CHEAP AND YUMMY BROWNIE RECIPE!
6 TBSP cocoa, 1/4 C butter, 1 C sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/3 C flour, 2 eggs, Cook 350 - 25 mins.

7/18/08

TED MURPHY'S REPLY TO ME ~ SOCIAL SPARK I'M HURT

As many of you know, I and MANY of my blogging buddies are members of SocialSpark. I even have a blogroll dedicated to the many friends I've met there. I was happy to report that I was the number one propped blog and blogger on that network for a while. I had given every single one of my 5,000 friends a prop for their profiles also.

Yesterday, Ted Murphy, the owner of SocialSpark and the IZEA network decided to drop all of the props to zero. He stated in his blog that...

"If we don't do so (set props to zero) the users who have utilized this method (asking for props) of building props will be at the top of the list for the foreseeable future, creating an unfair advantage the can't be taken away."

Well, guess who was at the top? Yep, me. Guess who did NOT ask people to prop her in their profiles and blog profiles? Yep, Me.

Guess who specifically asked if we were allowed to "prop back" and if there were any rules to propping. Yep. I asked.
Guess who said it was fine and dandy to prop back and that there were NO rules to propping. Yep, the SocialSpark Team.

I spent a lot of time propping, talking with new bloggers, helping them install their ITK and get their feet wet in the blogging world. Then all of that work was yanked out from under me because Ted decided to change things up so the top ranked bloggers would be even with new bloggers. Everybody starts again to play by new rules.

I'm hurt. I am hurt because my name is smeared. I am among those who were singled out (top of the list) by Ted in his public blog. I was not only in the mix but number one on the list. I was the top of the list.

I don't think my little blog or my words will make a difference in his mind. We have conversed via Email and he has told me that he will not give my points back. I asked for an apology for making me out to be some sort of cheater or shady blogger. I've gotten no apology. To the contrary I got this.


"Shelly,

...there is no way for me to modify your Props. This is in no way a personal issue and I purposely didn't call out any blogger in post. I recognize that there has not been a code of conduct to date and I stated that in my post. However, just because we didn't have a published code of conduct doesn't mean what you did was right, or that you deserve to be at the top of the list.

If your blog truly deserves to be on top I am sure it will rise once again, this time with everyone playing by the same rules.

-Ted"

Yes, that stung pretty good there.

I'll tell you all what I did. I did contact customer love (the social spark team) and ask for the rules. Annie from SocialSpark told me there were no rules. I built friendships and when people accepted my friendship I emailed to thank them and let them know I'm a friend "propper" and would love to have some if they wanted to. There is no way for me to know if they propped me or not. I didn't hound people and I HELPED people who emailed me back asking for it.

Out of this mess, I hope to bring something positive. I will again go through my friends list propping their blogs and profiles. I will again, try to GUESS what the unwritten rules are before heading full throttle into the SocialSpark game again. I will not believe SocialSpark when they answer my tickets in the future.

This must have been what it felt like when they were all RankSpanked by Google. The big company gets to whack the little guys on the head and nobody will care because the change only affected a handful of people.

I'm one of the handful this affected. All I know is that I am so sad and have not cried this hard in a very long time. I obviously do not expect a lot of comments in support of me here, now that they are tracking our comments with SezWho. I know you want to keep making money with SocialSpark, and Ted is the CEO, so don't burn any bridges you guys.

This is my blog and I had to get this off my chest so I can move on. So, there it is.

50 comments:

Sheena said...

that's rediculous! I've never heard of social spark before, but I'm sure you will rise back up to the top again. You're blog is always so interesting and useful to so many people. Take care! :)

THE MOM WITH BROWNIES said...

Hi Sheena,

Thank you for your kind words. It's a network for bloggers to make friends and interact. You can also make money blogging there. :-) Here I am plugging them and I'm mad but there you go! LOL

Thanks again. Get some rest please, and let me know when your little girl arrives.

Shelly

Roxiticus Desperate Housewives said...

Hi Shelly,
I've posted about the SocialSpark issue over on Roxiticus Desperate Housewives, too. Stop over for some tea and sympathy to go with your brownies today.
Roxy

P.S. - Thanks for being my EntreCard advertiser today...enjoy your stay on RDH!

