Saturday, November 22, 2008

RoboBlog

Someone (you know who you are) asked me what I thought of PlumbSocial.com, a web hosting/roboblogging service advertising itself on such indy sites as Publishers Weekly. Apparently for a mere $1200.00 in set-up fees (plus $19.95/month, plus add-on charges of $30 to $80/hour) they will "develop a presence" on the internet for you (which translates to they'll create and host your blog and update it as well feed it to other social sites like Feedburner, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Upcoming, Twitter, Squidoo, Pingfm, etc.)

I am in the wrong damn business is what I think.

Let's break down exactly what this service does:

1. It creates a blog for you (does not create blog content, just a blog.)

You can do the same by yourself for nothing; you just have to register with a free bloghosting service like Blogger and click your mouse a few times.

2. It creates duplicate accounts on all the social blogging/video/vanity sites (again, note that they do not create blog content, they only create other places to dump it, and they dump it for you.)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe 99% of those sites are also free to anyone who wants to register and click the mouse a few times.

3. It updates everything for you with whatever content you upload to them.

I don't maintain any social site but this blog, so I don't know how hard it is to upload your content to more than one site, but I'm guessing it's just a few minutes and another couple of clicks of the mouse per site.

So for a first year cost of $1439.40 (plus $30-$80 an hour for extra stuff like adding new pages and whatnot) you can basically hire PlumbSocial.com to . . . click your mouse for you. After you click your mouse uploading your stuff to them.

I know what you're thinking -- you're in the wrong damn business, too, yes?

I'm old-fashioned; I think to have an online presence, you have to occasionally be present online. I also think (no matter who does the majority of the clicking) that uploading the same stuff to twenty different sites makes one look like an unimaginative selfpromoslut. More of the same is not better, it's just more of the same. But if you've got fifteen hundred bucks to burn, who am I to tell you to curtail your content or click your own mouse?

So here's the bottom line: as much as I'd love to sit by the pool, sip Mimosas with my BFF and natter on about the problems I'm having with the maids, the great botox party I went to last night, and where on earth will I ever get a decent Brazilian wax while some roboblogging service uploads my schlock to everywhere in virtual creation, I think I can do this stuff myself.

16 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:36 AM

    PlumbSocial.com sounds shifty. I hope people read your post before they ose any money on that site.

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  2. You know there's a slew of people lining up for the service because they're so eager to be a presence online. It makes me sick that people take advantage of others like that. I maintain a blogger and a livejournal (half my friends are on one, half on the other), and all I do is copy and paste from one to the other. It takes, at most, three minutes.

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  3. You don't know the half of it, Lynne....the sad thing is that you can configure all those sites to feed off one another. So if you update Blogger, Facebook/Twitter/Skype/what have you *automatically*.

    My husband (the computer God) set it up for both me and him. I just told him about it and he laughed.

    "Someone's sure being had."

    And so it looks like it.

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  4. Keita Haruka6:47 AM

    Bwahahaha! I'm sorry, but I find this incredibly funny. If people are stupid enough to fall for something like that, they deserve to lose the money. I mean...before spending that abount of cash, it would make sense to check out what you're getting and whether you can get it cheaper elsewhere. Do that and you'll soon discover that you're being taken for a ride.

    Is it pure laziness that lead people to just jump into things like that?

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  5. JKB is right. You can have them pick up the content from your site without you having to do more than the initial setup.

    Nothing surprises me anymore.

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  6. Good grief...what a frickin scam!

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  7. To have an online presence you must occasionally be online? Heretic!

    Seriously, it's not that hard to DIY.

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  8. Jackie, I'm even lazier. I put a blogger feed into my LJ and only update my blog. :)

    The only thing I have to do is to check the comments on LJ because those don't automatically appear on the blog. But that scam 'service' won't deal with the active interaction of comments and replies to comments anyway. But that's exactly the thing that distinguishes a blog from a static website.

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  9. Facebook has this handy thing I keep in my bookmarks that I only need to click to post content--ANY content--to my page there. And I can edit what shows up.

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  10. WOW! Wrong business is right!

    If you use Firefox, scribefire does that with just a few clicks.

    Now, if they wanted to also clean my house, do my laundry and chauffeur me around, I might consider it...

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  11. The audacity of that price is breathtaking, considering it's an hour's work to set up a block and possibly another hour to set up the accounts.

    Consider this: I know a little HTML and CSS, so I use Expression Engine's free core to build my site, spent a couple bucks on URLs a GoDaddy, and pay $7.50 a month for hosting, plus $17.95 a month to Earthlink for online access. (Yeah, I'm uber cheap).

    So my self-promotion costs run about 300 a year, and they're asking for $1,500 to start, and you still have to provide the content.

    That leaves me speechless.

