight by aggregate marketing or advertising board could help prevent these scenarios, but it really isn’t an issue with large advertisers/agencies, only the small operations targeting small businesses.

So it ultimately comes down to those who are seeking an SEM service, to truly do their homework.

4. Agency Claims They are Best in Google Ads/Bing Ads, etc.

This is truly subjective (i.e., I say I am the #1 Ad Agency on Google Ads, but what I didn’t say is that I am the #1 Ad Agency on Google Ads in my zip code, providing you don’t try and verify it).


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It may be true and they are, but a lot of operations claim that.

This also technically violates Google’s Misleading Representation policy. Is it is another gray area.

When an operation makes the claim with a certifiable verification from a non-shell company style operation, then it is still gray area.

If they make the claim without the backup, then it is unethical.

SERP result showing SEM com making claims.Screenshot from search for [search marketing agency pricing], Google, September 2021

If you make the claim, have legitimate evidence to back it up. There are way too many “certification” organizations that will give you a pretty badge for a small fee and no other reason.

Could Oversight Help?


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Google does have editorial policies to enforce then, from the ad perspective only, but this is another scenario where a governing/oversight board could crackdown and prevent deceptive practices.

An easier way would even be having the FTC taking a hand in this to prevent “Flagrant False Advertising”

5. Lack of Access and Transparency

This is truly one of the most infuriating things I’ve come across in the SEM space.

This is when a freelancer or agency is running programs on behalf of a brand, and they do not provide the brand access into the accounts and provide little to no transparency.

Giving a brand direct access to their own data is fine, just put it as read-only, so they don’t accidentally delete anything.

This also helps them further trust how their money is being spent.

And any operation that takes part in this activity is, likely unethical.

There are probably one to two potential reasons why they aren’t giving access that wouldn’t be unethical (i.e., they run multiple clients in a single account, instead of separate ones), but those reasons just expose poor business management.


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Could Oversight Help?

There is no oversight for this. It is something the brand and the operation they engage with must hash out in a contract in advance of going live.

6. Mimicking an Ad

This happens when someone copies another advertiser in the spaces ad, roughly word for word, and the only differentiating factor is the display URL.

This used to be a problem years back, especially with personal injury lawyers and cable companies, but not so much these days.

This is a bit of a gray area. Yes it is deceptive, but there are also steps an advertiser can take with the engines to prevent this from happening when trademarks are involved.

Could Oversight Help?

Oversight here is limited. Not really much can be done here if the mimicker is not using trademarked content.

If they are however, and the engines have stepped in already, then it’s time to alert Larry down in your legal department to handle it.


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7. Collaborating with Other Brands to Control Pricing in the Space

When doing this cooperatively or through bullying/intimidation, I cannot stress this enough – this not just unethical, but also illegal (this is in fact known as collusion).

Shockingly rampant as well, rarely done via email, usually done by phone or in person. It’s a great way to have the FTC in your business.

It is also not just limited to small shops and operations, 1-800 Contacts engaged in this practice and felt the wrath of the FTC (i.e., Intimidation and collusive behavior lawsuit brought on by the FTC on 1-800 Contacts).

Could Oversight Help?

There is oversight here, not actually done by the search engines for once, but by the government.

The issue here is that smaller brands often don’t know it is illegal, and enforcement is purely reactive.

Tighter regulation that is proactive and a dedicated tip line can help cut this down.

8. Using the Agency/Freelancer’s Preferred Tools/Platforms

This is a frequent scenario all the time. You get pulled into a research tool or an ad server that the operation favors.


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They may do it because it is great technology, they may do it because they get a reseller kickback – that is perfectly fine. Preferred contracts have existed as long as business.

But you as an advertiser have the right to request an explanation of why the use vendor x, and you can also request an RFP if you’re unsatisfied.

If they refuse to explain themselves, then it becomes unethical, and may not be an operation you want to work with.

Could Oversight Help?

There has been a debate for a while on operations getting kickbacks on these types of contracts with vendors. Unfortunately, little has been done by outside entities. The ANA, who acknowledged the issue, but can’t stop it.

9. Marking Up Media Costs as a Payment Model and Then Overdelivering on Traffic

There are compensation models based on hours, some on retainer, some on a markup of CPC, and some on media spend. These are all fine.


