Joe Nicchi, a Los Angeles-based ice cream truck owner, says that he won't kowtow to social media influencers who are hoping to get free product in exchange for a post on social media.
What are the details?
Nicchi revealed that social media influencers — non-celebrity personal accounts that boast large followings — ask him for free products on a weekly basis in exchange to appear on the influencers' social media platforms as advertisements.
Nicchi, who founded and owns CVT Soft Serve, insisted that he has no interest in such practices and will charge influencers double, instead.
He shared a post on Instagram boasting of the new policy.
"We've decided to make this thing official with signage," he wrote. "We truly don't care if you're an influencer, or how many followers you have. We will never give you a free ice cream in exchange for a post on your social media page."
He continued, "It's literally a $4 item ... well now, it's $8 for you. #InfluencersAreGross."
Nicchi said that CVT — which stands for "chocolate," "vanilla," and "twirl" — has been subjected to such requests for years.
He told People magazine that he even "received a request for an event to comp them 300 servings in exchange for 'exposure.'"
"I believe that's an influencer's favorite word," he added, pointing out that he's "truly embarrassed for these people."
"I'm not really 100 percent sure what they actually do, and their followers, likes, and comments can all be purchased, so I have trouble looking at them as being reputable," Nicchi insisted.
In either case, Nicchi doesn't seem too impressed by influencers attempting to throw their weight around the web or the real world.
“If it's public knowledge that anyone can purchase followers and likes, then why does an 'influencer' hold weight?" he asked. "Let's make hard work 'huge right now.' Let's make not asking people to work for free 'huge right now.' We are not impressed or influenced by your 'following' ... you probably bought them," Nicchi captioned a post he shared on Instagram.
Nicchi told People that his product doesn't need social media boosts from influencers and insisted that the quality of the company's ice cream speaks for itself.
"We have a solid product that speaks for itself," he explained. "I also think people appreciate our no-nonsense approach to the business both with our limited menu and our online posts."
"I don't really focus on anything but the product," Nicchi added. "I think if our ice cream is great, that the rest will hopefully fall into place via word of mouth and through reputable journalists."
(H/T: Fox News)