This morning I received an email from someone promoting his pixel advertising site which is targeting bloggers to buy space by deception.
The email was actually reasonably well written and outlined an opportunity to buy pixel squares along side other prestige blogs. It mentioned by name some very large blogs and pointed to it’s pixel map at www.worldblogcenter.com (I’m not linking up).
Here’s a screen capture (click to enlarge):
As you’ll see when you head there they’ve already signed on some very well known blogs – it’s very impressive.
Of course when you dig a little deeper you find that at least some of the more well known blogs that have ‘bought’ space have never heard of it before. I just spoke with Jason Calacanis who says he and his team at Engadget and The Cancer blog (both featured at present prominently) have not bought space and had no knowledge of their logos being used in this way. I’ve also talked to numerous others whose logo is being used and have had a similar response.
Those included presently on the page include:
- Boing Boing
- BusinessWeek Online
- Chris Pirillo
- Seeking Alpha
- Blog Critics
- Squre Space/
- Marketing Sherpa
- Search Engine Roundtable
- Search Engine Watch
They have grouped together a number of blogs of similar genres including SEO, sports, travel, tech, blogging etc obviously in the hope of trying to attract other unsuspecting bloggers to join up.
In my book this is deception.
Now perhaps some of these large blogs have signed up and I’m making a big deal over nothing – but I’m yet to find an ‘advertiser’ on the list who knows that their logo is being used although I worry that some might have already signed up under false pretenses. I have however had email from a few people who have been approached to join the program who were about to do so on the basis that other prominent blogs have (obviously the intention of the people behind the program).
In and of itself I have nothing against pixel ad programs (although apart from the first one I’ve not seen any that have worked) – what I do take issue with is when they try to gain momentum by dubious means that obviously prey on people’s desire to be seen next to prominent blogs who have not consented to be used in this way.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this site isn’t there in a few hours – if I was behind it I’d be worried about the reaction of those that it’s using the logos of in this way.
update: Digging a little deeper – their ‘press page’ also ‘looks’ quite impressive at a glance but just points to 9 places where the same press release have been published – example.
update 2: I’ve written an update on this story with further developments here.