Famous last words: “I thought that it would be a good case study.” Please, don’t let this happen to you.
Crissy of dearcrissy.com reports on a most unusual offer that claims to be from MommyNetworks.org, a network of mommy bloggers. Essentially, it’s what appears to be an attempt by Toyota to buy a bunch of positive PR with $10 Amazon gift cards.
Except Toyota said they have no affiliation with MommyNetworks, and Samantha Snyder, the owner of MommyNetworks, said this in an email response to Crissy:
I am a toyota owner, that saw this come out last week and I thought that it would be a good case study. Honestly, look at my FB page. I really thought that I could bring up something as large as this recall and create a portfolio for MommyNetworks.org.
Oh, Ms. Snyder, it’s a good case study all right. It’s a good case study for what not to do as the owner of a mommy blog network! Especially the part about not specifically stating you have no affiliation with Toyota. Frankly, that would do very little to cover the overwhelming fishy smell on this post, but at least Toyota’s legal team would be much less likely to have grounds to jump all over you.
Even fishier is that originally, MommyNetworks had a Care.com copyright notice, until (we assume) the real Care.com noticed and told MommyNetworks to get rid of it. I wonder if, maybe, that’s a remnant of plagiarism that someone sloppily forgot to delete? It definitely smells like one.
Right now, I can’t even get the MommyNetworks website to load, and what appears to have been their Twitter and Facebook pages are also curiously gone. The domain mommynetworks.org has a(n also rather fishy) contact info with the name “Registration Private” and organization “Domains By Proxy, Inc.” A legitimate organization usually does not need to hide behind such details (I have a P.O. Box for my domain contacts to avoid directly disclosing my residence address). Domain privacy services have their place (clearly personal websites), but this isn’t it. (Now, maybe I’d expect a “Registration Private” in charge for Army websites. Even there, I’d hope at least a Specialist or Corporal was actually running things.)
The lesson to learn from this: Include your disclaimer and get appropriate permission, lest you find yourself meddling in the affairs of dragons without, for your reputation and social media presence are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.