Blogging

If You Can’t Trust Your Blog Collaborator, Don’t Collaborate!

For some bloggers, a blog collaborator may be a good solution to the challenge of creating content on a consistent basis. But success requires trust between collaborators.

A year ago, I was contacted by a would-be blog collaborator — I’ll call her “Gina” — who wanted to propose a trade. The terms were simple: if I would provide a blurb for an upcoming BuzzFeed article about blogging productivity, “Gina” would write a post for my blog.

As a general rule, I don’t accept guest post solicitations. I make this quite clear, in really large text, on my contact page. That, of course, doesn’t stop people from using that very contact form to propose guest posts. But their inattention to detail doesn’t stop me from saying no or just deleting their email without a response.

But this case was a bit different. An article about advice from other bloggers about managing deadlines or managing time with a link to my blog on BuzzFeed might have been a good promotional opportunity. After all, BuzzFeed has roughly 7,000 times the traffic that my little blog has, so it seemed like a good opportunity.

“Gina” promised to write a post that would be within the topics I write about and even gave me the choice of article titles she could write.

Here’s a quick timeline.

I received the first email from her on April 11, 2017. I sent her my tip on April 22. I asked if the length of the tip was sufficient and on April 24, she said it was perfect. She also told me she’d let me know when the article went live. On April 26, I emailed her my rules — pretty standard, commonsense rules — for guest posts on my blog. On May 11, she sent me her post, which I ran within about two weeks.

On May 24, she told me her article was going live by the end of the month.

I never heard from her again. Until this week.

Here we go again.

Out of the blue, “Gina” contacted me again proposing another collaboration. She suggested more topic ideas. There was no mention of that BuzzFeed post she supposedly had been working on. So, ignoring her proposal, I asked for a link.

Then she tells me the article on BuzzFeed never happened. Instead, she posted it on a different website I’d never heard of. She provided a link to an article published on July 4, 2017, that did indeed feature tips from a variety of bloggers. Mine was in there, too.

But something appeared to be a bit off.

Each tip was separated by a horizontal border. Mine fell right in the middle of a three-paragraph tip from someone else.

While I’m sure law enforcement would never come to me to assist them in a forensic investigation, I can say that I’m pretty good at finding out things. I did a bit of research. As recently as late September, 2017, my blurb was not in the article. (Oh yes, I have a screenshot.) Sometime after September — at least five months after I ran her guest post — my paragraph was not only shoved into the middle of someone else’s tip, it actually replaced a middle paragraph of theirs!

This website, incidentally, has about twice the daily visitors mine has. That’s a far cry from BuzzFeed, which, as I said, has more than 7,000 times the number of visitors my site has.

So I was quick to respond via email that I didn’t feel her work was “a good fit” for my blog.

Fool me once, shame on you. But fool me twice, shame on me.

I don’t accept guest posts. After this little experience, the chances of me bending that rule have decreased exponentially.

Oh, and by the way, that guest post “Gina” wrote is no longer on this site.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.