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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blogs that are really ads for vanity publishers



There are millions of blogs on the web. I write this one because: (a) I like to write, (b) I think I am providing a useful service, (c) I hope that some readers will buy my books.

I write other blogs that have absolutely no commercial aspect.

On the other hand, there are blogs where making money is the prime raison d'être. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but what I don't like is what seems to be a growing trend for "corporate" blogs to hide behind personal, non-corporate names that mask the intent of the blog.

Some blogs display corporate logos, but it may not be apparent that the logo belogs to the operator of the blog and is not just a paid-for ad.

A casual visitor seeking unbiased information from a blog is often given a dose of highly biased -- and often inaccurate -- information.

Here are some examples:

  • Self-Publishing Advice looks like advice about self-publishing, but it really exists to promote vanity publisher Outskirts Press.
  • freeselfpublishingblog.com is not merely a blog about "free" self-publishing. It's an advertising medium for Wordclay, part of vanity-pub behemoth AuthorSolutions.
  • Self-publishing is the new black is really advertising for Xlibris, also part of AuthorSolutions.
  • Indie Book Writer is the blog of Keith Ogorek, vice president of marketing of AuthorSolutions.
  • michaelhyatt.com is not sneaky. It's obvious that it's the blog of the boss of Thomas Nelson, a "Christian" publisher that now provides vanity publishing services. Although it's not sneaky, the blog IS sleazy, because it's programmed to block comments -- even complimentary comments -- from people who are on Hyatt's enemies list. I am one of them.

It should be obvions that LuluBlog is not written by or about someone named Lulu. It's presented by pay-to-publish company Lulu.com, and provides useful and interesting content. While I dislike Lulu as a vanity publisher, I have been pleased with their eBook publishing service, and the company is more honest than some of its competitors.

Although I am on the verge of puking as I type this paragraph, I have to give a little bit of credit to the blog operated by Outskirts Press boss Brent Sampson. Although Brent and Outskirts are frequently dishonest in the way they portray other paths to publication, at least this blog does not hide its corporate connection and I have not yet noticed any big lies (except when it labels Outskirts a "self-publishing company"). On the other hand, the blog is not very useful or interesting.

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