$5 for Consideration, Paying for Others if Denied

Yesterday Trisha wrote a post about the Savvy Blogging Summit put on by some women (not Trisha).  There a few things I’m not fond of but am specifically against the fee. The NONREFUNDABLE $5 fee to apply to even be considered to attend the summit. Just to say that again….. You pay $5 to apply. You may or may not be approved. If chosen approved, you pay the $250 summit fee. If you are NOT approved, you get nothing.

There is no other way for me to say it but it’s just plain wrong. To have the denied applicants paying the bill for approved applicants is wrong. The reasoning behind the fee is “the $5 is to make it for people who are really into taking their blogging to the next level etc”.  One person said it well (and I won’t mention his name just in case they don’t want to be known), if people are willing to shell out the $250 summit fee and travel expenses, don’t you think they ARE serious??

Just to give you an idea—If 500 apply but only 200 are chosen, that leaves them with pocketing $1500 from those unapproved applicants.  EDITED TO ADD:  I heard that only 60 are getting chosen…ummm, no comment.

I got TONS of DM’s and emails yesterday from people who don’t want to speak up because they are friends with some of these “savvy bloggers” but I’m speaking up because I DO NOT want any people who follow me to think it’s okay to be charged like that.  To pay to apply and if not approved, get nothing.  IT’S NOT OKAY!  And if other bloggers are worried about stepping on toes, I understand, truly I do but for me, it’s about protecting the new bloggers that will fall prey to it. If you are not approved, you should at the very least get your money back, no ifs ands or buts about it.

What really ticks me off is that when a question/concern is asked, some of the “savvy bloggers” decided to be snarky or call it drama or jealousy but that’s the furthest thing from many of our minds.  We simply want answers to our valid questions/concerns.period.  We simply are trying to make sure that people aren’t be taken advantage of.

I want to thank Erin for doing her best to answer some of the questions in a professional, respectable manner…too bad some of the others didn’t follow suit.

My suggestion is to completely do away with the fee and preferably the application process(which is a whole ‘nuther story).  If you need that $5, add it to the summit fee.  There are better ways, this is not one of them.

P.S. It’s not about the money. It’s not about trying to stir up trouble or anything like that. It’s simply saying it’s not okay.

And just another thing to add….most of these are FRUGAL bloggers right??  Well that’s real frugal. #justsayin’

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  1. says

    First, thanks for the linky love.

    I really like what Lucretia commented on on the article. She said….but your NOT a school. Hell, the speakers havent even been revealed yet. People rushing to sign up for something that has

    a) never been done before
    b) with no speakers listed

    might as well shell out their money for the golden gate bridge I have sitting in my backyard.

    If bloggers want to be known as serious and professional, they need to start treating their “business” as serious and professional. And I dont mean with articles or personality or brand, I mean with making smart and “savvy” decisions before any money is ever shelled out.

    Im going to start a class, its gonna be free and its gonna be about how to not get SCREWED by other bloggers.


    • says

      Trisha, I just said that to one of my friends. I give out that information for free that they have listed in their conference description.

  2. says

    I’ve checked this conference out and it’s something that I could easily go to because it’s so close to my area…but I’m not going to pay $5, just to be considered. A)I’m not the biggest fish out there, so my chances of being told “No, you suck” are pretty good and B)aren’t we all serious about our blogging?

    Thanks Lori (and Trisha!) for nailing this one on the head…it’s disappointing, but there are other conferences out there!
    .-= Sky´s last blog ..Rockin’ Out with Joanie Leeds! *Giveaway* =-.

  3. says

    I just got back from reading Trisha’s article. Well said by both of you.

    But I guess my question is more elementary. Why reject anyone? If space is limited then give it to the first x# who apply? What difference does it make how serious the people are if they shell out their money? Are the conference coordinators putting on the event for the benefit of the attendees or are they looking to have only certain people attend so the coordinators can network with those selected people? By rejecting anyone, it sure seems kind of self-serving. Aside from the fact that the whole application process in and of itself is creating additional costs, I’m sure.

    While I understand from a business standpoint their concern for covering administrative expenses, I believe that should be wrapped into the cost of each attendee’s admission. If $250 per attendee isn’t enough to cover all the administrative and processing fees, then raise the price. The serious people will pay it anyhow if they are truly interested…which leads me back to why is there a need to reject anyone in the first place? If you don’t want to raise the admission price and you’re going to subsidize the conference, do it with sponsors not rejected applicants.
    .-= Nicole (SAHM Reviews)´s last blog ..Magic Marker on my Computer =-.

  4. says

    First of all, I have been out of the loop dealing with a boatload of personal problems so I didn’t even know this was going on so thank you for taking the time to speak out about this!

    Second of all, there is not one thing “savvy” about charging your peers an application fee (a non-refundable) application fee at that! @BenSpark is completely right in saying it feels like a scam. Anyone willing to pay $250 just to attend, I would assume is serious about blogging. Not only that but unless you’ve got speakers who have degrees in social media (I don’t even think there is a degree in social media yet) or a whole roster full of ACCREDITED experts on the speakers list, then there’s no reason to even consider applying for something I might not get approved for.

