Just this morning, I discovered that Asian Correspondents made most of my blog entries in their website available again, after having put it out of commission earlier last year. (More accurately, I think they retained the urls or links but put a place holder page on it, instead of the original material. This allowed them to keep most of the traffic the links generate and diverted it to other pages -- something their website administrators kept doing even when I was still with their website.)
The reason for putting it out of commission, I was told, was that the editorial board thought I had been a bit risky with my posts and they were getting complaints about it.
You see, as far as blogging is concerned, I realized that the nice approach won't get you traffic here in the Philippines if you were a newbie. Thing is, people here, don't pay attention to stuff that is written unless it involves a fair amount of controversy and strains or completely overwhelms what is deemed 'ethical'. This isn't at all a new thing and in fact, it has been enshrined as a tradition among the tabloids -- in the Philippines and in other countries.
I don't know how vastly different the newspaper tradition is in the US or the UK, but here in the Philippines, the newspaper business is built on a lot of blood, guts, and the capacity to absorb libel suits. This is the stuff that gets tyrants ousted and brings giant corporations to its knees.
Thing is, this isn't the kind of nicey-nicey blogging that most Social Media Marketing experts will profess to be doing.
This is the kind of blogging that resulted in Philippine blogstorms like the Bambee Dela Paz Valley Golf story, the Hayden Kho - Katrina Halili Story, Esperanza Cabral story, and other such stories.
Of course, none of the stories that erupted were truly accurate when they broke out. People initially thought that Bambee dela Paz' side of the story contained the whole truth until Nasser Pangandaman's side found its space in the newspapers and other people at Valley Golf started characterizing Bambee's father as an Orc. The Post Ondoy relief goods hoarding story was heralded as a heroic act (even by now Communication Usec. Manolo Quezon III) until Esperanza Cabral herself exposed that there was indeed NO HOARDING.
Even distinguished newspapers like the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Philippine Star have had their days of being inaccurate or completely wrong about their stories -- stuff they actually don't admit glaringly.
Anyway, the point is, I was pressured to build traffic for Pinoy Buzz on Asian Correspondents and the tact that I was using was succeeding. There were weeks when I was consistently among the top 3 bloggers on that website in terms of pageviews, beating more established bloggers like Tonyo Cruz and Danilo Arao.
I think, what helped me a lot back then in terms of building traffic was that I had an eye for spotting stuff that I knew would get the traffic.
In the lead up to the 2010 National Elections, I knew various political camps were beginning to use social meida for their campaign and it was a no-brainer to figure out that the biggest source of traffic would be anything related to the Philippine Elections.
One of the bigger stories I broke that really got people's attention was actually fed to me by an anonymous commenter and it resulted in this post:
On top of the propaganda that Noynoy Aquino is the frontrunner in all surveys, the Yellow One’s spin masters came up with yet another ‘bandwagon’ style call out and that is to declare that Noynoy has the biggest following on Facebook.
But before you actually believe this bit of deception, let me clue you in on how Noynoy Aquino’s arch-masters of hype actually came up with 211,000 Facebook fans and supporters.
1. They used Facebook ads and Google Ads.
2. They used multiple accounts.
3. They inherited fans from Cory Aquino!
Number three was revealed to me by a commenter and it provides a plausible explanation on how Noynoy Aquino amassed so many fans and supporters on Facebook.
The fans of the Cory Aquino Facebook account were used for the Noynoy Aquino Facebook account.
Go to http://www.facebook.com/cory.aquino?_fb_noscript=1 and see where it lands.
The Cory Facebook was created when they were asking for prayers in her last days in the hospital. When she was buried, there were already almost 200,000 fans. Tasteless talaga ito. Talk about honesty. Trapping people into your facebook site using your dead mother’s facebook site. Ewww!
I got flamed a lot for this one story and this actually triggered those in the Noynoy cyber campaign to target me in a hate campaign. Eventually, the pressure came on the editorial board of the Asian Correspondents and rather than backing me up, these people gave me up to the mob.
Anyway, it turns out that the story I broke was true and further proof that the members of Facebook fanpages can be migrated from one fan page to another has been confirmed by the owner of one of the largest FB fanpages in the Philippines.
