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YouTuber’s Request for a Free Five-Night Stay causes Hotel to Ban Social Media Influencers



There’s an ongoing discussion on the “authenticity of influencer marketing” following a social media fallout between a hotel in Dublin, Ireland, and a 22-year old YouTuber.

It all started when the UK-based YouTuber Elle Darby wrote to the owner of The White Moose Café, Paul Stenson, asking for a “possible collaboration.”

Darby, in her letter to the hotel said: “I work as a social media influencer, mainly lifestyle, beauty & travel based.”

Darby, who had 87,000 YouTube subscribers and 76,000 Instagram followers, included her social media reach in the letter. She added:

My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentine’s Day weekend from Feb 8th to 12th to explore the area. As I was searching for places to stay, I came across your stunning hotel and would love to feature you in my YouTube videos/dedicated Instagram stories/posts to bring traffic to your hotel and recommend others to book up in return for free accommodation.

Stenson responded to Darby’s message on his hotel’s Facebook page, writing:

Dear Social Influencer (I know your name but apparently it’s not important to use names),

Thank you for your email looking for free accommodation in return for exposure. It takes a lot of balls to send an email like that, if not much self-respect and dignity.

If I let you stay here in return for a feature in your video, who is going to pay the staff who look after you? Who is going to pay the housekeepers who clean your room? The waiters who serve you breakfast? The receptionist who checks you in? Who is going to pay for the light and heat you use during your stay? The laundering of your bed sheets? The water rates? Maybe I should tell my staff they will be featured in your video in lieu of receiving payment for work carried out while you’re in residence?

Lucky for us, we too have a significant social media following. We have 186k followers on our two Facebook pages, an estimated 80k on our Snapchat, 32k on Instagram and a paltry 12k on our Twitter, but Jesus Christ, I would never in a million years ask anyone for anything for free. I also blog a bit (, which as far as I’m aware is another way of saying “write stuff on the internet”. The above stats do not make me any better than anyone else or afford me the right to not pay for something everyone else has to pay for.

In future, I’d advise you to offer to pay your way like everyone else, and if the hotel in question believes your coverage will help them, maybe they’ll give you a complimentary upgrade to a suite. This would show more self-respect on your part and, let’s face it, it would be less embarrassing for you. Here is a little video I produced which you may learn from:

Best regards,

Paul Stenson

P.S. The answer is no.

While Stenson did not put Darby’s name in his response, social media users found a way to identify her as the person he was talking about, and started bombarding her with negative comments.

Darby, in response to the comments, uploaded a video to YouTube, broke down, lamenting the embarrassment, anger, and resentment she felt.

In the video titled “I was exposed (SO embarrassing), Darby said she got in contact with Stenson with “nothing but the purest intentions”.

“As a 22-year-old girl, who’s running her own business from her home, I don’t feel like I did anything wrong,” she said, wondering why Stenson posted his response to Facebook.

“I don’t really know what their intent was – it was just malicious” she said, adding that she has received countless comments calling her a “disgusting freeloader.”

Watch video below:

After the video, Stenson and his hotel faced their own backlash, which he reacted to by saying, in all caps: “ALL BLOGGERS BANNED FROM OUR BUSINESS”.

The hotel, on its official Snapchat account also said that the controversy “puts into question the authenticity of influencer marketing,” because Darby “would have spoken nicely about the hotel only because she was getting it for free.”

As expected, people have been taking sides with both parties and the discussion has been trending for days with the hashtag – #BloggerGate.

Stenson released a sarcastic “apology” on his hotel’s Facebook page.

“I am so sorry that I have waited until now to mobilise you (bloggers) in numbers and I am kicking myself that I didn’t think about you before now….. You are a much more lucrative group of people to piss off than the vegans and the gluten intolerant combined,” he said.

See below:

Stenson recognises the publicity this discussion has given his business, and he, in a Facebook post, thanked bloggers for making it happen.

He ended his post with “P.S: You’re still barred.”

BNers, what are your thoughts?


  1. nonsense

    January 19, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Some people just like to have everything free and on a platter of gold without working for it.

