17 Nov 2009

This is why you don’t gossip on the Internet

24 Comments affiliate marketing

Some affiliates are losing millions per month, I’m told, as a result of my TechCrunch post.  And Shoemoney has not been shy about his willingness to write blog posts for money. If someone is about to ‘topple an industry’ (highly unlikely), one strategy is to trash his credibility and scare him into not writing anymore.  But what I didn’t expect was that folks like Jeremy Schoemaker would be out for blood, misstate facts, and even email our advisory members.  I reached out to him, to give him a chance to explain why he would go so far out of his way– so far, no response.

Let’s clear a few things up:

  • Scott Richter does not have ownership in BlitzLocal. Yes, we were in his building.  No, his dad never threatened to sue any of these gossipers– he’s got more important things to do.  Yes, Scott has paid for many meals and entertainment.  No, Scott did not cover Jeremy’s travel and lodging to come see us– that was 100% paid for by Blitz, including the loan we made him at Affiliate Convention in Denver when he had no money.
  • Gillian Muessig has no ownership in BlitzLocal and is not employed by the company. She is a friend, colleague, and mentor– since she knows how to navigate the waters in building fledgling companies to industry leadership.  She is the President and co-founder of SEOmoz and Rand Fishkin is her son.  SEOmoz is her baby and she has said so quite plainly– why wouldn’t she take this company all the way?  I respect her deeply for her insight and integrity, which has carried her company to where it is today.
  • I’ve written a lot of articles. You’ve probably read some of them, maybe without knowing, as I wrote under other people’s names.  For example– a number of ad serving posts, as well as most of the ShoeMoney Xtreme guides. Look at the examples referenced in the articles and compare the writing styles if you’re not sure.
  • We’ve been burned a number of times: This is common in affiliate marketing.  What’s not as common is someone that I’ve had deep respect for and trusted, such as Jeremy, do that to us a couple times, then claim the reverse.  He is a prominent blogger and a lot of folks look up to him– therefore, he should be careful as a role model.  Yes, the Facebook whitelisted account was his.  He called me up while at Facebook and agreed to a 50/50 revshare, so I assigned 2 full-time employees to that account.  After a ton of Russian brides and dating ads, and a few hundred thousand dollars in revenue, BlitzLocal was left with no earnings and Shoemoney took 2 employees. We lost a lot of money, which hurt a small business like ours, but we did not pursue him.  His recollection is different, although the email trail and IM chat logs of these employees tell another story.

I’m owing up to all the spam (or call it by whatever name you want) that I’ve done in the past. The TechCrunch article was part of that– and there are more articles coming.  Facebook has done a commendable job in shutting down loopholes– but there are many, and the players are so clever.  Are these players still making money?  Certainly.  Could we have?  Perhaps, but we didn’t. And whatever money we did make was spent on building our local platform– let me tell you that the road to scaling up real clients, especially in local, is hard. We don’t have much money.

I would be naive to think that I have enough power to shut down an industry– I am just one guy and BlitzLocal is a tiny company.  Would you ever fall for a MyLuvCrush ad?  The folks who read this blog do Internet marketing for a living, and I know you’re not falling for it.  At the same time, don’t fall for a hate-motivated piece– examine their motives and then check the facts to see if things add up. Jeremy mentioned that the reason the picture of sheep is the default avatar on his blog is that most will blindly follow whatever he says and not think for themselves.

One thing that has surprised me is the amazing support we’ve received from white hat folks, small businesses, industry friends, and the press. How folks have reacted to events of the last two weeks clearly define if they’re black or white hat.  If you’re an affiliate running deceptive stuff, you know that profits are hit-and-miss and that there’s often high school drama involved.  We did some consulting for the FTC– a nice surprise, as they promised not to sue.  The local and agency work is steady, the people are easier to work with, and you can feel good about what you’re doing. Ironically, we’re helping build a new form of affiliate marketing– it’s the local space. If you define an affiliate as someone who gets paid to promote someone else’s product or service, then you’d likely believe that Russian brides is out and local is in.

There’s two sides to every story, so consider the facts and make your own decision.  Meanwhile, I’m getting back to focusing on local. If you want to build a real business with local clients, I’d love to hear from you.

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written by
Dennis Yu is the Chief Technology Officer of Portage. He is an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook marketing, having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, and CBS Evening News. He is also an author at InsideFacebook and AllFacebook. Dennis has held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines. He studied Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics. Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you. You can contact him at dennis@portage.co, his blog, or on Facebook.
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24 Responses to “This is why you don’t gossip on the Internet”

  1. Reply Twitted by Stealx says:

    [...] This post was Twitted by Stealx [...]

