Sunday, December 7, 2014

What Happened to Social Media Being "Social"? and Other Blogging Woes

I love getting to know authors on a personal level. I've been fortunate to go to several book events and meet a lot of them in person. It's always wonderful to know the driving force behind a book that I love, or even a book that I have yet to read.

So why the post? I think the social aspect of social media has been warped into something ugly....something that I don't want to be a part of anymore. I love to help authors get their books out there. But to what point? I've been fortunate to have authors get to know me and converse with me on a regular basis about anything and everything. My blog Facebook page, unfortunately, is not the same. Day after day our inbox is flooded with requests from authors, street teams, PA's, or just a regular fan. These requests are almost ALWAYS spam. Why do I say spam? Because I see 10 other bloggers posting the exact same thing and the same wording. This is spam, people...look it up. Yes, it pisses me off. They don't even take the time to look what our names are. ***PLEASE SHARE*** It got to the point where I will purposely ignore the 50+ private messages we get. My co-blogger probably gets p/o'd at me but I lost interest. Want to know what else grates my nerves? 90% of the messages come from people that never interact on the page. So let me get this want me to constantly share your things but you can't even take a second to share something of mine or join a conversation before spamming me? Not cool!

This may seem like a rant, but I'm just saying what everyone else is thinking. I'm not doing it anymore. I will ALWAYS share for authors that I know personally because they ask me to BY MY NAME! Being nice to people and getting to know them goes a long way. When it comes time for me to read a book, guess who's book I'm going to pick? Someone I know...because I'd rather support them because they support me.

Affiliate Links

Another issue...and this is authors and bloggers alike. DO NOT EMBED YOUR AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKS into shortened URL's! This is just plain bad behavior and against their terms of use! When you sign up to be an affiliate, these links are for YOU and ONLY YOU to use! You even have to put in the links of the websites that you will be using them on. MY BLOG IS NOT YOUR WEBSITE. I get emails constantly from a big name blogger, again with no personal message...just please share, with their affiliate links embedded. Don't know what I'm talking about? I'll give you an example.

Here is what a shortened URL looks can use bitly for these. I'm using Eva's book as an example since it's coming out soon. (LOVE HER!!)

Looks like a regular shortened link right? P.S. Amazon states that your creative code needs to be visible and you cannot use a link shortener.

When you click on it, the string will be a lot longer and there will be an Amazon Associate affiliate link.

This is an affiliate link. As you can see, there is a special code for each affiliate. I used mine as an example.

Why do I get so angry, you ask? This is a DISHONEST practice! And I'll tell you why...

  1. You click on the link and buy the book. Whoever embedded that code will get a percentage of that sale. Cool right? But what's not cool is that some bloggers don't even know that exists. So you have 50 bloggers who share that link and 50 people buy that book, that blogger just made about $3 off a $0.99 book. They did, not the blogger that shared it. See where I'm going with that. Someone else is USING YOU to make money. Doesn't seem fair.
  2. Said author or blogger 99% of the time will not even notify you of this embedded link. Bad blogger!
  3. When using affiliate links from anywhere, you need to put a disclaimer directly in eyesight of the link. I usually put a blanket statement near it saying "FTC Disclosure: This blog will receive 7% of every purchase you make with this link." This is REQUIRED BY LAW. I can't make this shit up. I'll admit that I'm lazy and sometimes I forget to put them on my own but I never ask anyone to share my affiliate links. Back to the part about being dishonest.
  4. Using affiliate links on a free blogging site like Blogger or leaves you open to having your blog deleted. It's happened to me before. Blogger sited "spam" as the reason with too many links to a specific external site. Doesn't happen to everyone but it's possible so beware.

How does all that sound? Someone making money off of unsuspecting bloggers. Sounds like crap to me. The most common thing I hear when I complain about it..."Maybe they didn't know." Oh, they know..the code comes from their affiliate dashboard. It doesn't just come from copy/pasting from the main toolbar.

If you are a blogger, look into getting your own affiliate account. It's free! You can choose to get a check for your earnings or even an Amazon gift card. Don't let other people take advantage of you. Here is the link to join. You can always come to me if you need assistance.

Choosing a blog name

We're here to write...whether it's a blog, a book, or a story. PLEASE do a Google/Facebook search before choosing a name. Pick something that's unique that no one else has. We, as bloggers, work our asses off to make a name for ourselves...a brand, if you will. I'm going to use Contagious Reads as an example. They have worked hard for several years to make a name for themselves. When I hear Contagious Reads, I think of them. I know them all personally. If someone new comes into the game and names their blog Contagious Reads and starts making some social media sites, it's going to start confusion. Plus it's not cool. If someone started their blog before yours and owns the domain, don't piggy back off of them. I looked for 3 names before I stuck with A Little Bit of R&R. All three were already established and had a following. I stuck with something that was different and relevant. If it happened to me, I would ask the person to kindly change it...but people get nasty sometimes. I get very defensive of my baby blog. I'd go to war for it. Do your research first.