The Stench of Anonymous Blogging
When my cat was younger, he liked to claw at certain areas of our carpet. Through trial and error, my wife discovered that the best way to keep him from scratching was to spray Dollar Store Perfume where he’d like to claw. The strong scent would keep him from being naughty and ruining the flooring. I would jokingly ask my wife why she couldn’t buy the perfume that she wears at the Dollar Store…for after all, they’d feature many of the top “Brands” (term used loosely). Her reply was that Dollar Store perfume was very strong-smelling and the scent doesn’t last for more than a few minutes.
I see some in our industry writing anonymous blog posts that are being published by some of the more popular blogs in search marketing. My opinion of such posts are similar to what my wife thinks about Dollar Store Perfume: Pungent and with no lasting value.
Blogging on a platform like Marketing Pilgrim is a great honor for myself…but it’s also a great responsibility. When I write for the search marketing public, I am justly held accountable for my words and ideas. I’m accountable to Andy and Frank at Marketing Pilgrim (and ultimately, they are also accountable for my words on the platform). I’m accountable to PPC Associates, my employer, for the quality and subject matter of my posts reflects upon everyone at our organization. I’m also accountable to everyone in the search marketing community that knows me…I’ve been around for a while and have relationships with many folks. Anything I might say online can directly impact some of these relationships.
Part of what holds me accountable is the ability for anyone to comment either to me or about me in a public forum. People can leave comments on this blog post. They can @toddmintz me on Twitter, or reference me on Google Plus or Facebook. I’m not able to “hide” from anything I publish, and that acts as a check on my saying anything outrageous or impulsive. If I wanted to “throw down” on something or someone, I would have to face the consequences of my words…both from anyone I might criticize as well as the greater search community.
Blogging anonymously is like playing a video game in “God Mode.” It’s blogging without risk or consequences. Without accountability, the anonymous blogger can present whatever version of the truth he/she wishes without risk. I’m guessing that anonymity gives those people some level of comfort and safety to “speak their mind” that they wouldn’t feel otherwise. However, blogging isn’t only about being comfortable…it’s about being real and authentic.
Anonymous blog posts should come with an inherit disclaimer: “For Entertainment Purposes Only.” What serious blogger could ever think of not owing up to his/her own thoughts? How can the audience take such a person’s ideas seriously when the blogger doesn’t have any public confidence in sharing true feelings? Sure, I’m guilty of reading these posts. Some are well written. However, they fundamentally lack a necessary point of view because…well, it’s hard for a phantom to have the same attributes that real people do.
To me, anonymous blogging in search marketing is totally unnecessary. Our industry appreciates and accepts outspoken, direct individuals. Many have thrived on having such an image. Why should anyone care about a ghost when there are plenty of credible professionals to read and learn from?
About the Author
Todd Mintz is a Sr. Account Manager at PPC Associates, a digital marketing firm based in the Bay Area and downtown Chicago. Todd has worked in search engine marketing since 2000 and has used Google AdWords since it began. He also is very visible in the SEM social media space and is a curator/contributor at MarketingLand. He was one of the founding members of SEMpdx (Portland’s Search Engine Marketing Group), is a current board member, and writes regularly on their blog. Todd lives in Portland, OR.