Burning Up The Red State

Things get painted Red as Steven joins Paul & Daniel looking at a bunch of stories that escape from their stomping grounds in Alabama. Are the Chinese ahead of the US because of US military budget cuts or lack of education spending? Why is the divorce rate higher in Red states, and just how stupid do you have to be to burn down your house in an attempt to get rid of some toilet paper from your front yard? Stupid enough to give a “Nigerian Prince” $500,000?

Stories mentioned in this episode of the Nothing Serious Podcast include:

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.


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?


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?