A couple of months ago, Ben Totanes came out with a story on Kuro-Kuro (www.kuro-kuro.org) telling people about how millions of people who joined the Facebook Fanpage Benigno S. Aquino III were suddenly and magically migrated to the "official" President Aquino fanpage http://www.facebook.com/presidentnoy.
Here's an excerpt:
Noong manalo si Noynoy, ang fans o miyembro ng BSAIII ay humigit pa sa 1.3 milyon, at patuloy itong lumago hanggang dumami ito ng 2.2 milyon ngayong Nobyembre. Dahil sa napakaraming miyembro, ito ay isa sa mga coveted new media asset sa Pilipinas. Wala pang ibang pagkakataon sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas na magkaroon ng ganito kalaking membership ang isang grupo sa internet.
Pagkatapos noong nakaraang halalan, ini-recommend na isara ang BSAIII ni Enteng Romano (see *Note below). Nguni’t sabi namin ni Betty, sayang. Di kaya mahusay na ilipat natin ito sa Malacanang upang maging base para maka communicate si PNoy sa mga tao? Sinubukan naming ipa-ilalim ang control ng BSAIII sa Communcations team ni Sec. Coloma. Nguni’t dumaan ang maraming araw, na-pansin ko na hindi taong bayan ang nasa isip ng mga ito. Kaming dalawa ni Betty ay hindi man lang binibigyan ng respeto na sabihan man lang kung ano ang nangyayari at mga plano nila. Sa bandang huli, inisip ko na kunin ulit ang BSAIII sa kanila at ibalik ito sa tao. Sinabi ko sa kanila na pwede pa rin nila gamitin ito, nguni’t dapat pamalagiin itong “Feedback Forum” ng sambayanang Pilipino, at huwag tatanggalin ang mga comments (pro or anti) ng mga tao.
Tipong hindi yata nagustuhan ito. Ang directive daw ni Sec. Coloma ay magtayo ng sariling Facebook Page at magsimula sila ng bago. Pero sabi ko, sige tutulungan ko sila.
Dumaan ang bus hostage fiasco, at bagyong Juan na walang insidente. Subali’t noong Nobyembre 9, nakita ko na lang ito sa email ko:
If you need further assistance with this issue, please visit http://……
The Facebook Team”
Ngayon, subukan ninyo i-click ito: http://www.facebook.com/noynoy.aquino
Wala… Wala na ang Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III Facebook Page na aking sinimulan. Ang Facebook Page na pinaglaanan namin ng panahon, pinag-puyatan, pinag-gastusan ko ng sarili kong pera at pera ng mga nag-donate, ang BSAIII Facebook Page ng taong bayan ay tinanggal na ng Facebook.
Ngayon, puntahan ninyo ito: http://www.facebook.com/presidentnoy
Iyan ang ngayong ”Official” Facebook Page ni P-Noy na sinimulan nila noong Agosto lamang. Ang namamahala nito ay ang Communications team ni P-Noy. Si Sec. Coloma ang pinuno nito at ang Usec niya na si George Syliangco ang in charge ng lahat ng media assets. Sa unang tingin, parang wala namang mali. Pero tignan ninyo ang mga members, 1.5 milyon. Noong November 5 (6 days ago) 100 thousand lamang ito. Nakakapag taka ‘di ba?
Matagal na ako sa Facebook at alam ko na hindi lang basta-basta kikilos ang Facebook upang isara ang isang Facebook Page. Kailangan ng opisyal na dokumento o request bago ito mangyari, at kailangan ito i-authenticate. Batay sa aking mga narinig galing sa ibang kaibigan na naging kasama namin sa kampanya at may alam sa nangyayari sa Malacanang, ang BSAIII ay ini-utos ipasara ng Communications team ni P-Noy, at karamihan ng member nito, ini request sa Facebook na ipa-lipat sa “Official” Facebook Page ng wala nilang pahintulot. Hindi possible na mag-gain ng 1.4 million members ang “Official” page ni PNoy in 6 days kung walang intervention ang Facebook. Ipina-lipat ito.