Monday, March 15, 2010

It must be that time of the month: I have strong opinions

Yowsers. Have you read this article and all the irate responses to it? If you didn’t, don’t worry. I’ll tell you everything you need to know.

A mommy blogger/New York Times reporter named Veronica Noone went to a blogging conference, Bloggy Boot Camp, organized by Tiffany Romero and Heather Blair, the founders of the Secret Is in the Sauce. Some have found her ensuing article to be offensive. While I agree with some of what’s being said, I also think there's some truth to the article. But I'll get to that in a minute.

Noone starts her article with this: “The topics on that day’s agenda included search-engine optimization, building a ‘comment tribe’ and how to create an effective media kit. There would be much talk of defining your 'brand' and driving up page views. You know. For your blog.”

Clearly, she’s nailed patronizing. She makes blogs sound like poodles in designer handbags; ergo their creators—mommy bloggers—seem vapid and silly. I get that. What follows is a not-so-nice description of bloggers clickety-clacking away at the conference while drinking mimosas from “brightly colored plastic sippy cups.”

And she continues with: “Heed the speaker’s advice, and you, too, might get 28,549 views of your tutu-making tutorial!”

Mmm. Because the depth of a blogger’s content is in direct proportion to her sewing skills. And I like how Noone makes it seem like Romero and Blair are making money off podunk women whose only talent is as Susie Homemaker.

Golly, Billy Bob! Maybe we can finally fix dat dang tractor with my blog 'ernuns.

She’s pretty bitchy. I’ll give her that.

But can we be honest? Despite the fact that Romero rebutted on her own blog with “I run a conference whose entire goal is to make women feel included, empowered and connected” can’t we clean off our lenses a bit and admit the obvious? Romero and Blair organized a conference to help women make money from their blogs; a conference from which Romero and Blair made money themselves.

Feeling “included, empowered and connected” is nice, but if that was the sole purpose of the conference, it could have taken place in any living room for free. I’m not begrudging the organizers for their conference (they seem like genuine, motivated woman and I enjoy the SITS site immensely), but there’s money in blogging and everyone has his or her angle.

Take the marketers. Mommy bloggers wield a lot of power, and marketers want a piece of the action. I’ve only been blogging for two years but holy shit, times have changed. You have to weed through the clearance racks to find genuine content. And the product placement is getting harder to detect. It's creeping into content.

My favorite part of the article is the quote from Pamela Parker, a senior manager with Federated Media. She’s quoted as saying, “The blogosphere is where authentic conversation is happening...Marketers are recognizing that they want to be there, associated with that authentic conversation.”

Bwahahahaahahahahahha. That’s the funniest fucking thing I’ve ever read. Marketers want to be associated with authentic conversation? Side splitting. Marketers don’t give a shit about anyone. They want to be associated with your 1,000+ twitter followers, 300+ Blogger fans and 400+ Facebook fans. You’re an insta-network. They want access to your posse. When they get it, they’re golden.

I’ll say this once: The best advertisement is one that people don’t know is an advertisement. If your blog is strong enough to have become a brand that people trust, marketers will want to screw your blog brains out. You’re their Trojan horse.

Now, I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t acknowledge that there are perks to landing a sponsor or ad money from your blog. I myself have made about $500 over the last two years from various sources—and won some great goat soap. Obviously, others have had greater success. Some moms have landed book deals or brought in enough money that they could quit their day jobs.

I say, more power to them. I envy them. I hate working full-time. I’d love to stay home and write. But I want to write the real stuff, not the product-laden stuff. Writing marketing copy is the worst pity fuck there is: You’re not in it for love, and you have to keep doing it over and over.

I hope I haven’t offended anyone. That wasn’t my intent. I just wish we could own up to the fact that some bloggers are blogging to make money, while posing as a pauper—or worse, a friend. We should throw our cards on the table.

As for Noone, way to demoralize your gender. Just when I think women have infiltrated the parlor room and poured themselves a celebratory glass of brandy alongside the good ole boys, bitches like you come and smash all the glasses.

I mean brightly colored plastic sippy cups. Oops. Giggle, crosshatch, giggle.


Sara said...

Why do I keep saying her name as No One. Anyway, great blog and yes, love the opinions. I like the idea of living room conferences. With technology video conferences are not too hard to hook up either.

Ann's Rants said...

I like your recap--and that you did one.

I get flummoxed seeing all the angles, and then say fuck it I'll just listen.

I do know that I am proud as hell of what I've built, and won't let anyone oversimplify my blog experience.


Keely said...

Interesting. She goes out of her way to demean 'mommy bloggers' and then admits she has her own 'mom blog' where she blogs about American Idol and Alpha-Bits. Deep.

Despite the fact that lots of people over-share on their blogs, sharing what you are making or who's sponsoring you seems to be verboten. It's like the last social barrier that new media hasn't breached.

Pricilla said...

I stay true to myself and my herd. The publicist has become a book whore. She loves to read and has found a way to score free books. She is not in the least bit ashamed of it. Books are not cheap. Her blog does reviews and giveaways.

I only blog about my rich soap. I am glad you are happy with it.

I am trying to load the article but it's not loading at the moment. I am sure it won't be as interesting as your wrap up

Mee2 said...

I'd love a marketer to screw my blog brains out. But then would I be a sell out?

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...


I knew I could trust you to be honest!! Thanks!

FoN said...

