• http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

    Hi guys,

    Interesting interview. Love what Dino has done with Triberr so far for bloggers – I’m just curious if this model isn’t already happening?

    Obviously you can look to something like IZEA that is already providing brands access to bloggers. Then you have FrogLoop (recently renamed) as well as more advanced companies like InkyBee and GroupHigh that are working very successfully with brands by connecting them to contextual influencers, which is what it’s all about at the end of the day.

    And great question on the paid versus earned media, Chuck – it’s where the majority of advertising falls down, and where bought influence a la Perks, Rewards, etc (would Triberr fall into this category) is struggling to continue to be relevant.

    Interesting times, for sure.

    • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

      Triberr’s point of differentiation is simple. We have a factory for making influencers. BOOM! :-)

      • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

        How are you differentiating them, though?

        Let’s take a very basic example. You have a brand looking for an audience that – for want of a better term – mommy bloggers are ideal for.

        So Brand X signs up, and you put them in front of your chosen 100 mommy bloggers. But then the differentiators need to kick in.

        – A reader of a mommy blogger who’s a single mom with three young kids;
        – A reader of a mommy blogger with one young kid and two teenage kids;
        – A reader of a mommy blogger with three grown children who’ve left the familial nest.

        All three target audiences are key to the brand because they represent the readership of the mommy blogger. But they have very different purchase needs. Additionally, depending on what the product is the brand is promoting, it may even turn out that the teenage kids in example two are the ones who’d make the purchase decisions, this being the most influential.

        Point being, it’s no use putting brands in front of the 100 mommy bloggers without the situational factors as exampled above. And that’s just a basic example.

        Then you have to provide past successes; which bloggers drove sales, leads, awareness, clicks, downloads, etc.

        There’s a huge amount of data, awareness and knowledge needed to start this kind of program, and while you can say you have an “influencer factory”, that’s exactly the approach that’s garnering criticism at the minute.

        • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

          I think we’re talking about two different things.

          When I say we have an influencer factory, Im saying that we can take a brand new blogger and make him an influencer overnight.

          As for the scenario you pose, those are great questions which require deep answers. The number of variables is staggering, I agree. But we’ll figure it out :-)

          • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

            “An influence overnight” – look forward to seeing how you do that, mate. :)

          • http://www.arielmarketinggroup.com/ Amy McCloskey Tobin

            Yes please – make me an “Influencer” overnight – can I be a case study?? 😉

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            Amy, you already are an influencer.

          • http://www.arielmarketinggroup.com/ Amy McCloskey Tobin


          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            Dude..you’ve been on Triberr long enough….you know that all it takes is good content and a good tribe, and BOOM! You tap into the collective influence of your tribe.

          • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

            Yeah, but that’s not essentially being an influencer, is it mate? That’s getting your content into the eyes of people (hopefully). The influence part comes after that, with the action part. It goes back to that conversation we had the other week on Reach metrics, and how useful they are (or not).

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            There is no doubt that someone who’s already known to you, and someone you trust, is more likely to drive you to action.

            However, if a new blogger is “recommended” to you by another blogger, and you land on the new blog and it’s good (content and design), there is a chance that blogger will drive you to action as well, assuming relevance is in place, of course.

            It’s all a matter of small degrees,

    • Chuck Kent

      I’m not familiar with the other platforms you mention, so I’ll have to check them out, but I struggle with the inherent “contamination” of being paid to comment, even on a subject area one normally writes about. I also wonder if, in a growing environment of native advertising, where brands can basically buy the services of the writers of major publications, if bloggers aren’t in any case going to be somewhat pre-empted as traditional publishing fights back (compromising itself all the way to the bank). Interesting article on that in last Sunday’s NY Times business section, front page.

      I did appreciate Dino’s straightforward acknowledgement of payment-versus-trustworthy-blogger-independence as a challenge to overcome. Watch in the next few days… I have another interview coming with someone who’s doing something completely different with influence. And speaking of Influence Marketing (capitals intentional)… is the book out yet?

      • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

        Hi mate,

        The ironic thing with native advertising is that it’s still paid endorsement, if you like, just under a different name. That’s also a great point you make about blogging being superceded by brands that have the budgets and decide to work with “the chosen few”, whether that’s Klout’s Perk recipients; Kred’s Reward recipients; or Triberr’s model described here.

        It’s tough for bloggers at the moment, because very few make it to the “level” that brands tend to notice. Even fewer gain the traction that makes it worthwhile for brands to partner with, unfortunately. Triberr is trying to help with this, by aggregating multiple bloggers in Tribes and send that content to a wider audience. It’s something that’s helped a lot of bloggers; but it’s also polarized a lot of opinion, with many people saying it’s turned Twitter into an ever-lasting stream of nothing but automated links.

