brian on 2007.05.01
at 09:10 pm
What can you do when a favorite blogger breaks your heart?
There’s been a recent trend: bloggers going full time, supported by their loyal readers. But what do their supporters get? For the most part, they get some quality content. But what happens when the bloggers let down their readership?
Sadly this is happening to me. Someone whose opinion I respect greatly, John Gruber has let me down. Its clear that his business acumen is not what his Mac punditry is.
I signed up to be a supporter of Daring Fireball’s during its first pledge drive. For the first year, John’s writing was of high quality, but poor frequency. He talked about various features (comments come to mine) that never materialized. I was disappointed in my investment. Additionally, I had originally signed up with an old AOL email address, because it was what was hooked up to my PayPal account. Attempting to leave that address I asked John to change my account over to a more current address. It took several months for that to occur. This was a bad omen. I continued to have a couple issues with the authenticated feed.
DF’s frequency picked up dramatically about a month or so before his first year was up. It was reminiscent of a baseball player in the last year of his contract— batting average jumped 20 points.
In response to this, I decided to re-up my membership. Additionally, I invested in one of his t-shirts, to say “I appreciate your new dedication, keep heading in this direction.” This was the end of October 2006.
Today is the end of April of 2007. What can I do?
Tonight, I sent John yet another email. I’ve been writing every few months. I’m very patient. But come April, I had had enough. Seeing him post about other blogger’s t-shirts, designing special editions of his t-shirts and selling those, reading Twitter posts about him sending out batches of aforementioned shirts. But yet, he can’t return my emails?
Actually, John did respond to one email, March 25… to an email I had sent exactly one month earlier. It said,
Ends up I never did add your order to the list. I’m sorry, it’s
totally my fault.
I’m printing a shipping label for you tonight. Size Medium,
classic gray shirt…
I’ve also added an extra year to your membership, extending it
through October 2008, as a token of my thanks for your patience
and support for DF.
Well, half of that wound up to be true. If I log into his website, I can see my subscription was extended. This tells me that I’m at least in the database. I’ve sent at least three follow-up emails since then, asking what happened to the shirt that was suppose to ship. Dead air.
But what can I do now? firstname.lastname@example.org is just a busy signal for me.
Has anyone considered the business practices of subscription bloggers? It’s one thing to try to eek out a living via Google ads and maybe the occasional speaking engagement, but when you openly solicit readers’ money, what recourse do readers have?
Is anyone else having these problems? Is John, or any other for-pay bloggers, mistreating their customers? If so, how would anyone know?
I’ve sent one final email to John before contacting my Credit Card company and PayPal to register a complaint. Since John’s a member of the Deck, I’m considering contacting them as well. They should know that his poor business practices are not reflecting on their brand and their advertiser’s brands well. I really don’t want to do this over $29. But it is simply insulting to take my money and then screw me over.
UPDATED May 2
My strategy was this: Write a final letter to JG Apr 30. Publish a blog post May 1, and if by the end of the night I didn’t hear anything, email various higher-profile bloggers to point out my post, in the hopes of gaining some attention, along with dropping a note to The Deck, his advertising network. If nothing happened by tonight, I would send a second round of emails to the various Apple blogs.
Interestingly I found a priority mail envelope in my mail this afternoon containing one Daring Fireball T-shirt. No note saying “sorry about all this” or anything. It’s a shame JG couldn’t have responded to my email with the heads up before I sent out those emails. Not that this invalidates any of those. It’s still ridiculous that I had to go through all of this to get a stupid t-shirt. But at least I didn’t have to go to the second round.
Posted in: Web
Jeff Byrnes said on 2007.05.02 at 01:08 am
I’m a fan of Gruber’s writing as well, but it’s disheartening to hear this about his business practices. Hope he perks up & takes care of you Brian!
jojopo said on 2007.05.14 at 07:09 pm
My order takes some time too
I ordered and thought i would receive the shirt a week later. I have been waiting for more than two months now. This sucks monkey balls mr. john gruber.
It looks like this has been going on for some time now. http://crookedtimber.org/2007/02/25/the-daring-fireball-non-experience/
He seriously needs to apologize and stop taking orders.
jopopo said on 2007.05.14 at 07:16 pm
It looks like this problem has existed a long time now.
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