The Fairy Hobmother: The weirdest thing I’ve seen in blogging
I can’t even begin this post without laughing. Just typing The Fairy Hobmother makes me feel like an idiot, I mean seriously—what or who is The Fairy Hobmother?
For bloggers who are concerned with FTC and Google Quality Guidelines compliance, please read up, and please, for the love of God and unicorns, do not take candy from The Fairy Hobmother unless you DISCLOSE that you took the candy. Again, I laugh.
The Fairy Hobmother Explained
If you haven’t heard of The Fairy Hobmother, let me try to explain. Apparently a man named Matthew Mitchell who works for AppliancesOnline.co.uk has given himself this magical moniker. I refuse to link to his site, but he has a Twitter too @thefairyhobmother, oddly enough. Matthew frequently emails bloggers asking for a “simple post” in exchange for a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
From what I’ve seen, Matthew Mitchell doesn’t come right out and ask for a backlink to his company’s website, yet most of the posts I’ve seen include it. The posts that I have seen also almost never have proper FTC disclosure stating that Matthew Mitchell or AppliancesOnline.co.uk paid them for the post.
An Email from the Fairy Hobmother
Below is an example of the standard email bloggers receive from The Fairy Hobmother.
From: Matthew Mitchell <Matthew.Mitchell@appliancesonline.co.uk>
Date: Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 5:27 AM
Subject: Greetings from the Fairy Hobmother!
I’m the Fairy Hobmother, spreading light and joy across the blogosphere with the help of talented bloggers like you!
I caught your comment on *removed* and had to pop down to check out your blog *removed*. I liked what I saw, and I thought that you deserved a little fairy magic of your very own!
I’d like to send you a gift in the form of an Amazon voucher for $50!
All that I’d ask is that you write a little about me in one of your blog posts. I don’t need a whole article to myself (unless you’d like to do that!), a tiny mention would be good enough. As an added bonus if any other
bloggers comment on your post I may well be paying them a visit in the near future!
If this sounds like something you’d like to do please get in touch and I’ll get things moving.
In the mean time take care, and keep up the good work!
Follow The Fairy Hobmother on Twitter!
What’s The Problem?
Well, maybe nothing. If a blogger chose to write a post about The Fairy Hobmother, linking to AppliancesOnline.co.uk, that might be fine. To protect herself, however, the blogger should do two things in that post.
- No-follow the text link leading to AppliancesOnline.co.uk.
- Provide a proper FTC disclosure stating that compensation was received for the post.
The problem is, a large number of bloggers who are posting about The Fairy Hobmother are completely omitting the FTC disclosure, and I’m assuming they aren’t no-following the links. Some of these bloggers might otherwise at least disclose a sponsored post, but I guess The Fairy Hobmother’s magical Amazon dust may have clouded their reason.
- To see what I mean, hop over to Google and search: Fairy Hobmother. You’ll see blog post after undisclosed blog post talking about The Fairy Hobmother.
These Fairy Hobmother posts spread like a virus through the blogging community. In the past few days I’ve seen no less than five mentions of the Fairy Hobmother “making his rounds,” and bloggers excitedly line up to leave comments on the posts, hoping to be the next lucky recipient of that special email.
The Moral To This Tale
Working for a $50 Amazon Gift card is no big deal. I’ve done it. However, don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’s anything more than a sponsored post, because it isn’t.
Be sure to protect yourself and your blog by including a proper discloser within the post, and if you value your Google PageRank be sure to no-follow links to Matthew Mitchell’s website.
*Throws a handfull of glitter into the air.*
Have you seen these Fairy Hobmother posts floating around? What do you think?