We may... I repeat may... restart this TSMR thang again. One difference - it will be more tactical and more focused on creative, specifically copywriting/offers/merging traditional direct mail with electronic direct response methods, as they relate to events. I used to be pretty good at that before I got caught up in the show management merry-go-round. It's still somewhat a passion.
But, this post has nothing to do with that. I had an experience yesterday that merits your attention, because something similar could be happening to you right now and unless you're turning over every stone, you might not be aware.
A site called ProfitableHospitality.com had our coffeehouse blog on a list they called "Running Out of Steam - blogs that haven't updated recently". We learned this through clicking on a referrer from that page.
There were a half dozen blogs on that list. Some hadn't been updated since summer, some not since beginning October, some look like they've departed the blogosphere.
Unlike TSMR, Aldo Coffee has been up to date since day one. The longest recent stretch our blog has gone without an update was three days in August. 72 hours. And the longest period of no updates in our entire existence - six days.
That's hardly "not updating". But to read ProfitableHospitality.com, you might well think we gave up the ghost - possibly because of hard times or whatever dire conculsions one draws from this type of information.
But we're entirely healthy. And still blogging regularly.
So when we undelicately brought this erroneous information to Mr. Ken Burgin's attention - he runs that blog - Mr. Burgin wrote us back a cryptic note saying "nice and friendly!"
As if we were supposed to be understanding of this site's incompetence and lack of fact checking. They BROADCAST incorrect information that we weren't keeping our blog up to date. They didn't come to us and ask what was up before doing so. They apparently didn't even think to look up the dates of the individual posts. They just published something that, assuming they have critical mass of readership, would be harmful to us.
If you're going to cite yourself as an expert on a subject and your site as an authoritative source of information on that subject, does it not behoove you to show responsibility to your market? Like simple fact-checking?
Pisses me off. If it were you, it would piss you off too. It's for these reasons many people mistakenly write off blogs as garbage and bloggers and incompetent yahoos.
But here's the thing. Without me checking that referrer link, or in absence of the referrer, performing constant Aldo Coffee ego-searching on Technorati, search engines, RSS, etc., we'd never know that error was being published.
In the larger scheme of things, it's not that big a deal. Ken took us off the list (and off his site altogether it seems) so there won't be further damage. (And Ken, if you're reading this, congratulations - that's progress!).
What if he said something much worse. What if somebody said something absolutely vile and horrible about your event that had no basis in fact (or perhaps did have some basis, but was completely exaggerated).
Like they say, "If it's on the internet, it must be true." And a scarily surprising number of people actually do appear to believe that.
How would you know if someone was doing a hack job on your event or site? Who's job is it to monitor what's being said online about your events and your company? Who's following all the referrers to see the context of all those link sources?
If the answer is "nobody", I suggest you get someone on it. Quickly.