It's been awhile since I have done a true Cross Blog Conversation (CBC), but it was Rick Butts' blog post on Transparency: What if I told you the truth? and the public nature of the topic at hand, that lead me to respond to Rick right here - out in the open.
Besides, I have some confessions to make...
First, I'll confess to being annoyed with your earlier blog post titled The 12 Biggest Wh*res in Internet Marketing. It wasnt until later that I found out you sent that link via Direct Message to a good number of people on your Twitter account (if not all?) - so initially I assumed it was a direct message to me specifically. Let me just share with you how it transpired on my end (considering we all experienced this topic/discussion from a different frame of reference):
Our readers should know too, that you and I have talked before - both via Direct Message and even on the phone. Only a few times perhaps, but enough so that I felt comfortable confiding in you as a business peer. You were fast making your way into my inner circle (Target 25 as Mark LeBlanc puts it).
I spent the entire weekend reviewing the Traffic Secrets 2.0 transcripts. I got my hands on them late Friday evening, and knowing the launch was set for Tuesday at 11am my time... well, it was crunch time. Before I promoted TS2, I had to know who it was for, just how good it was (or not), and whether it was a good match for my readers.
By the end of the day Monday, I was exhausted. I finally ended my work day around 10pm and settled in for ice cream and a movie with my daughter. A much-needed mental break, and opportunity to wind down before another big day on Tuesday.
Not only was it "launch day" for Traffic Secrets, but I also host a live Webinar on Tuesday mornings - in addition to the other work that I do online. Just to say - as an Internet Marketer and Super Affiliate, I do put in my hours.
Anyway - I have Direct Messages from Twitter set up to text me on my cell phone (which few people know, and I probably shouldnt have said publicly LOL)... so I was not in the best frame of mind when I received your DM that said "I proudly present to you... (link)". That link being to your post about the 12 biggest wh*res. I was tired and ready to wind down, and I took one look at that and got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I fully expected to see my name listed among "the 12" since you messaged me directly. I had no idea the context of that post, but I didnt like the idea of my name on that list in ANY context, given the subject line.
I decided it was best not to let it sit overnight (just in case) - and so I paused the movie, made my apologies, went back to the computer in my home office, and typed in www.rickbutts.com/.....
I'm human. I'm not some automated bot that promotes every single product to hit the IM market. I'm a 35 year old woman, single mother to two kids, with a life and a career. I also very recently had personal conversation with you about where I stood in the IM industry... And so yes, I took your direct message seriously.
I also took it personally once I read it - and for a number of reasons. First, because you sent me the link directly, so I assumed you were directing the comments at me specifically. After all, your post was about affiliates who are promoting Traffic Secrets 2.0 - and I am.
Second, I was disappointed in your post. Which I should note, has gone through some edits since I read it originally - so it no longer states the tidbits that got under my skin so much. Those now-removed tidbits being about the TS2 course specifically.
I take it personally because I actually work hard at what I do. I actually reviewed the product when I wrote about it on my blog. Anyone who goes around spouting misinformation about the product, with such a loud crowd-drawing subject line as you did, just does all us hard-working bloggers a major disservice.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that you "pimped" your opinions much louder and with much less taste than I presented my own content on the topic (my review & recommendation).
Which do you think got more views: your sensationalized off-the-cuff rant, or my well thought out review - written only after investing an entire weekend studying the course for myself? And if any two people read both of our posts (your unedited original post, I should say), in any order, do you not realize it would only make mine look like a well-disguised promotion to carelessly "bleed the pockets" of my readers (as you put it)?
My regular readers know me better than that. And many of them told me that (after reading your post) they didnt at all lump me in that "group" - and that I shouldnt give it a second thought.
At this point, it doesnt matter if I took it "personal". And it doesnt matter if you included me in your unpublished list of marketers or not. The damage is done. Your blog post was the breeding ground for what became a near virtual riot.
And while yes, I do agree that there are major issues in our industry right now, I dont feel as if your tactless blog post was very helpful in turning things around. In fact, it was nothing more than pure link bait in my opinion.
