Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Confidential Email (Nuffnang gave permission for release)

Nuffnang called and gave me verbal permission to release the email content on SSL. Thanks Robb for the phone call! This is why it was not a mistake to stick with Nuffnang!! This will be the last entry from SSL on the Nuffnang/Payout series. They suggest communicating with them directly or through their helpdesk if we have any quibbles about any of their service - I agreed to that. Finally, I would like to re-iterate that I am not affiliated to any bloggers who had screen-shot the following article and publish them on their sites. (BTW I am no closer to the truth about the meaning of banding, oh well... I guess I have to live with it for now)

This is the entry I was referring to:

I have been mulling on a response to their e-mail. I finally agree on these few guidelines: I must give a clear reply, I must be objective, and I must not humiliate people in doing so.

However, I must keep my promise first, since I did not receive any objection from anyone from Nuffnang (according to Nuffnang Community site, at least 2 Nuffnang workers have visited SSL in the last 24 hours), I will go ahead and publish the email content.

This is the email:

With reference to your Innit post (http://innit.nuffnang.com/view.php?id=9327) and your blog post titled 'Is Nuffnang working for us?' (http://sisuahlai.blogspot.com/2008/05/is-nuffnang-working-for-us.html) at 12:05 AM, 6th of May 2008, you are hereby banned from Innit.Nuffnang.com for 2 months.

This is due to the following reasons;

1. Defamatory content
The image posted on your blog post depicts the evolution of mankind from an ape. You further edited the image to fit in Nuffnang's logo after that and it ends with the fading image of a robber. (Attached with mail a screenshot of your blog post)

This image is a clear case of libel under the Malaysia's Defamation Act 1957 which requires three criteria to be proven;

a) The content was defamatory
Though expressed indirectly, it leads people viewing your image that you're saying that Nuffnang has evolved into a robber. This implication is obvious and is defamatory in nature.

b) The defamatory content was made referring the plaintiff
It is obvious that Nuffnang's logo and name was mentioned in the blog post you wrote on
http://sisuahlai.blogspot.com/2008/05/is-nuffnang-working-for-us.html

c) There must be a third party involved that have heard or seen your defamatory content.
This criterion is satisfied as you posted your blog link on Innit and your blog which is accessible to all Internet users.

2. Misleading other Nuffnang bloggers.
As you are free to have your freedom of speech, it is also subjected inter alia to the common law of Defamation Act (refer previous). What you've said in your blog post is misleading in nature and would cause uncertainties among the bloggers who are not as informed as others. Furthermore, you are attempting to seek confidential information of our company such as the pay rates of our bloggers and advertising cost.

In light of your recent opinions and views, our lawyers and investors have pushed the management to sue but we have always refrained from doing so. Since its beginning, the only times in which Nuffnang had taken legal action against a party was when it was pushed to a corner and left with no other choice.

Nuffnang has a two way relationship with bloggers as the Nuffnang team are made up of bloggers as well. Your recent entries have undermined and insulted the hard work that the Nuffnang team has put together in the past year since its conception and have soured the relationship between many of our team mates and yourself.

To finally address your concern, Nuffnang remains a private company and we will NOT disclose our operating costs or give a more detailed plan of our payout structure as these information can and will be used by our competitors against us. Many ad networks do not even disclose what each blogger gets for a particular ad campaign which Nuffnang already does.

Throughout the months that you've been with Nuffnang, we believe that you have gained a lot with us. We hope that you're happy with our services all this while though if you no longer favor us or have found a better alternative, feel free to place your trust elsewhere where it would serve your interest best. After all, the advertising space in your blog belongs to you and it is up to you how you want to monetize it.

Your ban is effective the moment this email is sent.

Cheers,
Robb Chew
Blogger Liaison Executive

Nuffnang Sdn Bhd

www.nuffnang.com.my

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received this e-mail by mistake and delete this e-mail from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.

(end of email)

I will let readers form their own conclusion. The articles they could be referring to "as misleading and causing uncertainties among the bloggers who are not as informed as others" are possibly these ones:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Now I have this to say. To recap, I basically requested for some information pertaining to the meaning of their pay banding and how they go about rating a particular blog with their band numbering system.

Instead of responding with a simple "NO, we cannot give you more details than the ones already provided but thank you for showing interest, I hope you continue with our service" they had to go through all the legal definition of defamatory and also added in the part that said my entries have "undermined and insulted their hard work''.

Please don't laugh, I think they were quite serious when they wrote those words.

Frankly, I really sayang Nuffnang. I haven't left them and I never once asked people to leave them. I've only invited Nuffnang users like myself to think a little bit more about the nature of their advertising work and how they go about setting rates of payment to us for leasing our blog space to them. That was the real intention, no malice was ever intended!