Octamom said...

So sorry about your Spark debacle--being relatively new to that community, I'm not well versed in props and the like, but I do know that I am enjoying seeing your blog, perusing your resources and giggling at your humor--and that has nothing to do with props or social networks or the like--that's simply an enjoyment of your intellectual property! :o)

Really appreciate your chess lessons--that's about how it gets organized in my mind!

Blessings!

crazed1969 said...

That's horrible, so sorry! I'm sure all of your friends there will prop you again, but to make you start all over like a newbie isn't fair. I guess that's what you get for trying to play within the rules.

Lea

Octamom said...

So glad you like it! I developed it on Scrapblog at www.scrapblog.com It's a free online scrapbooking community--I also developed the header and sidebar button widget graphics at the site and exported them as jpegs to my desktop. I think you would just love it--great community there as well--although I'm gonna feel real responsible if you get as addicted as I am!

Blessings!

Toni said...

Heading over to reprop you now!

crazed1969 said...

I just checked and yep, set to zero. But I also noticed that the "propped you" comments are being left again. I just wonder if the props are just going to continue to be reset. If they are, I don't see why we would waste time propping.

THE MOM WITH BROWNIES said...

Hi Crazed,

That is what my husband said to me. He wonders how often the props will be set now also. I'm waiting for a response from Ted. If I hear anything new, I'll post it.

Shelly

Mrs. Mecomber said...

Wow, Shelly, I didn't even know about the killing of everyone's props. I agree, that's a bad move. I'm very sorry to hear what happened to you--I'm one of those people who have admired your efforts on the web, and you deserved all those props, I'm sure.

I don't even know how many props or drops I had-- I honestly think the whole idea behind it is dumb anyway because it was begging for abuse. Only the "good guys" who abide by the ethics are harmed. :-p

I'll give you a prop when I see your blog there again. If I do, will you prop me? ;) ;) heehee

THE MOM WITH BROWNIES said...

Macomber ROFL!

I'm halfway afraid to reply to that! Heaven forbid I "prop you back" That may be unethical...but I guess they think I am anyway, right?!

Hawksdomain said...

I don't belong to Social Spark, although I had been considering it, because I see it on so many EntreCard pages when I drop (I'm fairly new on EC too). After reading this, I'm thinking that I should not get involved with a company like this. His response was rather rude, accusing you of not playing by some unwritten rule, which I can't believe what you explained is against the rules. There are always cliques and people support their friends. That is called life.

Good Luck!

Sassy Mama Bear said...

I had always felt leary of the Social spark thing, and admit even entrecard caused me to step back for a bit, but I stuck with that.
I am sorry that SC did this to you and the others, that is why code of conduct or terms of service are very important items for any site to have before they get started, not after the fact.
So enjoy a brownie, some tea, and know you are still loved in this crazy blogosphere.

wildcatsthree said...

Well this answers a question I've been pondering about the last couple days - what happened to my props? I'm new at Socialspark so I didn't lose what you have, but now I'm back to 0 too. What a bunch of crap. I will go back through my friends list and gives props all over again. It may not be today, but I will do yours too. I'm sorry to hear all your efforts were in vain and to be written about in that manner I don't blame you for your feelings. You were one of the first people who befriended me and you were so nice offering to link to each other. I feel so bad for you.
Chris

THE MOM WITH BROWNIES said...

Sassy and Wildcat (Chris) thank you for your kind words. I appreciate your time and I can't tell you how much all of your support means to me.

Thank you.

Kristie said...

Shelly ~

I'm sorry that you've lost your props. I know how much time you put into helping new people out like you did for me.

What confuses me is that when I look at the new list of highest props I see that those on it have several hundred props already.

So either they started begging for props immediately after all the numbers were reset, or only select people were reset.

What was the big deal anyways? So how are you going to work Social Spark now?

Oh, and I may or may not have propped you again :-)

Kristie

Tina said...

Hi, Shelly!

BIG HUG, girlfriend! I just found out about this when I visited Roxy's site. What a load of doodie!

I don't see anything wrong with what you did, and it has added to the misgivings I've had about Social Spark over the past couple of weeks. We can talk about that some other time. Isn't the whole purpose of the prop thing to build connections, exposure and friendships? Did I miss something?

