This may be a long read, grab a cuppa or a wine. I'd go wine.
I don't really look at my blog stats. I'm not that person. I rarely delve into my blog's 'mechanics' beyond writing a new post, editing a draft or deleting spam comments. The only statistical thing I look at is an occasional quick squiz at the traffic sources to see what funny google searches have brought weirdos to my blog, so that I can tweet "Someone found my blog by searching 'boy sees hot MILFs big hairy boobs'. Just eewwwww" (there have been way worse, I'm just providing a very tame example. But still, eewwwww).
So that's what I was doing when my eyes happened to land on an odd statistic in my traffic sources. I'd had 17 visits from one particular blog (which I'd never heard of) on that one day. Seventeen visits via one blog in a month is not unheard of, I guess. Maybe even in a week, if you have a link on there. But in one day? The only conclusion I came to was that this American blogger must have linked to me in a post that day, and I smiled.
Imagine my horror when I clicked through to the blog source and, instead of nice words, found this....
"As a public service to anyone reading this blog who wishes to avoid blogs and sites that broadcast commercials, I've decided to share the urls for such sites as I identify them. First up is "I'll Think of a Title Later," an Aussie blog that I have in my list of favorites for reasons I can no longer remember. There must have been something really terrific on it at one point that made me bookmark it. Went there very recently and was blasted by a commercial in an Australian accent. Three subsequent tests demonstrated to me that "I'll Think of a Title Later" is a broadcast offender. I'm removing it from my favorites, and when she finally does think of a title, I'll never know what it is. If you don't like broadcast commercials on blogs, don't go here. "
I think I bruised my chin when it hit the floor.
Now, whether you have read only one post of mine, or one hundred posts, or this is your first visit, you will notice..... go on, look around..... that's right. No ads. I have never placed an ad on my blog or monetised in any way, I have never solicited for advertising, and have never accepted monetary payment for any content. I may choose to do so in the future, who knows what's around the corner? (I can almost hear the PR types scrabbling to claim my advertising virginity). But as yet, I have not.
So you can imagine my initial dismay and anger at being publicly labelled a "broadcast offender".
While I sat there in stunned disbelief, not knowing what to do, I glanced at the comments already left on the post. There were four, three of which were along the lines of "Thanks for the heads up, thanks for the warning", while the fourth, from a 'LizA' read as follows...
"Interesting--I've not experienced this. I read all my blogs on my iPad through Perfect RSS and even when I clicked on the link you provided I didn't get any ads".
Bless you LizA, whoever you are, for you arse-kicked me out of my stupor and stopped me from slinking away to wonder, in silence, what the fuck was going on, and who had hijacked my blog to broadcast commercials. I quickly checked my blog on three separate devices, and on two different browsers, and neither saw nor heard any ads. I checked with a few friends, who also could not see or hear anything untoward.
I returned to the offending blog post to leave this comment...
"I am Cate from I'll Think Of A Title Later and I DO NOT BROADCAST ADS ON MY BLOG. I have never advertised or monetised my blog, so I don't know what the hell you're seeing when you click onto it. Perhaps you'd best check your own settings? or what browser you are using? as i have checked with several other people, like LizA above, and nobody has ever seen an ad on my blog. "
After a few deep breaths and registering a small feeling of relief that I had got my initial anger off my chest, I decided to call on Twitter to investigate further. I got a few more "Nup, no ads" responses, then one of my lovely tweeps said "I can hear cricket commentary, maybe a video is on autoplay??"
It's a Bingo. (that's for Inglourious Basterds fans)
Once I had an answer, I began to think even more about the original post, and the woman behind it, and how offended I was not just for myself, but for every other blogger who may choose to advertise. So I went back, yet again, to leave this comment...
"Okay, adding to my previous comment, on further investigation I found ONE person who could hear (but not see) something when they went to my blog's homepage, and recognised it as a snippet from a sporting match, NOT an ad.
It seems that perhaps a glitch in some formats (no idea if it was browser or device issue, but I certainly never heard or saw anything) was causing a video clip from a previous post to run on autoplay. This was indeed a sporting clip, NOT the "blasting of a commercial".
I have removed the video, just in case it did continue to play when not expected.
Firstly, did you ever think to do the right thing and contact me and say "hey Cate, I keep hearing 'this' on your blog, is it a glitch, is it an ad, what's up?"
No, you chose to jump to your own conclusions.