I had to ask thought provoking questions (hence the provocative title on some of my entries), with the sole intention of asking bloggers to start to think for themselves with regard to their blog ad value rather than letting Nuffnang do all the thinking for us.

I maintain that by being transparent, we can drive the ad value of our blogs higher - so everybody wins. In my opinion, the blogosphere is an under-valued advertisement avenue because as a community, our readership reach is immense. At present, it seems that for small-time bloggers (my personal definition, probably apply to people with less than 1000 uniques average a day, some say less than 5000) who paste ads column on their sites (the majority of us!), the value and payment these bloggers get are all brokered for them, by the agency we signed up to and the company that chooses to advertise on our sites. We have little say on these "valuation matters". Hence we will never know whether we could get a better deal.

I understand that most ad agencies do not reveal their rates (for fear of being swallowed by competition?) and bloggers are practically left to their payment mercy. What we get is what they say we get - no question asked please.

I did suggest that by being transparent, we can actually drive up blog advertisement value. In the long run, the agency will gain our loyalty and recommendation, and this would enable them to fetch better price for all of us. In this scenario, bloggers win and our ads agency also win!

I sincerely want Nuffnang to be the region's leader in the online ad business. I have said that in my previous entry, I used the word powerhouse. So I really don't know how I could be libelous and be seen as harming their reputation when what I am actually doing is supporting them, suggesting idea to help them grow bigger, and seeking more information. Furthermore what I said so far was a matter of personal opinion!

Finally that picture. The centre of defamatory "controversy". It is really far from being controversial, what I intended was completely miscontrued, 360 degrees and then inverted! I'll tell you why in a bit - if you haven't figured already.

To those who wrote the email and banned me from Innit (why?!), please read the Is Nuffnang working for us? entry again. And then look at that picture (see below).

I will let readers (or the real judge if this case is brought to court) be the judge. So far they haven't asked me to remove the picture. I remove it on my own volition because I don't want to confuse the guys who banned me from INNIT. I will repost it, but now I'll omit the ad agency logos and I will transplant my heads on the shoulders of last two creatures (I like my bad photoshop skill)!

Imagine my heads representing the ad agency. Read the article and replace the word nuffnang with Sisuahlai Online Ad Sdn Bhd. Have I obviously evolved into a robber? Or am I the one kena robbed?

The email from Nuffnang says (with regard to the original post): it leads people viewing your image that you're saying that Nuffnang has evolved into a robber. This implication is obvious and is defamatory in nature.

Note the word obvious. Please don't laugh, I am sure they were really really serious when they wrote those words.

This is the original image:

Nuffnang evolved into robber? P-L-E-A-S-E la.

I wrote in the article: I feel that blogosphere as a whole is an under-valued advertising avenue. Our readership and reach are many times more than print and broadcast media, and yet we charge and get peanuts for running ads.

The fade-out cartoon with the sack containing the dollar sign depicts our missed opportunity of earning more, because blogs, in my opinion is undervalued. So now that Nuffnang is older and more evolved (now version 2.0 apparently), it will hopefully work for us bloggers and grab that previously missed opportunity. I said grab, not rob hor.

So Nuffnang, do you still think you are the robber in the picture?

I do feel like I am working for Nuffnang sometimes and yet they made me feel like I am the enemy. Haih.

I am NOW considering suing for the emotional distress caused from this whole blog-ipisodes.

(ha, ha...kidding! There are better ways to spend my money and time than suing people pointlessly, like treating bloggers to SSL Oysters Galore! Stay tuned for the invitation.)

Shall I invite Tim and Robb? :)

Disclaimer: I have not colluded with Nuffnang or anyone to sensationalize this and get crazy traffic. I do not work for Nuffnang. I do not own shares in their company.

10 Comments:

Blogger Robb said...

Oysters, did I hear?

XD

May 08, 2008 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Yatz said...

i see you are curious about banding..think i shall dedicate an entry to you soon..Just only on Banding :D

May 08, 2008 3:59 PM  
Blogger naeboo~ said...

it was quite a bad move to straight away go with the defamation suit route/hint.

anyways, FYI, whether a statement is defamatory or not is not up for the plaintiff to define, it's the public.

more on that if im too bored from work to explain bit by bit.

May 08, 2008 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Sissor said...

Nuffnang were run by a bunch of kids who would organise parties and play toys with you when they're in good mood and pull out guns and talk about law with you when you rub them the wrong way.

I don't for a second think that is the correct treatment towards any part of the community by a COMMUNITY META DOT COM. I mean that is what they lurpe calling themselves that right?

Pulling out guns for an APE picture? Hello seriously you guys at Nuffnang had taken this simple thing far too seriously and too far out.

Relationship with the community is not about organising parties only. If you need to use guns and laws instead of tact and skill to handle little problems, respect for you had taken the path down the toilet bowl.

