Around the world in 80 jobs, or “The Bandwagon”

So this whole thing with the blog around the world in 80 jobs and the company Adecco really grates my cheese. I can’t stand when people see a story and jump on top without really thinking about it.

The short and curly of this story is that this guy had a blog for the last two years about working around the world (obviously right), and then this big bad naughty corporation came in and stole his idea. That is what you hear, that is what you read, and that is where most people seem to be letting it end.

Now perhaps I am missing something here, and if I am, whoops, I’ll apologize later, but in the meantime…

Just because he had an idea, or the scratchings of an idea first, does not entitle him to everything and anything to do with that idea. I’m sure the guys Mark Zuckerburgh “stole” facebook from would be on his side, but the law wasn’t, and most people who watched the movie weren’t. Addeco used ‘Around the world in 80 jobs’ as a byline to a competition to send someone around the world in 80 jobs, I don’t see how he can believe he owns that idea. They are doing it, and they are doing it better. They are not even in the same market as him, they are a recruitment company, he is a travel blogger, and never the tween shall meet, except for on this one promotional byline (it is not even the name of the campaign) and the social media poop-storm created by those rallying around his bedside.

The phrase “Around the world in 80…” is a much loved and used classic, it is not so original as he thinks to add the word “jobs” to the end, and did he pay any sort of royalties or have to fight for trademarks on the four words and two numbers which make up eighty percent of “his” brand?

Around the world in 80 jobs

This company is doing a short term promotion, it will come, it will go and then he will have back ‘his’ brand. If he had worked so hard and put so much into this brand, surely it can withstand a temporary marketing campaign and come out again on top? If not, perhaps it wasn’t as popular or ready for the limelight as he thinks? Well, at least it wasn’t until Adecco came along and gave him more publicity than I would be willing to bet he has ever had.

The things he is asking for because he added one word to a well loved phrase seem ridiculous. He is asking for an apology, a cease and desist, $50 000 for himself with the excuse being “that’s how much they paid the marketing company”, and as a seeming after thought, $50 000 for an elephant’s charity in Thailand. All this and he is running a kickstarter-esq campaign for $25 000 on the back of this publicity, for doing no more than writing a blog, and working around the world. It irks me that this guy has the cheek to ask for so much and then add a charity in to make himself look like the second coming. It irks me that this guy steals an idea and then accuses someone else of stealing his idea. It irks me that he asks for money from both Adecco and his readers for nothing more than having a good time and writing about it.

I have seen almost nothing but support for his ‘right’ to a name that wasn’t trademarked, that wasn’t his to begin with, and that is being used for a short term campaign only vaguely related to his ‘brand’ (and please, the guy in the Adecco commercial is not a “lookalike” or a rip off of his character as is being claimed). Is no one looking at how much publicity he is now getting because of Adecco? Am I the only one that thinks he might now actually achieve his dreams of traveling the world and writing about it, because Adecco used a similar sentence to his name? And am I the only one that thinks he is playing the victim role and milking it for all it’s worth?

Don’t get me wrong, milk away, make your cash where you can, but surely there has to be someone else out there who can put their bleeding hearts away for a second, stop screaming “The corporations! The corporations!” And look at the reality of this situation?

If his brand was so good, if he had worked that hard and well to make it stick, why did Adecco jump to the top of Google so easily? And who cares if they did, does he not have enough loyal readers to maintain his audience? In fact, I would say his loyal audience would now have doubled if not tripled because of Adecco (I had no idea who he was until everyone started playing little violins for him).

Perhaps if he wasn’t asking for $50 000 for himself, perhaps if he wasn’t simultaneously raising money for himself in a kickstarter type campaign, and perhaps if his title hadn’t already been used by a million other people, I would have more sympathy. My blog name comes from Pancho Villa, a revolutionary in Mexico. If someone wanted to use it I would have no right to refute that. I could only hope that my blog would offer people something they wanted to read, and that they would come to me because of that, not because I was the only one using the name.

Two people came up with the theory of evolution independently (now that was a good idea!), and at the same time. One got the publicity, the other didn’t. That is the way the cookie crumbles. (Hmmm, I wonder if anyone has trademarked “the cookie crumbles”?)

Perhaps he should be grateful for the publicity this has brought him and stop asking for money he doesn’t deserve. Unless of course he wants to give the whole $100 000 and the money he is raising from the public to the elephants in Thailand? In which case, soldier on. Oh, and you’re welcome for the free publicity.

