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Call Waiting, Ted Murphy, the FTC and Forbes

The other day I was giving my friend Andrew Bennett, aka BenSpark, guff. He had been featured in a post at the New York Times, “Approval by a Blogger May Please a Sponsor”, and didn’t tell me. Seriously? So, I just had to rib him. As the lashing took place via Twitter, he pointed out the fact that he didn’t have my digits…

Well, he asked… So I gave it to him. But alas he didn’t call :(

Like a school girl waiting for the potential prom date to call, I’m still not over it Mark Sampson, I waited and waited…. Holding the phone in my hand, afraid I might miss the call. A telemarketer selling, oddly enough, “Home delivery of the New York Times…” called and a slew of other boring “people”. But no BenSpark. Luckily other tweeps joined in, putting pressure on him… Thanks @ShellyKramer and @cresoft ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I had given out all hope and resigned myself to never hearing his sexy voice… the phone rang…

“Hello?”
“Evan?… This is Drew.”
“Who?” That’s me trying to play it cool.
“Drew… you know… BenSpark.”
“Oh… right.” Hehehe…

We bantered for a bit… struggling, like blind dwarfs at a Nordic buffet, to find a common ground. When we started talking about my favorite topic. Me! We chatted about some of the, shh, secret projects I’ve been working on and why I haven’t posted in FOREVER. Don’t worry… You will find out more about that soon. Promise ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then we got back to the article in the NY Times. It was a great article that you need to read, after you finish reading and commenting on this post, hehe. The article deals with how bloggers make money from advertisers and “sponsors”. Mostly, how some of us get things free from companies that want us to share our experience with the product/service with you, our devoted readers. This is coming up in the news a lot lately due to the FTC’s push to clamp down and regulate these types of advertising. Btw, most of us who fall into those type of deals, think that some regulation is a good thing. I for one want you to know when I’ve been paid to review. Because, I will ALWAYS tell you what I really think about the product. Even if it blows chunks! I wont steer you wrong… well maybe for a $100k ๐Ÿ˜‰

Any ways, this led to another article that had featured Bennett. Yes, another one! I guess traditional media folks have figured out that this guy is the cat’s meow. But I’ve known for some time… Hugs. But I digress… He told me about the second article written by Laurie Burkitt, at Forbes “Blogola” (witty name). I was like holy snake poop Batman… “You were in a Forbes article”… envy you! Then he peed all over my corn flakes…

The article at Forbes was a trash piece attacking the รผber blogging hero and IZEA Inc CEO Ted Murphy. Why anyone would want to attack Murphy was beyond me. Bennett told me how he was misquoted and that they even got the url to his site wrong. I was astonished, to say the least. I gave Bennett my word that I would dust off my blog and write this post. Ted Murphy needs bloggers to speak the truth on this, he has earned that!

We wrapped up our conversation and applaud each other’s work… then said goodnight. (I miss your sweet voice already… please call back). Then I got to work.

I didn’t just want to write a retaliation piece. Setting out to do more than just attack Forbes back. Instead of my normal recounting of the facts and figures… I’m just gonna tell ya like it is!

First of all Ted Murphy is NOT a scam artist. He started his network to help bloggers make money without suffering the Google Smack down. See, Google drops the PR and indexing of blogs that write “Sponsored Reviews”. Why? No fraking idea. Some suspect that it’s because Google wants to control ALL advertising streams. Others think it’s because “Sponsored Reviews” hurt your reputation, thus Google thinks you’re a sell out, HA! Either way, it really sucks.

So, Murphy developed a system that ranks blogs based on readership and authority, which is how it should be done. Then he developed an ad system that works with that ranking. Offering different types of ads including reviews.

Murphy was also meeting with the FTC the very day that the Forbes article was posted. Forbes made it seem like the FTC was watching him… ready to ponce on him! Why? It makes no sense at all. Because Murphy has long championed the idea of regulation and practical Disclosure Policies. These tools would only help the reputations of honest bloggers and swiftly deal with the dodgy bloggers.

The Forbes writers seem to think that because bloggers are getting paid to review things, this makes them liars. Since Murphy is helping us get the reviews… That makes him the king of liars? But most of us tell our readers in a Disclosure Policy which reviews were paid for and how they were paid for. Meaning, I will tell you that the company sent me the product for free or they paid me cash to review them. Either way I will tell you. I may not tell you how much they paid me, hehe. But I will always tell you if and when. I will also always give a 100% honest review.