If there's a problem in our industry, lets DO SOMETHING about it. Something productive. Something positive. Let's quit griping and stirring the pot - and start talking about solutions.
True self-starters, and regular ClickNewz readers, already know that is exactly what I have been attempting to do over the last 2 years.
Yes, I am an Internet Marketer, yes I have a mailing list - and yes, I am a "super affiliate" and I earn money promoting other people's products. I even win my share of affiliate prizes - including a 50" LCD TV from Stompernet.
I know that I am not one of the "wh*res" you were referring to in your blog post. I know that. And you know that. And the people who know me best know that as well. But by starting such a big stir without naming any names... you ended up making a blanket statement, and putting a bad taste for ANY marketer in a lot of mouths.
Let's take the fact that I won that shiny new TV as a stompernet affiliate. On the surface, that would ruffle some feathers (feathers of those who are still riled up from your virtual riot). Upon closer inspection, anyone could easily see that I did not promote Stompernet membership directly, and that I won the prize in a random affiliate drawing.
What people may also not realize is that I took out a weekend of my personal time, drove to Atlanta, and attended the last Stompernet event personally. I spent at least $1,000 out of pocket and then put even more time into it all... only to ultimately talk with my readers about it (with full disclosure of my intentions) and share thoughts on it that did not earn me a single penny in commission.
We're not all vultures.
When I pass on recurring Stompernet commissions ($!$!$!) at the best interest of my readers, and then come across a product I do highly recommend for them personally... I dont feel at all guilty saying so. I also dont appreciate someone walking on the scene with no personal experience with that product, and making a big point to devalue it.
I did the ground work. I studied and reviewed TS2, I published that review, I answered questions on the side. I even hosted a 90 minute FREE webinar to open the floor for Q&A and candid discussion on both the product and the promotion.
As I said, your post went through some edits. But the original version was not a very kind reflection on the Traffic Secrets 2.0 product - nor was it at all accurate. I just checked the cached version and here is a snippet that is now missing from your post:
This medium is not static - it changes constantly. I simply cannot imagine a "course" being worth more than a couple hundred bucks - (I have no ideas with Traffic Secrets 2.0 will cost), and further, I cannot imagine it being accurate still by Christmas 2007.
You didnt know the price (which is less than half the price of the original course). You didnt know that it came with lifetime updates and ongoing mastermind/support access. You didnt even know what all it truly covered...
Again, I know you didnt lump ME in your big rant. But do you not see the damage your post caused - or that by not naming names, you ultimately made a blanket statement?
. . .
After giving it much consideration... I decided not to send out a live link on Tuesday when Traffic Secrets 2.0 was officially released. I forfeited a good number of sales with that decision, no doubt.
Even worse, I neglected to tell my readers about the ONE product I truly believe can make a real difference in their quest to start and/or run a successful online business.
I'm not really sweating either of those issues at the moment. Since this is not a "limited time offer", I have plenty of time to make sure that they know it is available - and the value that it holds for them.
You and I are not that different, Rick. We both recognize there are problems in the industry, and that change is imminent. Like I said, I've been calling this one for awhile now. Starting about 2 years ago I began pointing out the obvious upcoming shift. And here we are.
But while you are ranting wildly and without facts, and waving your arms like a mad man... I am busily trying to teach legitimate internet marketing strategies, and discuss the bigger issues: personal responsibility, self-accountability, methods and resources for making the leap into true entrepreneurship.
I rank #1 on Google for "learn internet marketing". I know how to help people make money online. I invest a lot of my personal time trying to make a difference in this industry.
I know where I stand. And I know what I am going to do from this point forward.
Back to you -
I've heard your rants. I've heard what you dont like. Now I want to know what you think about potential solutions. You obviously have some pull, and you have a readership that is well-baited. So now what??
We can either duke it out in an all-out ascii match, or we can work together to help people find some positive resolution... and to finally start making some good money online.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Also See: Traffic Secrets 2.0 Update