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NikeiD: Bullshit

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I’ve totally had it with this NikeiD crap. It’s been a simmering resentment since I’ve walked past their Elizabeth St store which is unsightly when closed and unwelcoming when it’s open. Then there was the anonymous tipster who tipped me off over and over (and over) again about the young geniuses who designed the store. Then Dana and I were politely but firmly turned away. Then the blogger contest started and I got more pissed off. Then Josh Rubin posted this morning about being “fortunate enough” to be invited inside their hallowed halls.

Josh’s site is great and I’ve discovered a lot of cool stuff there. It’s a site I visit every day, sometimes several times in one day. Sneaker culture is not so much my thing, but so far as I can tell, Josh is in the thick of it and is considered a reliable source of news in that arena. And so that makes him fortunate to see the store how? Isn’t it the other way around really? Nike is getting that word-of-mouth buzz that makes marketing wonks wet their pants. And they’re getting it for free.

Then there’s the whole blogger competition. Again, several bloggers who I enjoy reading are participating in the promotion and I mean no slight to them. But a promotion for Nike is what it is, not for the bloggers themselves. It’s painful for me to watch them shilling Nike’s sneakers, sometimes relentlessly, in return for what amounts to crumbs from Nike. 100 free pairs of sneakers? (Or is it 50? I’m sure someone is going to school me on this immediately.) That’s nothing to Nike – it’s like saying “OH MY GOD, I cannot even believe that this restaurant gave me these matches for FREE. How cool is that?!” (Granted if they’re matchbooks from Florent it’s something to get excited about.)

The NikeiD site certainly isn’t going out of its way to give the bloggers in kind promotion. I grudgingly went there yesterday to see what their end of the promotional bargain was, aside from tossing out a few pairs of sneakers. There’s a gallery of the designs, credited to each blogger who designed them, but there are no reciprocal links back to their sites. Getting free shit is fun, no doubt. (Remember how excited people were about the goodie bag from the Domino launch party?) But I’m just wondering why Nike is being vaunted for this competition and it’s stupid store which preys, rather transparently, on that Marx (Groucho, that is) adage: I’d never belong to a club that would have me. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like being “allowed” to give Nike money for a pair of shoes is a badge of hipster honor.

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