Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Warning! Bogus Blogs Target Parrot Owners

A while back I wrote a bit of an expose in my blog about what has been transpiring in the parrot industry. It is no secret that internet marketers are teaching money hungry entrepreneurs to grab onto a niche market and sell “information.” Needless to say the parrot community is one of the more recent victims of these practices. The evidence is all over the internet. New sites are popping up every day and the tactics get sneakier and sneakier. One that really seems to have exploded is what I call the “bogus blog”

What you usually see is a blog that is presented as someone’s personal journal through parrot owning. When you dig a bit deeper you see the post is not really their personal story, but appears to be a reposting of something you may have read elsewhere. It seems like perhaps their content might have been provided by someone else…perhaps an internet marketer’s stock supply of articles? Maybe? Often when you click on their profile for more information, under “occupation” or “areas of interest” they even boldly say “internet marketing” Usually these folks are affiliates for the main company selling the parrot training information, toys, or other products. At some point in their blog readers will be directed towards the bloggers “new favorite product.” Ah, the real reason for the blog is revealed! I have no problem with affiliates. I have no problem with people selling stuff. I do have a problem with someone misrepresenting themselves as an innocent consumer with no hidden agenda. I think they should admit that they are on the payroll.

Another new trend is inserting words into a blog that are often searched on the internet like “Viagra” or “insurance.” The words have nothing to do with the subject of the blog. At the end of the blog is the link to the parrot website. I don’t usually like to give links to these examples so as not to give those sites more traffic. But this one is the perfect example of many of the problems. http://baeisfds.blogspot.com/2008/07/get-your-quaker-parrot-talking.html First it starts with a bogus blog with the non related words inserted. Then it sends you to a parrot site that is laden with ads, including a youtube clip from avian veterinarian Ellen Cook that they do not have rights to post on their site. http://www.train-parrot.com/ It also includes articles from some of the people most notorious for aiming to make a buck via massive internet marketing.

In some ways these sites are a blessing. The more “hard sell” sites that crop up, perhaps the more people will be questioning the purpose of these many parrot related sites. Are they there to rip off the innocent consumer or are they legitimate sellers with solid information and the credentials to back it up. Perhaps the consumer will be forced to be a more cautious shopper. I hope so …….for the sake of their birds.

On a positive note there are some fabulous legitimate blogs out there. I love hearing about Melanie and Stewie, Sid Price offers good solid free advice…no strings attached, as does Raz.
Patricia Sund also has a new blog that showcases her adventures in the parrot world. These sites are based in the science of behavior analysis, written by people with no hidden agendas who truly love parrots and training. And while they are often kind enough to mention Good Bird Inc, they are not on the payroll :) Visit them for great information.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the shout out. I'm flattered!

FWIW, I'm an internet marketer too! We're not all snake oil salesmen :) I do occasionally link to stuff I like, but anything you find recommended on my blog will be something I do actually use myself. And I wouldn't recommend anything I didn't think was safe or in the best interest of my birds (or readers).

Barbara Heidenreich said...

Lol! I totally agree not everyone is a snake oil salesman : ) Technically I would have to say I too am an internet marketer, as I sell products on the internet. However I try my best to do it with integrity as I think you do too. Just trying to find a way to help people get through the muddied waters of information out there and to help them be aware of the not so good practices, like using Dr Cooks video without her permission. Thanks for the comments Melanie!

Anonymous said...

I so appreciate your introduction to my Blog! My blog is trending toward my goals of, as you said, "Adventures". Despite my training from Susan Friedman, I'm more of a writer than anything. I view my place in Aviculture as that of a Writer and Journalist as opposed to a trainer. But I'm a firm believer in Positive Reinforcement Training, enrichment, adoption, and a great diet. If, though my writing I can reach people that are open to learning, then I feel I will have made a positive impact in the field.
Thank you again!

Anonymous said...

Hi Patricia -
I'm in the same boat. I'm definitely NOT a trainer or expert, but I enjoy writing. Combine that with a real enthusiasm for seeing pet parrots get a higher quality of care and you have the reason I blog about my birds.

I'm not trying to teach people how to train their birds. There are much better sources out there for that. My goal is to help people see just what life with small parrots looks like -- they're smart and fun and beautiful, but also demanding.

Parrots are complex animals with a lot of needs (ranging from nutrition to mental stimulation) and tons of personality -- and that's probably the main message of the blog as a whole.