That really bums me out, and I was just graduating from 100; nowhere near the amount you had. I can just imagine how devastated and hurt you are. That was a real low blow on their part, and ethical, I sure don't know about that one either. Pretty darned crummy if you ask me.

THE MOM WITH BROWNIES said...

Oh Kristie!! You were #3. UGH! You put in a lot of work making friends and gaining props too. How are you doing with it?

I haven't decided what to do yet. I'm still waiting for a reply from Ted. I am offended beyond belief at his words about "those at the top of the list" so we'll see. I don't know what is acceptable now.

What is your plan for props now.

Oh and I may or may not have done that thing which shall not be named in both Advertiser and Blogger mode for you and your blogs also. :0)

THE MOM WITH BROWNIES said...

Tina thank you for the hug. I really need it. I was a blubbering wreck yesterday. I really don't think it would have hit me so hard had I not asked and been given the blessing. But, alas...I asked. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.

I sure put a lot of eggs in one basket, that's for sure. I hope to hear more from you about the issue.

Park day this week?

Kristie said...

Shelly ~

I'm not sure how to go forward from this. It is a little disheartening to say the least.

I'm still a little confused as to what the problem was even if we did tell someone we propped them first. They still had the right to press the delete button instead of propping us back. Obviously they thought it was worth their time to prop us back.

Oh well, I'm hoping that those who propped me in the first place were really doing so because they liked my blog or my help. And that they'll head over an d do it again.

Keep me updated when you get a reply.
Kristie

PS you're still Social Sparkster #1 in my book :-)

Unbalanced Libra said...

I just noticed today that I had 0 props and I wondered what the heck was going on. I read a bit on the Izea forum and I am just stunned =/

Tina said...

I just might have to make it a point to get there this week. I just looked at the calendar, and I should be able to squeeze it in between taking Adrian to Natural Building and doing a Costco run for Amy in preparation for Harmony's THIRD birthday next weekend! Same place, same time...right?

Tina said...

NOT TO MENTION THE HOURS it must have taken you to work yourself up that high and gain the recognition with your friends in the system. I know how much time you have taken with me alone.

Big bear hugs this time!

Condo Blues said...

I don't have a Social Spark account but I feel your pain about working so hard at something and following what you thought were the rules only to be told, "no. You did it wrong. You didn't follow the unwritten rule that we havent' wrote yet but you're still punished."

I hope you emailed this Ted guy back and told him that the Customer Love person told you that there wasn't a rule about how you promoted your blog so they can either 1. Make and publize the rules or 2. Give you your props back.

Your blogs get mad props from me no matter what social network you're on!

Leigh said...

Ah, I see Ted is making all the same mistakes he did at PayPerPost and using all the same lame excuses when something like this happens. He went through this whole "code of conduct" debacle at PPP! You'd think he would've learned his lesson by now!

I sure am sorry this happened to you guys.

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Thanks Shelly, I'm glad I haven't yet spent a lot of time on social spark. it sounds like a place I don't need to spend effort.

Cindi-Moomettesgram said...

Hi Shelly ~
I just found out about the props over at Ben Spark. I stay up late trying to get to my blogs, EC drops, Social Spark & all, after working FT days. I'm relatively new to SS, so wasn't familiar with you or the importance of being on the top! It's sorta like eBay's new rules, they change in the middle of the game. I had a supervisor who was a military man, and he taught me his mantra which I always remember, and which is so true, "They can do whatever They want.."
It's like having your Power Seller status on eBay removed...you'll rise to the top again. Hard workers always prevail. Best of Luck. P.S. I rant too. That's what blogs are good for sometimes.

Stine said...

I'm new to SocialSpark, but you did find me and you were the first to prop me! (Without asking for a return, I might add).I've not been there much, but you did all that work for nothing??? Very bad form.
Izea should know better - their PPP lot was spanked by Google, and they shouldn't repeat a bad thing.

THE MOM WITH BROWNIES said...

Thank you all for your support. I am so encouraged by you all!

Moomette,

Thank you for your support. I do have to disagree with the Ebay comparison. I am a member of Ebay and the change did not bother me because the change in rating system does not prevent people from buying from that seller.

