Posted May 25, 2007 10:17 am by with 23 comments

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MyBlogLog has introduced a new tagging feature which will allow uses to add their own keywords to blogs and profiles. On the surface, a welcomed addition.

However, in true “big search engine” style, they’re also using it as a Trojan horse to introduce a system for tagging spam. According to TechCrunch

The company is also asking users to help fight spam by tagging spammy sites with the word “Schmoe,” which they say stands for “Social Media Optimizer” (SchMOe). The team will review those tags and associated sites and take appropriate action.

Since when did social media optimization become spam? Isn’t MyBlogLog itself nothing but a network to optimize connections between social media sites? I mean really, how successful does MBL expect to be, if it doesn’t want the participation of those that know the value of building a social network for their site? I think this is crazy and I’m not the only one.

And what are the legal ramifications of allowing just anyone to publicly label another a spammer? Calling someone a spammer – or allowing them to be called one- could be a huge detriment to their reputation, and something they may wish to contest in a libel case.

MBL – by all means have a system for people to report spam, which you investigate internally, but you should reconsider this public outing. History shows that it’s never savory to have one “superior” demographic label another “inferior.” And don’t try telling me that it is “ok” because the tags can be removed by the member-owner, that’s not good enough.

Sigh, and I though MBL might be on the path to me finally using them again.

  • Robyn did comment to say, “I love social media people, shoot I’m a social media junkie myself. Social Media Optimizer was a good way to explain what spammers do when they take social media applications and game them (optimize is a kind word).

    No SMO hate here, I promise!”

    … still, there is sometimes a tendency for people inside the search networks to refer to any external influence as “spam”. It’s an easy but inaccurate dangerous oversimplification.

  • I think this is way stupid and if the smiling face of Robyn Tippins didn’t assure me that it was going to be ok then I’d be doubly offended.

  • @Andrew – they should have just called them “social media spammers”. They’re no better than Calacanis or Godin referring to all SEO’s as spammers.

  • What is the advantage to the user for tagging other blogs?

    I can view my communities sorted by tags?

    I’m confused.

  • Andy, nobody here said SMO=Spammers. My blog is primarily concerned with Social Networking. Much of my consulting pre-MyBlogLog had to do with Social Media and SEO. If they hated SMOs they wouldn’t have hired me.

    Social Media ‘Optimizers’ is a funny (I thought) way to refer to the way people game social networking sites.

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  • @Robyn – with all due respect, you did…

    “Spam – If you think someone is spamming you, tag it out loud! Internally, we like to call a user who games the system a SchMOe (Social Media Optimizer). Tag anyone who spams you with the term schmoe.”

    MBL made a mistake – again!

    Not only are you equating Social Media Optimizer with a spammer, but your reporting tool isn’t even private. Can you imagine if Google let search users publicly label spam results as such – for everyone to see? Even they know that spam report tools are open to abuse.

    If your pre-MBL background was with Social media and SEO, that actually makes it worse, not better.

  • Nice response Andy! It will be interesting to Watch how well Robyn, the community manager, handles fixing this mistake moving forward. So far she hasn’t done a great job, I give her a ‘D’, would be an ‘F’ but at least she has made a small effort.

  • You’re right, I did say that. I didn’t mean to imply that ALL SMOs were spammers. I will reiterate that I do not think (nor does MBL think) that all SMOs, SEOs or any other business people are spammers. There are black-hat SMOs and white-hat SMOs…

    The tag schmoe is not private, as no tags are private, however you can choose to opt-out of tags on your profile or you can delete any tag you wish (and it will never reappear). If you wanted to prevent anyone from tagging you schmoe, you can tag yourself schmoe and then delete it.

    Just like tags aren’t private, the people who tag you aren’t private either. Like on my profile, you can see that Andy has tagged me schmoe already.

  • On the web, what you say, is what you say. I appreciate your attempt to clarify your comments, but unless you change your original blog post, what you’ve said is still what you’ve said.

    Meanwhile, I’ve moved the conversation to a new post.

  • I defense of Robyn.

    Granted the name could have been better had it be SchMOeS – Social Media Optimization Spammers. I mean come on they are making an effort to clean up spam. I’m sure if they weren’t making an effort to clean up the Spam you’d be blogging about all the Spam on MLB – lol. I love that the spam system reporting system. Wouldn’t it be great if you could find out which jealous competitor was sending Google that Spam report about one of your clients – lol.

    @Andy: I’ve known Robyn for a while now via the many blogs that she has written and via many other Social Media Platforms. And yeah, she knows a thing or two or three about Social Media; hence why she was hired. Plus, Andy I think that you tagging her a SchMoe, was a little much. I really do hope that you do a follow-up if they are successful with reducing the amount of Spam on MLB ;).

    @Cameron: It’s hard to give a person a grade for a job they just started; so I’m not sure how you could make that assessment about the job she’s done so far.

  • @Natasha – by Robyn’s definition of schmoe – social media optimizer – she is one. I tagged myself with “Schmoe” too, as I am one as well.

  • Natasha – the grade wasn’t made for her overall job performance, it was more directed at this specific incident. I apologize to Robyn if that is how it came off. Regardless, I still think she has handled this issue very very poorly.

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  • Nice response Andy! It will be interesting to Watch how well Robyn, the community manager, handles fixing this mistake moving forward. So far she hasn’t done a great job, I give her a ‘D’, would be an ‘F’ but at least she has made a small effort.

  • Natasha has a point. “SchMOeS – Social Media Optimization Spammers” would have been better but I don’t think Robyn’s intention was to label All Social Media Optimizers As Schmoes.. she was just trying to create a keyword that she thought would sound kind of funny.

  • @Thinking – there’s nothing wrong with the tag “schmoe”, I like it! It’s the connotation associated with it that needs changing. Just let schmoe reference any spammer, why does it need to be associated with “social media optimizer”?

  • When you consider that Google indexes just about everything, it makes me nervous to even use MBL now because I don’t want someone searching for my name, my business name or my blog and then see that I am considered a spammer. I don’t see one positive reason to allow this. Oh, and I refuse to label myself something that I am not to avoid it in the future.

  • Melissa I feel the same way about the pre-emptive labeling, on first impulse

    but thinking about it, if the semantic web is ever going to arrive it’ll take everybody tagging everything, and it’ll be a normal part of our lives to monitor the tags that pertain to us and ours and keep them correct.

    I do think MBL’s spammer tag is pretty lame however 😉

  • good post on the “schmoe” tags…

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