As a general rule advertising directly to my kids is not something I’m happy with. Take a moment to watch this video. It’s a wonderful use of media.
How does the saying go? Screw me over once, shame on you. Screw me over twice shame on me?
This year, this tiny little calendar year of just 90 or so days has seen me screwed over twice already. On two separate occasions I’ve entered into work agreements with large brands who have agreed to a predetermined amount of money. One brand had four figures on the table, another had five. Both brands had pre-production meetings with me, both brands asked me to mark off days in my calendar, both brands had conference calls with me where they asked for input, and then both brands pulled the plug.
Neither production company had the courtesy to let me know either in writing or via telephone.
Both brands used outside agencies. Neither agency will ever get a response from me again. One agency is small, the other is not so small. In both instances the agency is the one who was the most underhanded. I will not name them, but if I win the lottery I’ll hire a skywriter.
Here’s the sequence of events; and bloggers I’m hopeful you’ll learn from me, because I really should have learned this before responding to the second request.
I get a phone call or email saying that an agency would like to pitch me as part of a package. They ask for my thoughts on it, and I gave a brief summary of ways I could be involved in the project. Both times the agencies thought I was a good match, a few emails went back and forth about the pricing, and in both instances the agencies agreed in writing on a price for the project.
Here is where I want to caution all of you.
In both instances the agencies had a series of phone calls with me. In both instances the agencies asked me to mark certain days off my calendar. In both instances the agencies understood the parameters of my work, in one case it was that I’d work for a certain number of hours, in another case it was that I’d work on a shoot and they’d hire child actors.
In both cases they used my ideas, I blocked off my time, and then when I called or emailed to reconfirm with my contact I was told that they’d pulled the plug, “Didn’t they tell you?” In both cases I’d reconfigured my schedule to make it work for them. In both cases I got paid not a penny. In once instance they wanted my kids to be part of the video in the 11th hour and in another instance they wanted to double the work time.
Apparently they think I’m either broke or stupid.
Bloggers. I caution you, this is a predatory world full of second third rate TV producers who are out to screw anyone they can in order to get their creative work done free. I will never take a phone call that lasts more than seven minutes without a contract in place, and I’ve actually taken the extreme move of hiring a talent manager. I’m done with it, because agencies give me a headache and steal my ideas.
What I offer to you is this advice. Do nothing without a contract and get half the money up front. If they can’t offer you a deposit, don’t give them ideas.
And I realize that y’all probably won’t listen to this because even I am bad at taking my own advice, but I’m cautioning you, everyone is jumping on the social media bandwagon, and they’re snakes.
I’m putting advertising back on the blog. I’m not sure how long it will last. As I recall my last ad network experience was way more trouble than it was worth.
I’ve had nothing but conference calls with networks today (no Federated didn’t call to insult me again) and they couldn’t be nicer. All of them. The problem is that I’m very tired from my weekend and I’m a little anxious about my husband’s pending surgery. I realized after the very last phone call that I really need to not work the rest of the day.
NICE AGENCY MAN: We would have you in our parenting vertical, and we have some great national advertisers there.
ME: Can I ask who?
NICE AGENCY MAN: ____, ____ and WalMart are all on board.
ME: [interrupting] Can you control who your advertisers are? I mean can I?
NICE AGENCY MAN: To a degree you can, but it’s not granular. We make sure there are no adult or liquor sponsorships…
ME: [interrupting again] Oh no, I like _____ and _____ and I’d totally rather have dildos and booze than WalMart. I just wanted to ask if I could be with you without WalMart?
And he was nice, charming even, because I couldn’t hear him sigh or hitting his head against the wall. There was no, “Jessica you’re a nutcase.” Just a simple explanation of how they were selling the space.
And then he said I could totally have dildos and booze on my channel but I’d have to take a little WalMart but I certainly could say anything I wanted; and I thought, Oh this poor man could not possibly have thought his MBA would bring him to this moment. No more calls today. I’m just done. D.U.N. Done.
