Our work has a side effect that we did not anticipate when we started TCH in 2004. From the start, we were clear that we do not want to follow or predict trends – we trust our own instincts and feature what we feel deserves to be featured. Plain and simple. But what we did not envision is that we seem to be creating trends.
We have created a trend of success for the creatives, designers, architects, artists, brands and entrepreneurs we have featured on our pages. By giving them the exposure and attention they did not previously enjoy, we have created trends that include their work, their style and their ideas.
Each week we receive excited emails from the individuals and brands we have featured reporting massive spikes in traffic on their websites, and avalanches of international enquires from agencies, retailers and other potential clients wanting to get their hands on their work.
Most of them also report being inundated with enquiries from the other international media - major magazines and newspapers who rely on The Cool Hunter and other great blogs to find content for their pages.
It's all part of the blog effect that has revolutionized global media and the practice of journalism. Print can no longer compete in terms of reporting information first. By the time newspapers and magazines hit news-stands, their content is old news, hence why they - and you - subscribe to our newsletter. And it is all free.
Blogs have become a crucial resource for other media, who rely on them to supply the raw, uncensored, immediate information they cannot afford or just simply don’t know how to find.
We receive daily emails from major publications asking us for high-res images and more information on posts, which we then see covered in their pages weeks or months later.
The world's most powerful mastheads, the Vogues, Vanity Fairs, BBC, CNN, and New York Times' of the world, now compete with the increasingly influential blogs not just for news and content, but for advertising dollars as growing slices of marketing budgets are being funneled into the blogs..
The bottom line is that blogs reach more people than print media.
Here at The Cool Hunter, we are happy to report that much of the benefit of our influence as an information source flows straight back to the people and brands we feature.
For the past seven years we've endeavoured to bring our readers the most inspiring stuff from across the globe and we are thrilled that the exposure we have provided has helped launch careers, build media profiles and taken businesses to a new, global level.
TCH is the world's most-read culture and design site, a leading authority on all things creative and a truly global hub for what's cool, thoughtful, innovative and original.
We thought we'd share some of these stories with you from a selection of posts.
"Almost immediately after TCH featured my paper sculptures, my email inbox became flooded with inquiries of every type. From magazine interviews, books and blogs, to a live radio interview in South Africa and a TV show on Fuji Television in Japan showing my sculptures. Inquiries have also included invitations to have exhibitions in Taiwan, China and Moscow, private commissions, and ad campaigns.
I was totally blown away by the power of the internet and the reach that TCH has to every corner of the World. Literally! Paris, London, Italy, Poland, Prague, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, India, Amsterdam, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Iran, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Korea, Japan, Finland, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, USA ... I'm sure I missed someone. :)
I've been making paper sculptures for more than 28 years now, had exhibitions in Japan, China and the US. But never have I ever gotten this much attention before and probably never would have if not for TCH! Thank you TCH! I am humbled and filled with gratitude." Jeff Nishinaka
"The first symptom was a peak of high fever in the statistics, followed by a rash of e mails : a flush of enthusiastic feed back as enquiries erupted from everywhere.
Then the epidemic reached the Store with a regular stream of reproduction orders, before hitting the international press. A flurry of interviews from South Africa, London, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, USA.
Then it spread into work opportunities: Diadora shoes advertising in Italy, Burton snowboard, Music artists requests for CD covers.
And even though we get contacts from all over the world, it seems that the fever holds on as the high température is maintained through a constant flow of Australian contacts.
That’s part of the visible Coolhunter effect and I don’t want to be cured ! Thanks to Coolhunter and it ‘s team, and congratulation for having created such an extensive and powerful web of art and beauty addicts around the world". Francoise Neilly
Within 48 hours of being featured in this post Amsterdam-based architecture and interior design group i29 was flooded with emails from design publications around the world including Frame Mag (Netherlands), Monitor Mag (Russia) Elle Decoration (Romania) CASE da Abitare (Italy), LOFT publications (Spain) BOB magazine (Korea), GULF interiors (Dubai) De Architect (Netherlands), ONoffice (UK) Cover Magazine (Venezuela), Sisustajalehti (Finland) Vivenda (Netherlands) Maru Magazine (Korea) and plenty of other print media and numerous design blogs.
Dutch architects and interior designers Uxus recieved a "tenfold" increase in traffic to their website after we featured their project Merus Winery in California. Uxus was flooded by queries from magazines around the world, including Wallpaper (UK), Noblese Mag (Korea), Marie Claire (Brazil), GQ India, Casa Da Abitare (Italy) FX Mag (UK), Absolute Marbella (Spain), Home Journal Mag (Hong Kong), ID Mag (USA), The Shorlist (UK), Future Laboratory (UK) and many more.
"What an honour to be featured in such an extraordinary, tasteful site!
