Blogging to Infamy

You may have noticed some of the negative blog posts which have been floating around the web today with regards to Blogging to Fame, a project run by Indian blogger Divya Uttam!

It all came to my attention when Antman from Cre8buzz messaged me this morning asking for my opinion on his post “A scam or not a scam…

I was going to launch into a devastating attack and lay waste to all in my path but stopping to open a nice bottle of wine gave me the time to finally pause today and think about all this.

The resultant thought may not please anybody.

Okay before I get to explaining that thought (probably the only one I’ll have for the week) I’d best give a little background.

Sara from Suburban Oblivion believes that Blogging to Fame is a scam of some sort.

Antman does a fairly decent job of surmising her argument:

Spelling mistakes
Poor grammar
Only contact info is in India
Chicago Seminar Link is dead
Copyright is Worldnet Labs, and she can’t find em on Google
See’s Blogging To Fame as an SEO and Linkbait site

Needless to say Divya, from BTF, had her own things to say about this. She posted comments in multiple paces but I’ll just post the email she sent in reply to me asking her about the posts:

Hi Paul,

I know about the negative attention Blogging to Fame is getting from a few in the blogosphere, I had put in comments clarifying the doubts Sara had but guess she was in no mood to publish it. We started Blogging to Fame at an early stage to get the things rolling. As for World Net Labs, we are coming up with the site which will be there in two days. We had also put in about our team, and specified our States Representative’s address. I have been constantly in conversation with many of our members and would be putting Jury section soon, which would include good names of internet. I think that will bring enough credibility to the contest.

I cannot put at stake the love I have got from my readers for a linkbating technique, and my team has worked day and night for this project. I do not know what they think when they compare junk emails shot to millions of accounts from an anonymous yahoo email address to a site we had put our hard work into. Anyways registration is free, we do not compel to put widgets to be in the competition, People who trust us can be in the contest and be a part of revolution.

I have put in a Comment at: http://www.cre8buzz.com/blog/2007/06/05/a-scam-or-not-a-scam/
You can have a look at it if you wish to. I am thankful to people who trust me and believe in the project. I promise that this Contest and Seminar would turn up in a big way, the way it is being projected by us.

 
Thanks Paul for your support,

If you have any further specific queries be sure to contact me, and best of luck for the contest.

Regards,
Divya

Now, I don’t know Divya personally.

My only exchanges with her have been via email after I had registration problems with BTF (she fixed the problem personally) and we’ve crossed sabers on some blog posts in the past.

My impression of Divya is that she is on the level and I believe that this is not a scam.

People do nut usually invest as much time and effort in a scam as she has in BTF. Divya’s blog used to be awesome. It’s suffered a terrible decline in quality since she’s diverted her attention to BTF.

So, who’s wrong here?

EVERYBODY IS!

Divya’s is pouring her heart and soul into BTF but has made a few mistakes a long the way.

Those mistakes could justifiable give rise to concerns expressed by Sara at Suburban Oblivion.

Sara got it wrong as well. Her post is a little xenophobic and shows a complete lack of research before announcing to her readers that BTF is a scam.

I’m not picking a fight here. I’m guilty of not doing as much research as I should from time to time.

I’m going to climb on to the back of a moral horse here. It’s a horse on which I do not deserve to sit myself, but there is a point to be made here about dealing with this.

Sara’s concerns are genuine, but her handling of it was off.

Contacting Divya is really easy to do and one or two exchanged emails, or a quick phone call, would have cleared all of this up without any of the drama.

Also, Sara didn’t approve the comments Divya posted to Sara’s blog in response.

This was wrong. Yes Sara did repost the comments in a post all of their own but she should have let them stand where they were as well.

Worse still is that Sara did not approve Antman’s comments and also re-posted them in a post along with Divya’s.

Antman’s comments were then somehow, misunderstood by a host of Sara’s readers and Sara herself, resulting in yours truly having to step in and clarify after a number of Ant bashing comments were made.

The reason for Antman’s post not being allowed to stand is, apparently, because he is “an online acquaintance of” Divya’s.

That’s just not right!

If you’re going to call somebody out you have to allow them make their statement and their comments, right or wrong, just like everybody else.

You shouldn’t treat people some peoples comments differently just because it disagrees (or you think it does in this case) with your theory.

We’re bloggers. As a group we’re always complaining about how we should be taken seriously and how we should be given more mainstream acceptance.

This incident is exactly why we, as bloggers, should NOT be allowed main stream acceptance.

It’s proves we are sitting at the back of the class only to be let out into a fantasy world where we can play journalist / reporter.

A little research, an email or a phone call would have gone a long way to resolving this issue.

It’s something that we, as bloggers, tend to neglect to do in our hunt for the next big Digg or Techmeme traffic rush! (I’m not suggesting that was Sara’s motive. She appears simply to have been concerned BTF may be a scam which people could get sucked into)

Divya made mistakes with BTF. Sarah made mistake with handling this.

