Did OtterBox Find the Right Formula to Measure Influence?

Photos of Raul Colon Web Developer Puerto Rico

Update: After I wrote this post as you can see below the folks at Otterbox made sure to send me what was initially offered. Since them I have received many complimentary items from them for review purposes. Otterbox is a good example on how we all make mistakes but few companies like Otterbox are willing to fix the situation! 

I have done very few product reviews here on my blog. The main reason is that I never request a product or item to review. The few opportunities I have had here and on Veglatino.com have been instances where brands or individuals have reached out to me.

The reason I write posts here on my blog is to share my experiences on many aspects. A few weeks ago I went to the Best Buy Technology Show and had a great time. I also got to take video of a few products that interested me. When I stopped by the Otterbox booth I became interested in the iPad Defender Case and since I have a lot of traffic on my site, mostly 90 % from google with people with the iPad 2 Issue, I decided to make a video which I posted here. Since I have been using Youtube for a short while the video got more hits than I thought it would get.

The Otterbox representative offered me an iPad 2 Defender Case once it would be available. At no moment did I request to review the product; they offered me the opportunity. Last week I received an email from their PR representative explaining how my blog did not meet their influence metrics.

Blogger Metrics

Websites requesting a sample must meet the following requirements:

  • An Alexa ranking of 200,000 or lower
  • A grade of 90 or above on Website Grader
  • Domain name must be registered for at least 1 year

YouTube channel requirements:

  • A minimum of 500 subscribers
  • 700 views per video on your 3 most recent videos within the previous 2 months

My main issue with the metrics was that I did not request a sample. They offered me one which probably puts me into a different category. I took a look at the metrics and I did meet 2 of the 5. If I would have requested to be a reviewer the issue of not qualifying as a reviewer would have been completely acceptable. But since I did not request this, these metrics really have nothing to do with me. I know top bloggers who would not meet the 700 views per video on the 3 most recent videos. I can see Otterbox is very picky selecting bloggers and they have a formula that supposedly measures influence.

I don’t understand is how their metrics of measuring an influential blog (for @otterbox) have nothing to do with the type of audience that my be interested in their product. It appears that they rather put their product out in the open where many people who are not interested in the product or have a need for it (don’t have an iPad 2) can see it.  Not everyone is willing to shell out almost 100 dollars for that type of case especially if they don’t have an iPad 2. In my case I have around 100 new visitors a day searching and commenting on how they broke their iPad 2.

I would think this would be the perfect place to have someone review the case since it can turn into a direct sale.

Since I wrote the post on breaking my iPad2. I am ranking very well on the possible keywords Otterbox is looking for. As a matter of fact I get enough mentions of otterbox to have them recover their ROI in sending me a review case.

The funny part was that they did not even factor in the time I had to spend to create a post and publish it.

I know I don’t have much influence compared to other top bloggers but I have an engaged community of people who visit this blog whom I share my thoughts.

This uncomfortable incident has turned me into looking at the OtterBox Brand with different eyes.

It would be great if you could take a look at the metrics and see if they make sense.

Have you been approached to make a review of a product? What do you do in this case?

What do you think of Otterbox’s move of offering a sample and then deciding that my blog was not a good fit?

Do you know of any other companies that have this practice offering review samples and then backing out?


  1. Bianca* on June 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    As I see, they want to catch as much as possible. They got a *free* positive blog post review (thank you) but won’t respond to the compromise they offered before.

    Once, I offered my services to a restaurant to promote myself and enrich the youtube channel with funny videos. They wanted me to visit all of their restaurants, so I visited one and made a presentation for free, so they would see the show. You know what happened? I wend and made the show, but they didn’t go, so… free show!

    That’s the closest happened to me, related to your story.

    • Bianca* on June 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm


    • Raul Colon on June 2, 2011 at 12:06 am


      There was a huge disconnect in communication which made them to retract on what they offered. 

  2. Kristin Golliher on June 1, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Raul—


    I wanted to reach out to apologize regarding any confusion
    around recent email chains with OtterBox. We are still trying to determine what
    was promised to you and we want to make good on that promise. If there is anything
    I can assist you with please let me know and we will make it right.


    I also wanted to take the opportunity to further explain the
    reasoning behind our minimum requirements for media reviewers. Every month the
    PR team is approached by literally thousands of requests, while we’re always glad
    to assist with information, sending actual product requires websites and
    YouTube channels to meet set criteria. This makes it fair for everyone requesting
    samples and helps establish publicly accessible parameters (ie: Alexa and
    Website Grader) to successfully manage requests, rather than at our discretion.
    To date, this process has proven to be the most impartial way to help classify
    and fulfill requests. We revisit requirements as a team on a regular basis to
    make sure they are an accurate representation of metrics and objectives. We are
    always happy to revisit media requests in the future if minimum requirements
    are met, in fact this is how some of our strongest relationships have formed. Hopefully
    that helps to clarify.


    Additionally, I wanted to thank you for bringing this to our
    attention. It has given us the chance to identify internal communication opportunities
    so we can establish necessary processes moving forward.


    If there is anything else you need please let me know. Thank
    you again.


    Best Regards,
    Kristin Golliher

    Public Relations Manager

    • Raul Colon on June 2, 2011 at 12:08 am


      I leave it in your hands but the initial approach was made by your team with interest to having me review a piece. I appreciate that you decided to answer and read the post. 

      It would also be great to know when you make exceptions to the rule and how you approach that?

    • Raul Colon on June 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm


      Thank you for the explanations and help provided. I am really glad that you took the approach you took and we got a mutual understanding on both side. Thanks again for listening and for your time. 

    • Kristin Golliher on June 3, 2011 at 10:42 pm

      Absolutely Raul, we appreciate your support and understanding. 

  3. Marcy Massura on June 1, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Hysterically bad. Attempting to quantify ‘influence’ with such antiquated metric trackers as Alexa (the equivalent to using a pager in the analytic world) only shows the ignorance and lack of commitment of the brand to actually locate ADVOCATES for their products.

    And what is worse? THEY offered it to you. And THEN said you weren’t good enough. Well, that is a bit like asking a girl out on a date and then going to pick her up and changing your mind because her hair wasn’t long enough for your liking. Random, arbitrary and ridiculous.

    Ironically, the true test of your ‘influence’ will be how many people (myself included) do NOT buy an Otterbox because of this ridiculous, archaic (in a digital sense) policy.

    : )

    • Raul Colon on June 2, 2011 at 12:10 am


      I love your Pager analogy. I guess there are many ways people think they can measure influence. The biggest problem is when they get lost in the metrics and miss out on the opportunity to get possible customers who are interested in buying your products like the many that have visited the blog with concerns on there broken Ipad. 

      I personally will restrain from buying any more Otterbox products. 

      Thanks for the visit and your comments!