Subject: RE: Guest Post for Cru Jones Society?
From: <edagger@crujonessociety.com>
Date: Thu, November 11, 2010 5:29 pm
To: ___@mydogatemyblog.com

[Name redacted], 

I am not happy with the way this cross-promotional effort has gone. We have been promoting your stuff for a week on our mainpage, our Facebook page, and on our Twitter account. We dressed up your guest post with pictures and the appropriate title.
 
What have we gotten in return? Our post mistitled, buried on the third page of your blog with no promotion the day after it was supposed to run. I have received no explanation for this and can only assume you don’t care.
 
Unless I hear from you by the end of the evening with an adequate explanation for why we have been treated this way, in what should have been a friendly cross-promotional effort, with a plan for recourse, I am publicly going after My Dog Ate My Blog tomorrow and I am going to shame your site.  I will be available by email until 8:30 Mountain Time this evening.
 
Sincerely,
 
E Dagger
Editor-in-Chief
Cru Jones Society

That email was not returned, so welcome to a public shaming. Here is:

How NOT To Partner in Social Media (Or… “How My Dog Ate My Blog Fucked CJS”)

Monday, September 13: The Cru Jones Society is nine days away from posting a fresh article for the first time in over four months. Plans and schedules are still getting worked out, but for the first time, we’re ready to dive back into the site we built more than two years ago.

We receive an email: “Guest Post for Cru Jones Society?” from someone we’ve never met. After reading it, realizing this was a real person and not a robot or someone selling internet optimization or some such shit, we embark on the evolution of attempted cross-promotion that, after a lot of back and forth brings us today. But we’ll get there. First, the beginning.

The email is awkwardly worded, but genial. The Assistant to the Editor of My Dog Ate My Blog.com asks if one of her writers can write a guest post for CJS, ostensibly (as best I can tell) to generate more traffic for their website. No mention of an opportunity for Cru Jones Society to do the same, which should have been my first clue this would be a fat waste of time.

Whatever. I talk it over with Hart, and we agree that once we get back into a posting groove and reintroduce our voices to the readers, a guest post would be great as long as we could do the same on their homepage.

I propose this to her six days later. I get no response. Another 18 days go by, and I follow up inquiring if she had received my previous note. The following day, I get a response.

Subject: RE: Guest Post for Cru Jones Society?
From: <___@ mydogatemyblog.com>
Date: Thu, October 07, 2010 6:05 am
To: edagger@crujonessociety.com 

I am SO sorry – I was out with flu, and I must have missed this. 

We can do a post whenever you like – and of course you can send on our way. Why don’t you email me when you’re ready to go, and we’ll get a topic that is relevant and current and get this under way?

[Name redacted]

That’s fair. I’m sure she’s got plenty going on. I myself got so busy at work that week, I didn’t respond to her until another 7 days later. And, hey, cross-promotion. Whee!

October 24, continuing an exceptionally brutal stretch at work, Hart and I finally email a plan to her for what we’d like to write. We propose to write about 5 things we don’t miss about college as an answer to the endless fawning over college pop culture columnists like Bill Simmons do in what feels like every other article. We don’t especially care what one of her staffers cooks up for us since CJS covers a pretty large swath of topical (and non-topical) real estate. We figure whatever helps their website most is okay with us as long as it’s moderately funny.

A week goes by. Nothing. I reach out to her again. Here’s what I get:

From: ___@mydogatemyblog.com
Subject: RE: Guest Post for Cru Jones Society?
To: edagger@crujonessociety.com
Date: Monday, November 1, 2010, 9:17 AM

I thought we’d already sent this to you – let me check!

Uh, okay. Sent me what?

What followed an hour later was the article you read here at CJS two days ago, a decent, if fairly banal, little article (Wow, you don’t miss class and homework? Or dorm food? I hope he didn’t strain himself digging up those gems) in the exact format we proposed to write.

Evidently careful reading is not one of the requisites for writing “An (Almost) Educational Blog” since we offered them the opportunity to write anything they wanted and they basically just ripped off our premise and handed in an uninspired 600 word whisper fart of an article, but again, whatever. Maybe a little blog post wifeswap will be entertaining. In fact, “Hell yeah, it will be,” says the optimistic part of my brain sucking the pessimistic part’s dick based on the disingenuous promise of “No, of course I won’t come in your mouth.”