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  12. Plumb Social is not a service for those who have the time and resources to build:

    A custom WordPress Website, complete with:

    A custom theme
    Image gallery
    Video gallery
    Optimized blog
    Links to all your social sites
    Feedburner feed with email subscription option
    Flickr and upcoming.org badges
    Additional Social Web plugins

    Monthly maintenance that includes:

    The lastest version of WordPress
    The latest versions of plugins for SEO, Spam filtering, Caching, Security, and more
    Regular maintenance and security checks
    Future features added at no additional charge, that will shortly include social analytics

    Initially populated with:

    Images from Flickr
    Videos from YouTube
    Events from Upcoming.org
    Lifestream plugin
    Three edited blog posts
    Additional entries charged at $30/hour (we can do up to 4 posts in an hour)

    An optimized Social Web presence that includes:

    Facebook page
    Facebook profile
    MySpace page
    Squidoo lens
    Twitter account
    Upcoming.org account
    Flickr account
    YouTube account
    Feedburner account
    A fully initialized Ping.fm account
    Two additional social accounts depending on niche
    All accounts initially populated with optimized key terms, titles, and descriptions

    Integration of all of these accounts, for:

    RSS feed (blog entries)
    Flickr images
    YouTube videos
    Upcoming events
    Ping.fm accounts

    Complete documentation that includes:

    A four-page questionnaire gathering information for optimizing and personalizing each account
    Full account information for each client account
    Complete instructions on how to maintain and optimize accounts and blog entries.

    In addition to a knowledgeable human who can answer questions and walk one through the entire process.

    Rather, it is a service for busy entrepreneurs, business owners, authors, and publishers who can appreciate the value this service has to offer, and who understand and value expertise in providing first-rate service. That is, they would prefer to have a healthy, optimized Social Web presence, as opposed to a one-hour job that will leave them holding the bag.

    Yes, they could do it themselves, but they do not have the time and resources to do the research or the implementation. As experienced business people they look to other professionals with the experience, know how, and proven track record to do it for them. And they are willing to pay for the peace of mind that hiring such a professional brings to their business.

    If they do want to do it themselves, I write articles regularly for the Web and for IBPA's Independent on how anyone can do what Plumb Social does, if they so choose. I write these articles because I firmly believe in the adage that you cannot keep what you have without giving it away.

    You can find many of the articles, here:

    http://www.socialmediapower.com/in-the-news/
    http://www.socialmediapower.com/articles/

    I also have an article coming out in the January issue of IBPA's Independent called “Streamlining Your Presence in the Social Web” which reveals how you can integrate all of your accounts yourself the same way we do at Plumb Social.

    However, as I mentioned before, many businesses have no interest in doing it for themselves. They would rather have a professional who understands how a business needs to represent itself in the Social Web, so that they can spend their time running their core business.

    They could also do their own accounting, PR work, marketing, Web development, Graphic design, etc. As a book publisher, I could easily download a free copy of Gimp, teach myself how to use it, and design my own book covers. Luckily for my authors, however, I choose to rely on professionals to do such things for me. Sure, I may get lucky once in a while and get a nice cover for $200, but usually I am willing to pay $500 to $800 for the peace of mind that it is going to look good and be done right. And I respect the investment of time and the experience that contributes to doing that job well.

    Thank you for your time,

    Deltina Hay
    www.socialmediapower.com
    www.plumbsocial.com

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  13. Deltina wrote: Plumb Social is not a service for those who have the time and resources to build...

    Generally I reject veiled SPAM comments, Ms. Hay, even those that are as courteously delivered as this one, but there are few points you made that keep it from being a 100% sales pitch, so I'll let it stand.

    That is, they would prefer to have a healthy, optimized Social Web presence, as opposed to a one-hour job that will leave them holding the bag.

    Alas, my personal experience has been the exact opposite; I've wasted a considerable amount of my income on professional services like yours that did absolutely nothing for me, but my little one-hour freebie job here has made me a rather popular blogger in my industry and one of the top 100 female bloggers on the internet (or so I've been voted.) So we must agree to disagree.

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  14. Everything else aside, Lynn, thank you very much for letting me defend a service I have put a lot of work into.

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  15. I bought the service and I don't feel scammed. I have multiple businesses and need the assistance in promo. One of you posted to just use "HTML and CSS" and there were several other mentions of technology and other ways to do this, proving that you aren't in the audience for this service in the first place. You sound like a bunch of programmers with extra time not business people under pressure.

    The fact that your comments are tuned to "I'm in the wrong business," maybe you should go into business then, create a product like this person did instead of fussing because you could build your own car more cheaply. But get off this poor lady's back. This is ganging up, not commentary.

    Fussy tech arguers who wish they were in tech biz instead of book biz are annoying to the rest of us trying to just do biz.

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  16. Les wrote: I bought the service and I don't feel scammed.

    Contrasting points of view are always welcome here at PBW, if they're delivered politely. Yours is pushing it. I also find it rather odd that you suddenly pop up out of nowhere to endorse this service provider on the same day the provider basically SPAMs my comments, but hey, maybe it's another one of those amazingly convenient internet coincidences.

    In any event, so that I'm not inundated with a slew of happy Plumb Social clients trying to start flame wars with my regular visitors, I'm going to close comments to this post now. Have a nice day.

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