Posted May 25, 2007 6:19 pm by with 17 comments

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I reported this morning that MyBlogLog had taken the step of introducing tags and asking anyone to tag spammers as “schmoes”. Unfortunately, the definition of spammers also refers to “social media optimizers” – most of which are smart, legitimate marketers.

“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 community manager, Robyn Tippins tried to defend their action

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.

I’m sorry Robyn, but you did call SMO’s spammers and what’s worse is that your turned on your own. Being a former social media or SEO means you should have known that being tagged as a spammer is not only offensive, but could severely harm the credibility of legitimate marketers.

Here’s where MBL went wrong.

  1. They associated spam with social media optimizers. Why? Spam is spam, regardless of who uses it. Why couldn’t they have just used the tag “spam?”
  2. They used a public system for flagging spam. I still stand by my comments that anyone tagged as spam would be well within their rights to sue for defamation of character. MBL should have used a spam report – similar to that used by Google – one that is private, one that is not open to the abuse of those that think it funny to label others as spammers, or in this case “schmoes”. Instead, MBL tried to be cute and it backfired in a big way.

MBL seems to have taken one misstep after another and it blows my mind that it is run by those that should know social media better than most.

I’m demonstrating my disgust at the new schmoe tag. I’m picking-up on an idea by Andy Beard, and I am labeling myself (and Robyn Tippins – who’s confessed to being a social media optimizer) with the tag “schmoe”.

I encourage anyone that considers themselves to be a social media optimizer/marketer to do the same.

  • I would but I stopped using the service months ago – for reason like this.

  • I hear ya – I just removed the final MBL script. I liked having the avatars, but I’m not prepared to be a hypocrite.

  • Andy,

    No offense intended. This seems a little much to me. I mean, really Andy, it seems to me that you are still grinding that axe because you were called a spammer by JZ so you are taking it out on anyone associated with MBL. I can’t be the only one reading these posts thinking, “Ok, we get it Andy, you don’t like MBL” LOL.

    I really respect you Andy (and felt like a little school girl when I met you at SESSJ last year – mmm accents – lol), which is why I’m just saying what a few emails and IMs to me have said about this post… only I have the Balls (I borrowed them) to actually say it here.

    Maybe you should also consider how these posts reflect on you. I wouldn’t want anyone to start associating you with things that are not deserving of the reputation that you’ve built.

  • “I’m sorry Robyn, but you did call SMO’s spammers ”

    I answered this on your previous MyBlogLog post.

  • @Natasha – I call it how I see it. I have nothing against MBL and still cover their news – both good and bad.

    While I could feel offended that you’re trying to persuade readers that this is nothing but a personal vendetta, I’ll just wave that off.

    MBL screwed up and I’m not the only one that thinks so:

    Danny Sullivan –
    Andrew Girdwood –
    Cameron Olthuis –

    I have nothing against Robyn – she’s just the messenger – and I also still have respect for Eric and Scott – but MBL didn’t think, when it decided to label all SMO’s as spammers.

    Why is it so hard for MBL to go back to their original post and say, “here’s what we mean to say, but didn’t”?

  • Hey Andy,

    Please don’t be offended. I don’t think it’s a personal vendetta (you have to say that like the Sideshow Bob’s son on that Simpsons episode for the full effect) but…

    I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything… I was just relaying some things I heard today (it would be much appreciated if you all hiding out there in virtual land who sent me emails and or IMs on this topic today would speak up – lol) I actually wrote that trying to reach out to you to be helpful to you. Sorry if you took offense.

    Have a good weekend.

  • @Natasha – as I said, I’m waving it off. 🙂

    Let me ask you this. Do you think Robyn should update her MBL post to clarify what she meant? Or do you think it’s ok to leave many people associating spam with SMO?

    @Robyn – I have no problem with using the term “schmoe” as a tag for spam, but why can’t you just go back to the MBL post and remove the suggestion that schmoe means social media optimizer?

    If you did that, this would all die down – and would never have happened in the first place.

  • Andy,

    Yes, I think a clarification is needed from MBL especially in light of them using a term that is associated with a preexisting legitimate industry in a negative light. I’m sure many people who are introduced to that tag via MBL may not have previously heard of the term Social Media Optimizers and now will only associate SPAM with the term as this is how they were introduced to the term.

    You should also keep in mind that you are talking to someone who hates the term “optimizer” and would love to see it die – lol. Even when SMO got co-opted as the term du jour I preferred Social Media Marketing.

    As I said I like it if the tag were SchMOeS for Social Media Optimization Spammers 😉 – lol.

  • @Natasha – it seems we agree on all counts! 🙂

  • @Robyn – ball is in your court. 🙂

    I tell you what, if you update your MBL post, I’ll remove all of the content of this post and simply say “Yay, Robyn rocks and she’s changed he post to clarify that SMO doesn’t equate to spam”. Fair deal? 🙂

  • In many ways there is a difference between SMO and SMM

    SMM for me is a more general catchment, whereas SMO you have a more specific defined goal and are refining the process.

    I recently experienced some quite vicious and organised “thumbing down” of an article which included a mixed bag of things about StumbleUpon.

    I think one of the core reasons was because I was talking about some great heatmap software that is free, and how that could be used to monitor traffic on your site to improve user experience, and thus get better results.

    I have complained to StumbleUpon, and received no response as yet. Looks like I am going to have to blog about it.

    The kind of sites StumbleUpon users like with their soft porn, and other cool photos, or nice CSS tricks, or new internet apps don’t need paid advertising.
    If SU users are going to thumb down all kind of paid stumbles, it is not going to do advertising sales any good at all.

    SU have got these tags for spammer, and spam, and it enables abuse.

    I am a strong supporter of MBL, but tagging spam is no solution when all you need is a clickable link that fires up a contact form to enter a complaint, that then feeds into a decent support desk app.

  • I am an official Schmoe at MBL now as well. 😉

  • Fellow Schmoe. Removing widgets as well.

  • And fine schmoes you are. In fact, some of the best in the industry! 🙂

  • I am giving them one week to say sorry to all of us “spammers” and “SchMOes” or they and their widgets are gone for good on all of my sites. I can forgive them once (banning Shoe), but they keep doing so many dumb things, and this one takes the cake. Smack down the very people who created you! Does that make sense?

  • HDR

    Oh boy.

  • Senseless infighting