The MommyNetworks-Toyota news disaster

Famous last words: “I thought that it would be a good case study.” Please, don’t let this happen to you.

Crissy of reports on a most unusual offer that claims to be from, 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

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 copyright notice, until (we assume) the real 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 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.

Can you say “catch-22?”

Truthout recently reported on a most disturbing trend: job openings not open to the currently unemployed. (Translation: a job one can’t get unless one already has a job.)

The real kicker, as the story goes on to report, is that the unemployed are currently not a protected class under current discrimination laws, at least not directly:

While the unemployed aren’t a protected class under civil rights laws, the practice could be legally problematic if it has a disparate or discriminatory effect on groups of job seekers who are subject to civil rights protections.

In a public meeting Wednesday at EEOC headquarters, several witnesses testified that excluding the unemployed from job openings could disproportionately affect African-Americans, Hispanics, people with disabilities and older workers — all federally protected groups whose jobless rates are well above the U.S. average.

So we can at least hold out hope that this is considered discrimination, albeit in a very backdoor fashion.

It shouldn’t come to that, though. It is a very unfortunate oversight that, until now, the possibility of discriminating against the unemployed has been overlooked as something that needs to be protected against. And for most of the last five decades, we haven’t needed to write that into the law books.

But, alas, it appears now we do. This is a new low for corporations, and to be honest, I’m not even sure what such an arbitrary exclusion is supposed to actually accomplish. Regardless, whatever companies are doing this (the Truthout story is unfortunately lacking names) should be ashamed of themselves.