That is the nature of things.

Divya has already admitted to her fault. I can only hope that Sara will, at least, tell her readers that another side exists to this story.

As for me? Well, I wish Divya the best with BTF. I believe it “does exactly what it says on the tin”.

I also wish Sara the best. I’m going to subscribe to her blog once I’ve finished writing this post.

I just hope that we, the blogging community, learn from this. I hope that we, don’t repeat the same mistakes.

We have a responsibility to our readers to check the facts as best we can before printing. We’ll never be taken seriously other wise.

Do we want to the blogosphere to be considered the equivalent of a  bunch of tabloid rags relying on titillation, innuendo and shock to maintain an audience or do we want to be consider on par with the Times?

I know which I’d prefer! How about you?

16 thoughts on “Blogging to Infamy”

  1. I joined after my blog friend Jeremy Jacobs from Corporate Presenter, the earliest of the early adopters, had a Fame Me button on his site. As a loyal blog buddy, I decided to support him. In order to do so, I had to sign, up so I did, which wasn’t too bad. My plan at that time was not to participate. Having done this I voted and carried on with the rest of my blog life. A few days later I went back to take a look at my profile and ten people had voted for me, including Jeremy. So what the hell I thought and put a button on my site. I like these kinds of social network things. I couldn’t care less if it is some kind of scam. Generally those kinds of things implode.

    I do agree that the presentation and grammer lets the site down, but the enthusiasm cannot be criticised.

    As usual a very nicely thought out post.

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  2. Thanks for your comments Colin and Sara.

    Sara, I also hope we cross paths again. Your motivation and concern for you readers is genuine, and that’s a nice thing to see.

    Thanks again for you comments πŸ™‚

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  3. I appreciate your very thought-provoking post on this. Link baiting is a problem in the blogosphere, and in the mommyblog community we do try to watch out for each other. I can certainly admit I might have been more thorough in my research on this, but given the way the contest has been handled and how little information was put out, I still feel my concerns were and are justified.

    As I said on Antman’s post, should something actually come of this, I’ll be more than happy to issue an apology. I’m a big girl and can certainly admit when I’m wrong. Time will tell.

    Thanks so much for the perspective, I hope we cross paths again in the future, in a more positive light anyways πŸ˜‰

    Sara

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  4. Since I’m the one that started all this with Sara (I’m your link under “which”), I should say that she is a really fantastic person and a responsible blogger. Poor thing hadn’t even looked at Divya’s site before I started bombarding her with my sketchy theories. I believe her initial IM replies were “I’m having trouble working up a giveadamn” before I could get her to listen to me.

    She wasn’t trying to stir up some traffic for traffic’s sake. I got her all riled up and she posted while I was still IM’ing her my lists of red flags.

    This was really sort of tongue-in-cheek in the beginning. Believe it or not. We were having fun with it. Then Sara went ahead and posted. I did, too, and even included X-Files conspiracy-themed photos. All in fun, I’m telling you.

    I would also like to point out that I am impressed with the way Divya has responded. She left a very even-handed comment on my later blog post (I didn’t have time to post my concerns before Sara shared them) while she could have just as easily gone on the defensive and taken us more seriously than would be necessary. As I understand it, the reason Sara didn’t publish Divya’s comment is because she didn’t want to link to her site. With that in mind, Divya didn’t even link to herself in the comment she left on mine.

    I’d love to see that this is all legitimate. That $100,000 in cash is handed out to the winners. Heck, I was the one that registered on her site in order to Fame people myself. I was just really thrown by how sketchy the details seemed to be. Hence, this little debate.

    If anything, I agree, Divya probably should have waited until the details were a little more concrete before launching the contest. Seriously, I am more thorough in checking my own posts about our day playing with sidewalk chalk.

    Thanks for the link. Listen, I can’t find fault with anyone presenting both sides of the story. I don’t believe any of this is malicious in intent, as I can assure you it is not on our end.

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  5. “Nobody is mistake. and nobody is correct. mistake make us realize of Correct. And Correct make us realize of Mistake. So, Why should you bother with it? Correct and Mistake are One Union. If you think yourself are the Correct one, your are Mistake. And if you think yourself are Mistake, You have Correct!”
    I quote it from my religion book.

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  6. I was wondering if your views on Blogging to Fame and it being on the level have changed. It rather seems now that this was one of the biggest scams of blogging history.

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  7. Jean – I’ve not really revisited this since it occured but I must admit that I still do not believe it was a scam.

    Rather, like hundreds of other small time start-ups with an idea, I feel that Divya ran too far and too fast with this on the promise of having the backing she would need.

    Unfortunately for he that backing never arrived.

