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11 September 2010


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Sandi K

I's confoosed...so, its like a generic blog comment and lots of different companies use it to go after each other? I thought I had seen it all. These companies are real wieners.

Christie Keith

The comments are individually written, but the gist is identical:

They've recently begun feeding Blue Buffalo, noted problems, and switched back to the original food (brand always identified) and then, voila, problem solved! And nearly all say they "never had any problems" with the old food.

One such comment might be real and spontaneous. Forty million? No. And one brand has been used more than any other, and it's a DIRECT market competitor of BB. But they are not the only mentioned brand.


And here I thought you were talking about Pedigree's latest campaign: http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2010/09/the-saturday-pet-blogger-hop-special-edition-write-a-post-help-a-dog/

David S. Greene

I killed one last night and three today. These posts all give rise to the same thought -- the commenter doth protest too much.

Seriously, amateur (or paid) marketers. I think Christie and Gina would back me up on this: if you want to come and engage in a real conversation, we like that. Conversation means you bring up a point, then someone else responds---it does NOT mean you say the EXACT same thing you said the first time, again, only louder with added snark. That's not conversation, that's rude. Don't insult our readership. They're a sharp crowd. They see right through you. So do we. Conversation = good. Blatant, pitiful, rather unsubtle marketing = bad.

So the moral of the story is: be honest. Be a real person. If all you're doing is being a defensive, shilling astroturfer, be elsewhere.

Gina Spadafori

Now that the latest book is done I gotta work on a nice, simple comment policy and staple it to the front screen. :)

Christie Keith

Heather, actually, we give bonus points for added snark in SMART posts. So you're good.

H. Houlahan

Can I still play with the added snark?

David S. Greene

And note that while David mentioned that Honest Kitchen is a Pet Connection sponsor, he buys the food at the pet store like anyone else.

Comment by Gina Spadafori — September 12, 2010 @ 7:21 am

I bought a 10 pound box of Force just last week, in fact. Full retail. Cheap it isn't.


Is the sin that they did not pay for endorsement or is the sin that they were hiding who they were?

Or do you consider "sponsorship" something different than advertising?

I raise the issue because in the very next post on this blog David Greene says you have a pet food company sponsor (who can be seen in the upper right corner advertising "human grade” food, a term which, of course, has no legal definition). And, of course, you have had a drug company sponsor, take paid ads, and also do contest giveaways (a kind of product endorsement), etc. Also, some of the folks who write for you are paid by companies to plump pet products and services.

So is free bad, but paid is OK? Or is it simply that you want people to be who they say they are and explain their conflicts? In which case devulging all payments from companies to writers would be a good idea for the bloggers as well as the folks who write comments.



"Conversation means you bring up a point, then someone else responds—-it does NOT mean you say the EXACT same thing you said the first time, again, only louder with added snark."

Comment by David S. Greene — September 11, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

Oh great David. You just killed the internet.

David S. Greene

I know. Sorry 'bout that.

Gina Spadafori

The PetConnection has a handful of companies that pay for banner/ad space. None of the bloggers gets paid for blogging. We pay a couple of our folks an extremely small amount for other jobs -- social media and watching for news (Christie/David), archives (Phyllis) and product review management (Ericka).

I also draw a salary that's considerable less than the "day job" I left in March for my more than full-time activities related to writing/editing on all our media platforms, from books to magazine articles to research and more. Dr. Becker has worked as a company spokesman, but not for any of our PetConnection sponsors and none of those products have been written about at sponsor request, with sponsor review or with anything but honest assessment of their merits, if they merit them.

Sponsorships/advertising has been provided the operating costs for media outlets since ... well, forever. Reputable outlets maintain a wall between advertising and editorial, and we do, too. Sadly, we're not all independently wealthy, and the website bills must be paid. Hence: Ads.

So yes, our problem is people hiding the fact that they're getting paid to post comments.

We're not hiding anything.

And note that while David mentioned that Honest Kitchen is a Pet Connection sponsor, he buys the food at the pet store like anyone else.

Kathy Whorrall

It's just sad that these companies doing this kind of thing spend more money & time on trying to put the others out of business instead of taking that money & just making a decent,toxic free food! Just shows they care more about themselves than people's pets.Also they don't seem to understand that more & more people a learning about their deceptive advertising and horrible ingredients. Thanks for helping to keep all of us that care educated.

Sandi K

Not to mention, if they dont want to say who they are, what does that say about their feelings towards their own product? One would think if they work for the company, they would be proud to state that, if they feel their product is so terrific. Instead what I see in some cases, is reps or employees not saying who they are and then when they get called out, they get defensive, go into attack mode and then leave. Not very good advertisement for the company or the product in my opinion.

Even though Ive been watching on-line behavior of PFC's since 2007, Im still learning about some of the ploys they come up with. Like the Pedigree campaign thing thing mentioned in a comment above. Fine, donate some food to a shelter, and good for them for doing it, but why go make people write something in order to do it. I guess its for advertising purposes, I dont know. But in my mind, it would be better if the company just donated the darn food and announced it to everyone to get their kudos instead of making people jump through hoops. Dont get me wrong, I think more companies should donate food to shelters, lord knows they can use every bit of it. But it doesnt mean the company is more trustworthy or they have a better food or that they care more, etc. Nutro also donates food but during some past recalls they havent been..well say...as responsible..as they could have been in getting word out about their recalls.

And I am no expert when it comes to pet food, etc but I am learning that when I see someone writing, brand X is a family-owned, holistic company, then more than likely its a PFC.

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