Let’s start this story with a moment of silence for our old friend Foodbuzz. They were the beginning for a lot of us, they helped us to grow, to make new friends, and to make us into better bloggers in-spite of ourselves….sigh
But sadly those days are over, the new owners have finally made the changes that have turned a great community into a wasteland. And you know what? They don’t care.
I had fooled myself into believing that everything would be alright, that they would find a way to bring community back into the picture. I even spent the better part of an hour on the phone, so I could understand the changes and why they were taking place. I guess if I had been there in person they would have patted me on the head at the end of the conversation and told me to be a good boy and go out and play….sigh I hate being lied to. They might call it just a misunderstanding, but I think not.
I had even made plans to attend the Festival in San Francisco, it had even been mentioned that I would speak at one of the sessions. I should have felt the hook going in my mouth as they reeled me in…sigh Then the announcement came, there would be no speakers, the sessions were being replaced with a scavenger hunt. I got my notification along with everyone else, they didn’t even have the decency to let me know they had changed plans. I was there biggest supporter and it broke my heart.
As the days went on, more information started to appear which made this years festival seem like a dead end. First tickets were available to the Metreon for the tasting pavilion (the need to raise capital). Then they offered tickets to the Gala. For only $40.00 you could take a guest to the grand dinner, the highlight of the Festival.
This tells me one thing and one thing only, not enough people were attending the festival. They had to fill those seats anyway they could. It’s like a two for one sale at a restaurant, its a sign of desperation. They also just announced that Friday night would be eating around San Francisco, at different restaurants! So not only have they killed the community which was the best part of Foodbuzz, they’re breaking the community up into small groups to go out to dinner……that’s just crazy!
The second year of the Festival, was my first year attending and it was incredible! Friday night we dined from gourmet food trucks at Fort Mason, the food was delicious and creative! Saturday morning we had breakout sessions and that was the only weak point of the festival, with the sessions lacking in depth and information. The Tasting pavilion at the Metreon rocked and we had an amazing afternoon watching demo’s, tasting treats, drinking…lol, and just socializing with all of our friends.
But nothing I could have dreamed of could have compared to the Gala. We were served wine and amazing hor d’oeuvres in the entrance of the Ferry Building, and then we went inside and the room was spectacular!! We were fed one course after another, with a wine for each course, each course artfully prepared….sigh It had been a magical evening! At the end of the evening we left to walk back to our hotels, all 300 of us walking through the streets of San Francisco reveling in the amazing weekend we had spent at the Festival, enjoying the camaraderie and fresh evening air, all wishing it would never end. That my friends is a hard memory to beat.
Then there was last year Festival with an interesting Friday night, great breakout sessions in the morning with very talented presenters, but after that it all went downhill. I really don’t want to say anymore about it, but I do hope for those attending this years festival that you don’t get served a variety of French Fries as your hor d’oeuvres at the Gala.
When I spoke with a representative from Foodbuzz, I thought change was coming, and it would be good. I was wrong. Please forgive me for wanting to believe in an organization that had meant so much to me. Once again the sad truth is, more change is coming and it’s not good.
For those of you that have contracts expiring,(mine expires in February of 2013) you’re going to find yourselves in untested waters. Some will find themselves not being renewed as Featured Publishers. This was news to me. I found out today when I received an email from a friend saying she was being sent to Lejit (another arm of Federated Media) out of Boulder, Colorado. I have had no dealings with that company myself, but I do know someone who did and from what she told me, joining Lejit would be a mistake. If you are approached make sure you read the contract very, very well, and make sure that what they say in the contract is what you get. If they tell you not to worry about some of the verbiage in the contract because it should have been changed, ask to see a corrected contract before you do anything else.
For those that renew their contracts and stay with Federated, you’ll also find that you’re going to be paid differently. There will be no more guaranteed payments, some may see increases, but I’m betting most will see decreases, if it didn’t benefit the corporation they wouldn’t be changing the program!
It’s time to weigh your options people, there’s a whole world out there, and while the market is being saturated with Bloggers trying to make their fortunes with ads on their blogs, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a new partner if you spend some time looking around. Check out Blogher, Glam, Foodie Blog Roll, and Technorati just to mention a few. If anyone knows of any others, let me know, I’ll be moving as soon as my contract expires.
Google+, it’s Better than Foodbuzz!
Now for those of you that are missing the old Foodbuzz and the community like I am, I have a solution for you. Join me at Google+. We have a great online community odf Foods Bloggers coming together on G+ and we need you to join us! Here’s what you can do on G+
1. Publish the link to your post to the stream where all your followers can see it just like we did on foodbuzz.
2. We don’t buzz each other’s posts, we +1 them
3. You can share each other’s posts, and you can leave comments for each others posts……..sound familiar?
We don’t have a top 9 on G+, but Google+ is a photo driven community of people from all over the world. Post your photo with a link to your blog post and sit back watch how the community in general reacts! They love Foodporn!! They love Food bloggers!! This is a match made in heaven,
Here’s the best part. We got nothing from Foodbuzz but the hits from our friends reading our posts, now without the community we’re really getting nothing. I don’t know about you, but even when I’m featured on the DailyBuzz or one of the other pages, I really don’t see much traffic. It’s become a dead zone.
But on G+, you get traffic to your site from the community, and you get the added benefit of being on a social media that rewards its users with more mentions on the search engine!! Foodbuzz could never do that for us. There are a few tricks to the trade, and I’ve written a Food Bloggers Guide to understanding G+ it will tell you what you need to know to be successful on G+.
I do have one new bit of advice, when you post on G+, don’t post your link. You want to post your image, add a few words describing your post, then add the link to the post. Like I said before , G+ is a photo driven community and you will get a lot more attention with a larger photo than just your post. You also want to start using each other’s names with the + before them, like my name +Chef Dennis Littley. That really helps you, so do it! If possible when someone shares your post, thank them by name, if someone +1’s you try to reciprocate. It’s the old do unto others as you would have them do unto you……. you got it?
I’m not going to say to much more about G+ now, go back and read my tutorial, and I’ll post more on the subject next week. And if you’re already on G+, and you’re following me and I missed the notification, please let me know so I can follow you. I don’t always get to see all my notifications, and I am sorry if I missed someone, it’s not intentional.
Remember we can rebuild our community on G+, they’ve given us the platform and then some. But it’s up to you. If you want to stay connected, sign up and start posting, let me know so I can share your info with everyone that’s already on G+. It’s really easy to stay connected with all of your food blogger friends with the circles on G+, I have two circles of Food Bloggers and all I have to do to see what they’ve been up to is view those circles, and all of their posts are right there in front of me. I try to check on them at least twice a day to see what’s been posted. It’s that easy……
Hope to see you soon, I miss all my Foodbuzz Friends!