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But on the last two, there are several documented scenarios, where an agency purposely over-delivers on traffic volume or generates a less efficient CPC, to pad their compensation.

This is not right, it is unethical.

This is also one of the reasons I recommend never agreeing to a price until the operation properly scopes out the work. If they do this model, limits must be determined on total compensation and contingencies on efficiency.

Could Oversight Help?

There is no formal oversight that is done here, I’ve had this go to civil court many times. The only way to prevent it is to have all the parameters and contingencies built into the contract. Do not pay the management fee (not media spend, but management) until the prior billing period has been properly reviewed.

Now for the most common one I’m asked about:

10. Competitor Bidding/Conquesting

Those that are not familiar, that is when in SEM, you bid on a competitor’s name, in an effort to divert traffic from them.


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This has been in the news over the past couple of years, with big-name brands complaining about it. For example, Basecamp’s CEO complained in 2019 about having to bid on brand keywords, because their competitor also bid on them.

Now, 1800 Contacts is actually suing competitor Warby Parker, claiming the practice was deceptive and a trademark infringement.

This is not unethical at all, it is perfectly fine and legal to do.

It’s the same concept of someone placing an ad on a highway billboard that is next to a competitor’s location.

For those complaining, I’m sorry but this is an inherent cost of doing business within SEM.

It becomes unethical, is if the competitor uses your trademark in their ad while doing that.

Could Oversight Help?

No oversight is needed here at all. Advertiser education is truly what is needed.

The Takeaway

To be honest, this article went much longer than I expected it to. There is clear evidence that our industry needs oversight, transparency, and consequences.


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For now, “community enforcement” of proper and improper practices is proving to be the most impactful.

But remember this: Questionable and unethical practices most commonly originate from the operation that is doing the work.

Make sure you thoroughly vet the team you’re going to have handling your account and campaigns.

Also, competitor bidding is not unethical or illegal. If you plan on suing a competitor, make sure you’re actually in the right first and not just being petty.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer. These statements do not necessarily represent my employer and are specifically my own opinions.

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Featured image: Red Deer/Shutterstock

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10 Buys Our Editor Has Added to Her 2021 Wish List This Week

10 Buys Our Editor Has Added to Her 2021 Wish List This Week

As an editor at Who What Have on, I typically shell out a great deal of time on the lookout at new-in products, and so every single 7 days, I update this story with the parts that have caught my eye and that genuinely stand out. The temperature recently has observed us all return to our knitwear and raincoats, and so I’ve started compiling my autumn desire listing. Beneath, I’ve bundled some of the chicest autumn-completely ready products I have observed this calendar year, which includes a beautiful printed gown, chunky pair of boots and a Simone Rocha dress I’ve been dreaming about for decades. 

So no matter whether you’re wanting to purchase, search or find out anything new, continue to keep scrolling for items I adore and imagine are worth investing in, from the higher road to designer labels. 

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electric fire

What can you do if an electric fire breaks out

Domestic fires are one of the scariest and most devastating things homeowners can experience. In addition to the possibility of the property being completely destroyed, there is also the risk of extreme injuries to you and your family.

Electric fires can seemingly be caused out of nowhere, as there are several reasons for a fire to start from an electric current. Prevention is the best way to combat these tragedies, but there are many things that can cause electrical fires that may not be obvious to the average homeowner. In this article you will find detailed and useful information from the electricians of the company 24gr.gr.

Prevention of electrical fire

According to the National Fire Department of the United States, approximately 47,700 home fires reported in United States fire departments were the result of some form of electrical failure or malfunction that led to ignition (in 2011). Unfortunately, there are no statistics for Greece from the respective services or from the electricians in Athens. Many of these fires lead to injuries and deaths and are caused by any electrical component, such as:

  • Wiring and related equipment
  • Lighting fixtures, lamps (bulbs)
  • Plugs, sockets
  • Transformers and power supplies

electric fire

Preventing electric fires is as simple as ensuring that your electrical system is safe, but for many, this is not a job that needs immediate attention. The first step in making sure you are not in danger is to become familiar with these common warning signs.