    Darby, common pay for the goods you want. Business can bring you both and you can discuss how much the hotel will pay for your own services too but not to give you a hotel for free for a whole week.

    I heard artistes and actors too do this a lot. Ask you to make clothes for them for free and they will tag you when they post on social media for people to patronize you.

    Wicked people

  2. Chichi

    January 19, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    This is so funny to me, I am mainly on his side when it comes to instagrammers and bloggers who are only selling themselves for doing nothing but wearing makeup and holding a designer bag in every shot, nothing influential there. But for the people who use these sites to drive traffic to their businesses and showcase their work like make-up artists and anyone who is spreading the word on important causes and or selling their products, I salute you. It’s not easy.

  3. Mama

    January 19, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    I feel bad for the young lady but seriously, many of these Youtubers are beginning to get on my nerves. Meanwhile, the human being behind the hotel’s responses is one very witty, sendless dude (or babe). I love it! lol

  4. Cozygal

    January 19, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    This man has no chill.
    Who starts an official letter with ‘Hi dear’?
    We are all so selfish, but our levels of entitlement differ. How do you even ask to stay for five days free in a hotel? I’ll have thought the wise thing to do is inform them you’ll be coming and offer ways you could collaborate.
    – I do video reviews of hotels/restaurants etc, for my viewers. I’ve done it for blablabla and it increased their patronage. Would you be interested in this package?

    – I would like to stay in your hotel for x days. Will it be ok if I did a short video tour for my viewers on YouTube? We can discuss the cost implications if you’re interested.

    But, mba. Me and my partner want to come and “jolly” for five days at no charge to us.
    I like the man.
    Besides he didn’t name her and if she hadn’t owned it, no one in the whole wide world would have known. I guess she did it so some other hotel can invite her over at no cost to her.

    • Rho

      January 20, 2018 at 7:31 am

      “hi there” not “hi dear”. (Of course both are completely wrong sha.) I don’t fully agree with the idea of asking the hotel if they’d like to pay for a feature. I would prefer to just tell them I’d like to do a feature. I’d they offer an upgrade or something in return, great. If not, great. I’ll still do the feature if I genuinely love the place.

  5. Fabulicious

    January 19, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    I have to admit this response was really good. Some of these youtube bloggers are just cheapskates who spoil the work of other genuine bloggers. Pay for your services. People spend their hard earned money so that these businesses thrive.

  6. Asa

    January 19, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    The girl sounds entitled shaaa. I listened to her video, I couldn’t watch it because I was kinda embarrassed for her. She sounded very full of herself mouthing off about knowing her worth and what she could do for people. See eh, to do business is not by force and before you offer exposure in return for services, please find out if the vendor needs exposure or can afford to lose money for exposure sake.

  7. Blueberry

    January 19, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    I am soooo on the hotel owner’s side. Like really? Lets be more realistic. Influencer marketing should be about telling the truth whether you had a freebie or not. Not feeling entitled to get stuff for free just because you have xyz number of followers.

  8. Temi

    January 19, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    I get where he is coming from. But he could have just simply said no thanks we are not interested.

    • Enny Heart Heart

      January 19, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      What! And spoil the fun? ? I like that he called all them bloggers/vloggers/’influencers’ out. Hopefully from now on most businesses will open their eyes and shut down the hypocrisy and entitlement these people feel. Hahahahaha

    • Freddom1080

      January 19, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      He redacted her name and this mentally unstable fruitcake had to make a 17 minute video pouting like a child. OMG she looks like a fake sex doll that you hide in the closet. LMAO I can’t believe she has a BF how any guy could listen to her whining entitled voice all day is beyond me. I would duct tape her mouth shut in a day.

  9. Kiki

    January 19, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Good for her and al the ”so called” influencers. mchew #cheapstakes oshi.

    Imagine if it was a new small business that sent her products to try and put on her youtube page, she will ask to be paid o and give rubbish review saying its her honest review.

