Tag Archives: Whalespotter

Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards 2014: Best event ever, some highs, some shocks!

Eat Out magazine cover Whale Cottage PortfolioAfter two disastrous years, New Media Publishing was brave enough to take stock earlier this year, and asked the industry what it wanted in the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards.  Last night that hard work paid off, with a new venue for the event, a slick and short presentation, new Awards introduced, and three new restaurants making the Top 10 Restaurant list.  The surprise was the emotion which the chefs expressed when receiving their plaques, challenging MasterChef SA Season 2 on tears!

We were one of the interviewees, meeting with Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, its GM Aileen Lamb, MD Bridget McCarney, and Director Irna van Zyl.  We were forthright in our feedback and suggestions, including that a team of judges would be needed again (we suggested Garth Stroebel, and have yet to meet him!). We fed back that the preferential relationship with Luke Dale-Roberts in TASTE magazine (also published by New Media Publishing, and of which Abigail is the Food Editor) was unfair towards all other chefs, by featuring him every month – we were told that Woolworths had a contract with him, and therefore he received the coverage in the magazine.  This contract was terminated earlier this year, which is excellent news.  Other recommendations can be read here.  Flowing from the interviews and discussions with previous Top 20 chefs and restaurant managers, owners, and suppliers, as well as media representatives and bloggers, New Media Publishing allowed restaurants to apply to be included in the Eat Out Top 500 Restaurant List, which was selected by a Continue reading →

Crush! 32: greatly improved mouthwatering food & drink online magazine!

Crush! 32 cover-fin-2048When Michael Olivier first launched Crush! food and wine digital magazine three years ago, it was evident that he and his team had no experience in the design and publishing of a  magazine generally, and a digital magazine specifically.  We wrote critically about the first few issues, but no feedback was accepted nor reacted to, and Olivier appeared to have lost advertising revenue as a result, thus leaving the magazine about a year ago.  His departure appears to have rejuvenated the magazine, and it has improved vastly!

The response by Olivier and his Crush! writers David Cope (@Foodie_za) and Andy Fenner (@JamieWhoSA in those days) to our feedback about the magazine at that time was to create the Whalespotter Twitter defamation account led by Cope, and condoned by Continue reading →

Cape Town Tourism ‘destinated’ to start afresh in marketing Cape Town!

mariettedth_1369339943_39Last week two senior members of staff left the services of Cape Town Tourism, being its CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, and its PR and Communications Manager Skye Grove.  A new era lies ahead for the tourism body, which can hopefully get on with the focused marketing of Cape Town and its tourism industry again.

Given how badly Cape Town has been marketed as a tourism destination in the past few years, it is a fantastic opportunity for new CEO Enver Duminy to show what he can do to deal with the city’s terrible problem of Seasonality with barely any business in the winter months, which is unique to Cape Town, compared to South Africa’s other major cities.  Every year Mrs Helmbold has paid lip service to the problem, and promised to tackle the problem, but she never did, and business has become progressively worse every winter.

Shocking was the blatant exploitation in the past ten days by Mrs Helmbold to actively market the services of her new destination marketing consultancy whilst still in the employ of Cape Town Tourism.  She announced that she would establish a consultancy in April after her resignation from Cape Town Tourism became public in February.  As if Tweets on her own Twitter account were not enough to market the new consultancy whilst still working for Cape Town Tourism,  Cape Town Continue reading →

Michael Olivier has double standards: defames others, yet sends lawyer’s letter for alleged defamation!

Ten days ago we wrote about the unethical reviews of wines by Michael Olivier, without acknowledging that most of his ‘Winery Partners’ have paid for the coverage on his blog, on his Twitter account, and in his FMR wine slot.  We also wrote about the unethical restaurant reviews done on IntertwEAT/TweetCritique by Lionel Lelyveld, without disclosing that every three course meal for two persons he has written about is received free of charge.

Interesting is how differently the two writers have reacted to our blogpost:

Lelyveld has not responded to the blogpost at all, but we have noticed in the past week that he has started simultaneously Tweeting restaurant reviews from the UK and the Cape.  We have also noticed that he has added a hint of criticism to some of his ‘review’ Tweets, which we have not seen before.  What is funny, but probably not visible to most of our Followers, is that Lelyveld has been particularly generous with his Retweets of our Restaurant-related Tweets, Continue reading →

New Year kicks off with Twitter bullying, bashing, and blackmail!

The past twenty four hours have seen bullying, bashing, and blackmail on Twitter, kick started by an abusive Tweet by über Tweeter Jane-Anne Hobbs Rayner, who accused us of ‘cyber bullying‘ her ‘friends’ Mariette du Toit-Helmbold (CEO) and Skye Grove (Communications and PR Manager) of Cape Town Tourism, supermarket wine promoter Michael Olivier, and Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly!   Not only was her stream of Tweets disparaging, but she also blackmailed her 5000-odd Followers with the threat of being unfollowed!  One would have expected the New Year to have had a gentler start!

