It seems that my comments about the way the Money Blog Network favors each other has gotten me on a partial blacklist. For those not familiar, I made some comments that I didn’t feel it was right that the MBN favors their network sites in carnivals. It was an observation and I asked them to reconsider that part of their agreement. Free Money Finance (who was hosting the carnival in question) replied as follows:

Here are my thoughts on this comment:

1. As carnival host, I can put up the carnival however I like. I can choose which posts to put where, which ones to include, which ones to exclude, etc. That’s what being the host is about. Different people have different ways of doing it (by theme, by date, etc.) and if you’re in a carnival, you have to deal with it. They’re the host and they put in all the work, and they decide ALL the details.

2. I usually go out of my way to include everyone in carnivals. Even the posts that were late, weren’t EXACTLY personal finance (but close enough), and incomplete in their submission were/are included (forcing me to hunt down trackback URLs, etc.). If anything, I think I’m as fair as anyone.

3. I ALWAYS post a link to EVERY carnival I’m in to drive traffic to that site in return for their hosting. I know you didn’t bring up this issue, but it should be stated since you seem to be good at criticizing and not very good at recognizing community participation (which, after all, is your alleged issue).

4. You need to get over it.

5. I’m done talking about this subject.

He then removed me immediately from his blogroll. While I was a bit surprised at this reaction since we have had a number of email conversations in the past and I thought we got along fine (apparently not), it’s his choice, I left a message apologizing if I had offended him, but said that I still felt this particular aspect of the MBN should be reconsidered. While there has been some discussion about it in the comment section of the original post I made, I thought that would pretty much be the end of it. I even defended in the comments that the group wasn’t blacklisting people and it was only FMF who had taken down my link.

Boy, was I surprised to find that my links (one to savingadvice and one to pfadvice) that had been on All Things Financial have also been mysteriously removed. I was all the more surprised because it was only a month ago that I help JLP of All Things Financial get back his old site that had accidentally been taken over by another blogger. I had secured the URL in my name so nobody else could get it and had handed it back to him without a second thought (wow, that’s what I get for being kind).

To be fair, the other three in the group (Consumerism Commentary, Blueprint For Financial Prosperity and Five Cent Nickel) haven’t change any of the links on their sites. Flexo has even been responding in the comment section.

Quite frankly, I’m not sure exactly what to make of all this. Seems pretty harsh that when you give an opinion that differs from theirs, links start to disappear. Although I thought it was a bit childish, I could understand FMF. I have no idea what prompted the removal from All Thing Financial and can only assume that it was in relation to the post.

I guess that people being afraid to talk about the MBN and how they felt about it was correct. All the talk about being for the betterment of the entire Personal Finance community starts to ring a bit shallow when any opposing opinion results in links being removed. It sure has opened my eyes a bit…

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16 Responses to BlackListed!

  1. pfadvice says:

    LOL – my pfadvice link has mysteriously reappeared at All Things Financial!

  2. I posted this in response to the earlier ‘Random Thoughts’ post, but thought that I’d slap it up here, too. Note that some of this might be a bit out of context, as certain points were made in response to comments left in response to that other post. Here goes…

    I’ve resisted the temptation until now, but I feel I need to actually speak out on this, especially in light of Jeffrey’s comment about having spoken too soon about there not being a blogroll conspiracy.

    First off, all links on my site are in place, arranged alphabetically, as they always have been, and always will be. I link to sites that I read, and I periodically purge links when a site hasn’t been updated in awhile.

    Second, with all this talk about selfishness, I would like to point that we all (MBN members, I mean) do weekly roundup posts, and pretty much all of us include a variety of sites when we do so. Speaking just for myself, I link to anything that really ‘rang my chimes’ at any of the sites that I regularly read. Don’t believe me? Go look. Yes, I link to people in the MBN in my roundup. But I also link to others whenever I run across something that I deem sufficiently link worthy. If you don’t get a link, does this mean that I don’t like you or your site? Nope. I have a limited amount of time, and there are far too many sites with too much content out there to keep up with.