    Kai, am loving #2018 already…the year of the reawakening….all these oloshos (plus the many in Nigeria, and that bleached divorced pan oceanic bed grace) are getting it right in their faces

  10. Californiabawlar

    January 19, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Lmaoooo!!! If there’s anything I hate, it’s the celebrity status of vagueass professions such as social media influencer and get this… creative! Ffs, what the heck do these nonsense words mean?!

    That aside, it’s like y’all didn’t see what I saw sha… she was boasting about boosting the social media presence of University of Florida? Girl! Youz a zobo mixer! ??

    I like that this owner nipped things in the bud. Things have gotten terrible for restaurant owners on yelp!
    While some might argue that she’ll get more followers by this scandal (which she orchestrated/escalated with her radarada i was exposed video), the hotel will also get more potential customers. I’ll definitely stay there! First, the hotel must be nice for the freeloader to have pick it. Secondly, he sounds like a man who treats his workers fairly… he deserves my business.

    • Baby gurl

      January 19, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      Cali B!!! LMAO your comments always crack me up haha. But I swear I’m literally going to stay at this hotel within the next year. Been planning a tour of Ireland and Wales and this hotel must be stayed at for at least two nights I’m not even lying!!! As for those asking why he had to do it, well, to teach her and her kind a lesson. A simple “No, thank you” would have been grossly inadequate imho. This was necessary.

    • Mama

      January 19, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      The one that amuses me is the term “Facebook celebrity”. Like seriously? People play too much these days ?

  11. the real ibinabo

    January 19, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    I kind of agree with him but he should have passed his message across in a more polite manner.

    • Freddom1080

      January 19, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      Grow up he redacted her name. She being little entitle spoiled brat outed herself. Did you see her YouTube video makes you want to kill yourself afterwords thank God she doesn’t work at suicide hotline.

  12. John Matilda

    January 19, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    @californiabawlar you are madt!! ??. Zobo Mixer.. Hahaha!!

  13. Puzzles

    January 19, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    The man harsh sha! I’m on his side BTW

  14. Ndidi

    January 19, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    He responded perfectly! Completely on the side of the hotel owner.

  15. Ezinne

    January 19, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Blogging is a full time blog. Content creation gives us the opportunity to take time off our jobs and come here to bella naija to read what we read. It puts food on the tables of thousands of people. It’s just as important as being a banker, and 10 times more lucrative(if you know your onions). That said, A proposal should always be well addressed and written professionally. Referring to the CEO as Hi there is quite juvenile and given her age, it’s expected. You spend money to make money which is why I love Patricia Bright. She pays for clothes and reviews them honestly! The day fashionova gave her free clothes she couldn’t even roast them well. Content creators should not expect free gifts- after all if she had a bad experience at the hotel, would she roast something that was given for free? The management is rude though. A simple no thank you would suffice.

    • Engoz

      January 19, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      Err…I will not classify it as an important job. It might put food on the table, but the world will clearly survive without bloggers, vloggers, even models and actors. lmao. Nobody should take offence. It is just what it is. Even a janitor is higher on the level of importance than these professions let alone a banker, nurse, soldier, firefighter. They pay well does not mean they are as important to society. They are only important to the person getting paid not society.

  16. Ezinne

    January 19, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    *full time job*

  17. Mawi

    January 19, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Lmaooo at Stenson. What a savage! I really enjoyed reading his responses. At first I thought, man u should have just said “no, thank you” na. But by the end, I was in love. Too much wit. ?

  18. [email protected]

    January 19, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    I’m just going to leap frog over this and say the word ‘social media influencer’ has been bastardized especially in these parts.

    I know one particular ‘social media influencer’ *cough cough* who BOUGHT followers. Loll. Her content is at best the cream of mediocrity, sprinkled with a generous helping of cut and paste articles and dull,lifeless words.

    Real influencers look for ways to BUILD brands, not voraciously feed off every outlet that might promise a token. Because of that, they are unique and their content is SMART, DIFFERENT and VALUE DRIVEN.

    There’s a difference with hardsell advertising and ‘influencing’.

