Friday, May 28, 2010

CBC10 Day 1

Just when you think you’ve got a handle on the blogging world, you attend an event like this and you realize you know absolutely nothing at all!

My head is spinning: Technical features, Twitter, Kirtsy, Whrrl, tags, pivots, SEOs, key words, media kits, FTC regs, giveaway no-no’s, -- good gosh how am I supposed to learn all this stuff? Can’t I just write book reviews and hope someone reads them?

The intimidating and embarrassing thing is – everyone there seemed to be on curve or ahead of the curve, except me. Do I Tweet? No. Do I Whrrl? No. Do I have key words in my blog title that makes me Google friendly? No. I’m I operating illegal giveaways on my blog? Possibly!

It was a full day of very informative, entertaining, and prepared speakers.

In terms of what I do here at GDD, I think the most revelatory came from Ryan Bell, a local Intellectual Property attorney in Utah. He spoke about the “material connection” a blogger and an advertiser or agent. In my case, that would be a publisher or author who may contact me to do a review of their book. Since the beginning of the year, bloggers must put disclaimers on their posts if they indeed have a material connection with the product (book) they are reviewing and the nature of the relationship. Although I’ve had very few contact from either publishers or authors, that is something that has become standard protocol. And it doesn’t have to be “legalese” – he said something simple, but descriptive is sufficient.

However, the most “Ah ha!” moment I had was when he started talking about giveaways. Anyone who book blogs knows that books are given away daily! Some blogs offer significantly more than others. I have only offered 2 giveaways in my blogging tenure, one I supplied myself, the other was provided by the author. Here is the kicker (and I am not an attorney, I’m just doing my best to relay from my notes what this man related to us): Giveaways are essentially lotteries – and if you are in a state that doesn’t have a lottery, you are essentially breaking the law. I’m sure there is more to it than that, but he only had 45 minutes to speak. Additionally, if you are asking people to submit multiple chances to enter a giveaway (1 chance if you Tweet, 1 chance if you Blog, 1 if you stand on your head) you are essentially are creating an “uneven playing field” and that could be against the FTC regs as well. Finally, the rules of the giveaway must be clearly stated, for example: Void where prohibited by law; Full official rules must be listed on the blog, a definite end date and eligibility restrictions should all be linked somewhere.

After hearing all that, I think my giveaway days are over until I hire an attorney!

As with any conference, after sitting in the same strait back chair all day, your brain becomes spongy, your back begins to hurt and your attention span wanes, so I’m sure there are more things I could have benefitted from or learned, but they are lost to some Tweet feed somewhere.

I better check into that when I get home.

I’m curious – how many of you Tweet? And if so, have you noticed an increase in traffic to your site?


Suey said...

Wow...interesting about the giveaway thing. They aren't my favorite thing to do and I suppose they will stay that way. But still, now and then I may want to!

Ah, Twitter. What a strange beast it is! Sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it. But my advice to you is to go ahead and join and sit back and watch the conversation. (or join in when you want of course.) To me, it's like a behind the scenes for everyone's blogs....or an informal water cooler type conversation. It's fun to eavesdrop on everyone, and now and then I'm actually a part of things, but mostly, just "listening." (I'm @SueySays if you want to find me there.)

Oh, and I was going to say too, I've been doing this for three years and I KNOW I still know nothing! My head would be spinning if I went to that conference and I'd be wondering what the heck I'm thinking trying to do this!

Amused said...

Fascinating! I've only done one giveaway and that was with a book I bought. I mean luckily we do have lotteries in CA but what if I broke a law anyway? Who the heck knows!!

I was just thinking I needed to bite the bullet and sign up for twitter this weekend. I was avoiding one more time suck but everyone seems to think it's worth it so I probably will!

Kelly said...

What a great blog site.
Kelly Bookend Diaries

Amy said...

Fascinating. If i had been sitting next to you at the conference, I would have been just as clueless about all those terms. I have a twitter account, and I visit it probably three times a year so I'm no help.I found twitter to be kind of boring and high maintenance.

Heather O. said...

My opinion? You can do whatever the sam hill you want to do. It's your own freakin' blog.

MMW doesn't tweet, RSS feed, or even have a FB page (it was suggested, but the thought of all our readers having access to anything but what I let them read was horrifying to me). We are the lamest of the lame, like some old dinosaur who was once cool that is still limping along while all the younger dinosaurs know that eventually, it will die and they will get to eat it.

But after 5 years of blogging, I just can't care anymore. I ignore soliticions from advertisers, because I don't want the headache of monetizing our blog. Did you know that we tried monetizing it, but Nate said that to do so would require incoporating the MMW name into some LLC or something? Um, no thanks. I just want a place to rant. And somehow, people still seem to come and read us. even without Twitter, FB links, BlogFrog, BlogHer, and whatever the heck else there is out there.

So do whatever you want. And be happy. Life is too short to stress over a blog.