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Bloggio, a new service to spam top tier bloggers

A new spam e-mail service has launched called Bloggio, promising to help connect "marketers" with "Top tier bloggers". Don't bother looking it up by going to the dot com -- these mofo's went all non-profit 'n shit, bypassing the .com for the .org -- so you know they're legit. Hey, the site, which redirects you to blogg.io once you click on the About page, says it was started by "3 guys" in New York who have 2 offices -- one in the city and another up state... which, IMHO, is a lot of overhead to be carrying around for a 3 person operation. But I digress...

For marketers, the objective of the service is to help those inept at participating in the blogosphere to gain coverage with "top tier bloggers" by simply using a web-based, Word-esque editor, picking your vertical, paying $300 and viola! -- you might get written about. On the plus side these guys aren't promising you'll get written about and have an ethics policy, unlike PayPerPost who was dragged kicking and screaming into the discussion. On the down side, well, you probably just wasted $300 and pissed off the "top tier" bloggers within a vertical.

Sounds great, right? I mean, how hard can getting a "top blogger" to write about your stuff be? Bloggio also provides tips to help you to get bloggers to write about your products! Gee willikers! I guess the only more useless link would be out to the PRSA web site so you can learn this brainless skill within minutes and call yourself a PR professional! [insert sarcasm here]

As with everything else in life, if it sounds too good to be true -- it is. We've seen the downside of paying bloggers to write on behalf of your products. And if it was as easy as spamming the "top tier" bloggers to get coverage than anyone could do this without the help of the service. I mean, theoretically, you could go through each "top" blog, add their email address to your Outlook and BCC them all and save yourself the $300. You'll also ensure a spot in these bloggers spam folder and still not get coverage. But at least you'd save $300.

Another reason this is a waste of money is that sites like Guy Kawasaki's alltop.com and Technorati make it pretty easy to find a "top" list... so there goes the inaccessibility of finding the top blogs within a category.

Yet another reason this is a waste for marketers is that the art and science of pitching a blogger involves not only reading their blog and figuring out who'll be receptive to a pitch, which is significantly different from selecting a series of check boxes on Bloggio, but also tailoring your pitch to fit with the content of their site. Never mind that whole "joining the community" thing that Jeremy talks about, or the whole "forming relationships" PR thing. Nope, this is straight up pay to play, except instead of playing you're now a spammer. Welcome to Chris Anderson's Spammer 2.0 list.

Finally, the biggest joke about the Bloggio model is that while it's great to know the top tier bloggers within a vertical, the reality is that search and the multilogue have enabled bloggers outside of the "top tier" an equal voice. Want to know how to engage bloggers within your vertical? Take the time to engage. Start a blog. Have a voice, an opinion and join the discussion.

I'd love to hear from bloggers what they feel the benefits of this service are/will be. My initial thought is: "What? I can get more crap thrown my way for potentially pennies on the dollar if I write about it? Where do I sign up?"

Update: As a test to sign up as a blogger I received an "object reference not set to an instance of an object" error message. Klass.


Comments

FauxClaud said…
Hi David,

First off, I do have to honestly thank you for taking the time to write about Blogg.io and put your feelings out there. Of course, my initial excitement over seeing an Email alert on the subject was quickly dampened when I read your reservations, but I welcome the opportunity to hopefully clear up some of those more negative assumptions.

To begin, I feel an introduction is necessary. So Hi! My name is Claudia D’Arcy and yes, I do work for Blogg.io, but before that, I am a Blogger myself since 2005 (Musings of the Lame). To me, this qualification is completely necessary as I do intimately understand the way the community works and yes, ethically, if I thought my position here was to spam my peers and do harm, then I wouldn’t be morally able to do so. Plus, the “three guys”, truthfully, are really into benefiting and supporting Bloggers as a whole. It’s not like they just see an easy way to make a few bucks. I couldn’t work for them then.

Anyway, since you did pose some very compelling observations, I would like to go through them point by point.

Now I know you picked this up that it’s not pay per post at all and Bloggers are under NO obligation to post about anything or to post whatever they choose, but since that’s really important, I have to state it again, though thank you.

You bring up that communication from Blogg.io is just more Spam, but I have to object to that. It’s more like Anti-Spam. For one, it is a service that Bloggers must choose to sign up for. They will be requesting it and, then, they will only be receiving relevant information from the fields they have chosen. For instance, right now I am working on a promo for a client who is dealing with a wine promotion, and while I have a list of wine blogs that should have interest in this communication that will be invited to have access to the announcement, anyone within our data base who has self determined that they have an interest in wine will also be given the same consideration.

Yes, the appeal to PR firms is pretty simple. I guess it might seem like an easy skill to learn, the whole “engaging bloggers thing” but, it’s kind of clear that the ideals of Blogging are more obtuse to someone outside the’ sphere. All anyone has to do is Google “bad pitches” and the horror stories come springing forth. The ideal is that while we know that many companies have begun to see Blogs as a legitimate way to get information out, many do not understand the network and relationships that are crucial to Blogging and fail miserably in their outreach programs. If Bloggers have the ability to control what information they receive based on what they have determined what their interest are, then they have the opportunity to have better content which will benefit the reader and the community on a whole.