I see that many of you are enjoying the post wherein I “out” JackMayhoffer as being a Federated Media Employee. Although I do appreciate that an SVP from Federated Media took the time to apologize on my blog, I do feel a need to let y’all know that this does not appear to be aberrant behavior.
At this point it’s important that everyone understand something. My original post, wherein I was trolled by a Federated Media employee did not name Federated Media. That post was about a phone call that I had with Federated about possibly joining with them, but it was a miserable phone call. It was unprofessional, it was rude, and I strongly suspect it was jam packed with half truths.
I was very careful to not name Federated Media in that post, because I had wanted to leave the door open. I thought there might be an opportunity for us to work together another time.
I’m slamming the door.
Earlier today someone was on the phone with me and said, “Have you googled jackmayhofferr and Federated Media?”
As I Googled, I screeched. Let me give you a few of Federated Media’s comments left on the web’s finest sites:
You guys have an ad next to your logo? Which you say people hate. Maybe you should have thought of that before posting. Or at least talked to you designers. – BusinessInsider.com June 2009
Mike you are delusional, you were NOT subsidizing smaller sites. You still don’t get it, do you? -Tech Crunch (directed at Michael Arrington) May 2009
Ummm — basically you have discovered the CPM pricing model. I hate to say this has been around since the 1990’s. Not all websites get paid by the click. I have been running one since 1999 and rarely take a cpc campaign. I do love what FM does because it involves high quality and paying engaging sponsorships that are great for both publisher and advertiser. PBS (left with no disclosure that she/he works for FM) November 2008
Isn’t Mahalo just a new Quiver? Sold to Inktomi back in 2002?- Battelle Media June 2007
FM gives publishers 60%, while doing ALL sales, collections biz dev etc… all while delivering some of the highest CPMs around. Can you name another rep firm that
1) only keeps 40%
2) has a CPMs over $5
Ad networks typically keep 40% – 60% of revenue and yield sun $2 CPMs if the pub is lucky.– Tech Crunch May 2008
Owen Obviously you know nothing about online advertising and demographics — there are way more women that read TC than you would think. -ValleyWag August 2007
What’s wonderful about Federated Media’s troll employee is that he/she has a consistent voice. I love that JackMayhofferr is so easily identified, that Jack is a great employee who is clearly loyal to the brand. So loyal, in fact, that he’d even troll his own CEO’s blog in order to dismiss Jason Calcanis.
I’d like to squee a little and jump around the room and thank Federated Media for their sloppiness. Sometimes as a blogger you have to work very hard to prove to people that companies have bad business practices, or that they might have one (or more) employee who is both abrasive and dumb (an unfortunate combination), but Federated Media made it easy for me.
Last week Peter Spande left a nice comment on my blog, it included the phrase:
Let me assure you, this isn’t the way should, or usually do, operate. My apologies to you. I’m not proud of this and take it very seriously.
Well Peter, it may not be the way you as a person operate, but it surely is the way that at least one Federated Media employee has operated for the last three years. The Federated troll was incredibly bold, posting on his own CEO’s blog. As a blogger (and a housewife not a CEO) I find it incredible that a titan of industry wouldn’t recognize his own employee as I so easily did.
Update: another JackMayhofferr gem is at Mashable. Mashable is a publisher in the Federated Media Market:
WTF was that video?? Whaaaaaa
I’ve had deal with Dick before, and guess what he IS a DICK
Of course, this was posted about FeedBurner CEO Dick Costolo. Is there no one the Federated Media Troll won’t insult?
Please see this comment that I didn’t recently decided to approve from IP address 22.214.171.124 (click the picture to enlarge)
If you cannot read the words, it says, “Jessica, Your post shows that you have very little understanding of the advertising business. And yes, you have very little traffic to be attractive to an advertiser on your own. why are you so angry anyway?”
Now take a look at who owns that IP address
Thanks Federated Media for your awesomeness. Usually I have to work really hard to prove that people are inept.
UPDATE: This is not a new event, see my next post and follow The Federated Media Troll for the past three years.