14 December 2010

How Not To Blog

Earlier today, after sharing Sturgeon General's post regarding NCAA realignment on the SB Nation blog Every Day Should Be Saturday, I received a very childish warning from the faceless HTML server that runs the site. A screen shot depicting this warning is posted below.


Now, as a fellow blogger, I understand the problem of letting other people spam your site with links. That is where my capacity to relate to this attitude ends, however.
Since joining EDSBS, you have posted zero comments and one post...
Just to be clear, "since joining EDSBS" describes a period of time that spans a total of eleven hours. It's possible that the editors of this particular blog are unfamiliar with the concept of sample bias. I'm not sure what the average rate of posting or commenting per hour is, but I'm pretty certain that the period of time under consideration is far too small to make any judgments on behavior.
...shilling for your blog. Nice try...
This is language that I find most infuriating. I was not "shilling for my blog." I was, however, sharing a post about college football that I reasonably believed would be of interest to those who read other blogs about college football. Along with "Nice try," this message insinuates that I was trying to rip somebody off. Follow it up with "Stop it" and you can understand why I find this a bit childish.
...but that's not how we do things.
Well, fair enough. If these are the rules of the blog, I'm sure they're posted on their front page, right? Actually, no. So they must be posted on their Fan Shots page, where I shared the article, right? Again, no. So I'm sure there's some terms of service dialog box in which the rules are posted and I must check "I Agree," right? Again, no. Had there been some notice about their guidelines, I most certainly would have followed them. However, in my experience, it's much harder to get people to conform to rules if you don't post them.
In order to continue participating on Every Day Should Be Saturday you must acknowledge your warning by pressing the OK button below.
This isn't just a message that prevents me from posting again. This is a message that prevents me from reading anything whatsoever on their blog until I click OK. Is it just me, or is this incredibly stupid? Why under any conditions would anybody want to make it more difficult for anybody to read their content and, more importantly, view and click on their ads?
You have been issued a warning
Really? The passive voice? Well now you're just embarrassing both of us.

To summarize, they've 1) temporarily allowed me to share a post that generated a good number of hits (meaning their readers clearly liked what they read), but then 2) blocked me from reading any more of their content based on 3) a hidden set of rules after 4) being a member of their blog for less than half a day. Unless, of course, I clicked "OK."

Which is definitely something I would have done if they went about this in a more considerate manner, and/or I felt that I could not live without their content.

But the fact of the matter is that I have no idea whether or not I can live without their content, since--after violating their invisible constitution--they have made it impossible for me to personally evaluate. As for consideration, I'm a New Englander who regularly deals with anonymous voices on the Internet--my tolerance for rudeness is incredibly high.

So I won't be clicking OK.

Does this matter to them? Of course not. They claim to be partners of CBS Sports, which I'm sure they're proud of. They have plenty of followers, and they won't miss my potential visits. It's just a shame that they don't seem to understand the profit potential of the social web.

In contrast, the SB Nation blog I write for, Beyond the Box Score, encourages external content and works a lot harder to curate their community posts. We do so because we know this drives traffic and eventually creates revenue. For the record, my work for them began with a single fan shot.

I wish EDSBS all the best. It's too bad, however, as this might have led to a rather fruitful collaboration. Just ask Beyond the Box Score and all the page views I've generated for us.*

*Note: This is not meant to imply that I'm the most important thing that's ever happened to BtB--I'm not--nor detract from the value of all our great contributors and the two editors I have worked for. I'm simply pointing out that many of BtB's writers--including myself--started out as community contributors. Beyond the Box Score "gets it," and EDSBS doesn't. I'm lucky to be working with such great people.

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