If you had the curiosity and idle time to read my rant last week entitled, “Mad Crowd Media, Don’t Piss Me Off,” and the nearly 100 reader comments it has since generated (including a response from one of the principals of MCM), then you might be interested in this concluding post, with an email response on behalf of one of the multinational companies whose product was a subject of two of the MCM emails. I was glad to see the passionate and often vehement comments of marketmanila.com readers, the vast majority I noticed, possibly 95%+, appeared to be in sync with my views on the matter. I was glad to see that many readers DID find the four emails from MCM to be distateful or offensive, and many felt that the manner, style, and possibly unethical content was worthy of a comment…
What really surprised me about that rant, almost more than the original post itself, was the response of one of the principal’s of the MCM firm, who wrote in his comments several points that made it seem as though there was nothing at all objectionable or inappropriate about the emails that his associate sent to me and other bloggers. Instead, nary a trace of remorse or regret, instead a quick defense that struck me as a complete misread of the situation. The key issue raised was the appropriateness or ethics of PAYING FOR A POSITIVE EDITORIAL, not helping bloggers make money from their content through advertising. What was upsetting was the apparent belief that this was just business as usual, and that everyone was cool with it. That new media had different rules. Excuse me for wondering how technology would change the concept of right or wrong…
But thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who found the situation worth ranting about (my first full rant in nearly 10 months). Several thousand readers and even more pageviews of that particular post shows the relevance of the issues discussed. Many readers expressed a very strong reaction to that post, and their comments reflect these reactions. But in a fitting end to this discussion, I received the following email, which is VERY SELF EXPLANATORY, and I quote:
“Bloggers Event of Orbit on September 15, 2008
Dear Market Manila,
I am writing on behalf of our client, (Parent Company), regarding an event organized exclusively for bloggers entitled “7,100 Tastes” sponsored by Orbit Gum. Having one of the largest networks of online independent publishers in the country, (Ad Agency) contacted Mad Crowd Media to invite bloggers like yourself to participate in this event.
We would like to clarify on behalf of (Parent Company) Philippines that a clear misrepresentation was made when Mad Crowd Media communicated “compensation for editorials”, encouraging paid posts. We had no idea beforehand that such a proposition would be offered and neither do we condone such actions. We would also like to emphasize that (Parent Company) was not involved whatsoever in the email invitation independently sent by Mad Crowd Media on (Orbit and Parent Company’s) behalf, and would never have agreed to such an arrangement.
We have consistently communicated to our clients that event participation does not guarantee an editorial post of which they understood and supported completely. We respect the opinions and unbiased feedback of online independent publishers.
In light of this incident, we are no longer working with Mad Crowd Media and we are not pushing through with the event on September 15 to preserve the intention of the event to build a relationship with bloggers in a professional and credible way. We would like to apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
I would like to personally clarify any miscommunication caused by this incident. Please e-mail me your contact details at xxxx@xxxxxxxxx or you can contact me anytime at +63xxxxxxxxxx so we can discuss this incident and clarify all concerns. Thank you very much for your understanding.
(Ad Agency for Parent Company)”
I have struck out the names of the Parent Company and Ad Agency to prevent bringing any more attention to them, as the issue was primarily a result of Mad Crowd Media emails to marketmanila.com, not any interaction between marketmanila and the Ad Agency and Parent Company.
I am pleased to see that (Ad Agency and Parent Company) took the issue of the MCM emails (offering to purchase positive editorials) to bloggers seriously, and acted swiftly to assert that their clients DO NOT ENCOURAGE OR CONDONE “pay for post/editorial” arrangements. So there you have it. Many thanks for their email, which I received last Friday evening. I waited until today to write this post so that I could clarify some issues regarding the email directly with ad agency representatives, which I did just minutes ago. I hope the Philippine blogging community has learned some useful lessons from this experience.