Old wiring or electrical wiring with damage

Most electrical wiring has a lifespan of about thirty to forty, but about a third of homes in Athens are over fifty years old. If the wiring of your house is old or worn, you will notice some problems that you should not ignore:

  • The circuit breakers “fall” repeatedly
  • Fuses are often “burned out”

These are all intended to be temporary solutions and if any of the above is a common occurrence in your own home, you are probably at risk of electric fire and should plan to do so. installation of new wiring all over the house.

Aluminium wiring

During the 1960s and 1970s, aluminium wiring was very common. Unfortunately, aluminium oxidizes very quickly, which can lead to corrosion. This type of wiring is sufficient for a shorter period of time, but it does not have the lifespan of copper wiring – and once it is corroded, it is only a matter of time before an electric fire breaks out.

You may need to reconnect the entire wiring throughout your home, or you may need to plug in only the sockets, electrical panel, and circuit breakers. Either way, it is important to have a professional electrician inspect your wiring and make sure your home is safe.

Electric arc errors

An electric arc is a discharge between solid electrical conductors or electrodes via gas, which shows a small voltage drop but a particularly high current density. The gas in the space between the electrodes is converted into an electrical conductor as it is ionized by the electric current.

An electric shock can be caused very easily: it can happen because a tree falls on a power line during a storm or because you have done little damage to the wiring while you put a shelf in the wall with screws or simply have a loose connection to an electrical outlet.

Regardless of the cause, electric arcs produce temperatures above 4,000 ° C, but fortunately they can be prevented. Arc Fault Detection Device (AFDDs) can detect arcs and cut off the circuit before it overheats.

If you’re not sure if you have an Arc Troubleshooter where you need it in your home, call one electrician in Athens for electrical safety control. Especially if you live in an older home, these devices could easily prevent a disaster.

What to do if you eventually cause a fire from electricity

Hopefully you have taken all the precautions you can and use your electrical infrastructure safely. However, if an electric fire occurs, you need to know how to put it out.

The first and most important thing to remember is to never try to put out an electric fire with water. Electricity from the fire can travel through the water and you may be electrocuted. You also run the risk of worsening the fire.

If you can do it in time , disconnect the fire-fighting appliance to cut off the power.

If you are unable to disconnect the appliance, you should use an ABC-rated fire extinguisher, which has been shown to be effective in the event of a fire involving ordinary flammable materials, flammable liquids and electrical equipment.

Not all chemical suppressants are effective against electric fire, so make sure your fire extinguisher is. If the fire spreads, leave your home immediately and contact your local fire department.

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What They Are & How to Implement

What They Are & How to Implement

Google Ads introduced that advertisers will now have extra management more than sensible bidding with conversion benefit principles.

Conversion price guidelines will adjust the price of a presented conversion, primarily based on elements that effects direct high-quality and worth.

What are Conversion Benefit Policies?

Conversion worth guidelines let advertisers to explain to Google Advertisements what factors are most important to them by making use of principles.

The rules enable advertisers to show cases when a conversion is value a lot more or fewer than the average conversion, primarily based upon different traits of the auction. Having this management will also allow advertisers and wise-bidding algorithms better knowledge to bid and spending plan more efficiently.

What Components can Advertisers Choose from When Making use of Policies?

Advertisers can utilize policies for features these types of as locale, unit, and audiences.


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So for occasion, area businesses could show that a conversion is worthy of far more to them if the guide is nearby.  B2B corporations could prioritize the B2B audiences in in-depth demographics. A retailer could raise the conversion benefit of shoppers probable to have significant LTV.

Instance Conversion Rule Scenario

Let us say that a particular device tends to push a superior volume of leads but, unfortunately, does not transform as effectively from lead to sale. You could set up a conversion rule to convey to google that those people conversions are only truly worth fifty percent that of the latest value established for the campaign.


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So let us say that the account is established up to worth all conversions at $20. If cellular prospects are likely to transform to revenue at a conversion fee 50% of that of desktop, a conversion rule could be put in put to let Google know that cell leads are only truly worth half the price of other potential customers. then Google would use a $10 worth for mobile queries whilst continuing to improve all other lookups for a $20 worth.

How are Policies Designed?

Advertisers can navigate to the conversions options in their account and choose benefit policies on the remaining-hand panel.  You’ll be capable to pick out the primary conversion of audience, device, or area and then select from sub-groups. You can select several solutions within a group (for instance, you could pick out Texas, California, Michigan) and those will be dealt with as an OR ailment, meaning that the rule would use to searchers from any of individuals destinations.