    So before we go any further with all this talk about selfishness and trying to keep traffic ‘just amongst ourselves’ I’d like to ask a question… Who else out there posts regular, unsolicited link love like this? If this isn’t acting in the best interest of the community, then I don’t know what is. When others actually step up to the plate and start sharing the love, then they’ll be in a position to talk about what’s best for the community.

    In closing, I’d just like to echo Jim’s sentiments. Everyone just needs to lighten up. There is no conspiracy, witch hunt, or blacklist. Or at least none that I’m aware of. Who knows, maybe I’m next and I don’t even know it.

    That’s all I have to say. Cheers, nickel

  3. Jeffrey,

    I agree that we all need to lighten up.

    Yes, I took your link down and yes, I put it back up.

  4. Jose says:

    Lets lighten up.
    We all have free speech rights and freedom of association rights.

    If the blog network wants to take revenue inducing and/or article exclusion actions it is their option.

    Keep the good work on this site. I like it a lot.

  5. thc says:

    Lighten up? Hell, grow up!

  6. anonymous says:

    I’m coming in a bit late to all of this.

    My question to JLP is why did you take it down in the first place? Was it at the request of the MBN or even another MBN member? If not, can you explain the timing of your decision?

    The problem is that when you are a member of a group, you are associated with that group. If one does something good or bad, it reflects on all the members of that group the same way. That is part of being associated with the group.

    If one member tried to influence other members to blacklist which appears to be the case here from what I’ve read, then it is an association that reflects on all members even if not all were involved.

  7. There’s no blacklist. Individuals made individual decisions on their individual sites.

  8. anonymous says:

    fivecentnickel – does that mean there was a request to take down the links by one member and then each member made an individual decision?

  9. There is no blacklist.

    I took my link down because I thought that PF Advice hae quit linking to me. I realize now that I jumped the gun.

    I don’t have any hard feelings towards Jeffrey or PF Advice. In fact, as he states in the post, he helped me get my old blog back and for that I’m grateful. I even made two of his blogs Blog of the Week selections.

    I think what bothers me about all this is that his opinions could have been voiced via email rather than putting all this out there on the internet for all to see.

  10. Oh, and what’s up with the anonymous poster? Why do you find it necessary to hide your identity?

  11. Money Blog Network Conspiracy says:

    LOL – like my name better now? I’m posting anonymously because at least one of your MBN members removes links when people disagree with him. I disagree, but I’d like my link to remain in place. Some may say I’m a coward, but then again, it’s easy for you to say when you hold the power.

    So it’s your contention that on the day that Jeffery leaves a comment that gets his link removed from FMF, you just happen to think on your own (without any prompting from anyone else) that he is no longer linking to you and remove his links from your site?

    And you wonder why people might think there is a conspiracy? lol

  12. No, I actually came to his blog and my link was not listed. I double-checked and it was not there. So, I removed his link. Then, I wake up the next morning and Technorati shows a new link from PF Advice.

    Anon, if you wish to talk to me privately about this, send me an email.

  13. “does that mean there was a request to take down the links by one member and then each member made an individual decision?”

    No. It means that two individuals site owners apparently decided to remove links on their own personal sites for whatever reason. We now know JLP’s reasoning, and I believe him because I know him to be an all-around good guy. But maybe that’s just me.

    As an aside, I’d like to point out that Caitlin got ‘white-listed’ (for lack of a better term) yesterday. In other words, I appreciated her comments on the other post to the point that I went out of my way to *add* her to my sidebar. And before we get all conspiracy-minded (again)… No, there wasn’t some super-secret reason why she wasn’t linked in my sidebar in the first place. She just wasn’t. And now she is.

    I seriously think we need a group hug.

  14. Cap says:

    okay the whole conspiracy thing is just wacky. I duno about you anom, but I’m gonna bet my left kidney that there’s no conspiracy.

    and if there is, no one gets my kidney anyway because it’s the Internet, not real life.

    hug time.

  15. Joshua K says:

    I think this is good evidence, just like in portfolio management, that diversity is to our benefit 🙂

    I get twice as many hits from a single technology related blog compared to the personal finance blogs..combined.

    Not that I’m not thankful of any link from any personal finance blog, because I am.

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