    In Nigeria, we’re not there yet. Nigerian brands and their ‘influencers’ don’t even know where ‘there’ is yet. It’s easier for Mama Risi to influence me to buy certain makeup or clothes than so many of these so called influencers who don’t even know jack anything about the brands they represent.

    Do I think this mail was extremely tacky,distasteful and full of it? Yes doesn’t even even it. She does sound like a hungry freeloader. Who cares about your Valentine plans??? Is everything ok Ma?

    If she had cared to do a bit of research on the brand she probably would have seen that they already have a formidable social media presence. Did she marshall data, analytics to show how partnering would be of benefit to the brand? Perhaps send infographics, a cute little video of her brand and the powerful impact it has made building other brands with generous third party endorsements? Was she actually looking at building a relationship with said brand or concerned with finding a befitting place to stay with her boo for ‘Falentyne’ without spending a shilling?

    Rhetorical question.

    I wish I could mention the tons of hungry, freeloading so called ‘influencers’ we have in Nigeria who don’t know jack shit about influencing. But BN Goody Two Shoes won’t publish.

    But from a communications person who has been in this for years, dear ‘influencer’ in case you genuinely don’t know, reviewing a product doesn’t mean you’re an influencer. Getting invited to events doesn’t mean you’re an influencer. Buying followers and getting likes or views doesn’t mean you’re an influencer. Having a popular last name or rich parents and a blog does not make you an influencer on social, traditional or extraterrestrial platforms

    But you’re probably too ‘hungry’ for everything, from food to fame, to understand that anyway.

    • Nahum

      January 20, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      I know the “influencer” you are talking about, are the initials CS?

  19. Ah

    January 19, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    He is a typical blunt Irishman. And she didn’t do her business research, the man is known for taking no chills. She obviously still getting roasted hence she had to disable her comment section on her call out video. Did she even look at the address of this hotel. It is phibsboro. That’s north city centre. Even though it is part of the city centre, most people who live in North Dublin are mostly middle class with dabs of upper middle class and upper class here and there. The guy will surely need to pay his staff! Maybe next time she should try the D4 area (South Dublin). The hotels there might be nicer and willing to collaborate because it is a rich area. Moreover, Dubliners are laid-back people who don’t care much for glitz and all these things Americans and UK people take so seriously such as blogging. I have only seen few Irish bloggers in comparison to UK and America.

    @Ezinne, what you said about Patricia is what Paulie is asking that blogger Darby & her likes to do, pay for your stuff. Patricia has more followings yet she pays for hers. I used to think the companies such as hotel and co approach these people (sometimes via agents), I didn’t know that they write them for free stuff. Basically this is showing that bloggers have class. Top bloggers are mostly approached or have advisors/agents and strategists who manages them. E.g. Zoella & the Saccone Jolys, who are Irish bloggers that migrated to the UK, have an agent in the UK, they don’t have that in Ireland before they moved after blogging for years. And they were heavily criticised in Ireland for living off showing their family life daily on YouTube. In a nutshell, blogging job isn’t a well respected job in Ireland. And these days with the high saturation of vloggers and bloggers, even I don’t consider it as a sustainable job. Information overload. And mediocre content. It is only few that are actually really hacking it and they do other things outside b/vlogging. They use their platform to launch a solid business or already have a solid business they use their social presence to improve. A good example is Nigerian peakmill. If YouTube/Google goes down or changes its policy to be hostile towards vloggers people like Peakmill will continue to strive while the rest will have to get a day job.

  20. Peyton

    January 19, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    The owner of the hotel is witty and savage as he’ll.
    Yes he could have said no but he needed to address an issue. The part that is funny is fellow bloggers saying if you mess with one of us bla black. They just proved his point that these reviews are based on the freebies they get. Which in itself is terrible. (Because some people rely on this information to make informed decisions). It basically means these people are not trustworthy. And that calls into question their “influential status”.
    I hope bloggers see this as a bigger issue and tackle this. There are going to be more issues or even potential legal issues for bloggers if a follower made a decision based on their recommendation.