    I’ve seen it happen a hundred times where companies (especially start-ups) get promised something and it is never delivered. Heck it’s happened to me a number of times.

    Now, keep in mind that my answer here is pure speculation.

    What I will do is try to contact Divya, she is still blogging, and arrange an interview with her on OFlaherty Live. That way you will have to opportunity to judge for yourself what was going on.

    How does that sound? Can I email you when / if Divya agrees to go on the show and give you details?

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  8. Hi Paul! Was searching about conversations about my project Blogging to Fame while I was talking to a friend about it and came across your blog post. This was 5 years ago and probably forgotten by everyone else but I think I need to let you know what exactly happened to Blogging to Fame.

    Blogging to Fame was never a scam, never intended to be. I had sponsors, presenter and speakers arranged. On that unfortunate night, 2-3 weeks before the announcement of the same was supposed to be made, my server and back up server crashed and I lost all the data of the contest, the participants and their votes. I had faced lots of sleepless nights in Jan, 2008 trying to get it rectified, but in vain. I had no way of getting back with the contest. Though I would like to mention I did not vanish. I was very much reachable on all my profiles, numbers and emails if anyone wanted to contact me then.

    5 years have gone by, digital media has changed and everybody moved on with lessons learnt. Thanks to all those who believed in the project even though it appeared as a scam. It hurts to think about the fate it met.

    Colin, Sara and Megan, I personally apologize to you and would do the same to all the participants if I had their contact details, for Blogging to Fame could not achieve what it set out to do.

    You still can contact me on the same personal mail ID or social profiles if you want to.

    Regards,
    Divya

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    1. Thanks for revisiting this after so long Divya. There was much speculation about what happened, but it’s really nice to know the actuality, even if it meant things didn’t work out as they could have back then.

      Still, they say that every cloud has a silver lining, and that, at least for me, was that the entire incident resulted in Sara and I getting together and becoming a couple. None of that would have happened without the server fail.

      Sara explains here – https://pauloflaherty.com/2007/06/06/blogging-to-infamy/#comment-22226

      So, even though things didn’t work out as planned for you, I thank you. πŸ˜€

      What are you up to these days?

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  9. Divya, holy cow what a blast from the past!! 5 years later..insane!

    Glad to hear the story about what actually happened, we always kind of wondered πŸ™‚ I think it goes without saying that disclosing what happened with the server might have been a good thing when it actually happened, but as you say, live and learn.

    The bigger story with that, for us at least, was the Blogging to Fame thing was actually the beginning of a VERY long road for Paul and myself. He and I had never heard of each other before the whole situation came up, and it was how we first met. Annoying each other over a blog post led to an online relationship, a real-life meeting, a divorce for both of us, 2 country moves for him, and eventually us getting married! We’ve been quite happily married since 2010, and are expecting out first baby together in August. πŸ™‚

    Looking back the whole thing seems so silly, but I know it was a big deal for you and I’m truly sorry it didn’t work out the way you wanted. That said if it had, Paul and I never would have met, and I don’t suspect life would be anything close to as happy for either of us, so I can’t help but be glad things worked out the way they did. Everything truly does happen for a reason, and your server fail kicked off a string of events that changed both of our lives for the better. You never know how the littlest things in life will affect others, and I can’t imagine things being any other way.

    I can only hope life has brought you half as much happiness as a silly blog post fight brought us πŸ˜‰

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  10. Oh My God! I am so glad for both of you! WOW this is such a good news… It was destiny, you had to meet. I just became a way… What are you planning to name the little angel?

    I am so happy that I chose to comment on your blog post after much speculation. This is the most heart warming news I have heard in a while and it completely made my day πŸ˜€

    As for me I am currently working as a Planning Director with Cheil Worlwide for their client Samsung for their Digital Srategy. I have earlier worked with BBDO for brands like 7UP, Pepsi, Aviva, DHL, Johnson and Johnson baby, Nicorette to either launch or enhance their digital presence in India. Had it not been Blogging to Fame, I might not have been here either. It worked for all of us in different ways, I guess.

    Would love to see baby’s pics when he/she arrives. Have sent you both Facebook friend requests. Let’s keep in touch.

    Lots of love for the baby from India. πŸ˜€

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  11. Mal and Scarlett are both having their ear/adenoid surgery tomorrow morning so I suspect we are going to have a rough day, so posting a bit early….Happy 9 years since you started this journey for us. You are my everything, and I love you more than words can ever say. Thank you for coming around the world(time and time again) to be with me, and thank you for our beautiful family ❀

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    1. There is nothing to thank me for. You changed my world and changed me for the better. I am honored and privileged to be be with you. You are my best friend, the love of my life, and there is nobody I’d rather spend my life with or have a family with.

      I am so lucky and proud to be with you and to have our amazing children together.

      Thank you for everything. I love you.

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