Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blog Attacks! - How to defend your business.

I recently had the following information published on an e-zine. Since this information is useful to all of us, I thought I would share it with everyone. Feel free to re-post this information on your blog, but please remember to give credit as to where you found it.

Tonight as I was typing another article up I receive a convo through Etsy. The convo (or Etsy email) was from a blogger. This particular blogger had chosen my store to feature in their blog. However unlike most blogs, this one fell into the realm of an attack blog. This blogger accused me of using stained glass containing lead in my earrings. I have never met this blogger before, nor had I heard of their blog. Apparently, as I read the commentary, this blogger intended on attacking my store without notifying me. One reader however called the blogger out on their behavior and suggested that they contact me and find out the facts instead of posting unfounded accusations. The blogger wrote me that they had blogged about the possible lead hazard in my reclaimed stained glass.

Now to let you in on the scoop, the earrings in question are made from scraps of stained glass which are left over from stained glass projects. They have not been anywhere near a lead came, the accuse source of lead contamination in the blog. They are just recycled glass that I saved from heading into the trash because I thought this beautiful medium work look better as jewelry than landfill debris. As I stated earlier, I have neither met this blogger, nor had I ever heard of them. I was taken aback by the situation because I am the type of seller that has no problem answering questions from potential customers. If at any point before this, I had been contacted and asked about the source of my glass, I would have been more than happy to have a conversation with them. I would have told them about the nice stained glass shop I visit, where the owner saves scraps, which I happily pick through until I find the perfect piece. But I was never contacted. No questions were ever asked.

So knowing the facts, how would you react to a blog attack? I did get angry. Who wouldn't? And I did type up a rather blatant attack response. But there I stopped. I did NOT hit the send button. Instead I asked my dear husband to look over my response. And calmly he pointed out that although I may be justified in feeling angry, if I posted what I had written, the blogger had won. The blogger would have been justified in their attack. So I read the post again and reworded it. I stated where the stained glass had come from, and that I was aware of the risks of lead. I stated that the glass had not been anywhere near the lead cames the blogger was so concerned had contaminated them.

While attacking the blogger would have made me feel much better, it would have hurt me in the long run. By stopping my post, re-reading it, getting input, and then calmly re-writing the post to address the points without allowing myself the gratitude of an attack, I was able to keep a professional decorum and still make my point. I was able to defend my work without seeming desperate or sinking to the bloggers level. I was able to rise above it.

Have you ever done that? Have you ever seen the results when that happens? It can be quite gratifying in itself. I did briefly return to the bloggers page and view the comments. The blogger had responded to my post with more attacks. However their grammar had changed. The sentence structures rambled on and were very inconsistent. The spelling became almost unrecognizable. The thought process was impossible to follow. I realized very quickly that the blogger was now angry. They were trying to provoke me. I had successfully defended my work, and left the blogger without a leg to stand on.

By the way, if you are wondering what happened with the blog post; twenty-four hours after the initial post, I received a tweet informing me that all the links and references to my store had be retracted. I also received several sales during this time period. As I have grown into adulthood, I have realized there are times to defend yourself and there are times to just hand your attacker that extra inch of rope. I had defended my work. I had proven my points, and I did it without sinking into the mud. The second rounds of attacks fall into the category of that extra inch of rope. Rather than respond or attack, I just walked away.

People that maliciously attack artists behind the guise of anonymous blogs are people who are desperately looking to make a name for themselves. Irony right? In the long run, the blogger's desperation winds up creating a negative image of the blogger. If they attack enough people, the masses wise up and see them for whom they are, and then their word becomes worthless. If you are worried that someone may not buy from you because of something a blogger wrote, don't. If someone wants to believe a blogger like that, they were not your target customer anyway. On the flip side, many artists are now making sales by being blasted on blogs like Regretsy, so it may actually send you some customers.

If you are an artist that gets attacked in this way, know that sinking to the level of your attacker in not going to help you, it just gives them creditability. However by keeping a professional decorum, they end up sinking their own ship and you will get to laugh all the way to the bank.

April Williams is a full time working mother. Aside from her full time job, April creates and sells beautiful artisan jewelry. She loves working with mediums such as natural stones, sea glass, stained glass, and sterling silver. You can find her work for sell in her Eluna Jewelry Etsy Store.

3 comments:

  1. Hi..
    I'm sorry that happened to you, but happy that things worked out in the long run. I've never had that exact situation happen, but when someone makes me angry, I do, indeed, respond in kind... however ... the response is "published" only into my private journal, kept in my own computer.

    There is never a risk of accidentally hitting that 'send' button, and making a bad situation worse, because that would require the extra step of a copy/paste from the MSWord document in which I'm writing out my angst.

    So, blast them to smithereens, I do. Then, I calmly select 'save' to my journal, and with the raw emotions off my chest, I am, as you wisely pointed out, then able to respond on a rational level.

    Sometimes the journal entries stay there, sometimes I delete them after a second reading months or a year or more later. By that point, whatever the issue was no longer matters.

    You are a wise person, and I thank you for sharing your experience.

    Cheers, Lizzy (aka DzyMsLizzy on Etsy)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great Eluna! I have learned so much from this post - I also remember the night it happened as I was on the thread at the same time -
    Thanks for reminding us - me - of the higher ground..stepping back and taking a deep breath, calming down and remembering business and professionalism.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love your article, I referenced it in a similar post I did in my blog. Feel proud how you were able to discredit that blogger with facts.

    ReplyDelete

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!