There are unable to be many distinctive procedures for device.

Secondary disorders can be applied but, if a secondary situation is applied, the rule will only run if each conditions are fulfilled. Secondary problems are optional but must be a distinctive kind than the key issue. For case in point, you can’t pick out areas for both the primary and secondary rule.

You then outline the value adjustment. You can decide on to multiply or increase. You can multiply the conversion value anywhere from .5x to 10x. Utilizing the “add” standards allows you to add a positive benefit on top of the present conversion worth becoming handed.


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How are Regulations Utilized?

Guidelines are applied at the time of auction-based upon the standards offered.

No issue how several principles are established up, only 1 rule can be utilized to a specified conversion. If a shopper meets the ailments for various benefit policies, Google decides which a single to use primarily based upon the subsequent logic:

  • For the locale rule, the most specific locale rule is utilized.
  • For audiences, Google will adhere to the hierarchy under. If there is a tie, Google will pick a rule employing the “multiply” logic above the “add” rule. If a tie remains, Google will opt for the maximum adjustment.
  • This is the hierarchy utilized for viewers software, indicating that customer match principles trump all other viewers regulations in predicaments the place they overlap and so on down the line:
    • Customer Match
    • Remarketing & Similar Audiences,
    • Affinity & In-Market place audiences
    • Detailed Demographics


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Can You Report Upon Conversion Benefit Principles?

You can report upon conversion benefit principles by using the phase tool on the campaign tab. From there, you can pick “conversions”, then “value rule adjustment”. From there, you are going to be capable to decide on a single of the following segment options:

  • Unique benefit (rule applied) – which will demonstrate you the benefit of conversions impacted by the rule.
  • Unique worth (no rule applied) – which will display you the complete recorded value of conversions that didn’t have a rule utilized.
  • Audience, Spot, or Unit – the internet adjustment when guidelines were being utilized.
  • If retailer visits reporting columns and conversion benefit rules segments are picked, you can use this in conjunction with the conversion price principles segmentation.

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15 Best Long Jean Shorts and How to Wear Them for Summer

15 Best Long Jean Shorts and How to Wear Them for Summer

For some of us, digging out our denim collection has taken a lot more persuasion this summer time than at any time. As we swing between comfy outfits and dressing for actual authentic-everyday living occasions and occasions (remember these?), jeans have had to settle at the again of the closet—until now, that is. Jean shorts are earning it simpler to move again into the planet of denim, and nope, we are not speaking the normal slash-offs. It truly is all about for a longer time hemlines this time. 

The laid-again appeal of denim combined with the stylish Bermuda duration generates a hybrid that has really captured the imaginations of style people. Although it provides an air of nostalgia, the appear feels fresh and functional plenty of to dress in close to the clock. There are so many non-dated approaches to style shorts this summertime, and the long denim pairs are already remaining backed by insiders all over the place. It really is not that shorter shorts and cut-offs are “out.” It can be just that there is certainly a new child on the block, and they are entitled to some notice.

The golden rule is to stick to an above-the-knee size. The search is just not culottes or leading into pedal-pusher territory. The impact can be effortless many thanks to the extra protection, and you can tailor the look to your most popular suit, from unfastened, dishevelled boyfriend models discovered at the likes of & Other Tales, Arket and COS to Saint Laurent–approved skinnies. 

Intrigued to know how to wear extended jean shorts and wherever to obtain the best kinds? We’ll enable some of the most elegant girls show you the way…

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K-Mids Just Wore an Amazing Pair of Jeans—and They're & Other Stories

We love it when Kate Middleton breaks out of what we usually see her in. For as long as we can remember, the Duchess of Cambridge has been solidly dedicated to her dark skinny jeans (a true millennial). In fact, we can’t recall a time when she’s worn jeans that weren’t skinny. But today is a new day that has brought us the DoC in a pair of slim-fit straight-leg blue jeans, and we’re here for it. Even more so because they come from & Other Stories at an affordable price of £65. 