That’s what Forbes fails to see. They think that we, bloggers, are being bought off. That we can’t give an honest review once we’ve been paid. Well, what about them? Are they unable to write a factual article on a company if that company is also one of their advertisers?

Their logic just doesn’t make since to me. Why would I want to fudge a review? If I was to give a glowing review for a crappy cheap product that breaks… Would you trust my opinion next time? It would only hurt my reputation. So, you can buy a review from me… but you can’t buy my integrity or my reputation!

Btw, I am really starting to think that the folks at Forbes just down right hate bloggers… Read the article “Attack of the Blogs”.

Be sure to go and tell them ALL what you think.

The original articles:
Andrew Bennett
NY Times
Forbes

Tweeps to follow:
@BenSpark
@tedmurphy
@IZEAinc
@ShellyKramer
@cresoft
@BadEvan (if you aren’t following me already)

About Bad Evan

I am the one and only...Bad Evan.

8 comments

  1. Evan, you are the sweetest. I love the style in which you write. I love all the personal asides all throughout. They made me laugh, and blush too.Too funny. Also you really nailed the issues with the Forbes article inaccuracies. I’ll shoot Ted a note let him know that you wrote this nice piece. It was great talking with you. Looking forward to you hush hush projects.

  2. Great article BadEvan! Drew and Ted are two of my heroes. I have staffed and freelanced for quite a variety of magazines and newspapers through the years. One thing I learned is that most newspaper publishers will cut a negative article about or involving a major advertiser in a heart beat. The editor may not feel that way, but the publisher looks out for the bottom dollar. That’s why I appreciate having a blog and being able to read many other bloggers. There can be truth in sponsored articles. I enjoy being able to write whatever I fancy when I fancy. I write sponsored articles with SocialSpark and PayPerPost, both part of Murphy’s IZEA Inc and am greatfull to individuals like Drew AKA BenSpark and HeatherinBC for turning me on to another way to support my blog. Besides, Murphy is a hoot to know. How could anyone talk badly about him? Maybe it’s because they are not a friend.

  3. Great article! And I think you’re right about traditional magazine and newspaper writers hating us bloggers. It’s because we are taking over, and without as much education in writing we are doing a much better job.

    Ted Murphy is doing a great thing for all bloggers, and while there may be attacks right now, I think in the end they will even throw in the towel and join the revolution.

  4. Dahlink! I knew that, given enough pressure, Drew would cave and finally call you. After all, how could he resist, that @BenSpark. In all seriousness, you’ve written a terrific article and said things that should be said.

    No blogger in their right mind would champion a piece of crap product or service, so for people to think otherwise, whether a blogger is compensated or not, is simply ridiculous. Sometimes it seems that people are quick to be negative without really thinking things through. Your analogy about traditional print mediums writing reviews about their advertisers makes perfect sense.

    Terrific job and I’m glad I could be a part of your story, even in the smallest of ways. Kind of makes me feel special. And we all like to feel special, now don’t we? Oh, and if you thought Drew’s voice was sexy, wait’ll you talk with ME :)

    Will I see you at Izeafest?? Hope so.

    @ShellyKramer

  5. Evan,
    Thank you so much for this post. It’s people like you that inspire me to put up with all the trash talk and push forward. We have big things ahead… this is just the beginning : )

  6. Damn Evan. Tell it!

    Most bloggers take their craft very seriously and would not promote a crap product for a couple of dollars.

    Forbes is just participating in the wave of blog hate that is sweeping traditional media. It’s not bloggers’ fault that they didn’t evolve with the times.

    I find it funny that traditional media would question a bloggers’ integrity over endorsements when it’s the traditional media outlets that have been making money hand over fist in advertising…it is they who actually had to be instructed by the powers that be that they must disclose their ties to companies they endorse.

    Sounds like a bunch of sour rancid grapes to me.

  7. Thanks for sharing this info. Very good reads.

  8. Oh, great post BadEvan!, I also agree with your point and there are lots of trash that people do speak when it comes to blogging, specially traditional newspaper and magazines. But i genuinely like your way of thinking and appreciate your positive mindset towards bloggers.
    .-= Enthusiast blogger

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