MEDIA WATCHDOG: Mobbies or Scammies?

Mobbies 2013

Baltimore is full of talented blogs, many of which I read every day — like this one for instance. I’m amazed at the dedication these scribes put into their own websites for little or no pay. They do it because they love it and it shows. Well, most of the time.

To “celebrate” these bloggers, the Baltimore Sun hosts an annual award ceremony crowning the best websites, Facebook pages, Instagram and Reddit accounts in various different categories. The fifth annual “Mobbies” take place on November 19 and the polls are open for voting for another week.

On the surface, the “Mobbies” seem like a great way for Baltimore’s big media to congratulate the little guys. The local newspaper that has been around since 1873 spends their own money to host a fun get-together for the independent writers. What’s wrong with that?

I’ve never been to the “Mobbies” or casted my vote on BaltimoreSun.com because I’m firmly against the clever marketing ploy that is being pulled. The whole thing is nothing but a promotional tool for the Sun and disrespects those who write for independent publications.

A number of the nominated websites are in reality direct competitors to the Baltimore Sun. Our increasing digital world now puts online companies on the same playing field as newspapers that have been around for over 100 years. Especially when said newspapers alienate their readers by putting up online paywalls and charging people to read their content on a computer, tablet or smartphone.

These blogs don’t need to be congratulated by the Sun. The “major bragging rights” the “Mobbies” promise to offer its winners pales in comparison to a few hundred thousand page views. You ask the bloggers which is more important.

Everyday the Sun’s audience gets smaller. Do you think college students are having physical newspapers delivered to their dorm rooms? It’s an entire generation of people who will never subscribe to the old newspaper business model, but the “Mobbies” help the Sun stay relevant.

In addition to celebrating these independent publications, the Baltimore Sun is also collecting your email addresses for their future marketing strategies. Check out the voting rules:

To be eligible, a voter must be a registered user of baltimoresun.com. Registered users get one vote per category per 24-hour period. Blogs are listed in random order.

How convenient. So if the Sun’s “competitors” want to win an award they have to share their email address with the Sun. Got it.

A number of local publications have fallen victim to this ploy and use that “Mobbie” as a medal of honor in the blogosphere. They beg for votes by sending out emails, tweets and Facebook messages to friends and family asking them to register with the Sun and vote every 24 hours.

Why every 24 hours? Because they keep you coming back, it’s all about page views. It’s much easier to sell advertising if you can say that your audience is consistently returning to your publication.

So let’s look this over again. The Baltimore Sun gets bloggers to register for an account, vote for themselves every 24 hours and help build their email address database by sharing with friends and family and in return they get — well, a party on November 19.

Don’t waste your time.

Don’t be fooled by this clever marketing trick.

Long live new media.

4 Raves on “MEDIA WATCHDOG: Mobbies or Scammies?

  1. John on said:

    “Baltimore is full of talented blogs, many of which I read every day — like this one for instance.”

    I totally clicked on the “this one” hyperlink wondering what website you were praising only to be re-routed to RSR!! You evil genous, you wrote an article slamming the Sun for using trickery to get page views and you toss in your own little way of getting an extra page view.

    I feel cheap and dirty….

  2. John P on said:

    So, I’ve been reading RSR since the day it launched. Actually, I was reading it PRIOR to launch. That speaks volumes to my affiliations.

    But I NEVER understood “Media Watchdog”. WHY ON EARTH DO I CARE!?!? All I want is Ravens news. PERIOD. End of story. I don’t CARE who provides it. I just want it.

    What I don’t want is to be part of your games. And yes – TL (although I give you much love most of the time), these are YOUR games. YOUR games because YOU play them.

    Cut this article. Cut the series. Let’s talk about Ravens.

    For better or worse…

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      John, you don’t have to read them. If it’s not for you, pass on it.

      Not sure what you mean by games. We have a guy who pays attention to media, mainstream and social. He’s going to do his weekly piece. The addition of his media piece doesn’t keep us from posting Ravens content. Never has, never will. And we clearly label it MEDIA WATCHDOG.

  3. Bmore Finest on said:

    This is why i been here since march 2007. i love this site and it home away from home for me. Even though i live in shitsburgh, 4hrs away, this site is the reason i can breath and survive behind enemies lines. Keep ballin on Russell Street Bro

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