K-Mids was out visiting the Urban Nature Project at the Natural History Museum and opted for a casual look that included a rather swish Chloé blazer, a white ribbed top, Vejas and those blue jeans. Our eagle-eyed editors at Who What Wear reckon the jeans in question are the Favourite versions. Although, the store does carry similar styles. If you’ve found yourself swayed to shop Kate’s jeans, then remember to be quick because we bet these are going sell out. Keep scrolling to see her full outfit and to shop the look. 

K-Mids Just Wore an Amazing Pair of Jeans—and They're & Other Stories
Kate Middleton wearing the & Other Stories jeans

K-Mids Just Wore an Amazing Pair of Jeans—and They're & Other Stories
Kate Middleton in her usual skinny-jean style

K-Mids Just Wore an Amazing Pair of Jeans—and They're & Other Stories
Kate Middleton wearing the & Other Stories jeans

K-Mids Just Wore an Amazing Pair of Jeans—and They're & Other Stories
Kate Middleton wearing the & Other Stories jeans

K-Mids Just Wore an Amazing Pair of Jeans—and They're & Other Stories

K-Mids Just Wore an Amazing Pair of Jeans—and They're & Other Stories

K-Mids Just Wore an Amazing Pair of Jeans—and They're & Other Stories

K-Mids Just Wore an Amazing Pair of Jeans—and They're & Other Stories

K-Mids Just Wore an Amazing Pair of Jeans—and They're & Other Stories

K-Mids Just Wore an Amazing Pair of Jeans—and They're & Other Stories

Next up, the biggest autumn 2021 fashion trends to know. 

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The Assyrtiko of Santorini

Santorini is an island volcanic and explosive, full of charm, with history and tradition lost in the depths of the centuries and you can have a Santorini wine tour. It has lands that the volcano endowed with personality and extreme potential. On them comes to life Assyrtiko, the top white variety in Greece, but also one of the top in Europe – the only one that awkward foreign experts accept with enthusiasm.

Did you know that the duo Assyrtiko of Santorini and Sushi is starting to become a must on the stage of European restaurants? Did you know that more and more experts, worldwide, praise the Assyrian of Santorini and some classy publications place it as particularly trendy? This is not a joke. This is how things are now, and if the cube seems to have already been thrown, the road ahead of this unique grape is still very long. Because the wines of Santorini may have been dear to our country from a long time ago, but their high quality is a relatively recent case, while even newer (and therefore unstable) is the establishment in the international arena.

More than any other of the good white, Greek grape varieties, but also more than in any other viticultural region of Greece (with the possible exception of Nemea and Argiorgitiko), the duo “Assyrtiko and Santorini” seems to give flesh and bones in the Greek version of the image of the Mediterranean. But where the Agiorgitiko of Nemea seems to serve the Mediterranean in a warm, cordial and velvety way, the Assyrtiko of Santorini seduces with the expression of the “hard” Greek light and the strictness of the arid nature.

The setting is typical for the development of a purely Greek affair. An island at first, but a small and arid island. Santorini expresses its simple uniqueness in volcanic soil and emphasizes the hot peculiarity of the light of the Greek islands. And if the Greek light is dazzling and the charm of Santorini is harsh, the winds that constantly blow and almost stir up the whole island, make the Assyrian seduction a case full of mystery and questions. So up there, in this place with high temperatures and strong winds during the day, but with the rainfall sounding like a joke and the increased humidity at night, in the so raw and clear scenery of Santorini, the same impressive play is played for years with a protagonist: Assyrtiko.

The cultivation of this unique variety occupies 12,000 acres (85% of the cultivated land in Santorini), with yields that hardly reach 300-350 kg per acre. In other words, the yield is so low that it hardly catches half of the acreage yield of other wine-growing regions of Greece, but also a guarantee for wines with a strong personality and endless interest. Indeed, the interest in Santorini Assyrtiko and its wines is constantly growing and no one is yet able to predict where we will get and what we will see in the future. At present, Santorini together with Nemea are perhaps the most important viticultural areas of our country. The heart of Greek wine beats there today, as well as anywhere else. Without deviating from reality, we can say that these two zones are a precursor to the distance that Greek wine has to travel, how far it can go and in how much time.