I have since learned that he won and was compensated everything he asked for, but my opinions still stand. He had the gall to call this an “important cause”, got given money for nothing and is trumpeting this apparent win around like a peacock in mating season. This breaks my heart. Bravo for his giant whinge netting him a result. I think he should give all the money to the elephants, especially if it was really about the cause, #makeitright mate, #makeitright.

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0 thoughts on “Around the world in 80 jobs, or “The Bandwagon””

  1. I have to admit, when I commented on his blog, I understood he was only asking for money for the elephants. I didn’t tweet or Facebook ‘his cause’ because I hadn’t yet researched the case myself, and didn’t want to promote something I knew nothing about. I have to admit,I’m now glad I didn’t, as I think the term ‘stealing’ is pretty tenuous, and $50,000 an excessive amount to expect considering he never lost anything, only gained. Great PR campaign though, (hmmm… who can I get to steal my ‘somewhere’ brand, because, I do own that… don’t I?)

    1. Innit, you kind of have to read that post of his twice to realize he is getting $50 000 for himself. It just shows how people can be manipulated if you pull the right strings.

  2. I have to agree with your comments. At first I thought it was a pretty crappy thing for them to do but then when he asked for $50K for himself and then is running a campaign to raise another $25K for his personal use then I really had second thoughts.
    I would love to be given a total of $75K to travel the world instead of having a job, home and responsibilities. Nothing bad meant to the world travelers but come on he is getting out of control in my opinion.
    My horses name is Yankee DoLittle so can I now expect a cash windfall if someone uses that name? I think not.

    1. That’s one of the things that bothered me. I am lucky enough to live a life a lot of people envy. I travel the world and make a bit of scratch doing a little work. He has a similar lifestyle in that he gets to do something he loves and a lot of people can only dream of. To whinge $50 000 out of a company, and then ask for another $25000 from the influx of sympathy readers who are likely working 9-5’s! A bit of a cheek really.

      To me the whole thing looked like a bunch of bloggers ganging up on a company to force their hand, regardless of right or wrong. It’s like mob rule on the internet and that’s a dangerous thing.

      P.S. I was thinking of starting a website called 😉

  3. Elaine Scanlan

    You have omitted some key points here. The central issue was not that Adecco had used the phrase, it was that they had submitted a trademark application for it. If that had gone through, Turner Barr could have been prevented from using that domain name in any form, as well as the blog title. There were also striking similarities in terms of the whole presentation of the promo for the competition, including the use of a lookalike actor. I’m certainly not privy to any discussions behind the scenes, but I think it’s unlikely that Adecco would have conceded if they thought they could just use their financial clout to beat down a small-time blogger in court.

    There are huge implications in this case that affect all creative entrepreneurs. How will you react if, perhaps ten years down the line, a corporation decides they quite like your brand name? You’ve trademarked it, right? If not, how do you feel about starting up your whole business from scratch?

    You’re over-simplifying, hugely. By all means hold an opinion and write about it, but this is poorly researched. It’s early days yet to know exactly how it will pan out. My view is that allowing a company to trademark your brand, without putting up a serious fight, sets a very risky precedent. The financial compensation is just a side issue, but I do agree that the separate indiegogo funding is no longer needed.

    1. If he wants to fight the trademark issue, sure go ahead, but I wander why you think he as an independant business is immune to the rules and regulations of people who work for themselves at regular jobs?

      Do not overlook the fact that it is a name he would have lost and not his business. And from his talk about this whole issue make no mistake he is a business, it is not just that bad people were stealing his brand. An established company would have to trademark its name, so why shouldn’t he? I had to trademark a business of mine in Australia, so why shouldn’t he? He is after all earning a living as a self employed traveler, and self employed people in countries like Australia are not immune to the rules, why should he be? Leaving your job behind and traveling the world does not exempt you from the rules of that world, or entitle you to any special privileges, except living the life of your choosing.

      And what striking similarities? That the actor was male? That he was outgoing? I think that kind of describes 50% of the male population! Adecco had an idea to send someone around the world working, it is not a brilliantly uniqe idea, how many movies have you seen about super heroes? Does that mean they are all ripping each other off and should be stopped? Around the world in 80 jobs fitted their campaign, as variations of it have for a thousand different subjects which no one has claimed to own.

      You are right, I would be pissed if someone stole my brand, but you are wrong in suggesting this is the main issue here. The main issue is that while everyone was looking at Adecco as the sleazy, money grubbing corporation. The little guy came in and manipulated the situation for massive undeserved gain.

      You claim I am oversimplifying, yet your whole argument is based on the idea that a travel blogger is immune to the laws of other people. Perhaps the laws for creatives need to be looked at, or perhaps the creatives need to start paying our way and appreciate how good we have had it so far.