I respond later that night falling all over myself to praise it since I’m in PR and I deal with underwhelming, lukewarm writing everyday. In fact, here’s exactly what I said:

Subject: RE: Guest Post for Cru Jones Society?
From: edagger@crujonessociety.com
Date: Mon, November 01, 2010 8:17 pm
To: ___@mydogatemyblog.com
Cc: lee.s.hart@crujonessociety.com

Hey [name redacted],

This looks terrific! It’s the right tone, right humor, right fit for our site. I think in order to maximize exposure for our two sites, we should run these simultaneously next week. I’m thinking Wednesday, so we can build things up properly. I’m going to add you to our permanent links tomorrow, and then Tweet and Facebook about that. I’m going to pimp you guys again on Friday in our Happy Friday links, where we’ll announce that we’re doing a cross post.

Then we’ll run simultaneously next Wednesday and hopefully watch the clicks roll in. You can look for our piece for your site by end of day Saturday. Does this work for you? Let me know…

Thanks for the great article. Look for ours soon!

E

Her response:

From: ___@mydogatemyblog.com
Subject: RE: Guest Post for Cru Jones Society?
To: edagger@crujonessociety.com
Date: Wednesday, November 3, 2010, 1:33 PM

Perfect! We’ll be watching for it!

Good as my word, I add it to the Cru Jones Approved section of our permanent links while Hart writes up some nice pimpage as the first bullet of Happy Friday.

Their promotional response: Silence.

From there, all Hart and I have to do is write the thing. I’m not going to bore anyone with the details of the time we had to carve out of our schedules to write it because a) Who the fuck cares?; and b) We made a deal, and it’s up to us to honor it. Simple as that. So we get it done, it gets to her Sunday morning, which, admittedly, is half a day late, but still three days before it’s scheduled to run. I hear nothing from her.

So Monday rolls around, and to fan the promotional flames, I link to their latest article: Twelve of the Most Bizarre Classes Ever Offered in College on both our Facebook page and Twitter account. This is excellent because subject-wise, it flows right into our guest post. It’s moderately amusing, but more importantly, I’m happy to maintain the spirit of cross-promotion by building them up.

Their promotional response: Silence.

Tuesday night I spend getting their post all gussied up. I re-format the text, I add some pictures, I caption the pictures with funny little bonus jokes, and I make sure their links all work. I schedule the piece to be up at 6:00 a.m. since I know our East Coast Regulars hop on the site right as they start their day.

I arrive at work, and in-between client calls, I create a bit.ly for the article, post it on Facebook, and give it a nice promotional Tweet. I repeat the pimpage later in the day. The clicks are good, the hits are rolling in, and everything’s savvy. Except for one…

Where the hell is our companion piece?

From: edagger@crujonessociety.com
Subject: RE: Guest Post for Cru Jones Society?
To: ___@mydogatemyblog.com
Cc: lee.s.hart@crujonessociety.com
Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 8:27 AM

[Name redacted],

Is this going up today? If so, when? Your piece is already up at CJS. You can see it here:

[link]

Thanks!

E

Response:

From: ___@mydogatemyblog.com
Subject: RE: Guest Post for Cru Jones Society?
To: edagger@crujonessociety.com
Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 3:14 PM

Excellent! I just sent an email checking on your post.

I noticed that our second link, which should go with the forensic psychology schools part of the byline, is missing. It may have been that I forgot to include it. Would you add http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/ to that?

Best

I fix the link, and respond back immediately (while on the phone with a client).

Subject: RE: Guest Post for Cru Jones Society?
From: edagger@crujonessociety.com
Date: Wed, November 10, 2010 3:22 pm
To: ___@mydogatemyblog.com 

Fixed.

Thanks for your diligence. I think it’s really important to maximize exposure that this goes up ASAP. I appreciate your efforts. Let me know when you hear something.

E

At this point (it’s the middle of the afternoon), the day is fucked and we’ve lost any chance for synergy. I had planned to insert a link into their guest post linking to our article on their site, but that’s now out of the question. The day’s now over, I’ve had an exhausting day planning a large event for a client, and I’m all sorts of pissy because I gave My Dog Ate My Blog good promotion to the CJS audience for nothing in return.

The car ride home is bitter. It’s cold. It’s rainy. It’s dark as shit. And as I stew about the shitty day, I try to put things into perspective. Maybe the person in charge of posting had a meltdown at work. Maybe their servers are all screwy. Maybe there was a miscommunication. Maybe etc. etc. etc.