  2. Reply Brandon Black says:

    It’s no surprise you’re getting this kind of reaction from them. The truth hurts! :)

    Don’t sweat it.

  3. Reply Shane Dollas says:

    Right on Dennis

    waiting for shoe’s post
    hell im even waiting for more outing posts on techcrunch

  4. Reply Rob says:

    Hi Dennis, elaborate the story about the facebook whitelist account.

    That is really interesting.

    Rob

  5. Reply bb wolfe says:

    Dude, that was NOT a comprehensive rebuttal. Don’t you think you at least owe it to yourself to really do a great job setting the record straight?

    Your life and your biz dude, but Shoe said a lot, you should respond.

  6. Reply Matt Fraser says:

    You are a complete moron.
    Good luck in the future.

  7. Reply Dennis Yu vs. Jeremy Shoemaker – the saga continues says:

    [...] Yu's follow up to all of this called "This is why you don't gossip on the internet" is also interesting and worth a read and I agree that when you come across attacks on a messenger [...]

  8. Reply WF says:

    “We did some consulting for the FTC” – Can you elaborate on this? Sounds a little bit bullshitty.

  9. Reply nitin says:

    Dennis,
    I knew there is more to it than what Jeremy is telling.
    Obviously I am shocked at uniform slamming of Dennis by all so called big names including wf, sm etc.
    I know if you play your cards right a year down the road no-one will remember this incident. Keep going.

  10. Reply Rob says:

    Let’s see some of these upcoming techcrunch posts.

    This is really getting interesting:)

  11. Reply just wondering says:

    Appreciate your efforts to keep it clean. This kind of reminds me of how people were reporting on how peoples atm data was being stolen on atm machines. Did it really help people? or did it just cause more fraud? Just something to ponder.

  12. Reply kabuki says:

    You Suck at Life, you need to read blogs on how to be good at life, you are terrible at it. Plain and simple. You burn every bridge without fail. and you’re an enormous dbag. You should allow all comments on your site.

  13. Reply jarvis says:

    Dennis,

    It has been interesting reading both sides of the story, and one can assume the truth lies somewhere in the middle of this. The facebook scams are not a real suprise when you consider the demographics, but I am surpised so many advertisers and end users are throwing money at this…kind of reminds me of the twitter paid ads that are the current rage of the day.

  14. Reply Harry says:

    @nitin: Don’t be shocked. You think these big names don’t have a reason? give me a break. They don’t got time to fuck with Dennis for no reason. Dennis is just trying to clean the industry up… uh… whatever. Nobody denies there have been some shady offers. Dennis admitted to pushing them. Fag.

  15. Reply Alex says:

    So many cliches

    ‘Mentor’

    ‘Industry leadership’ etc

    But no ‘empowered’ – surely something wrong there as I didn’t think it was possible for an American to write anything without the word ‘empowered’

  16. Reply Shoemoney Killa says:

    I think you should beat the shit out of Shoemoney and his man-boobs. Shoe a lame! His ego is as big as he was before the surgery. Dude got a little money and a internet buzz and started to feel himself. I once was a Shoemoney fan until I grew sick of watching that cocky fat bastard toot his own horn. If its war he wants, I say give him war. Knock his chubby insecure ass down to earth.

  17. Reply nitin says:

    @Harry – Naah I am not really married to whatever these biggie says. I know, have seen and even worked with a few in partnership. It is not really that whatever they say is the word of God. Also the techniques used by them at lot many times are not really the best practices followed. I just use my open mind before concluding anything at all.

  18. Reply Alex says:

    Shoemoney is full of himself. You did a great post and tried to clear up what he wrote about you. The fact is that Shoemoney makes money from people who follow him without thinking. He build himself up online and thinks he’s better then everyone. He needs some humble pie. Keep up your blog posts and you will be fine in the make money online space. It will be funny how Shoe will try to make other look stupid from posting our views about him. That how insecure his is.

  19. Reply Chris Barclay says:

    Dunno about this one, either way I don’t put too much trust in either of you :)

  20. Reply Paul Schlegel says:

    Actually, the more I look into this the more likely I think Dennis’s claim about “consulting with the FTC” (probably in exchange for some sort of immunity) makes perfect sense.

    First of all, why would he – as my friend Lynndel Edgington of Eagle Research – points out…make “the Prosecutor’s case easier for him/her. Nothing like a signed confession to prove your case.” unless he was pretty sure his own company wouldn’t be investigated.

    But there is other technical information that seems to indicate that Dennis knows much more about how certain spam/scam operations work than what he’s revealed to date (which frankly has been pretty mundane).

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