The top propped person on SocialSpark actually gets work because the advertiser could pick "Top Prop" as one of their preferences. If I the top propped person is dropped to zero they lose the work. Period. I have lost wages now because I will not be the top for long. The people who are just beginning with SS can go through and make 5000 friends that I already have and get their props where I cannot.

I feel that they really did a bad thing here to me by snatching the work from me.

Alyson, the 3 P's Mama said...

Ah Shelly...that sucks. They really handled that poorly. I realize they get to make , break or change the rules at their discretion but geez! For what it is worth, I will prop ya and would a million times over if I could! You are one of my very few I have placed in my 'Friends' category as you are indeed one of the MOST helpful and friendliest bloggers on SS. You can cry on my shoulder anytime you want to!

Alyson, the 3 P's Mama

Mindy said...

That is terrible! I understand that maybe they want blogs to reach a status without begging for props but they should have listed that in the Code of Conduct or Terms of Service when they first initiated Social Spark. I don't agree with how they removed all props either. They should have warned that things were going to change and then reprimand the ones that didn't abide by the new rules. Apparently the ones that do not change will be banned so we shall see how this plays out.
By the way... I will prop you.

Roxiticus Desperate Houseiwves said...

Shelly,
I believe I must nominate you to attend Postiecon and moon Ted Murphy during the Bloggatola awards...and today instead of tea and sympathy, I'm pouring Roxy Rolles beer at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives...do stop by, girlfriend.
In the meantime, I have an EntreFind for EntreCard Saturday, so I hope the evil overlords at SS haven't intimidated you out of posting altogether!
Roxy

Dianne said...

I'm not a member of SS, nor do I have any clue what a prop is, but whatever happened, it sounds like it was totally nasty and like SS just decided that instead of treating it like it's their problem, they dumped the issue off on you and the others in the top spots. Totally not fair. That for me would be one hard horse to climb back onto!

RJ Flamingo said...

Shelly - Well, I for one have given you back the props you lost from me. SS now has a brand new "Code of Conduct" under the Help pull-down menu. But I'm still seeing all those "prop me back" comments that are supposedly being disallowed.

I was nowhere near the top, and I too never asked for props - I gave props to the profiles and blogs I liked, and merely asked them to stop by and check me out.

Still, I'm going back through my friends list and restoring the props I'd given before - starting with my favorites. :-)

Melissa~ said...

Shelly,

I've never heard of of the spark thing and wouldn't go there now after reading that rude letter from the owner. I think what was done was awful and unethical, but you know what? Maybe this a sign for you!

You are obviously a hardworking and enterprising person. So instead of going back to "rudeSpark" you should start your own business!

What kinds of things do you love to do? (obviously helping people is one)

If you worked that hard and put that much energy *into your own business* instead of building someone else's business think how successful it would be??!! And no one could ever pull the rug out from under you like that again!

Maybe ebooks on baking or frugality or homeschooling or all of the above? Or maybe a business helping people start blogs?

Ok, enough advice from a perfect stranger. :)

Nice to meet you through twitter.

♥ Melissa~
Pink Paper Peppermints

palette48 said...

Well it's not your fault and yes I am bummed too about the props. I just found out about the new code and I didn't see it until now. Of course I will quit telling people that I propped them. On this issue, I take your side 100%!

Diana said...

I'm re-propping you. They are making me angry already and I havent even written a post - let me tell you about my debacle:
They sent me the e-mail to write a post about joining the team, but my links wouldn't work, i couldn't publish. I e-mailed them...no response. The post was to be written in twelve hours, it's been three days since I asked for help. so....dunno.

Tomi Yahya said...

It's not fair for you. It's like Google PR drop. And to rebuild, We must work hard.I 'am just newbie at socialspark. But You are the mother of this community. It's hurt.

THE MOM WITH BROWNIES said...

Tomi,

How sweet of you to call me the mother of the community. I so appreciate you and your kindness. I was called mom a lot on SS. :o)

I tried my best to help all who asked. I'm glad you appreciate my efforts. It really does mean a lot to me. You made me smile and tear up a little. Thank you.

Shelly

Andrea said...

Shelly,
That's really ridiculous! I've only been on Social Spark for a little while. I haven't even taken any opportunities yet because I'm still trying to figure it all out. Now I'm not sure I even want to anymore.