  21. Intheoverseas

    January 19, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    I am sooo on the owners side. Such wit and humor. On another who, this EXACT thing happened to me on airbnb… if not worse! A Nigerian-American messaged me asking to spend a month+ ( Yes… you read right… OVER A MONTH) at my one bedroom apartment in Lekki for free reviews on facebook, Snapchat and yada yada. I was chook!.. so much that I just dropped a polite “no thanks, not interested” because I would have cursed her out. Moreso when I thought of the effrontery she had in putting the email together to make such a request. Mind you, my rental place is really nice (luxury sheets, well equipped tiny kitchen, 24hrs electricity, security, 24hrs WiFi, etc.) so I haven’t really had a problem getting requests. But then after re-reading her email, I thought “wait oh… so you will block me from having insured income for a month for potential income from your reviews. And then my business will still cover your services (including Diesel and PHCN costs in this Nigeria)”. I just clicked my tongue and shook my head. Smh. In fact, if she had requested had after this incident, I would have adopted Paul’s approach lol.

    • Cocolette

      January 19, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      Lmao ? yudonminnit! This happens in Nigeria too? She must be out of her mind

    • Nahum

      January 20, 2018 at 5:51 pm

      These “influencers” need to be stopped!!!!!

  22. bulla

    January 19, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Engoz y r u pained.

    • Engoz

      January 19, 2018 at 9:09 pm

      Pained how? On top this petty topic? Grow up. The only thing that can pain me is your senate rationalizing the gender equality bill as a lesbian orgy. E pain me ehn no be small, Lmao!

  23. Nowayjose

    January 19, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    My goodness!! Millennials are so dizzingy. It’s unreal. I can’t take it! I just can’t!!!. I can’t believe this child still thinks she won. Wow, oh wow!! The next gen…. a thing of a sad tale. What delusion of grandeur?!?!. She’s so unaware it’s appalling. I can go on but I WHOLEHEARTEDLY side with the hotel’s response. The best response ever. Major savage! And yes, lil girl you’re a cheapskate, freeloader and useless airhead. And also clearly not good at your job. If you were then you’d have known this brand is way out of league and does not need the supposed exposure you had planned on giving them. A simple research would have given you insight that they are an established brand with noteworthy social media stats. So from that standpoint alone you failed before you even began. Go get a real job and pay for things like everybody. you’re not special and have earn your real stripes the right way. Stop being so entitled, bratty and unaware. Grow up! You’re not influencing anybody but showing how immature you are.

  24. John

    January 19, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    Very entitled is her type that go around accusing celebrities of false rape…Ireland is so f—ing expensive especially dublin 1 and 2( infact the whole of dublin.).. it is like a mini- sillicon valley.. accomaodation is off the roof. I know what I suffered before I pushed for a transfer…and some freeloader is requesting for a free 5 days hotel services…kai.

  25. FRANK

    January 20, 2018 at 2:06 am

    Millennials, snowflakes, liberal idiots aka Social influencer wtf is that. In other words this waste of oxygen thought she could get a free accomodation at a 5 start hotel just cause she’s who again? Bitch move get out the way, get out the way………….

  26. Uberhaute_Looks

    January 20, 2018 at 2:30 am

    Choose your influencer painstakingly. I follow people like Stephanie Nicole and real life professional artistes not some dummies who things baking her face with half bag of flour is beautiful.
    These influencers can even write bad reviews if you refuse them… That’s how deadly they are!

  27. Ada_ugo

    January 20, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    lol… so in summary, both parties get global exposure for free… #allswellthatendswell

  28. Ada

    January 20, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    She dint even say 1 night instead 5 nights wat a serious freeloader. No one asked you to blog people have to pay their damm staff..Bloggers need to stop this besides if your receiving something for free your not credible’s the same as how they give these Hair companies good review then you buy the hair and it’s one of the worst thing ever..and their speaking rubbish on their blog instead of saying the honest truth..but since it’s free why should they?..

  29. Amaka

    January 20, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Is it just me that saw her red eyes? Why are her eyes red?

  30. See

    January 20, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Lol! Gangster! Love it

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