The power of the internet and the incredible reach TCH has in the world, was an unexpected surprise several weeks ago, when I opened my morning emails!
It was an instant rush ~ numerous sales from my online Etsy shop, as well as gallery enquiries and interview requests. To date, I have been written up in a number of international magazines, blogged by well-known journalists, stylists and receive countless messages full of compliments and good wishes!
There has been a fun collaboration with a photographer along with another TCH discovery, MiiR bottles. A very large print installation created by a Greek Architect firm for a client’s home, a Random House book cover assignment and an invite to be featured as a watercolor artist in a new Chronicle book about ‘new watercolorists’, to be published sometime in 2012!
This has been an amazing year, since starting out as a self representing artist only 13 months ago.
I am so grateful for the expose you have given me TCH. Thank you for all your incredible support....this is a fantastic journey, I am so excited about the future!" - Cate Parr
"Being on The Cool Hunter has resulted in a handful of opportunities - the NYTimes being one of them. After my work was posted on the site and I was commissioned to design an image for the cover of New York Times real estate magazine. My exposure on The Cool Hunter has allowed me to quit my day job." Andy Gilmore
"It’s because thanks too The Cool Hunter I’ve been featured in over 50 magazines that can be viewed on my website under editorials on the information page. The lights even ended up in Argentinean Playboy! Along that I also have generated many jobs within Australia, many o/s enquiries and an actual job in San Francisco.
I’m about to move out of my studio in my garage into a real studio which allows me to employ staff, too as business is growing fast and I desperately need more space as well as extra hands. So I can’t begin to tell you how much I thank you for making me famous!" Volker Haug
"The opportunities that thecoolhunter.net feature has provided me are beyond what I could have ever imagined. Not only did it kick start my career as an artist, but it did so almost overnight. I’m a graphic artist for network TV as my day job and fine art was solely a hobby. The day the feature came out I literally woke up, looked at my phone and had about 100 emails asking for information about the piece. Within a couple of weeks the stats for my website showed over 300 other websites linking to me and nearly a half million visitors to my site from over 60 countries.
I was written up in a number of international publications and was offered paid corporate speaking engagements such as at Disney animation. I just completed my first solo gallery show but have also had my artwork featured at 2 additional art galleries in group exhibitions. Additionally, I am working on commissioned pieces for international buyers all of whom found me on thecoolhunter.net. Currently my art is being considered for a feature film in which it would appear in a high end home. I am also about to show some pieces in homes for sale in the 10 million dollar plus price range.
There are no words I can use to express my gratitude for the exposure that you have provided for me." Matt Bilfield, artist
"Being featured on The Coolhunter has certainly increased awareness and understanding of Aesop to a very appropriate and progressive audience. Posts have resulted in communication with Case Da Abitare, Harpers Bazaar, Virgin Blue Voyeur, Surface, DIDD (industry), GDR (industry), A4 (Poland), Attitude (Portugal), BMW Magazine (Germany). Belle (Australia), Marie Claire (Australia), Cubes (Singapore) too many to list." Indi Davis - Aesop
"When TCH approached us to feature Saffire Freycinet on their website, we were thrilled. We understood the power of endorsement from such a popular brand and were happy to have founder Bill Tikos stay with us in our opening week. What we weren’t prepared for was the response to his post. The number of times his glowing review was re-blogged throughout the world was astounding. We have had media requests from as far a field as Mexico and Brazil, as well as throughout Europe and Asia, and we have no doubt that the far-reaching communications of The Coolhunter extended our brand beyond our wildest dreams considering we were within the first month of operation.” Matt Casey, General Manager". Saffire Freycinet
"The response from across the world to the images of my sculptures after being posted on TCH has been beyond amazing! As well as several actual books and and on line magazines picking up on the work worldwide, I have also recently been offered the chance to show some work at the Royal Academy with the ‘Sketch’ organisation. I have also just met (in London) curators from New York who are planning collaborations in New York Germany and Istanbul. The Cool Hunter is experienced by them as cutting edge in cultural terms and they watch it’s output regularly. The ripple effect of the posting is still on and looks likely to do so probably well into the future. I now have work ‘within the same general walls’ as Tracey Emin, Sophie Calle, Anthony Gormley, Stuart Hagarth (Haunch of Venison Gallery) . which is being seen by their audiences. It’s been great and thank you!". Robert Bradford.
"Ever since being featured on The Cool Hunter, interest in my work has increased massively. I've been contacted by several people from students, other designers and design blogs to magazines, books and brands, which have lead to some successful commissions with great clients. Other than my own personal work and portfolio site, The Cool Hunter has also helped my additional online project Random Got Beautiful gain a lot of attention. I now get photo submissions every week for the site. Although I was featured over a year ago and again several months ago, I still receive a high proportion of visits from The Cool Hunter site. The exposure has been very significant. Thanks a lot! - Nikki Farquharson"
“The Coolhunter effect” is incredible! FieldCandy website traffic increased ten fold during the weeks following TCH feature. Sales enquires grew dramatically, as did the geographic spread of orders, with Russia, South America and the Middle East currently equalling our more traditional markets. Media enquiries, both on and off-line have increased significantly from around the globe.