It was one thing to take away mine because I just started and barely even knew how many props I had, but to take away yours is a stupid mistake. Maybe they should have done their homework first to see who followed the non-existent rules before deleting props!

I would have found and propped you anyway. Your blog is fantastic and will be kept as a link in my blog regardless of whether I stay with Social Spark or not!

Dawn @ Coming to a Nursery Near You said...

eh, I dropped out of that whole mess when it was first launched. Same with the sponsored blogging that only went to 'certain' people even after I moved my blog to my own domain, etc. I don't like elitist crap like that, and ted murphy's whole system smacks of elitism.

Sorry you got burned by it.

Karen said...

Shelly, I have been gone all week and had no idea this happened. I am so sorry. I will prop you again when I get home from our trip. I propped you because you have such a great blog. I love reading about you and your family.

PamperingBeki said...

Oh man, that completely stinks!!!

I hardly visit social spark at all anymore because there were just never any decent offers. :(

rainbow20 said...

Considering I am a huge fan of your blog and an admirer of all you have accomplished, I say pooh to SS. It's obvious you put your whole heart into your work. They took something you truly deserved away from you, not to mention loss of income. The whole mess stinks for you and dedicated bloggers.

Ted Myrphy actions made the site look bad. His comments to you made him look worse. He sounds like a principal I had when I started teaching...rude and crude. I'm sorry it happened and mad as well. With all the friends you have on the web, rest assured, you'll return!!!

lapa37 said...

That's terrible I have only been on social spark for a few months now and I'm really not sure how the whole thing works. I know if some one tells me they propped me I go and prop them back. Is that how it works? Anyway sorry to hear about what happened to you I hope you rise back up to where you were. I will try to find you blog on SS and make sure I drop a prop.I am on your blog now through Big dogs site.

hparis said...

what a load of crap! That would be like Entrecard singling out the top dropped blogs and telling them they couldn't drop cards for a month because it was unfair to everybody else. Like any other "top list" - you remain on top so long as you're active at whatever it is. I'm sure if some other blogger were to work just as hard, they could, in time, work their way to the top too. But nooooo... they're VICTIMS! Instead of encouraging people to work, the socialists at social spark played Robin Hood and leveled the playing field instead. But hey, it's their little playground, so they can do what they want. But they shouldn't get too upset when they find that one by one, the other little kiddies don't want to play with them anymore. It was unprofessional of them to treat their most active members this way. Sorry your hard work went swirling down the toilet. I re-propped you for all that it's worth.

spymama said...

oh dear.. if you tell them you propped them why on earth just have the props icon there.. that is ridiculous! it's as good as someone coming visit you and not have good words for you.

i've read your blog and it's really good. i'm gonna let the kids try making ice cream this way! it sounds fun.. thanks..

spymama sends ya lots of hugs and love.

Stitching Mama said...

I'm sorry to hear that. I just joined and I'm still trying to figure out how it all works.

Hang in there! You have a great blog!

cmwheeler said...

I am so sorry about that. You were one of the first people to friend request me at Social Spark and I genuinely appreciated it. Of course I propped you, and then I checked out your blog and propped it too. That's just rotten, but you'd better believe I've propped you again!

dmeemai said...

hi. i never really bothered with social spark even when i've seen it on various blogs. i got too much going on my site already that i didn't see the need for one more.

i chanced upon your site thru EC and I love it!

I'm sorry you had to go through pain and sort of betrayal from the very people you helped boost at the same time. sure you earned from it but i didn't think from reading through your posts that you're the kind of person they're talking about- abusing the system and all...

the worst part as i see it is the way this CEO is handling the situation. he is arrogant! and i've never heard of a company without a PUBLISHED code of conduct or rules to begin with! it's their system, they should have foreseen that with today's technology some people would want to abuse it.

why should the good people take the cut?! it is very unfair what they did to you... it's their fault for not CREATING rules, its members shouldn't suffer because of their own screw up!

now i really don't see the need to even try to visit their website to check them out! their CEO is one shady, rude guy i don't want to be supporting by using their service!

i'm sorry to be taking too much space here but i can't help share your disappointment with the company... i wish you well. cheers! :-)