  4. Interesting points.
    I don’t recall mention of the money in the video or post when it was circling in the social media realm last week (me included for sharing) but now it seems time to see what the latest news is. hmmm.
    True- talk about a good marketing plan. I hadn’t heard of him until this issue with Adecco came up! Two sides to every story and good for you for highlighting another side.

    1. It does seem like a well laid out plan doesn’t it? Tell them you’re giving to a charity, check. Make the people believe it could happen to them, check. Call the opposite team a multi-billion dollar corporation, check. Use the might of your heavy hitting community, check. Cry and say all you want is recognition, and then ask for a hundred thousand dollars, check. Get into the limelight and then set up an account asking for twenty five thousand dollars, check.

      It just doesn’t sit right if you think about it.

  5. Brenda Bradford

    I appreciate your candidness about this situation. I’m aware of this issue but not as up on it as I should be, but it does seem the blogger is mostly interested in some quick cash.

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head Brenda. He has most certainly taken advantage of the whole thing. My guess would be he is pretty chuffed with himself and his masterful control of the situation right now.

  6. I always appreciate reading a good argument going against the grain. This post really made me think. While I did send out a tweet after reading his post, it’s just another reminder I need to be more cautious before endorsing things without knowing the whole story. That’s a lesson in itself….with social media today it is way too easy to jump on the bandwagon and share things we may not have even read clearly!

    I’m not sure what I’d do in his situation and I’m still not too sure what I think of it all, but thanks for giving a separate point of view for us all the examine.

    1. I think it was a well played ‘campaign’ that pushed all the right buttons with people who have similar fears. Social Media has a lot of power, and like any power can be used in the wrong way when in the wrong hands. I think he would make a great politician.

    Wowzers, I’ve missed this totally but there are some very persuasive arguments in here. Were you on the school debating team by any chance? As usual a killer post!

    1. Lol, I was never so big on extra curricular activities at school, unless getting stoned was an extra curricular activity? This just really got my goat, making money off of playing people and saying it is about the cause. Thanks for reading Nici. 🙂

  8. Elaine Scanlan

    Tyrhone, we’re not going to agree here, and that’s fine. I don’t know Turner’s main motivation, but have seen no evidence that this was a pre-planned marketing campaign. The trouble with trademarks is that they are very costly to register and they cover just one country, so a global brand needs to be registered in every jurisdiction, then defended legally if there’s a threat to it. Add that up, and Turner’s $50000 wouldn’t go very far.

    I don’t think anyone is immune to the rules. What I think is that companies with massive financial and legal resources are better-placed to exploit them. The analogy with superhero movies is just daft, since those are licensed from creators such as Marvel, and are constantly at the centre of massive trademark battles. See here, for example:

    You do seem very angry about this, which is probably what’s behind all the hyperbolic statements. I’m just glad that this case has highlighted some complex issues for any entrepreneur, and I genuinely hope that none of your work is ever used without your permission.

    1. I am not saying it is a pre-planned marketing campaign, I am saying it looks like one because of how many boxes were ticked in pulling peoples strings. And I understand that international trademarks would be expensive, but that is the way business works. If I had a company in Australia called “Pea soup” and someone started a business in the states called “Pea soup”, well, that is the way it works, you insist on saying it should be different for travelers. Why?

      I am not on the side of corporations, I just believe in logic, and of not taking advantage of people, and looking at the facts and not the sideshow.

      You have a dig at me by suggesting my statements are fanciful hyperbole because of how “angry” I am. What I am is disappointed that people get away with this media circus and come out on top. That doesn’t change the facts. And if you want to talk about hyperbole, perhaps you should look at how he and his supporters have behaved during the fiasco, now that is hyperbole (nice word by the way).

      I also hope that none of my work is ever used, but I can guarantee you that if it is I won’t play with people or use social media as my plaything until I get my way, or use a charity to hide behind my goal of mo’ money, mo’ publicity.

  9. Elaine Scanlan

    I haven’t said anywhere that things should be different for travelers: quite the opposite. I said that I don’t think anyone is immune to the rules. I still think that the trademark rules favour people with money to pay for costly lawyers. Is that not so?

    What would you do if someone started to use your photos or art without your permission, and persisted after you asked them to stop?