I just read your blog because it's funny. And, hey - $500 is about $496.50 more than I've made on my blog, so good on ya.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

I had to giggle at Sara's comment - I kept reading it as No One, too. At first I thought you made a misspell on the word 'No one' on your third paragraph. Then I realized that was the NY Times persons name. ;)

I couldn't agree with you more. I'd love to make money from my blog, but I also don't want to end up one of those blogs that doesn't have real content. Especially since I want to embarrass the Princess Nagger one day with her childhood antics. ;)

And reading blogs by people such as yourself? Not only entertains the shit out of me, but makes me feel so not alone. :)

Jen said...

You go girl! (I know, that's lame and so 90s but it's fucking early). I haven't read the article but I will now. I've tried all kinds of different things. I have written paid posts (which suck) and I have done reviews (which also suck) I have written about products I like but so far have not been compensated. I write about them because I like them and think others might too, and because usually something funny happened while using the product. I have built up trust but so far marketers have not discovered me, and I haven't gone out looking for them.

The Mother said...

Hey, I know how to make tutus--does that mean I can get 2,000 hits?

Nah. NO amount of web traffic is worth working with all that tulle. Little bits of it get in your hair, and in your clothes...

Lindy said...

I write what I want - if you like it, read it.

I read what I like - if I like, I'll be back.

That's the start and end of it for me.

Buggys said...

Damn. Had I known about that conference I would have gone. One day at $89. Yep, I would have. I need to make money. I do paid posts and will continue to do so as they pay cash.I'm not a mommy blogger though, they might have kicked me out.
Noone was pretty snide toward the mommies....I guess she considers herself a pro writer with a side of mommy blog.

Jenera said...

Ya know, I once tried to make money off my blog and it sucked. I hated peddling things I wouldn't use of my own accord and I hated how it was all about products. I do reviews now but I don't get paid.

I have quit going to many blogs-not just mommy ones-because of how they have been saturated with selling, advertising, and product placements.

Jenn Brockman said...

Well, I haven't read the article and I'll take everyone's word for it that she was snide.

I do think there is something to the point that the SIsts girls ARE in it for money. I've tried to participate with them before and have gotten crap for hits from commenting with their group.

I've gotten more comments from being a part of a new tribe - in less than a month, than from months of trying with them. So much for supporting other mom bloggers, huh?

Jenni said...

You've made $500 off your blog over the past two years and haven't quite your day job yet? You're insane.

And what the fuck is a comment tribe? Do they get cool headdresses and facial tattoos? Because I'm in for the headdresses, but I don't wanna mess up my face. It's the money maker.

Katherine said...

Love the post. Didn't even go to the original article! YOURS was much better - I know just from reading YOURS!

My latest "witch with a b" is how women like me and many others I know work HARD just to try to make money for their kids... for food, mortgage, clothes. I work SO HARD - writing takes time. I don't just blog, I have websites too - and then these corporate giants come in with their money, buy billions of links and rank way past me. And all the other women who work hard like us... we can't fight the big guys... but we fight.

Dto3 said...

Here's my 42 bucks worth (that's the new 2 cents, you see). . . Money makes the world go 'round. Blogs make money. Therefore, blogs are good for the Earth's rotation. Sounds like all the complainers either aren't making money off their blog, or still think the Earth is flat. Screw 'em.

Frogs in my formula said...

Amen for the man who comes and sums it all for us. Hah!

MaryBT said...

Obviously, I write my blog for fame and fortune.

I expect to ride my flaming cabbage to Buffet-esque riches.


Love your post today. :)

Mama Badger said...

Yup, that about sums it up.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

What's wrong with a couple of mimosas?

And I'd love to learn how to make a tutu!!!!! Where do I go to learn??

Kelly said...

i think i cuss too much on my blog for anyone to want me to market for them. but i like to cuss so fuck 'em!

and her. bitch!

Mrsbear said...

What conference can't be made better with alcoholic beverages and sippy cups?

Does anyone even read those paid reviews?

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

I was hoping to attend the bloggy boot camp in Austin but now I'm rethinking it. Because? I don't give a rat's ass about making money. Sure it would be nice, but I'm already halfway to batshit crazy. Adding another responsibility - like reading more blogs, commenting on them all, and writing reviews for products I wouldn't normally use - would put me totally over the batshit crazy edge.

I just wanna go meet other blogger women. Like, in person. So I can hi-five them and other inappropriately awkward gestures, intending to show friendship but only communicating my weirdness quotient.

So, like I said, rethinking the whole Austin Bloggy Boot Camp thing.

But, slammin post. Good job!

kyooty said...

There is money? where do I find me this money?

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Dang! I love this. You had the figurative balls to say what I've wanted to say for a long time but didn't want to "offend" Ugh! I know...why do I care if I offend? I'm even moving away from some of the 'memes" I used to do because some of those sites are now almost like pure marketing sites. The one person seems to write stories about her children only if they include a product placement of some new product she is being paid to review. Argh!

xoxo xoxo

Love this post! Now, where is my sippy cup? I think I might put some whiskey in it this morning.

Grand Pooba said...

Eeeek! Grandma's are scary in the first place, but add that evil stare and they're down right freaky!

Man! There are a lot of holes in my neighborhood

Our young neighbors Bob and Claire are wonderful —which is a fricken relief because we basically share a yard. A flat, treeless yard. When ...