The fact, however, is that within Greece, Assyrtiko of Santorini is already top in the recognition and preferences of the consumer public. Its sales have skyrocketed in recent years and the future looks bleak. And if we still accept that this increase is due to fashion and differentiated market trends, what does it matter? Do we not know that these trends would not exist if all the pioneers – and those who followed them – who achieved the spectacular improvement of Santorini wines and the formation of its current quality profile had not put their hand?

The future of the Assyrtiko of Santorini

It is not difficult to guess, we live in a very competitive era, where in the field of wine new and emerging forces are emerging from time to time, with products whose interest and quality often exceed all imagination. The secret to securing the future of Santorini Assyrtiko and its wines lies in the extensive and methodical work to ensure a number of conditions

It must improve its quality and there should be indentified with the global trend for organically grown vines and projection of this reality. Also, a demonstration of the uniqueness of the ecosystem of Santorini and its vineyard is necessary as well as an establishment of the Santorini vineyard as a protected monument, of special natural beauty.

A wine station, timeless and incredible, always of the highest level. Its color varies between brown and yellow, while its aroma always remains exuberant and intense. It mainly resembles fruits in jam, nuts, chocolate, raisins and dried figs. The aromatic complexity also passes into the exuberant taste, where in a peppery climate the elements of chocolate and honey dominate.

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Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Welcome to the latest highly exciting installment of Who What Wear UK’s  Best Wardrobes in Britain. It’s where we do exactly what it says on the tin: delve into the most fantastical, awe-inspiring, and downright influential wardrobes. We’re honing in on the women who cause the street style photographers to press their shutters as much as the characters you don’t yet know—the ones who fly under the radar with secretly incredible clothing collections.

Our Best Wardrobes in Britain series is all about delving into wardrobes that are unique and special, and Fisayo Longe’s walk-in wardrobe is like a boutique where the motto is ‘whatever you do, never ever wear anything bland’. Fisayo has successfully turned her love of vibrant colours and prints into a career, with her brand Kai Collective which has become one of the buzziest independent labels in London. Over the past 12 months she’s been in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list and loved by the likes of Beyoncé and Michaela Coel.

It can be easy to dismiss fashion as frivolous, especially over the past year, however her designs at Kai are all about making women feel confident and empowered. These are words every women’s fashion brand clings to, however to Fisayo it’s more than just marketing speak but is at the core of why she launched her brand in the first place. She explains that when she moved to London from Nigeria at 16 she started really playing with new textures and proportions and has never lost this adventurous spirit when it comes to styling. And we have never seen so many colourful shoes or a sunglasses collection quite like it. Keep scrolling to see inside her wardrobe and the story behind Kai Collective.

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe
On Fisayo: Dries van Noten Top; Margiela  Jeans; Brinker and Eliza Bangles; ASOS Earrings; Jimmy Choo Shoes

Have you always been interested in fashion?

I didn’t realise it at the time, but it always mattered to me what I wore. My mum was a tailor so on my third or fourth birthday she made me my own outfit, and I just loved it. As I grew up I began to care more and I always liked nice things that I couldn’t afford. In 2012 I was on Tumblr a lot and blogging was just starting to become a thing, so I started a fashion and travel blog. I became more interested in fashion then and in 2015, that’s when I realised I wanted to have my own fashion brand. I loved travelling and going fabric shopping—I find it inspiring and therapeutic. So I had clothes made with the fabrics that I bought, and people would ask me where I got them from.

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

What was your idea for your brand Kai Collective—did it start with this love of fabrics?

The idea was for it to be a womenswear brand with the things I just couldn’t find at an affordable price point—interesting prints, volume, a lot of big sleeves. I wanted details I felt like I couldn’t find anywhere else. My goal for Kai is to be a womenswear brand that transcends trends, and is more about clothes that make women their most confident selves, at a price point that is attainable. For example, when we launched the Gaia print, which is our break-out design, I had never seen a print like that on the market. I remember I knew the purple one would be popular because I posted it on my Instagram and everyone went crazy, but with the orange one the day before we launched it I was like ‘no one will buy this, it’s doing too much’. Minimalism was such a thing at the time, but we launched it and it did amazingly, and now everyone has done it. 

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

So tell us more about how you invented the Gaia print and your inspiration behind it?