For the marketer, building the relationships is also time consuming. Yes, theoretically, anyone can do this, but I think what we do see is that they don’t want to or they have no clue how to. Personally, I am kind of glad that they are clueless, as now I have this cool job where I get to blog, read blogs, read about blogs, and do blogging like things all day. They won’t be wasting their money as long as Blogg.io is not seen….well...the way you put it.

Now, with that, it’s becoming more obvious to me that some of the copy on the main site needs some reworking. For one, I am going to stamp my foot and make sure that they term “A list” is off before the end of the day today. It’s just yucky, I think, and seems to infer some “elite” mentality we have. No such thing. It is referring to blogs within their niches that are established, have a following, are self determined to have expertise in their fields, etc. While invitations go out to blogs that we have targeted as such in certain fields, the ability to join Blogg.io is open to anyone who does blog. It’s not at all like, say the Nikon outreach, where 50 Bloggers were selected based on some unknown criteria forming an “elite” group.

And, truthfully, I don’t really see some of the real “top Technorati” blogs as ever subscribing to the services for a) they don’t need the money and b) they have enough thrown at them already, and c) they don’t seem to search for content either. I do not see anyone making a significant amount of income off of reading a Blogg.io communiqué as our current pay scale is about $15.00 per review, but it is better than “pennies”. For a smaller Blogger, perhaps getting their server paid for the month will be a nice perk of blogging. The payment is essentially for the Bloggers’ time that they spent to review the communiqué which is hoped to be seen as recognition that a Blogger’s time is worth money. And again, ethically, one of our stipulations is also that Bloggers will be reviewed by Blogg.io to insure that they are transparent in their dealings and that they notify their readers that they have received information through Blogg.io as well. Ethics are huge for us. And again, as a Blogger myself, I like that.

We tried to not bypass the .com, but unfortunately it was previously unavailable and we just rectified that situation. The .com change should switched out by the end of next week. We have the “.io” domain as well, but there were issues with email filters in that. Right now the .org is the best we have until then. But that’s all there is to that, no other agenda.

Oh, and your error message has been brought to the attention of our lead programmer to his horror. Something is still hinky inside the box, but is being rectified. Did you get a welcome email from the system? I am finding that the copy on the site is not clear enough and the impression left is….like yours. That just will not fly. So if you, and anyone else, want to throw some ideas for improvement out there either here if you don’t mind... (Well I guess you don’t since you invited it, but I did just bogart your comments)... that would be most excellent. Or if anyone wants to speak to myself directly, I shall leave my email as well.

And again, sincerely, thank you for putting this out there. If you thought it was worth it, feel free to give us a call. I know that the founders, Don or Ric, would be happy to speak to you.

Claudia D’Arcy
Bloggio Blog Account Tech
cdarcy@bloggio.org

ps: And I FEAR Chris Anderson’s list!
Don M. said…
I skimmed the post and the comment...initial thoughts is that it seems that the service takes the "personal" out of trying to pitch bloggers. It is more critical than ever to know the person your pitching. Yea, maybe this service will tell you which blogs are applicable for photography for example, but at the end of the day, will it help you build a stronger relationship with the blogger?

No.

On the surface, this seems like a mediamap of sorts for marketers and PR folks like myself.

Call me old school, but I like doing my own research. Yea, maybe you can save me some time, but in the long run, are you really?

Seems like waste of $$ to me.
David Binkowski said…
Claudia,
Thanks for the lengthy, detailed comment. I appreciate that you took the time to clear up the spam remark since the program is opt-in and that it doesn't just involve the "top" bloggers within a category; as you pointed out the copy on the site does state that it reaches top blogs within a segment.

I think your response proves my point about blogger relations, though -- you carefully took the time to research how your company was being talked about, read my blog, spend the better part of the day crafting a detailed response and answered the bell, if you will. It's that kind of thoughtfulness, attention to detail and level of attention that is required to do this well.

Pushing content out isn't a one way street -- it's a relationship that, by reading each blog individually and tweaking your pitch/angle will yield results. One blanket email blast doesn't achieve that, and if bloggers really wanted to get linked in with specific companies they could either sign up for their email blasts directly or contact the PR department with an inquiry.

BTW, as a test, I signed up for the service and didn't get a response within roughly 24 hours. If a customer does have an issue like this, how does Bloggio account for it? Or does it just push content?

Dave
David Binkowski said…
@Don M exactly
FauxClaud said…
I agree that it’s definitely not a one way street and again, I agree, it isn’t rocket science either. A PR company might prefer to do the work themselves and build the relationships, which is great. Or a Blogger might decide to make their own contacts like your illustrated, but will they all? And will they do it well enough to get the results they desire?

Yes, to do this well, then Bloggio does have to be thoughtful, research, pay attention to detail, etc ...all the good things that we do expect from the Blogging community. And as stated, I feel I am one lucky woman, because I get to do this.

