Learning How to Manage Blog Content the Hard Way, or What Happened to the ‘Nine of the Best Milkshakes in Dallas’ Post

Two days ago, I approved the post “Nine Best Milkshakes in Dallas” written by Danielle Glick (DallasFoodie). Sarah Reiss and I met with Danielle before she was asked to write one post a month. I knew Danielle was a social media marketer and that she had some clients in the food business. I asked her to write a disclaimer if she ever mentioned any of her clients in a post.  (She was not paid by SideDish for the post and we paid for her milkshakes.) The milkshake post gave Twisted Root the highest rating of the group she sampled. Unfortunately, Twisted Root is one of Danielle’s clients. Within 24 hours, a sharp-eyed SideDish reader pointed the fact out to me. I pulled the post.

Obviously there was a miscommunication.On SideDish, we do everything we can to avoid a conflict of interest. We pay for the food we review, we let you know if a report is from a free event or media dinner, and if there is a conflict with a restaurateur, we report that as well. And we have a closet full of wigs to prove it.

UPDATE: Danielle Glick: “I had no reason to hide anything and every reason to try to prevent something negative from happening, so I was taking careful notes on what you said I needed to do. In Nancy’s follow-up article about me she wrote, “I asked her to write a disclaimer if she ever mentioned any of her clients in a post.”, but I do not have that statement in my notes or my memory. If I did, I would have gladly written such a disclaimer.”

22 comments on “Learning How to Manage Blog Content the Hard Way, or What Happened to the ‘Nine of the Best Milkshakes in Dallas’ Post

  1. Well, I personally will continue to follow DallasFoodie. Side Dish doesn’t appear to keep their bloggers around very long, what a shame. And, DallasEater will be losing a follow from me as of today.

  2. Though I do not have much respect for you or your writing, you can’t really be blamed for someone you hired having no common sense. I give you credit for taking the blame. I would point out however, that @foodbitch would have never pulled a stunt like this

  3. This isn’t at all surprising. DSideDish has an odd way of choosing a blogger to represent them-As soon as Dallas_Foodie began tweeting about how to get free food for a week…wherein she went to a cheap Irving hotel happy hour (one that she wasn’t staying at) and ate the free food…well that was the end of it for me.

  4. I agree there was a miscommunication between myself and the SideDish editors on whether I needed to disclose my relationships with businesses when no compensation, free or discounted food was being provided to me by those businesses. I was upfront with the SideDish editors that Twisted Root was one of my social media clients and that I felt they had one of the best milkshakes in Dallas. If I recalled being told I needed to disclose clients regardless of receiving compensation, then I would have gladly done so. Since I was upfront about my business I was expecting the editors to make a change during the editing review process if they felt anything was amiss, but they did not. In retrospect, I should have spelled out there was a relationship with no compensation just to avoid this potential for confusion. I don’t think I was set up or anything like that. The editors just forgot or misinterpreted something we said, and/or vice-versa.

    I think the very nature of becoming a writer/critic/influencer of any industry involves building relationships with people in that industry. Whether for business or otherwise, all writers have to have relationships. I pride myself on not letting relationships of any type influence my Dallas Foodie posts, but I realize people may not know this about me and some will always question it regardless. I believe SideDish has this same pride, and we are all humans doing our best to figure out how to blend real life opinions with online influence. We make mistakes and learn by experience, and I have no hard feelings about it all.

  5. Littleloo, our core group has remained stable for some time. However it an attempt to cover more I try new people. What looks like an easy gig becomes a hassle for some writers and they beg off. We don’t pay so that isn’t surprising.
    As to Dallas Foodie, nobody pulled any stunts here. There was a miscommunication and I take full responsibility.

  6. Joseph, Thank you for letting me know how you interpreted my article. I believe you may be confused about the facts though. I attended an RSVP-only industry event that was hosted and catered by the ALOFT hotel bar in downtown Dallas (not Irving). I don’t consider ALOFT to be a “cheap” hotel, but I understand that can be relative to the size of one’s pocketbook. The way you phrased your comment sounds like I went to a Motel 6 in a poor part of Irving to eat free pretzels intended for their guests. Here is my article for reference: http://ow.ly/6paMo.

  7. Within 24 Hours? Try within 4 minutes. Scott-DFW’s comment on DG’s conflict of interest was up immediately after the publishing the story. DG even responded on the accusation with an invitation to view their client list on their website.