We did that with a Nigerian woman called Adebusola Ekoko, from a print company called Grapes Pattern Bank, and I sent her a mood board and we started by discussing colours. She said she found my voice very fluid. So that was what inspired her to come up with the Gaia. When I first came up with it it was actually very different, I just knew I wanted lots of colours and brightness. It only took a few weeks of back and forth as she really understood my vision. It’s definitely our best selling product, and it’s frustrating that everyone has copied it because then it looks like I was just playing into a trend, and so now I’m figuring out what we do. It’s become what our brand is known for, as even our packaging incorporates it.

Do you get your love of wearing colour from growing up in Nigeria?

In the UK as the weather is not good, you tend to gravitate towards black, grey and brown, but growing up in Nigeria it’s always warm, always sunny and there is so much going on. You drive down the street and there’s markets, lots of people and most are wearing colourful prints, like Ankara, and because it’s hot you don’t wear black. I grew up seeing different textures and colours, and I’m really beginning to embrace that as I get older. I moved to London at 16—before I came to London I had never ever worn things like boots and jackets before. I came here and fell in love with Dr Martens and leather, and became a lot edgier and started playing with different textures. Living in London I have more room to try a lot of different things. London for me represents a lot of freedom in my style and was the place I was able to come into my own and explore myself fully without fear of being judged because of what I was wearing. Nigeria is a bit conservative so things I’d wear here without thinking twice about, if I wore it in Nigeria I would be judged. You find people wearing skimpy things in Nigeria, but generally it’s a more conservative society.

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe
On Fisayo: Yaura Dress; ASOS Hoop Earrings; Bottega Veneta Sandals

What in your own wardrobe do you wear the most of or always love to buy?

That answer would have been so different two years ago, all I’ve worn for the last year is straight leg sweatpants and sweaters!  I like the juxtaposition of something with a lot of volume and something tiny—so wide-leg trousers and a little bra, a tiny little dress and a huge jacket. I go for these contrasting shapes often. And I love colour. I really, really do. Before I really knew my style and minimalism was big on Instagram I wore nudes and blacks, but now I’ve discovered my style, I wear what I want to wear and not just what I see is trending.

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Kai Collective has been so successful—what are your plans for it and where do you see it going next?

It’s a ‘collective’ in the sense that it will go into different things I’m interested in as a person, like interiors. I want it to continue to grow and to build a wider community of women. I want to go to cities when we can and have pop ups and brunches and just build up our community. That’s huge for me. I get so many DMs like ‘I haven’t been confident since I had a child, and I wore this dress and felt like Beyonce’. There are a lot of brands that make clothes, and now a lot of brands that make a Gaia print copy, but there’s not that many brands that actually encourage women to embrace themselves fully and wear what they want. We are very, very feminist. With every order there is a sticker sheet with phrases like ‘feminist’ and ‘money maker.’ Going up in Nigeria women were seen as secondary who would get married and live off the man, but for me Kai is about making women realise that they are the priority in their own lives, doing that through fashion and the freedom to wear whatever they want to. Some pieces are modest and some are really skimpy, and I want to be a brand for every type of women and to be really diverse, and so keep building on that. Nigerian women are really entrepreneurial but they can be stifled in it. You can have your own business, but if you’re more successful than your husband, then he might be unhappy. It’s like ‘do it but don’t be too successful, don’t be too powerful,’ Men can feel really threatened by that success.

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

How did you find running the brand throughout the pandemic?

It was stressful because I was finishing my anthropology degree, but I was ready for the success we had over the last year. I was naive when I started my brand, because I was an influencer I thought it would explode straight away. But it took so long for it to work. I had a  long time of self doubt and wondering how to make people pay attention to it. When it happened it was like ‘about time!!’ I was ready. A lot of it was working out what people wanted—at first I just made what I wanted to wear and didn’t ask any questions from friends or anybody. I realised it was about more than me, so I set up WhatsApp groups to ask opinions of friends and that helped. Then I really built the community aspect of my brand, asking what they liked and responded to, and that was a total game changer. We have a smaller group of women called the ‘inner circle’— our Instagram close friends and we post previews of samples and they get to buy stuff before it’s listed on the website, so that it doesn’t sell out and they can’t buy it. They are involved in the whole process.

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe
On Fisayo: Kai Collective Dress; Attico Shoes; Brinker and Eliza Necklace.

