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Friday, November 17, 2006


Thanks for the feedback -- I'm not sure exactly the story here, but our regular TypePad Featured Blogs *are* just picked because we think they're interesting or really show off what the platform can do.

That being said, we do have a sponsor relationship with Nissan and this may well be part of it (I honestly don't know, but I'll try to find out). If we didn't disclose that, then we definitely screwed up and I'll try to make sure we are better about disclosing this stuff.

On the other hand, if we write that we think something is an interesting experiment, that's probably how we honestly feel. I definitely appreciate that you get that we're trying to do the right thing here, and even if (as it appears) we screwed up on this one, that you're at least willing to give the benefit of the doubt to us enough to complain means that it's not hopeless. Thanks for the criticism. :)

Responding to my complaining *on* my blog, in my comments! Now that's what I would have expected out of TypePad. Thank you, thank you.

(And much less corpo-robotic than the initial support response that I got in e-mail, which in part told me how to change my settings to stop receiving TypePad e-mail, something I clearly already knew how to do, since I specifically stated that.)

I didn't know about the Featured Blogs area, but the e-mail I received was obviously influenced by a sponsor relationship (it was called "TypePad Talks - November 2006," and I can fwd it to you). And that's really what rankled me, because it seemed sneaked in, along with a transparent relationship plug (for LinkedIn) and some other nontargeted info (incl. a link to "Getting Started" with TypePad). I.e., there's *no* disclosure that Nissan has any relationship with TypePad, but even a marginally media-savvy reading makes it clear that there is a relationship.

If you truly are just featuring blogs you think are cool (if that was a coincidence, which I find hard to believe), then I would expect you to go out of your way to *not* feature a blog from a company that is compensating you w/o making that clear. To weave in "cool blogs" w/ paid ads is insidious and undermines your credibility.

There's nothing morally wrong with shilling, but it seems unethical (and, in the long term, bad business) to pretend that it isn't what it is. I do marketing work for plenty of big, bumbling evil companies, including e-mails and Web writing, and they often insist on treating their customers that way—and I think they tend to get that same contempt and distrust from their customers in return.

To repeat my original complaint here: don't have me pay for a service (albeit a great and affordable service) and then send me e-mails that market products from other companies, while not calling them marketing e-mails and not giving me a chance to opt out of them. I *want* to receive "announcements and news" from TypePad—and I don't even mind you marketing your *own* products and services to me—but I don't want to hear about Nissan blogs.

Thanks again for the thoughtful response, though! I appreciate that you guys are trying and that it's impossible to get everything 100% right all the time. (But you do come close, so maybe the bar is higher.)

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