I thought I was being paranoid when I wrote that MyBlogLog seemed to call SMOs schmoes. I also thought I'd picked up on something that no one else would.
I was wrong about the latter. Techcrunch noticed. Then Andy Beal noticed - and that caused a ripple effect. (In this case Andy Beal's post seemed to influence the SEM world far more effectively than the Techcrunch post - respect to Marketing Pilgrim for that punching power).
We can see posts on SearchEngineLand (Danny's got a good eye for controversy) and David Wallace's SearchRank.
Back here on ARHG, MyBlogLog did the right thing as I approved a comment from Robyn Tippins within minutes of publishing my post. She said;
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!
I believe her too. I don't think there was any intent to insult internet marketing consultants nor label them all as spammers. However, that may not have been the intent but that's been the result.
If we skip back to Marketing Pilgrim again and nudge down the comments we can see that Robyn's once again trying to set the record straight.
Here's one of the big debates in "Social Media Optimisation"; Do you get involved in a running argument?
If I was Robyn I would have posted one comment to clarify and then sat on my hands. It's hard for Robyn, I know, as the urge to put things right must be very high.
There's also a comment on SearchEngineLand from Robyn. She says;
There's no industry singled out... Unless you are saying all people who are involved in this space are spammers. I am a social media junkie and I don't attempt to spam other users or write software designed to make my avatar show up on sites I don't visit.
Ah... I think that's a much stronger reply. We're talking about writing software. We're talking about spammy comments.
My gut feeling is that if was the angle the original MyBlogLog blog post had taken then we would not have had this mini-outcry. It's tough on MyBlogLog because this is now old news - even if they change their blog post as Andy Beal suggests then that'll not make the news.
Yahoo themselves seem to focus on SMO as spam too. Yodel says:
MyBlogLog just launched a feature that’s more fun than calling people names. You can now tag MyBlogLog users and their blogs with descriptive tags. Find a spammy blog? Just tag it with “Schmoe” (short for Social Media Optimizer, of course) and the MyBlogLog team will tidy up.
This was published on the 25th and centres on the very paragraph which caused the kickback. The fact that MyBlogLog is tagging isn't given much limelight at all.
I'm not sure I like the phrase Social Media Optimisation. Just what are you optimising? Someone else's blog? That's not right. If you are 'optimising' what a digg.com summary to a news story on your site says (by writing it yourself) then... well, in many ways you are gaming the system and are a schmoe.
There is, however, a "white hat" approach to Social Media where you can let your clients know that in addition to doing a corporate press release (for the journalists) that they should write up an appropriate announcement and host it on their site and perhaps consider adding some social news buttons to it (for digg, etc) rather than letting a review site take the traffic for the news.
Gosh. There's certainly a social media consultancy when you can advise clients on the pros and cons of publicly debating your announcements or products with people on blogs.
I don't think MyBlogLog considers consultants who offer social media advice to be schmoes at all. I just think that they accidentally said that they do!