So I let it go and start fresh the next morning. 8:23, still nothing. So I send an email asking when it’s scheduled to run. 8:37, here’s what I get back:

Subject: RE: Guest Post for Cru Jones Society?
From: ___@mydogatemyblog.com
Date: Thu, November 11, 2010 8:37 am
To: edagger@crujonessociety.com

[Name redacted] has put it up –

http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/blog/2010/08/10/colleg/

Click the link, and see what you get. A different title. No preamble introducing who we are. No photos. And… wait, what’s this – August 10, 2010? What the hell?!

I click to the homepage and we’re not there. Of course we’re not there – our article is dated three fucking months ago. So I do some digging, and we’re buried on the third page. I check Twitter. No new Tweets since November 7. I check Facebook. Nothing. Which is pretty much fine since their sad little page has one link and exactly zero likes – I love it, not even the site’s authors like their page. Time for another email.

Subject: RE: Guest Post for Cru Jones Society?
From: edagger@crujonessociety.com
Date: Thu, November 11, 2010 9:01 am
To: ___@mydogatemyblog.com 

Thanks for the update. Quick question: Are you aware that the post is dated August 10, 2010, and that it doesn’t appear until the third page of your mainpage? I’ve linked on Facebook and Twitter to the permalink, but I was hoping this would be at the top of your mainpage with a little promotion, as we did for you. Can you clarify this for me? Thanks.

E

And her response at 9:19 – “Let me ask the guys about that.”

And as you saw in the opening lines of this angry screed, nothing came after that. No explanation, no “Sorry about the confusion,” no attempt to make it up to us.

So basically what we’re left with is a free week of promotion for My Dog Ate My Blog in exchange for a mistitled article on their site, buried on their third page, with no promotion behind it whatsoever.

Dude. Fuck. THAT.

The blogosphere (and social media in general) is about making connections and finding creative ways to mutually benefit your friends, partners, and acquaintances. I’d never been burned before in a cross-promotional effort. Everyone I’ve worked with has been lovely. The Redhead has given us tons of plug love on Twitter in exchange for us pimping her various endeavors, and even guest posted on our site on Valentine’s Day. She pimped the shit out of it, and we did huge numbers while we repeatedly sent our legions to her. I’d do anything she asked at this point.

Rob Rector at Natsukashi has turned out to be one of the coolest guys I know, I’ve co-hosted 4 different podcasts with him, and he showed up in our End of the 00s series. We’ve pimped him a ton, and I’d do anything he asked at this point.

There are many others that I’ve done link exchanges with as a result of Happy Friday, and mostly, I’m just happy to promote cool shit that I like. I don’t expect anything in return most of the time. Life is too fucking short to keep score like that.

But when you reach out to me for the sole purpose of building your blog, offer nothing in return, rip off our article idea, not out of malice, but what appears to be intellectual laziness, and then take advantage of our promotion while giving us fucking squadoosh…

Fuck you.

I can’t let that stand. We had an agreement. We did all the fucking leg work. We got jackshit. You reaped all the benefit.

Fuck you.

Am I taking this too personally? Possibly. Am I reading too much malice into their actions? Maybe. But even if it’s mere carelessness, someone needs to knock that shit out of them. Hart and I are proud of the Cru Jones Society and we work hard at it. We help others where we can because a rising tide lifts many boats. So if you can’t get your head out of your ass and return the favor…

Fuck you.

Based on the sporadic updates of this blog, its non-existent Facebook page, and dearth of Twitter updates, I’m thinking this is maybe a hobby for the folks at My Dog Ate My Blog. Still, that doesn’t excuse shoddy treatment and promises not kept. Some of us actually do give a shit and try hard, even if this is only one of life’s more enjoyable side projects. I don’t want to start moralizing here by wondering aloud if this is how they do all their business because that’s shitty and reductive.

All I know is how they did business with the Cru Jones Society. And based on this experience, I won’t be visiting My Dog Ate My Blog any more, they won’t live in our permanent links section, and I won’t give them any more free publicity.

Today’s lesson is an unhappy one, but an important one. Treat us right: We’ll promote anything you want us to, and we’ll do it with a smile. Jerk us around, you get 2,000 words shoved in your gullet like a spoonful of salt.

Today is salty. Don’t make us do it again.

We return with your regularly scheduled good humor next week.

Until then… This is Dagger.

E Dagger
Editor-in-Chief
Cru Jones Society