The Berrics has launch a shop directory called Berrics Unified. Although Berra’s video makes it sound like he is helping the little shops and single-handedly saving skateboarding, it’s really a sugar coated advertising campaign. Shops have to PAY to be listed on Berrics Unified. I don’t think that charging for the listing is bad, but I feel Berra’s video pitching the new directory is very misleading.
From user dirtjers on the slap forums:
***this is a message I received from Steve at Exit in Philly***
The “Berrics Unified” is a new Advertising program launched by Steve Berra and The Berrics.
If you watched the video, and some how were lead to believe this program was a way to “Keep shops from closing their doors” or to “Show you who the IMPORTANT skateshops are”. That’s because this is in fact what Steve Berra told you. He did not inform that this is a program established to MAKE MONEY, that these are shops who have to PAY to be considered important. Unfortunately for many core (and now considered unimportant) shops a new $5280 annual advertising budget is completely unattainable, because most shops are “outspent, and out advertised by large corporations”.
Berra speaks of consumer morals and “The principals skateboarding was founded upon” instead of being clear with his audience, and letting you know the truth “he is here to take your money”. The only solid truth to be found in this video can be found on your own. We are well aware small skateboarding businesses are closing left and right. The strong few who remain struggle to survive. The important shops are not paying for ad space on this website… If you want to find the important shops in your community you need to get out there and find them yourself. This should not be hard. You can find them building PUBLIC parks and spots, throwing demo and events, and teaching kids the true “principals skateboarding was founded upon”.
A scan of the information and rates sent to shops who filled out an inquiry can be found here http://tweetphoto.com/wjtzapjj. Don’t believe everything fed to by an actor reading from a teleprompter.
As I have been writing this post, it seems that Berra has deleted most of his responses to Exitskateshop. Below is a screenshot of Berra’s side, as well as the text, and links to the now deleted tweets.
From @ExitPhiladelphia (these were back and forth with the posts above):
@exitskateshop: so if @steve_berra asked me to “help” him move a flatbar to film a part on should I have him sign a “contract”? for $5,280?
@exitskateshop: yea @steve_berra I do make money at my shop. Customers see something with a PRICE TAG and buy it. We call it “business” not “Helping Out”
I like to support both Exit as well as Nocturnal, so please don’t get me wrong in thinking I’m trying to help fuel a local shop war in Philadelphia. I have friends at both shops. Nocturnal is featured on the site as well as in the video. What I would like to see is more transparency in The Berrics Unified program and Steve Berra. The video is very misleading. Be more upfront with the audience that the shops listed have PAID to be on that list.
I feel that all shops should at least be allowed to get listed for free, and have the shops that paid get banner ads and shop profiles and all that other jazz. I hope that this is the case, as the link to the Membership Plan Selection (screenshot at the beginning of this post) is no longer on the main Berrics Unified site however the page still exists. At least I am pretty sure the member plan page was linked from the main unified page. Please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong.
I really do like the Berrics, and would love to get to skate that place one day, but I’ve probably ruined any chance of that happening with this post, alone. Hopefully that isn’t the case. Unfortunately I can’t sit back and watch this unfold without reporting on it in hopes of opening peoples eyes a little bit to the politics that exists in skateboarding.
Once again, I’m not against people making money, I’m against misleading your audience.
[Update: I added in @exitskateshop’s posts from twitter as well, since I know some people are lazy and won’t go look them up. I’m not going to mix them in the order with @steve_berra’s comments, but you can see how this went back and forth.]
[Update 2: I received an email from Berra inviting me to call him and talk so I can discuss what the Berrics Unified really is. He did not leave me a number to call him at and I am awaiting a reply. He also deleted the last tweet remaining from this whole mess after an apparent Phone call/screaming match between Berra and Miller @Exit.]