Interestingly, other less obvious opportunities have been directly associated to TCH effect. FieldCandy was invited to display our Outstanding tents at the Grammy Awards in LA, leading to important celebrity endorsements. Several major companies have approached us to ‘own brand’ tents for their marketing and promotional purposes, and we are in talks with several well respected retailers and e-tailers.
Most importantly for a design led brand, Fieldcandy is now working with many designers and artists from around the world, some well know, other less so, but the long term benefit for Fieldcandy, caused by TCH effect is quite astounding.
Many thanks - John - FieldCandy founder
Eight weeks ago, our Facebook (FB) page (facebook.com/thecoolhunter) with all of its content and our 788,000 fans – resources we have created and nurtured meticulously over the past five years - was gone.
Not blocked or invisible, but completely gone. Disabled. “Page does not exist.” No explanation, flimsy warnings, no instructions on what to do next. None of our numerous attempts to rectify the situation and resurrect the page have worked.
And because we suspect there are other businesses in the same bind, we are writing this to seek help and encourage open conversation. This is not a minor problem. This is a huge issue and potentially fatal to businesses. We feel that FB must change its one-sided, secret policies and deal with us, and others like us, openly and fairly.
(Image found on Facebook without image credit.)
Important part of our business
Up till that day eight weeks ago, our FB fan base increased by about 1,500 to 2,500 per day, and the page generated more than 10,000 click-throughs to our site, TheCoolHunter.net (TCH), per day.
TCH is an almost eight-year-old design and pop-culture site. We have 2.1 million monthly site visits, a 186,000-strong newsletter subscriber list that reads like the Who-Is-Who of the design and marketing media. We have 247,000 Twitter and 100,000 Instagram followers.
But our Facebook presence has been a unique and extremely important part of our strategy. It is the water cooler of our global community. Losing our FB page is not just a minor hick-up. It is a serious loss of connection and interaction, and of a massive amount of content.
We post items on FB that may not make it to the actual blog, giving hundreds of artists and designers exposure, and thousands of fans something new to see. Our FB page provides the interaction, comments and ideas that help us keep our editorial fresh. It helps us generate ideas for our weekend playlists, gives us tips for our world tours on what to do and see in each city. Most important, our FB community keeps us on our toes, generates great ideas and feedback, and lets us know when we are on the right track.
Our FB community is truly global. At any time of day or night, we would get immediate reactions from hundreds of fans around the world on pretty much any question we would ask. It has become crucially important to us to stay connected in this way. It is a vital link to our community.
Since our page has been disabled, we have also receive hundreds of emails and messages daily from fans worrying where we have gone.
(Image found on Facebook without image credit.)
What did we do?
In essence, we want to know this: What did we do? How do we rectify it? We have never intentionally broken any FB rules and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get our page back. But we do not have the answers and we do not know how to get them. We have tried everything in our power, and we are getting nowhere.
We had a momentary glimpse of hope when we asked for help via Twitter. The young and savvy Nina Mufleh @ninamufleh contacted us and said she could help reinstate it. And she did! We got our page – minus its content. In five days, we had more than 400,000 fans back. But then FB disabled it again. Again, no email, no warning - just gone. That’s when we started to get really annoyed.
Infringement of what?
When our page was initially disabled, we contacted FB. The only response we received was “This user was disabled for repeat IP infringement.” We have no idea what we were infringing on. Which image/s or posts, specifically, have caused this?
We know of only two infringements – two situations where FB closed our account , and we argue strongly that they were not infringements at all.
The problem with this is that you don’t know if what you are posting could irk FB.
But even if FB disagrees with the images we posted, are two images enough to kill our account with no chance of recourse?
The other reason that could have caused the closure of our FB page is that we sometimes use images even when we do not know who has taken the picture.
With FB, Tumblr, Pinterest and all the other image-sharing opportunities today, millions of people and organizations share images – theirs and someone else’s - freely every day. We WANT to give credit always, but in many cases we cannot find that information. On our “About Us” page and on our (now extinct) FB page we specifically state that if we have posted an image that belongs to you, we want to know, so that we can give you the appropriate credit.
Similar issues were discussed in a Huffington Post article here:
If they made any sense at all, they would give you us the contact info of the person who is complaining, so that we can resolve the issue with them. Right now, a completely anonymous and faceless Facebook tells you that a completely anonymous and potentially even false third party has complained about your page. Why can they not be open?