Tell us more about your degree—is it linked to fashion or separate?

It was an anthropology degree, but I did my dissertation on how the Black Lives Matter movement has impacted the politics of race and representation in the fashion and beauty industries, through the lens of Black entrepreneurship. After George Floyd died there was a lot of movements to buy Black and support Black creators, so my dissertation was looking into if anything has changed or was it just a trend and has everyone gone back to their normal life. I did write about my business and explored whether Black Lives Matter changed anything through the lens of the Gaia dress and what made the business explode in 2020. Was it this unique print? Or was it the Black Lives Matter movement and the spotlight on Black-owned business. It’s very difficult to tell which one was more effective for the business growth—the spotlight on Black-owned businesses definitely helped at the time for the business growth, but it wasn’t all positive. It felt like why did it have to take a black man being killed in that way for people to pay attention to Black-owned business. A lot of businesses that made pledges last year, and for a lot nothing has actually changed, so for them it’s a trend. But it’s difficult to tell exactly and that’s what anthropology is all about—‘it could be this, it could be that.’ That’s why I love it, because it’s not just based on facts.

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

How did you personally find the spotlight on Black-owned brands over the last year?

There was a good aspect to it as I was prepared for my brand to be successful. But there was a negative, very disturbing element that it took that. There are lists like ’20 Black-owned brands to support’—but it’s still exclusionary. When we are writing about brands in general or talking about brand collections, a lot of Black-owned brands are excluded from that narrative, so the only time you really pay attention to them is when it’s about Black-owned brands specifically. I was very torn and it was very confusing. It was good for my business and my finances, and the brand now pays for itself which I am very grateful for. Then I felt really guilty about my brand finding success off of the back of something so tragic.

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

How important is it to bring your heritage into your designs and prints?

It’s really, really important. As I’ve grown up more I’ve realised how grateful I am to have a culture that I can really identify with. I love London and the freedom it gives me. But when you have experiences with racism, it’s nice to know I have somewhere that I am really from and I have roots. It’s very good for my confidence and my identity. Growing up in Nigeria was really colourful and there was a lot of character, and I never want to lose sight of that. I have realised how artsy and beautiful the things that we thought were just mundane growing up were. The afro comb is such a big part of my childhood and my upbringing, and reminds me of getting your hair done by your mum or at a salon. Because of how highly politicized Black women’s hair is, it was such a thing. I enjoy the nostalgia of incorporating that into my brand with the pyjamas print. 

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe
On Fisayo: Kai Collective Pyjamas; & Other Stories Sunglasses; Mach and Mach Shoes. 

Which items are the most special to you in your wardrobe?

I had a jacket made in Vietnam in my gap year and I absolutely loved it, and so I decided to make it for Kai. I sent it off to a manufacturer and they lost my jacket, and I’m still so devastated by that as it was beautiful. When I was 21 I really wanted the Chanel Boy bags and so I asked my mum for Chanel Boy BAGS for my birthday, and she actually bought me two which I couldn’t believe. I still have one of them, but one I had to sell when I had run out of money with Kai and I had nowhere to turn, so I had to sell it. I knew I’d be really upset if I sold both of them, so I decided to keep one of them. When I look at it, I remember a time when I was struggling so much, and it represents hope and things changing. I’m really really glad I didn’t sell it and I’m reminded of a difficult time.

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

You said you love investing in beautiful things— what do you always gravitate towards the most?

I love shoes, they just really get me going and make me happy. Seeing different colours, shapes, heel sizes—I find them so interesting. When Phoebe Philo was at Celine and Nicolas Ghesquiere was at Balenciaga I feel like that was the golden days of fashion and there was so much originality and I loved those two brands then. Now I really like Rick Owens, Y Project, Kai of course, and smaller brands like Solace London which is amazing because they have exciting shapes and colours. I love smaller black-owned brands like Virgo’s Lounge and Hanifa because I feel like I recognise the struggle and what it takes to get a brand going, and I really respect them for that and think they are beautiful. I love small women-owned brands because I know what it takes.

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe
On Fisayo: Rick Owens Gown; Kenneth J Lane Necklace; Jimmy Choo Shoes; Oma the Label Earrings

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Fisayo Longe

Thanks for having us, Fisayo!

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