It’s been a rather dreary few weeks for me. I need to focus more on what I do have and less on what I don’t. I am having some trouble managing my stress. Argh.
But anyway. On to talking about things I like. Because I like a lot of things. Wheeeee! Like this:
Also basically Haunted Attractions and Haunted Attraction Reviews.
One things that’s interesting is that I do often get Press Passes to review most of the haunts I go to. This doesn’t affect my reviews, but it does help me be able to afford to do this every year. I should explain a bit about what that affects.
If we are on the fence about being able to handle the drive to a location, that often would sway us to select that haunt over one that isn’t reaching out to us. It’s just common sense – if someone wants you to come that’s going to be a higher priority than someone who doesn’t. We also will pay if needed. We don’t hold any of this against anyone and are completely not political in how we represent everyone.
Sure, we do hear grumblings of who doesn’t like who in the haunt industry, but that’s not on topic for a Haunted Attraction review. We only become concerned with that when there are ethical issues that concern haunt bloggers. For example, there is one one particular haunt that I have zero desire to ever go to for that reason.
We started this blog to both keep track of what haunts we did as well as to cut through the crap. We do not believe in paid reviews or planted reviews and there is a lot of them out there. That’s black hat and not cool. The haunts who work with us seem to all be on board with our policy about honesty and positive feedback that in turn helps them up their game next year.
Both harknell and I have personally worked on large events for over 9 years now and are currently bootstrapping our own business. We aren’t experts on how to create a haunt, but we are experts in how to handle the Customer Experience and know how location and financial constraints can affect that for small businesses.
If I am offered passes for any additional readers or friends who may show up on the same night as me but are not a part of the review team I will refuse the passes. It’s not because I don’t like my friends. It’s because the deal is that the review team is getting in to review – not the review team and her friends. This is not Scooby Doo.
It’s important for me to respect the Haunted Attractions just like I would want my own business to be respected and to not abuse the privilege. i am not here to get my posse in for free or anything else unless the attraction wants me to give away free passes in a contest.
On the same note, when I am reviewing – it’s work. I will not drink or do anything other than observe the attraction and collect data such that I can write the best reviews. If the attraction requests that I photograph, live tweet, or not is their choice.
Of course it is fun, but in my opinion my fun should be the last thing I am concerned about. My job is to do the best reviews that I can and to represent these small businesses fairly. That is my #1 concern.
As a blogger we already have the stigma of the “anyone can do it” thing. Anyone can blog things, but not everyone is professional and understanding of what these haunted attractions face as small business owners. I believe the best reviewers understand this.
You know, the first and second years that I did this it was quite expensive because I paid for everything. You can probably look through my archives and do the math there. Sheesh!
I had no idea that this would become popular enough to warrant it being a yearly thing, but I am happy doing it and grateful to all of the haunts who are into what we are doing here. Since I was little and would ride Le Cachot in Kennywood, haunts were in my blood. I can talk about haunted attractions all the time, even when I don’t feel like working.
The TL; DR is that I’m batshit loco and can’t help but taking everything that I like to the most srs bznss extreme.
I probably have something wrong with me.
Every year I think of better ways to write and better techniques to use. This year I am testing out some new ways to spotlight haunts that will be revealed to you only if it works out.
Oni Harstein is an New Jersey-based entrepreneur that is obsessed with Marketing, Art, and Technology. Please direct all business inquiries or technology review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.
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