If you are a blogger or website owner, you may want to read this.
This URL was initially a post sponsored by daily deal site, nomorerack, who hired a company called Blogsvertise to find bloggers to write about their site. The day after I posted my post, I started getting pingbacks from really random sites. I also received emails from other bloggers I know, who are members of Blogsvertise. They alerted me that Blogsvertise was paying other bloggers to link into my post, and wasn’t that weird?
I am a member of Blogsvertise, a site that has been recently heavily marketed to bloggers as a supposedly legitimate way to make a little extra money (this site take quite a bit of $ to maintain) while writing about topics that suit your readers. Though I hadn’t done any work for them, I was made a VIP member of Blogsvertise and was supposed to be presented with more desirable opportunities. I didn’t log in or pay much attention to the assigned tasks until one of their reps kindly asked me to do so. She needed to assign the tasks to other bloggers if I wasn’t going to take them. I saw an opportunity for a daily deal site called nomorerack that has a large number of Facebook followers (265,000) and apparently some very good deals. It was also payment in line with what I normally accept (I am inundated with sponsored post requests and take very few). What caught my eye was the media mentions Martha Stewart, The View, and other popular shows had given this particular site. If Martha likes it, then why wouldn’t I? But, here’s what I learned from this experience.
You May Be Writing About Something Questionable And Not Know It
I saw a deal on a particular brand of handbag I own, as do many people I know. I thought you’d all like to know about that. I thought the suggested MSRP of the handbag seemed way too low and I didn’t recognize the design. I know the catalog, but thought perhaps I missed this one. And, wow what a great deal if you were able to snag this deal, a Kindle for $15 or any of the other deals.
Turns out, that the handbag company is investigating this bag’s authenticity.
You Are Not In Control
I was not told when I accepted the nomorerack campaign that Blogsvertise would immediately send out a follow up nomorerack campaign asking other bloggers to link into my post. I am all for incoming links, but some of them (definitely, not all) were low quality sites with poor grammar and poor English. One site was foreign. Blogsvertise said this was a US campaign and whoops, letting the foreign site in was an accident. This shows what little control they actually have.
The sales manager was astonished that I was upset about their failure to notify me that I was going to be in the middle of an SEO scheme. And, as it was confirmed by people I know who were assigned this task, it actually looked like I paid Blogsvertise to run this campaign on my behalf for some reason. Can you imagine?
You Are Not A Concern
After my emails marked URGENT went unresponded to for a day, I received a phone call from a sales manager at Blogsvertise. She explained that they get thousands of emails a day and are understaffed. That’s why it took so long for them to get back to me. I asked her (twice) to provide me with a list of all the bloggers who received the campaign asking them to link into my post and I asked for a list of those who accepted. I know a lot of people in this space and want the opportunity to explain what happened and also monitor the incoming links.
She has not responded and I don’t think that she will. I have seen a few sites break their links to me, which is what she promised. Will Blogsvertise check to make sure this has all been done? I doubt it.
You Are Being Used For An SEO Campaign, Not Word Of Mouth
The home page of Blogsvertise says this:
“Our Advertisers want YOU to mention and talk about their websites products and services in your blogs and journals. They want the publicity, the exposure, the Buzz! that online bloggers and internet journals can generate for their web site products and services. In exchange blogsvertise pays YOU in paypal per task/blog ads placed to their website in your blog!”
Deceiving, isn’t it? My experience had nothing to with this. I was in the middle of a very deliberate SEO campaign.
In a way, I’m grateful I got to experience this. Going forward, I am only working with a handful of brands and local companies that I know and trust. I also think that companies need to make sure that their marketing practices are in line with the results they’d like to achieve. I will never shop at nomorerack. I emailed their customer service telling them what happened.