        Look forward to reading the next interview, been a great series to read so far mate. Oh, and book ships May 13. :)

        • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

          I wear it as a badge to have people say Triberr somehow effects Twitter. Which is ridiculous , of course but whatevs….

          More importantly, why is it important not to displace Twitter? Should we have some reverence towards Twitter? I LOVE Twitter, I’m on Twitter all day long, but platforms like Twitter and Facebook have ruined the blogosphere. Why shouldnt we displace them back? Why shouldnt we make them irrelevant?

          I say we should, and we will :-)

          • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

            It depends if we’re talking disruption or just spam. There’s a difference in perception. Of course platforms should be disrupted – I’m sure someone will build something that disrupts Triberr, for example. But I’d hate to think of comparing spam to disruption and calling it the same thing.

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            The whole Spam thing is totally unwarranted. Triberr was automated for the first 4 months of it’s life, that was over year and a half ago.

            During those first 4 months, some abused it. It’s been manual approvals ever since.

            However, there is no doubt that our goal is to lower the cost of transaction for bloggers. We want to make things quicker, easier, faster….so that bloggers can focus on what matters, which is writing, commenting, engaging.

            Ultimately, we want to create a powerful middle class in the blogosphere. And we WILL get there :-)

          • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

            And, to a degree, you’re succeeding, which is why it’s good to see something like Triberr. However, there is still the feeling by many (you’ve read and commented on the reviews) that Triberr reduces interaction and engagement because people do see it as spam. That’s perception – it’s different from yours, for good reason, but it’s still perception. In Tribes that have memberships close to 100, even manual posting in bulk is going to make a stream appear spammy. Again, perception.

            To your last point, why should there be any class system in the blogosphere? That’s the problem with social scoring when it comes to influence – instead of democratizing the web, it panders to the elite that can play the game to get their scores over a certain level. It’s bastardized influence, and has made brands wary. Why would we want the blogosphere to go the same route?

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            There will always be classes online because there always was and always will be classes in real life. The goal is to make the blogosphere as upward mobile as possible.

          • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

            Blogging isn’t “real life”? 😉

            I guess that’s where we fundamentally disagree then, mate – encouraging class by acceptance defeats the true potential of the web.

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            I would love nothing more than to have a flat web, alas, thats just not the reality.

            There is definitely a democratization of publishing, but is that equality? Attention is the next big problem, and until there is equality there, there will be classes.

            I’m OK with a flat web, but an intermediary step is in growing the middle class and creating upward mobility.

            Once we achieve that, I’m good to talk about creating a flat web. Or if you have a way of jumping there without growing the middle class, I’m all ears.

          • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

            Here’s a question about Attention. Obviously Triberr was set up originally to get bloggers traffic. I was speaking to Sam Fiorella last night and the topic of Triberr came up, and the way some posts from Huffington Post, Forbes, etc, were being “treated”. They were being lost from Sam’s feed, and he was advised the only way to have them in would be to remove original feeds and replace with HuffPo, etc.

            Your disdain for the likes of HuffPo was discussed. Is it a fair question to ask that this goes against the Attention and democratization apsect of your point, since it would appear (and this is just opinion) you would prefer to not have HuffPo and Forbes posts in Triberr, regardless if they give even wider promotion to the blogger because of their cache?

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            We’ve banned MLM networks from Triberr. As far as I’m concerned, HuffPo and Forbes are the same kind of plague.

            But, I struggle with that question all the time. For the time being, I’ve chosen to ignore and allow the likes of HuffPo and Forbes to use Triberr, and I’m focusing on changing hearts and minds of bloggers who see those platforms as a way to “make it”. We dont have to use those platforms to make it.

            What we all have to understand is that every time we write a post for Arriana, we are building her empire with our bricks. Remember 2011 when she sold HuffPo and gipped all those writers who have helped her build it in the first place? She doesnt deserve our content, and I hope Sam will some day understand that.

            As for Forbes, why are we writing for Forbes? There is only one reason. Vanity. Being on Forbes has cache so we can brag about it to our friends, and it sounds very impressive to people who are clueless. There is a HUGE difference in being in Forbes online vs. being in Forbes in print. Forbes online is feeding the google bot cuz google bot is hungry for content.

            As for Sam’s posts being “lost”, I’m not sure what that means. If you’re suggesting they are somehow being purposefully sabotaged, the answer is no. Never. When I ban HuffPo from Triberr, you’ll know it.

          • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

            Sorry, I should have phrased that better – I meant “more value being placed on posts that weren’t from HuffPo, etc.”.