Secondly, if it was an ad... so what? every individual makes their own choice about what to do with their own personal blog, and every other individual chooses whether to read it or not. To take time out of your day to publicly (mistakenly) bad-mouth another person's blog and tell people not to read it... well, that's just sad.
The blogging community in Australia is becoming a very supportive place. We read who we want to read, we don't read blogs that don't suit us, we just move on and don't bad-mouth, name and shame other blogs who don't make the same choices we do.
Each to their own.
I hope your blogging community can embrace this attitude in the future."
And I was fairly proud of that comment, because I didn't swear, didn't resort to name-calling or derogatory remarks about this woman's blog. (Another darling blogger friend commented on this woman's post, also correcting her, and expressing disappointment)
Nobody is perfect. I have moaned in posts about bloggers being either boring, arrogant, grammatically incorrect, or poor spellers (SPELLCHECK, PEOPLE) but I have always had just a general rant... I have NEVER publicly named anybody. I would never try to disgrace anyone in such a manner, nor attempt to deter readers from their blog. I give my readers more credit than that. I know they have their own opinions, and integrity to go with them. The only blogs or individual posts I have named and linked to were ones I LOVED, because I wanted to share the joy of reading them with others. As it should be.
I wrote of my displeasure at the whole situation on both Twitter and Facebook (still without naming anyone) and received many messages of support. It seems that if you take on and attempt to disgrace one blogger, especially mistakenly, then you take on a whole blogging community and its right to choose. Again, as it should be.
Suddenly, the offending post (and my comments, of course) disappeared, and a considerable time later I received this private email....
"Having been properly chastised and corrected, I have removed the offending post from my blog and offer my apologies for erroneous assumptions, acting in haste, and causing you angst.
I read and reread this message several times and, being an expert on sarcasm and snide remarks (just ask my family), I detected haughty insincerity. As did the other darling blogger friend, who also received the same email for some strange reason.
I waited a day. There was no public retraction, no public apology, no blog post saying "Hey, folks, I stuffed up. I made a mistake. This blog is okay and I'm terribly sorry". If she had done that straight away, I would have walked away satisfied, not followed it up, and you would not be reading this post now.
I sent this...
"I appreciate that you have deleted the offending post, but there was already damage done. By the time I discovered your accusations and suggestion to your followers to not read my blog, 17 people had already clicked through from your blog to mine, to do... well, who knows what. Block my blog, unfollow, black-mark me as one to avoid, whatever. Whilst I may have no interest in those 17 people anyway, and they may have no interest in me or my blog, we will never truly know.
If you have the gumption to publicly trash a person and their blog, you should also have the gumption to publicly retract your defamatory comments when proven wrong."
As one of my Facebook friends said, "Some people are very quick to be big-mouthedly critical, but aren't ballsy enough to admit they were wrong on the same playing field. I'd feel as you do."
Was I harsh and being a bit uppity? Maybe. Did I give a shit about those 17 people? Not in the slightest, in reality. I did briefly regret sending it until I got the sarcastic reply from her...
"Oh, my. I sent you 17 potential followers, regular readers, fans! Imagine that! You are most welcome."
Oh yeah, game on, moll. My reply...
"Oh well, you had your chance to be remorseful and respectful.
It's lucky for me I copied everything before you deleted it"
I'm not sure what I planned to do next, just copy and paste everything in an angry blog post, I guess. I waited, cooled off, had a massive laugh about it all, decided to no longer give a fuck, and discovered a couple of days later that she finally posted a retraction. Of sorts. While it did correct her previous errors, it also contained one lie, several convenient gaps in the story, and enough weighted sarcasm to sink a small Pacific island. Somehow, I came out looking like the bad person, despite my politeness (I was polite, wasn't I?) and STILL not using any swear words.
This happened several weeks ago. I took a while to formulate this post, to make sure it was not written from a place of anger, but from a place of hindsight, where there has been much eye-rolling and laughter. I won't name the blogger involved, because I don't do that. Because I have no desire to stoop to this woman's low level of mean-spiritedness. And because this woman does not deserve the attention, or extra traffic to her blog.
I have a wonderful life full of love and laughter. Revenge is not on the menu.
Oh, and I also have chocolate and wine. They ARE on the menu.
I think the lesson here is to make sure you have all your facts straight before you...
No, no, no, no, no.... wait a minute.
The lesson here is DON'T BAD-MOUTH OTHER BLOGS, THE INDIVIDUALS WHO WRITE THEM, OR THE CHOICES THEY MAKE.
LIVE AND LET LIVE.
It's actually that simple.