While I am hoping that your difficulty with the sign up process was a fluke, the fact is that the programming is still ongoing with the internals of the “box” as we keep on improving things to fit our needs. Indeed, that means we are still bug testing and your experiment thankfully alert us to that bug. Immediately after reading your post, I tested the sign up procedure again, and I didn’t get the same error message you reported, but instead the system “thank you”. So as far as accounting for this kind of issue, we fully intend to resolve such confusion so that the process is clear and accurate.

And I know none of here, with the vision, thinks of it as “pushing” content. It’s giving the opportunity for content for those that wish it. In these early days, it might be saying “Hey...do you know about this and are you interested?” but I am sure not going to be stalking Bloggers and trying to drop Bloggio Widgets on their blogs in the dark of night!
David Binkowski said…
Hi Claudia,
I hate to break it to the folks running Bloggio but it's not just PR agencies engaging with bloggers on a daily basis. In fact, most brands want to "own the relationships" -- meaning they already know who's talking about them and who they want to talk to because they've been monitoring and "list building" internally for at least a few years now.

And if there's one thing bloggers are probably not going to do is ask to be pitched more content. Most bloggers, even low level niche folks like me who blog once a week, get pitched weekly if not daily.

The bottom line is that the tool isn't relevant at this point - people can use other free services/tools and better methods to create relationships and ultimately get their content out to bloggers. Even small business owners, who I'm assuming are a target because of the price point of Bloggio, can take a few minutes a day to email, engage on blogs or even start their own blog.

It's also a little late to declare that Bloggio is not for PR firms as someone from your company did pitch an EVP at my PR agency to use the service. I am your target audience, and I'm saying I would never consider using it and don't think any of my clients would be interested either.

Ultimately, what I'm saying is that Bloggio doesn't bring anything new to the table and will fail unless it evolves into a useful tool.

Dave
Don M. said…
An upper cut to the chin. Dave's got Bloggio on the ropes. A jab. Here comes the hay-maker. BLAM!

Bloggio's going down. The ref starts the count...one, two, three, four, five, six, seven...
David Binkowski said…
In keeping with my theme of having the same number of Diggs as I do comments (not really), here's a great post on Step #1 (Find the right people) for anyone looking for ways to find the right bloggers from ReadWriteWeb, via the WOMMA blog
Aviatrix said…
I found this old post of yours after receiving a pitch for a pitching service that promised if I registered with them I would receive more appropriate pitches suited to my blog. According to the pitch pitcher mine was a Technorati Top Tier blog. "Huh?" I said, "Since when am I top tier in the blogosphere?

So there's a good chance your $300 doesn't even get the top blogs, just 300 random blogs. Which might be better in the end, because some nobody is more likely to be flattered by the attention and make a post out of it.
Robert Hughey said…
I for one rather hope Bloggio evolves and innovates.

So what are the options? What do you think Bloggio could do with their resources, client base and contacts?

Personally, I think there's a lot of good regarding an educational service for people attempting to break into an already saturated business. Internet Marketing, Online Commerce or Social Media Marketing: all are different facets of an industry that quickly jumps to eat their young.

Do you know what I mean by that?

I'm talking about the massive amount of services that target the Newest of the New to our professional world - those wide-eyed innocents so excited to start a website and make a few million dollars. These are the ones that respond to Headlines like "So you want to make money online?"

(Shakes head) I freely admit that was me on a couple of occasions over the past decade.

Bloggio's pricetag implies to me that it may be more predatory than kind-hearted shepherd, but I honestly haven't spent much time researching it or giving it much thought before coming across this article courtesy of a typo in a Google Search. $300 is a whole lot of money to the average person in this economy. I hope it's worth it. And an attitude of "well, no one's forcing them to grab my granite-lined lifevest" doesn't quite cut it when the Noobs are almost literally scrambling to stay afloat any way possible. Ya feel me?

I'm glad I made that typo today. My name is Robert Hughey, and I'm... well, I'm one of those that stuck around. I haven't made my fortune online, but I haven't given up either. Over the last couple of years, I've continued to learn (and will continue to do so), and I find that such action is the only course for my own personal success. Maybe others can join a site like Bloggio and find gold falling out of the sky to land in their pockets.

I personally need to understand exactly where that gold was made before I can consider getting under the sparkly shower. So I continue to develop sites, making big mistakes along the way that teach me equally big lessons. Good things are over the horizon though. I am just working my way to it - leisurely. Apparently.
:)

Well met, David Binkowski and friends. I look forward to further reading of your exceptional work.

Now, back to my Hunt. I'm looking for this WordPress clone site that's in Beta right now. It had a name similar to Bloggio actually. Hmm... OH! Bloggier! That company is Bloggier, which is a word that does not roll off the tongue smoothly. Blog-gi-er. Hmm. I'll leave y'all with that one.

Kind regards,

Robert Hughey

Feel Welcome to Circle Me on Google+.

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