The entire incident were simply blown out of proportion because of reasons best known to Nuffnang themselves but tell me this had not hurt Nuffnang's public image?

May 08, 2008 7:19 PM  
Anonymous GameR said...

Those who had followed the incident can tell the Nuffnang team isn't very approachable when their pride is hurt. When they decided to gun you down, they don't think of themselves as Nuffnang or you as part of their community, you become an enemy. For a company a size of Nuffnang, i am amazed by the level of "generosity" shown. Or rather the lack of it. And the fact Robb had the audacity to come onto individual blogs to put on sarcastic remarks just speaks the level of their maturity. I hope Tim, all these remarks by Robb wasn't endorsed by you, if you did i feel sad for you and Nuffnang.

In saving your pride, you went all out for it, have you guys thought about the cost? Is it worth it to gun down 1 and offending 1000 in the process? This is not a military and this is a free market. If you don't guard your relationship with the community, no one would.

And finally big efforts spent on small issues are big efforts lost on the big issues. Remember where you come from and remember how you get here. The time for gratitude is every sigle time you face the community. The moment you disregard you root you're done.

May 08, 2008 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, come on SSL, whoever u r. y do u hv to keep on publishing on this issue? making a jerk outta yrself and making u look really stupid...really. it clearly demonstrates how much u r lack of confidence. i did read yr original posting on nuffnag bcoz, i hv no idea wtf was nuffnang (and i kinda find them sucks(not thru yr post tho), dont wanna get associated with them too) and find it totally constructive. nuffnang should thank you and kiss yr S and payy u and improve.

to sum it all up....errr, sorry, no offense...u acted like a loser...lah. too bad so sad.

"enuff of nangs"

May 09, 2008 9:38 PM  
Blogger Sisuahlai said...

Thank you for all your comments. Last commentor, if you reveal yourself (in an email if you choose to do it privately), you'll get an invite to the Oyster galore in KL. I have no problem with you calling me a loser, or someone who lacks confidence. You are not entirely wrong, I do not win all the time. In fact, this case clearly illustrates that, I wanted to know more about certain payout terminology, but I am not getting it.

May 10, 2008 12:38 AM  
Blogger joshuaongys said...

actually your posts are quite interesting for other bloggers to read on... personally i do not think you're spoiling nuffnang's image with "that" post.. but we know that there're many types of people around and i'm sure some people will get your post wrong... and Nuffnang was quite serious with it....

now that its all cleared up, we'll see u back on Innit for a couple of weeks time aite??

anyway do post more interesting stuffs in the future k??

=)

May 10, 2008 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL.

dude, seriously, dont get me wrong, i dont think u r a loser, but u acted like one. U put yrself in a position of one. i think u r smart in questioning and asking questions about things u do not know and things u r not clear of and things people take granted of. i dont think u r in any way malicious and i really thought u r genuine about getting to know about the terminologies etc, but they r treating u shit. so in this case, y cant u juz screw them and get on with life? instead, u kissed their S and behaved like a kid fearing them like the above(if any). errr, not that i m infusing hatred, not at all, but come on, grow up.

u dont need INNIT to survive, u dont need a blog to survive as a matter of fact(i blog too).

meantime, 'good luckie'

'enuff of nangs"

May 10, 2008 6:34 PM  
Blogger Sisuahlai said...

mr anonymous, this is one of the rare moments that i get dragged into an exchange with a commentor.

you've made some valid points, but in my defense, i just like you to know that i don't fear threats (legal or non-legal) as i have no reason to.

whether you hate them or love them, you have to agree that they are trying. They will and cannot please everyone but they know they need the support of bloggers. It is a tough and delicate balancing act.

but I have been asking myself the "payout" question for some time now, and i feel that they could now handle more probing questions, because they are not exactly "green" in the market - besides they call themselves asia's FIRST blogging community. But their response (or lack of it)made me revise that opinion.

So i am happy to wait until they can do so. Meantime, I'll stick with them, because IMO they are still way ahead than their rivals in winning young bloggers' "hearts and minds". And at least, they have the courtesy to call me up to "clear the air". that wins SSL approval rating :)anytime.

yes, i don't need INNIT to survive, to go further, i don't need blogging to survive (not now anyway). but that is besides the point i am trying to make:

i want to make monetizing blogosphere a more transparent place to be. i won't be able to get the same reaction if i harp on about google's ad payout structure, because it is not exactly "local".

sometimes you have to play by the rules to get the desired result. but at least with SSL entries, (i think) some bloggers are starting to think a little deeper and perhaps feel we are equal to those ad agencies and not just pander to their every whim without question asked.

but thanks for your feedback. i promise you, i don't do brown nosing or ass kissing to prove a point. but i am also not a loose cannon.

May 10, 2008 8:03 PM  

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