    Lastly, this just fuels the rumors that there are “cliques” within the blog community and makes me a little ill to be considered a part of such a community.

    I think the creators of the summit need to take a good look at the message they are sending to the critics of the blogosphere as well as their own community because from where I sit, there’s nothing “savvy” about what they’re doing.
    .-= Nikki´s last blog ..When They Fail, I Fail. =-.

  5. Aggie says

    You know what really sucks about this is some of us who are still learning the ropes and would really benefit from going to a conference to meet some of the “pros” and be able to pick their brain will not even be considered. I really appreciate that there are so many bloggers willing to help us newbies.

  6. says

    I think I will save my $5 for something else. I think it all comes down to a control issue. They are pretending like their in control of the internet. I think anyone who wants to go should go. It’s not like you get a degree from so called blogging school and if you did it wouldn’t even be worth 5 dollars on the blogger black market. It should be fair and who is to say what blogger is better than another? What qualifies someone to make that decision? Is it Page Rank? Is it number of uniques? I really wanna know.

  7. says

    Oh, yes, there are cliques. Why do they even get to “approve” who gets to pay them $250 to attend their summit to begin with? I agree with the comment that said it should be first come, first serve. Sounds to me like they only want the “pro bloggers” when really, the people who could benefit most are the less-known-but-just-as-serious bloggers. And a nonrefundable application fee is ridiculous. what, are we renting an apartment? It has scam written all over it! thanks, Lori!

  8. says

    Isn’t that the number one red flag for internet scams? Paying for…nothing.

    The whole savvy blogging movement rubs me the wrong way. When did these people become authorities?

  9. says

    Okay, I just looked at the class list and any of us who’ve been around the block for a while could teach this. Heck, I do it by email for free.

    This is just wrong on so many levels. If it’s truly an admin fee, they should have jsut charged $255 — oh wait, they don’t as much money then from all the denied people which is what this seems to be about.

  10. Kasandria says

    Your last line is he best. These are supposed to be the “frugal” bloggers. As a frugal person myself paying $5 for something for a “chance” to pay another $250 is not frugal to me. The whole thing is just shady.

  11. says

    Hi Lori ~

    Thanks so much for your post. There are just too many new, untested “marketing” tactics (and I use that term loosley)out there being tried out. too, think it’s extremely important that newbie bloggers know that it is NOT OK, to just throw your money away on an application fee with a blind “approval” process.

    At least there are some well-intentioned bloggers who are willing to take the fledglings under our wings. I wrote a post too, and I’m taking the heat for it. But I’m standing up for what I believe in.
    .-= Cindi @ Moomette’s Magnificents´s last blog ..Blogging Savvy: To get the meaning of something OR NOT =-.

  12. says

    Thanks for this post Lori. I made a really lengthy comment over at MomDot so I won’t rehash it here… but I did notice what you did, and that was that the response concerned me as well. This is not simply the newest mama drama.

    I am very concerned, too, about newer bloggers being taken advantage of in this situation. If people must apply, let them apply (not to endorse that process, but I think that alone wouldn’t bring such concern from others). Don’t charge a fee. Be clear about what your criteria is. Say how many will be approved.

    They are tweeting that this is for beginners. If it’s for beginners, who isn’t it for? What are the standards then? I absolutely am a big supporter of having beginners at blog conferences. Both they and more experienced bloggers gain by networking together. So I guess I am just left wondering… who will be rejected and why? Who will be accepted and why? Why don’t we know this information before spending $5?

    I even held off assuming they would address or answer some of these questions quickly, but (and forgive me if I have missed it) I have only seen them say that we should trust that the blind process is truly blind and that they stand behind it because they are doing something new. I would like to see answers, and a response/changes as a result of the concerns of bloggers, like you, Lucretia (in comments at MomDot), Trisha and several others who are very experienced and savvy and whose opinions I (and many others) respect vastly.

    • says

      You said it all. My concerns are for all of the new bloggers I see flocking to the #savvyblogging stream, talking about their applications to the conference, and “hoping” to get in.

      Will anyone care when those hopefuls are rejected?

      Will the SavvyBlogging team be there to “dry their tears” {both figuratively, and literally}.

      It is one thing to miss the deadline to sign up for a conference, and quite another to be basically told you are not worthy to attend a conference.
      .-= Amy @ Amy Loves It!´s last blog ..Not My Plans… =-.

  13. says

    I know that getting a new and small blog conference off the ground is expensive (we won’t even go into how much money I lost last year!) But it taught me a lot of important points:
    1) Have great content.
    2) Build a great community- even if it is small.
    3) Don’t under-charge just so people will come.
    4) Don’t over-charge so people think it is a “can’t miss” event.
    5) Keep everything as straight forward and easy as possible for people to understand because the less they know the more they think may be going on.
    6) If you’re worried about the fees you can have them added on to the registration. (It’s really easy.)

