How not to show appreciation to those who link

Filed as General on September 7, 2005 10:03 pm

by Duncan

A good lesson in how not to show appreciation to those who give you links from the 9rules blog:

Since our company/service/network is getting links from everywhere nowadays, I wanted to quickly clear up some confusion regarding the name of what it is we’re doing.

The company is “9rules, Inc.� and the network is “The 9rules Network� or just “9rules.�

These capital R’s dropped everywhere are making our CEO cry in public, and believe me, that’s not pretty. Lowercase r’s are where it’s at. Uppercase is for suckers


I’m sure this is an oversight from 9rules and not meant with any evil intent, but not being grateful for getting links, dictating the form, and then insulting people who use an uppercase “R” really isn’t the way to endear yourself to others. As I’ve written at the post: good will is fickle, insult those who help you by linking to you and the only people who are suckers are 9rules.

But before people start flaming me (Im thinking of starting an new category, upsetting 100 people in 100 days :-) ), this is what I’d write it (or words to this effect)

“Hi everyone.
We love getting links and we are grateful for your wonderful and ongoing support and many links to 9rules and our great network members, but we’ve got to ask a little favor, because as you know Scriven’s is a grumpy old bastard who only provides tips to Turboblogger and has a thing about capital letters. Could you, pretty please, make sure the letter “R” is in lower case when you’re linking to 9rules. It might not mean much to you, but it does to us, and would make life running 9rules even better than it already is!

thanks for all your help and support.
Love Mike Rundle”

OK, so its a little bit exaggerated (ok, a lot) but I’d hope you’d get the point. There’s a world of difference between unappreciative dictation and asking nicely, showing gratitude and using humor. I might not always get to thank everyone who links to the Blog Herald or any of the Weblog Empire sites, but I can assure you that I remember how hard it was to start in the blogosphere and I still remain eternally grateful to everyone who linked to me along the way, and will continue to do so into the future.

(in part via Turboblogger)

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  1. By Mike Rundle posted on September 7, 2005 at 10:11 pm
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    Hey Richard-

    I think you misquoted me a little bit. Right after “Uppercase is for suckers” I have a big, yellow, fat, smiley face to end the post. Leaving that out does make it seem a bit evil, and considering that non-verbal communication is extremely important (and smileys are internet non-verbal communication) I feel that by removing that you’re doing your readers, and ours, a disservice.

    Again, normal readers of our 9rules weblog know that we try to interject humor whenever we get the chance (I know I hate stale weblog posts!) and every single time I re-read that post all I can see is the humor. Maybe I’m missing something, but it doesn’t sound unappreciative or insulting at all to me.

    I mean, our friends at Turboblogger got the joke …. maybe it’s you who missed the boat :)

  2. By Duncan posted on September 7, 2005 at 10:42 pm
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    Bugger, I’ve got a new name :-)

  3. By Duncan posted on September 7, 2005 at 10:51 pm
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    I should note a smiley face doesn’t make a joke, content does, and yes, you are missing something, you’ve failed to show appreciation to your readers in the first place for linking. DO THIS, you are saying, AND F*CK OFF if your don’t because we couldn’t care less about you. Hey Mike, the only boat that’s sailed here in the “I appreciate people” boat at 9rules if this if you don’t get this.

  4. By Mike Rundle posted on September 7, 2005 at 11:31 pm
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    Hey Duncan, I honestly apologize about the Richard thing, no idea how that name got into my head.

    That being said, we definitely appreciate everyone who is either a member, a reader, or just a casual supporter. We would never say or insinuate that we don’t care about people who support us since burning bridges in the community just really isn’t the path to take.

    I do want to thank you for pointing this out to us however, as we will definitely be more careful in future announcements or posts on our company weblog.

    Thanks Duncan.

  5. By Gordon posted on September 8, 2005 at 4:49 am
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    Have to admit that, having read some of Scrivs site, and a few of the 9RULES network (sorry, couldn’t resist) I think I would take this in context of humour.

    Mind you, missing the smiley doesn’t help…

    Mike – one thing which seems really obvious is a closing line of “of course, you know we’re joking, right?” or something. Yeah it may be obvious to you but it, obviously, isn’t obvious to others (he said obviously… again).

    Note: This comment was written in an effort to be humourous. It may have failed.

  6. By Duncan posted on September 8, 2005 at 5:05 am
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    Gordon
    I accept it the later part was meant in humor, but certainly when you start asking people to link to you in a particular way, you do so very nicely, every link counts and every link is important, you certainly don’t want to appear ungrateful for a link. Sure, a joke at the end, but it still says FU to me if I was linking to the 9rules network in the wrong way, and after all, its just one capital letter! :-)

  7. By John (SYNTAGMA) posted on September 8, 2005 at 6:12 am
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    This is the great weakness of the internet, isn’t it? When you can’t see the body language or facial expression, irony can seem wicked. I doubt that subtle humour plays well online. It’s like arsenic, useful in homeopathic quantities.