    Well, doesn’t look like there is a list of clients on DG’s website at all: http://dgdesign.biz/index.php/clients/

    This is a bad situation made worse by promoting the A+ review on the Twisted Root Burger Co. Facebook page.

    http://www.facebook.com/TwistedRoot/posts/188513954554454

    Here’s an image if the post gets pulled: http://yfrog.com/h6kiwcp

    Also, how does someone be a Social Media Client “with no compensation”? Someone administers their Facebook page without being paid to do so?

    If you want to write freelance articles for any publication in the industry your clients share, chances are you should probably avoid using any clients no matter the relationship. So if that means you have to avoid topics your client is involved with, then so be it. Don’t see how you would think SideDish is doing you wrong and that you would have any right to have hard feelings towards D Magazine.

    Can’t have it both ways. Editorial or PR representation. Pick a side and stop trying to straddle the line.

  8. JG, you are correct. I didn’t see the earlier shout out by Scott. I am working on a story which takes me away from SideDish. I didn’t see it until last night. I’m sure Danielle is paid for her social marketing. She was not paid by SideDish. None of our writers are compensated.

    As I said, Danielle and I discussed the fine line between writing a food blog (her own) and running a marketing business. You have to choose one side or the other.

  9. “None of our writers are compensated.”

    Why do they do write for you? Maybe Danielle isn’t paid either. Are these people literally working for food?

    As for quality of writing, like most services, the quality of what you receive usually has some relationship with the price of the service.

  10. The D Magazine staffers who contribute to SideDish are paid. None of our independent contributors are paid. They are reimbursed for expenses. Yes your equation seems logical. So far I have been pretty lucky with the people who love to write about food in their spare time.

  11. primi, you make me sad. Nancy works harder than any other journalist in Dallas to make the restaurant/food scene fun and interesting. I am proud and happy to be a part of SideDish, even if unpaid (however I wish my day job would give me a raise).

  12. Danielle, That was how I interpreted the article but I appreciate you clearing up that aloft was in Dallas. I was only aware of the location in Irving. As I recall, you touted yourself all week as “how to eat free in Dallas for a week”-If this was an invite-only “industry” event, then how did that relate to your followers? We could all walk into the Holiday Inn Express for continental breakfast and pose as guests. Continue to eat at Company Cafe multiple times per week and review places like Fuddruckers and call yourself a Dallas foodie. Honestly, this publication is not worthy of your opinions…in my opinion

  13. Yikes…I follow Dallas_Foodie on Twitter and defended her on SideDish. But it now strikes me as really problematic to work for a company providing marketing services to restaurants and also write reviews/give opinions of restaurants on a magazine blog. Or is this merely another example of the blurring of the lines between professional journalism, amateur blogs, and marketing services?

  14. I was interested until i read the how to eat for free article. I’m sorry, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth. On free food Friday, she went to Blue Mesa where they have free quesadillas made to order and got huffy over not getting her free quesadillas in a timely manner. I don’t care if you paid for drinks there, there was just something weird about the way she would get irritated and picky in her article about all the places offering free food. Beggars can’t be choosers. Please everyone, go read the whole free food series and see what you think. My thoughts…a little weird.

  15. Bobby Ewing, “As I said, Danielle and I discussed the fine line between writing a food blog (her own) and running a marketing business. You have to choose one side or the other.” The food blog world is changing so fast and there are up and coming bloggers who don’t understand the concept of church and state in reporting. (sales and edit) There are people who have blogs that feel entitled because they have a blog….If you eat or drink something for free and do not include that in your evaluation you are breaking a law. And many bloggers don’t even know the law.

  16. Amy S:

    I regret being astounded to learn that some of the SideDish contributors work for free causes you sadness. I enjoy SideDish and I am not surprised Nancy Nichols works incredibly hard and considering the publishing industry today I have no doubt her efforts are under compensated. I can accept interns working for free in order to get experience. Freelance writers are another matter entirely. They are perfectly free to volunteer their efforts, but this volunteerism still surprises me. I am perfectly free to leave no or meagerly gratuities but I prefer to compensate fairly those who provide me service. Call me crazy but I believe in a minimum wage and wish the minimum wage were a living wage. Quite frankly I do not understand why my surprise of SideDish’s free labor saddens you more than the thought of writers working for free food.

  17. I know Danielle and she will through a fit at any opportunity to get her food for free. How do I know, because I have been around her many times at different events and or just hanging out with mutual friends. She will fight with you to the last penny.