    1. You’re suggesting things should be different, if you read your own comments properly. Of course I wouldn’t like it, I would hope that is obvious beyond stating, again. I think you’re missing the point of the post Elaine, although the trademarking thing is a part of it, and I have stated my feelings with regards to that already and don’t want to repeat myself. The point is how this was dealt with, how people jumped on the bandwagon, and how a guy made $50000 (maybe $75000 with his ‘give me money’ campaign) from a company by manipulating the facts, like how Adecco offered him a deal which he declined (which was kept quiet on his part). Things like brushing over his $50000 and stressing how he made them give the elephants $50 0000. How he was fighting for a cause, when really he was fighting for the money.

      Again I have already stated my views on the trademark thing. If you can’t see beyond that, then that’s fine.

  10. You make some good points but the guy would be mental not to take advantage of the situation and I don’t begrudge him that he has. By the way, do you have permission to use those mast graphics on this site? My finger is on the compose new tweet button… I’m clicking…

    1. Fair enough he took advantage of the situation, but do you think it is also OK that he took advantage of his peers? As has since come out, there are details he did not disclose in order to keep people riled up and on his side. For example do you know he was offered a deal with $25 000 early on, which he turned down and did not tell anyone about?

      I don’t know what you mean by “mast” graphics, but I either bought or created every image on this site. Tweet away 🙂

      1. I didn’t know about the $25,000 at the time. Yes, maybe that is a little manipulative but not so much that it overly concerns me. I was never under the illusion we were being used as anything other than leverage in TB’s fight against Adecco and I’m surprised anyone thought otherwise. I also expected if TB won that he would be compensated in some way (straight cash or otherwise) and it was clear the publicity was doing him no harm at all.

        The kickstarter type fundraising I won’t defend but one of the more selfish bloggers I can think of has raised her voice loudest against TB and she hasn’t had any problems milking the ‘community’ for donations when it suits her. If you don’t want to give him any money, don’t.

        Looking back, did TB fight under Marquis of Queensbury rules? No, but neither did Adecco when they trademarked his blog name. That was arrogant and I think that is what annoyed people the most. I also believe there was a lot of (unconcious) self interest involved on the part of all those of us who forced Adecco to back down. I would be surprised if a large corporation didn’t think twice now before they trademark, oh let’s say for example, ‘Tell Them I Said Something’. We will all benefit and this is the main reason I don’t mind being manipulated a little. (Too late for me though. There’s already a Working Traveller and a Payaway – the name of my group of websites – out there but we all seem satisfied with just ignoring each other.)

        I actually just came over here just to explain what I meant by the mast graphics (you are using both Turner’s and Adecco’s masts to illustrate this post – I’m assuming both are copyright protected and you don’t have either’s permission) but the words just started to flow. I suspect they will dry up as soon as I start my next post. Anyway, I enjoyed your post and am happy to read another point of view even if I might disagree with you.

        1. Well hopefully they don’t try to sue me because I don’t have a spare $100 0000 to hand out 🙂

          Hey I’m cool with him trying to make some money, with anyone trying to make some money. I just don’t like seeing people manipulated.

          In general people offer something for money. Straight out asking for it, well it’s a bit cheeky when you live a life most can only dream of. I’m not sure if it was arrogant of Adecco to try and trademark a name that no one owned, but I do think it was arrogant of Turner to say he owned the name and anything to do with it, and to think he was owed $100 000 for something which I doubt was making him much money beforehand.

          Short and curly of it, I don’t like seeing people being manipulated, and I think a lot of people are starting to feel that way as the truth comes out.

          Anyway, thanks for reading and I appreciate your views. 🙂

  11. Great points Tyrhone and kudos for going against the masses of support. Unfortunately I am guilty of jumping on that bandwagon. Thought it was all good until his fundraising started. Definitely the best thing that could ever happen to his blog PR wise… Hmmm

    1. Thanks Rob. I think the only thing people are guilty of is wanting to help a fellow blogger and being concerned about our own brands. It just so happens this guy took advantage of that. Yep he would have really boosted his brand name with this whole thing, but now he has to back it up.

  12. We have copyrighted and trademarked. Did that when a person tried to take my logo over as their own. Won that small battle… and realized a blog is a business. A little to no money business – but a business. I agree with you. In the end – with the interweb being what it is – once it’s out there – how much do we own anymore? How many variances have we seen on “50 shades of…” – right? If you copyright and trademark you have a case… and even the then… otherwise?

    1. Exactly, the unfortunate state of things is that we seldom have a leg to stand on, especially if we have not tried in any way to secure our brands. Even though the income from it may be minimal to nothing, as soon as you call it a brand and make a cent, it is a business, and businesses need to take measures.

      The tinternet is still a young market in some ways, and we are yet to define a fair and logical way to make it work for everyone. Until then, copyright and cross your fingers!

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