  8. By Darren posted on September 8, 2005 at 7:47 am
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    Have to say I saw this and didn’t really see it as a humerous post. I wasn’t particularly offended by it or anthing but saw it as a bit of a wasted post. HoHum…

  9. By Mike Rundle posted on September 8, 2005 at 11:46 am
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    *Mike quits the internet because all non-verbal communication is futile*

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  11. By martin posted on September 8, 2005 at 8:57 pm
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    Humor is a hard act to do – with this one what they wanted was to get people to change the way they were linking to them (remember, it’s people who out of their good will link to them) so there’s a fine line between making the demand and then trying to be humourous about it. Smiley’s don’t really work – it’s the way you write it up.

    Duncan, actually what you put up as to how you would write it is pretty spot on and would have done the job nicely. You’ve mixed self-deprecating humor with what you want people to do quite well.

    upsetting 100 people in 100 days – I like it ;-) and you’re well on your way … whose next: you’ve done Jason, 9Rules (sorry 9rULES … 9rules) …

  12. By Duncan posted on September 8, 2005 at 10:00 pm
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    Martin

    you’ve hit it on the head, you’ve got to be able to admit faults yourself and be able to take the piss out of yourself as well.

    On a much more serious note though maybe I’ll have to call for nominations as to who I can upset next….I’ve been thinking of some names…maybe 100 sacred cows of blogging slammed or similar :-)

  13. By martin posted on September 8, 2005 at 10:18 pm
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    Duncan, here’s a some ideas for your 100 sacred cows list ;-)

    – Seth Godin (not that he’s done anything wrong, just because he’s too good)

    – Scooble (once again)

    – Darren from proBlogger (c’mon think of a controversy …anything – he’s too much of a nice guy ;-)

    – Apple (for their sledgehammer approach in keeping the term pod to themselves)

    – Sirfry (from Technroati just because everyone’s onto him)

    – Donald Trump (now that’s one famous blogger!!!)

    Actually anybody or company that’s famous will do … and while you’re at it add a “I’m Sorry” category.

    BTW, link to me you lazy bastard – I’ve sent you emails ;-)

  14. By Duncan posted on September 8, 2005 at 11:09 pm
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    Id love to do Seth but he is the ultimate in sacred cows, I’d be lynched, strung up, spat upon…..you get the picture. The odd thing with Seth is that his idea’s aren’t really new, they are just articulated in an amazingly refreshing way and applied to new world scenarios that are unique in the marketplace. As someone with a marketing background I know that nothing is new in marketing, PR, customer relations. It doesn’t matter how new and wonderful you might find the idea, 99.9999% of times someones done it before, even if you didn’t know about them before doing it.

    Darrens off limits because he really is a great guy, and I know this from experience. Trump is fair game. Sifrys a nice guy with a really, really crap product at the moment, but again I’m still secretly hoping he fixed Technorati, we all do. Apple sues bloggers, so they are always fair game, Scoble……well……bigger legal pockets than me, I’ll leave that to others. He needs to lighten up though, not only in terms of his weight :-)

  15. By Duncan posted on September 8, 2005 at 11:09 pm
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    Martin
    see link roll :-)

  16. By martin posted on September 8, 2005 at 11:31 pm
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    Agree 100% – nothing is new in marketing – it’s just that Seth has the knack of getting simple ideas across … must be a gift or something. Would love to have 1/2 an hour with him to pick his brain.

    Of course I was kidding about Darren ;-) – I have heard of stage-managed controverseries between friends just for a lark and a publicity boast…

    Sifry – I like the whole concept behind Technorati but I think they’re trying to do too much too soon – stick to the basics and get that right.

    seriously though, controversy marketing is a proven field if done and managed correctly I’m told – although I don’t know how you can manage a controversy, as they usually take a life of their own.

    The trick is to pick on someone much, much bigger than you are. Going against a guy/business of similar size does zip … everyone would like to take a pot shot at a big corporation once in a while.

    Example: I took a pot shot at MSN Messenger playing up on me this week (ie: it was giving me the you know what … and I ranted) – check my comments and emails later and I’m in direct contact with a technical director from MSN (an actual MS employee) not bad for a little bog like myself – they must monitor the blogosphere quite closely.

    CHeers for the link.

  17. By Duncan posted on September 9, 2005 at 2:18 am
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    Martin
    interesting your should mention the tech director being in contact with you, smart companies are responding to blogs, dumb ones aren’t. I see it here from time to time as well, sometimes it shocks you how high up the people are as well.

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