    Just my 6 cents…
    .-= Jody´s last blog ..I_Blog 10 Will be at the Hotel Pattee =-.

  14. says

    @5DollarDinners said they weren’t revealing the criteria & “competencies” they (oh, I’m sorry, their blind panel) were judging on, they were keeping them between themselves & the “panel”.

    We left the majority of our thoughts on the post at momdot so we won’t rehash here, but why hasn’t anyone grabbed on to the religious aspect here?

  15. says

    Lori, thank you for this post, and for all of your tweets.

    You said all of the right things, and you said what so many of us are thinking.

    Honesty in blogging is key. Period. And you, my friend, are the epitome of honesty.

    Oh, and I pretty much love you.
    .-= Amy @ Amy Loves It!´s last blog ..Not My Plans… =-.

    • A Cowboy's Wife says

      You are too kind:) I appreciate the nice words and I try to look out for others because I remember how many times i got screwed over…..;)

  16. says

    I have the utmost respect for some of the women putting on the conference – I sill stand behind my assessment that this is not the right approach to determining who their attendees will be.

    If they are concerned about getting only “the right” applicants – then raise the fee to $50 and refund it to those not chosen but incorporate it into the fee for those who do attend.

    The thing I left out over on Trisha’s post is the logic behind colleges and universities requiring an application fee. The reason that they do such is to keep potential students from applying willy-nilly to dozens of schools and then waiting until Fall to show up at only one of them.
    When I was teaching University, I found out about the application system. Every academic year, a certain percentage of students who were accepted for admission and indicate they will be attending never show up. They opt, instead, to show up at other schools that also admitted them. So a certain percentage (depending on the school and it’s history of no-shows) over the maximum are accepted in order to attempt to ensure full rosters in the Fall.
    In order to keep the numbers somewhat in line, the schools charge an application fee (the more desirable the school, usually the higher the fee) so that students are reduced to applying to only a handful of schools rather than dozens and dozens. This keeps the number of ‘no-shows v. admitteds’ to a comprehensible level.

    The schools don’t charge those fees because they cover administrative costs – but rather to keep from turning down potential students who *would* show in favor of students who would be admitted but have no intention of attending if another preferable school admits them.

    I could go way more in depth into the explanation – but it’s irrelevant really. The $5 fee in this instance was a mistake in judgment. I hope they understand that.

  17. says

    I have been rubbed wrong by blind panels in the past, in reality there is nothing blind about them. I also don’t understand why they want to profit off those who they no they would never accept. The Savvy Blogging has always kind of rubbed me wrong in the way they have gone about things, this only seems more high school of them.
    .-= Bobbi Janay´s last blog ..Truth =-.

    • A Cowboy's Wife says

      I just finished reading your post and I thought it was written well. I still do not approve of the application process (because I don’t see how they can determine whether one is serious or not) but the nonrefundable fee was my biggest concern. I’ve talked to Erin and she has said that the fee will be refunded. I’m waiting on that update…..

  18. says

    I usually don’t insert myself in controversy, especially since I’m not fully aware of the in’s and out’s regarding the conference. I believe everyone has a place/position in life where they are best suited and most successful, and sometimes (far too easily it seems) people get over their heads. I believe this conference is an example.

    I respect the organizers and their efforts but I think it’s finally too much. I’ve followed most of their blogs since they started and what was once just meeting others and about great organic growth and community has turned into this feverish rush of people building sites to monetize, and learning intricate css and usability, and a lot of blogs, especially those I started reading…are now about building successful blogs.

    Sadder yet, the community I used to feel a part of, now feels like a clique I’m not good enough for because I don’t net X followers/visits/feeds/subscribers/hits/posts/followers/tweets or lately…have a Facebook fan page? When I’ve offered my services or help as a designer (I’m a web developer) I’m silenced or ignored because I’m not FiveJ’s. It’s just all run amuk and I’m tired of trying. I may not be the next big blogger, or anyone important, but I was loyal.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Some sweet new stuff! =-.

    • Leigh says

      The whole Savvyblogging thing seems like too many people who drank the kool-aide to me. I’ve watched from a distance for a long time–watched them build their brand on the back of another conference. Hello, they hosted a “learn to blog well’ event during a blogging conference, and lured people away from it. Which was confusing since Blissdom had a day beforehand to hold events just like the one they put together. It didn’t take a genius to see what they were doing, and that their own conference/summit/school/callitwhateveryouwant was coming up soon.

      I listened to many of these very same women get up and speak at other blogging conferences, only to find myself sadly disappointed with the advice they gave out. All of them have good traffic, that is for sure. But what I heard more from them, both on the stage and off, was a whole lot of self-promoting PR that really didn’t have a whole lot to do with much of anything. There are much bigger–and better monetized–bloggers out there.

      Its all been very cliquey from the very begining, and I see a lot of bloggers practically begging to sit at the cool-girl’s lunch table.