Hobbs is a ‘mommy food blogger‘, her Juno and now Scrumptious blogs having impressed in the past with the quality of her photographs, and portfolio of recipes.  In the time that we have known her, we have had little interaction, seeing each other at odd Franschhoek Continue reading →

Should Twitter be used as a ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Red Room of Pain?

The EL James trilogy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ books has become an international publishing phenomenon, the 40 million books sold to date outselling the previous world record book sales of all Harry Potter books combined.  The books describe the relationship between Christian Grey and his ‘submissive’, to become his girlfriend and then wife Anastasia Steele, one which is based on a perverse need by Grey to punish and dominate the lady he loves, reflecting his childhood of rejection and abuse.

The book refers to Christian Grey’s Red Room of Pain, and whenever Anastasia needs to be punished, she is taken into the room, for whipping and other dominant acts by Grey.

Having been the subject of a number of Twitter abuse accounts, I and others have tried to analyse why a Tweeter such as Sonia Cabano, who has created three of the four abuse Twitter accounts against ourselves, needs to lash out and ‘whip’ us at weekly intervals on her @SoniaCabano2 and the abuse Twitter accounts. Could she be the Christian Grey of Twitter, who can only deal with the anger of her day by lashing out at others, including ourselves, singer Steve Hofmeyr (her pet hate), and politicians?

Cabano has proudly Tweeted that she will Tweet whatever she wants to say, no matter how insulting or defamatory her Tweets are.  Her latest hobby horse pertains to our Twitter account, being convinced that we have ‘bought‘ Followers.  She has Tweeted the question on her personal Twitter account, on the Twitter abuse accounts, and sent the question as a comment to our blog on 15 August: ‘Would you care to explain to the hospitality and tourism industry at large how it is that you came to gain 22 000 fake bot Twitter followers overnight? Just asking. Sincerely Sonia Cabano’. As we do not accept advertising nor sponsorship on our blog, we do not need to push its readership (already having about 35000 unique readers per month built up over the past four years). We use Twitter (as well as Facebook) to alert potential readers to the new blogpost we write every day, and therefore it makes no difference to us as to how many Followers we have on Twitter.  Twitter Follower numbers vary daily, and we do not subscribe to any service which alerts us to new or to lost Twitter Followers.  We deny that we have paid for any of our 24800 Twitter Followers.  Every time Cabano lashes out, it attracts attention to our Blog and Twitter account, adding new readers and Followers.

We have been able to close down some of Cabano’s Twitter abuse accounts when they have been based on impersonation, purporting to be ourselves.  However Twitter strongly advocates freedom of speech, and generic account names, despite defamatory content, is unfortunately allowed.  We respect Facebook’s approach to abuse toward others – one warning, and the account is closed if it happens a second time.

Cabano had a short term stint as Social Media Manager for Robertson’s Spices in March, when MasterChef SA started, but she lost her position when she tried to settle personal scores on her client’s Twitter account.  She has been an international model, a TV presenter, and now is a cookbook writer, having written ‘Kombuis’, ‘Easy, Simple, and Delicious’, ‘Relish’, and ‘Luscious Vegetarian’, the latter book with her MasterChef SA Finalist niece Jade de Waal.

One wonders why Cabano has such a fascination with our Blog and Twitter account, when she can find nothing good to say about them, following in the Twitter abuse ‘footsteps’ of David Cope, who started the Whalespotter account, which has been taken over by Clare and Eamon ‘Mack’ McLoughlin of Spill Blog, with help from Skye Grove of Cape Town Tourism at one stage!  Could it be that Cabano, just like Christian Grey, has a perverse pleasure in inflicting pain on others, and needs this abuse to work through her being ‘tormented by inner demons, and consumed by the need to control’, just as the book describes Christian Grey in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey‘?

While we love Twitter and the information it provides and its entertainment value in being a ‘virtual lounge’ connecting thousands of viewers of events such as the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, we are appalled that Twitter can allow defamatory and abusive Tweets. During the Olympic Games Tweets aimed at young British diver Tom Daley led to the Tweeter being detained, the UK having strict laws when it comes to abuse. One wishes that Twitter abuse and defamation would be dealt with in South African law as well.

Despite the abuse we have had to endure as a result of our honesty in writing this blog, we will persevere in writing the truth, no matter the cost!

POSTSCRIPT 20/8: A book ‘Return on Influence’ has been written by Mark Schaeffer, focusing on the power of Twitter Followers, and the influence of Tweeters.  He refers to Klout, the score of Social Media influence, evaluating one’s influence based on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Klout+ scores received, and Wikipedia coverage.  Today our Klout score is 65 (out of 100), with 892 of our Tweets Re-Tweeted and 1600 mentions of @WhaleCottage in others Tweets in the past 90 days.  Our Topics of Influence are Cape Town, Travel & Tourism, and Hotels, according to Klout.

POSTSCRIPT 21/8: Sonia Cabano only Tweeted once on her personal account yesterday (her usual quota is about 100 Tweets per day!). But she did lash out against this blogpost on her Twitter abuse account!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage