Zawodny to Beal “Spammer!”. Beal to Zawodny “Get a Damn Clue!”

You’ve got to love these spats between clever and prominent blog dudes. It’s not only the closest onliners generally come to schoolyard or barroom brawling, but often these debates give huge insight into the future of the online world.

When Yahoo bought MyBlogLog, the clever social community application, it fell to Jeremy Zawodny to help refine the project into the robust and scalable environment demanded by the world’s top website. Jeremy also decided to take on a bit of quality control, and accused Andy Beal, a top marketing consultant, of spamming MyBlogLog. Andy had used as his avatar “win a free zune” rather than using the normal convention of a personal picture.

Andy Beal shot back angrily that he was not spamming and even had permission to run the contest from MyBlogLog’s founders. Cheap trick or not, if he had permission I think Jeremy owes him an apology – or at least an upgrade to “officially approved MBL spammy tactic”.

Although I thought Jeremy was too hard on this marketing “trick” by Andy, I certainly agree with many who think that MyBlogLog is now suffering from it’s own popularity. Popularity that has brought a lot of questionable tactics outside of the spirit of a quality community.

There is no great harm in the win a free zune *except* it defeats one of the nice aspects of MyBlogLog which is that you can see the person’s face. Several prominent and clever SEO’s with great blogs like Andy’s “Marketing Pilgrim”, as well as several junk sites and junk SEOs are resorting to similar tactics. The most common is to plant a pretty woman’s face rather than your own face, encouraging signups to your blog community.

Avatars are the heart of this system since they appear at other sites. Therefore to preserve the integrity of MyBlogLog Yahoo should require that avatars reflect either the person or a highly relevant aspect of the community. I’d even consider requiring that if you want to play with MyBlogLog you’ve got to be the real person in the picture.

Andy’s a good guy and a quality SEO, but his claim that he’s helping MyBlogLog with this type of approach rings pretty hollow with me.

Update:  Jeremy retitled his post and apologized.  But hey, it was fun while it lasted!

About JoeDuck

Internet Travel Guy, Father of 2, small town Oregon life. BS Botany from UW Madison Wisconsin, MS Social Sciences from Southern Oregon. Top interests outside of my family's well being are: Internet Technology, Online Travel, Globalization, China, Table Tennis, Real Estate, The Singularity.
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8 Responses to Zawodny to Beal “Spammer!”. Beal to Zawodny “Get a Damn Clue!”

  1. Andy Beal says:

    Thanks for your support. Just to clarify, my avatar does show my photo. I simply changed the image for the community profile. When I visit someone else’s site, they see my face. The only time they see the “Win a Zune” image, is if they visit my community. In effect, they have to come to me first – hardly spamming. 😉

  2. Jim Turner says:

    Hey Joe thanks for expanding the discussion. I agree in part with your assertion related to avatars being real people. I on the other hand use it to expand my brand. I have always had my start in the blog world as Captain Genuine. I am a Daddy blogger. I recently went to the BlogHer conference as a sponsor with my Bloggers For Hire company and not many knew who I was. I changed my name tag to reveal that I was the daddy blogger “Genuine” and suddenly I could not make it across the room in an hour because everyone wanted to say hello and talk to me, whereas before I was this guy barging in on a women’s conference. I guess I’m defending my own avatar in that respect. I started with MBL as my Daddy blog, and only after the fact added my business blogs.

  3. JoeDuck says:

    Andy – thanks for the comment, I’m still digesting this and I may have misunderstood where this would appear.

    Jim – I see what you mean and know the feeling about aliases. At WebmasterWorld somebody introduced me with my name to a blank stare, but then when he said “Joe Duck” he instantly knew me from forum postings under that name.

    I don’t object to a relevant alias style identity and I doubt anybody would at MyBlogLog, though in a sense you are making a case to use your real photo so that at *next* year’s BlogHer they’ll be able to associate you with your alias.

    Hey, what did you tell your wife about heading off to that one? I have enough trouble getting to geek conferences!

  4. JoeDuck says:

    Andy the ZuneAtar does appear in LOTS of MBL spots other than just at your community.

    I just joined your community and now the ZuneAtar appears at my own profile page:

    Ummmmmm – can I have an iPhone instead?

    UPDATE – Andy’s changed the ZuneAtar to a GliderAtar to tease Jeremy Z.

  5. Tommo says:

    We geezers still harken to the classics for guidance in these matters.

    RFC 1855 is good, but curiously bland. Possibly because it was written long after the Golden Age of the Internet. Its only guidance about advertising in a signature (the equivalent of the worst case scenario behind this rhubarb, more or less) is, “use sparingly.”

    Joel Furr’s monthly PSA to news.misc on advertising says approximately the same thing:

    Note that all old school guides to beable advise against mongo ASCII art representations of dragons in one’s .signature — this is still good sound advice, especially since most of these Intarweb browser thingies use a proportionally spaced font. Very few people attached MIME encoded .gif files to their postings back in the day when my beautiful pyschotic holographic friend SPEWSNET was fully operational, and anyone who had would likely have been roasted with a flame that would burn out their very ‘Net connection and perhaps their upstream provider, so we must conjecture the response of these sages of old to such a dilemma.

    I see is online and operational, though. This not only warms my geeky old heart, but suggests a course of action. Kibo?

  6. Jim Turner says:

    Ummmm it was business….yeah honey business…*sigh*

  7. Believe me you’d much rather see my avatar than my face. Of course I could use a picture of a hot chic but my keep on bloogin’ avatar and occassional pop quiz avatars are fun.

    I don’t think Andy came close to spamming and he has raised the profile of MyBlogLog just by creating discussions like this. I’m not after numbers but people who actually read my blog. I have not a few contacts but all of them sought me out. Quality over quantity.

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