We have no idea why openness is such a foreign thing to them. And more important, we cannot believe that they think that everyone who clicks “share” on FB has checked that they personally have the right to post that image! That is a ridiculous idea. If people did that, FB would not be the business it is. It would be a tiny little official online group of insiders who share each others’ images and copy. Facebook is founded on FREE SHARING. They make their money based on that sharing.
The key point is that absolutely every one of us has posted images AND COPY whose author we do not know and whose authors’ permission we do not have. Facebook is built on this sharing. As are pretty much all other social media platforms. So, why do they attack a few and not all, if they are the police?
Bottom line: We need and want our Facebook account back. But we do not know how.
Do you? Do you have a back-up plan for if this happens to your business? Can you be sure it won’t happen to you? We think not.
It seems ridiculous to severely penalize a business for doing what most Facebook users do daily.
UPDATE: Media coverage:
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THANK YOU to our first half-a-million Facebook fans! We are excited about and challenged by your interest in what we do, your comments and your feedback!
With over 2.5 million page views per month on our site, the most popular articles generating more than 8 million views, 168,000 newsletter subscribers and 123,500 followers on Twitter, what else can we do but work even harder, and to say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! - Bill TIkos
Illustration by Access Agency.
Forget thinking outside the box. Forget the box. Where brands need to go today, there is no box.
As consumers, we are all skeptical, cynical and tired of being marketed at. We crave relevance, value, real connection, engagement, something surprising, an experience. And we crave entertainment that is worth our while. The success of Avatar, Toy Story 3, Cirque du Soleil or the iPad, or the virtual runaways of Evian Rollerbabies or Old Spice, testify that no matter how depressed the economy, how uncool conspicuous consumption, we happily spend our hard-earned money and our scarce time on entertainment, products, ideas and campaigns that pick us up, dazzle us, and give us more that we imagined.
With social media, the experience economy has exploded to cover every type of brand, nearly all socio-economic groups, and almost every part of the world. Everything has sped up and amplified. By the time traditional marketing catches up to an idea, the leading edge of consumers has seen it somewhere already, moved on, and told everyone else about it.
Now more than ever before, brands need to be fast, smart and way ahead of the curve to speak directly and engagingly to each consumer segments. That's where Access comes in.
A big welcome also to our Brazilian readers. As of this week, TCH will have a weekly column in O Estado de S. Paulo, one of the most important newspapers in Brazil with a daily readership of 1 million.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the numerous print magazines/newspapers that have published feature stories on TCH and our numerous projects.
We're getting ready to launch the real estate portal of TCH next month - The Cool Hunter Living, an uber-luxe real estate listings portal which connects vendors to a discerning, hard-to-reach market of high-income architecture and design aficionados.
For the first time, The Cool Hunter Living gives vendors access to this hard-to-reach market. The site also offers vendors an unparalleled opportunity to “position” their properties amongst the best and most luxurious in the world, endorsed by the highly-credible voice of The Cool Hunter, which has become a global authority on design.
The Cool Hunter Living offers technology savvy agents and vendors a new way to market their properties in a “designer” online environment, unlike other ‘real estate’ sites which are pitched at a mainstream audience and offer low value aesthetics in terms of site design.
TCH Living showcases properties in an unparalleled design-led, online-editorial environment positioned amongst the world's great architecture and design. Properties will be hand picked by our editorial team. For pricing, more info - contact [email protected]
We'll also be adding rentals and commercial properties, so next time you find yourself in a new city setting up an office and home, you'll have to look no further than TCH Living - a gateway to inspiring design you live in.
The web's most read culture, architecture and design site will soon launch in early 09, The Cool Hunter Living, an uber-luxe real estate listings portal which connects vendors to a discerning, hard-to-reach market of high-income architecture and design aficionados.
Since its inception in 2004, thecoolhunter.net has amassed a global readership consisting of close to 1 million unique visitors a month who visit the site for the absolute latest in innovation and inspiration in all disciplines of design - from the most awe-inspiring architecture to the coolest new artists and products.
The site's subscriber list reads like a who's-who of the international design, media, fashion, architecture and publishing industries. For the first time, The Cool Hunter Living gives vendors access to this high end market. The site also offers vendors an unparalleled opportunity to "position" their properties amongst the best and most luxurious in the world.
Also, in 09, we'll launch The Cool Hunter Hotel booking service, an online store, global job lists, Cool Hunter TV, magazine, retail stores and some major offline events. We’re eager to see our efforts translated into major global markets such as India, China, Japan, Singapore, Italy, Brazil and more. STAY TUNED!
New site designed by TCH Design
The World's Coolest Hotel Rooms - the first in a series of the cool hunter-branded books has just been published by Harper Collins Publishers (US). Next in the line will be The World's Coolest Houses, The World's Most Creative Work Environments, The World's Most Innovate Retail Stores, The World's coolest kids spaces/playgrounds and a few other special book projects.