            While I can see your take, I’m not sure Triberr is any different (at the highest level). It could be said that the bloggers are helping build up Triberr’s cache (sponsorships and accounts from brands looking to partner with bloggers) in exchange for traffic. And there are bound to be blogs in the system that other Tribe members think don’t deserve to be in the same feed. The circle continues, it’s not exclusive to Forbes, HuffPo, etc.

            Let’s face it, no-one is forced to write for any publication, it’s a choice. Tarnishing them all as “plague” carriers kinda insults their value.

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            I think a greater value is most definitely placed on posts that are NOT from HuffPo. But not by the platform itself, but by the culture we’ve built. And this is something I am extremely proud of.

            I see Triberr as a transitional platform. An intermediary. And to that, allow me to make 2 points.

            1. It doesnt matter if Triberr succeeds in carrying out a more democratized, flatter blogosphere with a strong middle class. What matters is that it happens.

            2. Triberr is different from all other platforms because it puts bloggers first. Because I’m a blogger.

            Imagine if we pulled “myspace” and placed Dino in every tribe the way Tom placed himself as everyone’s friend on MySpace?

            Imagine if Triberr added “via @triberr” to every share the way Youtube, sharethis, stupid wibiya bar across your browser window, and countless other platforms who are insinuating themselves into the conversations between two people.

            When you share Sam’s post from HuffPo, does it say “via @sam” or does it say “via @huffpo”? The share has “via @HuffPostTech”, I just checked. This is unacceptable. This is platform in service of itself. And I wont stand for it.

            Placing bloggers best interests first is a promise I expect all members of Triberr to hold me to. When that stops happening, I will be the first to leave Triberr.

            I hope new platforms will be born with the same philosophy and remove themselves from the conversation. I hope this becomes the new standard. And if that alone becomes the legacy of Triberr, I would be very happy with that.

          • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

            The sharing comment is the same everywhere (or pretty much everywhere). If you guest post on a blog, the tweet button is set up for the blog. Your friend Mark Schaefer, for example, has regular Grow columnists, but it’s not their name on the social share, it’s “via @markwschaefer”. That pretty much goes for any blog that has multiple authors. Is their practice also unacceptable?

            I think what’s happening here, Dino, is that you’re (understandably) close to your product and proud of what you’ve achieved, and are looking to achieve. But some of your arguments aren’t valid.

            I don’t read Mashable because of my overall view of the content from a 50,000 feet view. But I know there are some damn fine writers on there. I don’t read 12 Most anymore, as I feel it lost its way from its origins. But, again, there are some damn fine posts on there.

            Every platform, content host, etc, will have great and bad. They can’t be judged because of perceptions lf what they’re doing to an industry, when these same actions are happening elsewhere yet not being judged.

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            It is NOT the same everywhere. Go to http://diyblogger.net/wordpress-fun-with-advanced-custom-fields which is a reblogged post from Hypertransitory and click to tweet it.

            You will notice that the blog is not being used, the author is being used. THIS is the right thing to do.

            Mark’s example is a great one. It should correctly identify the actual author, but it doesnt….yet :-)

            This is going to be one of the bigger issues we tackle this year.

            And the argument “everyone is doing it” didnt fly with your parents, and it doesnt fly with me. Just because everyone is doing it wrong, does not excuse it.

          • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

            Right, but that’s a Triberr setting, no? I’m on about blogs in general. The majority of blogs that have social sharing set up that are not on Triberr do not have that set up. Some have the author, some have the sharing widget (through either lack of widget permissions or laziness on behalf of the blogger to change). It’s great you’re looking to change this, and give credit to the individual blogger, though it’ll be interesting to see how bloggers adapt to their property being taken from the share in lieu of the guest or contributor.

            Some do it well; they have the host blog and the author on there. Some don’t. But, it raises another question – the host of a guest blogger, for example, is giving their property over to the guest. The guest has the extra audience; a do-follow Author bio; and promotion by the blogger. So perhaps a blogger may not wish to have the social sharing changed. Anyhoo, it’s a moot point – people that want one thing will always go that route and people that don’t will go another.

            PS – you know nothing of my parents or their values, so please don’t introduce them to a conversation around your beliefs.

            With regards “just because everyone is doing it”, you’re putting words into my mouth. I’ve never been a fan of that mantra, my blog rallies against that, my interactions online rally against it as well. Just to clarify.

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            That is most definitely a Triberr setting, and it’s the way it should work.

            The reason Mark -for example- doesnt do it, is not because he doesnt want to, but because it’s too hard. It’s too hard technically, it takes too much time to do it, and plugins are built by non-bloggers so these plugin makers have no idea what the right thing to do really is.

            Now, look at it from the reader’s perspective. They click on a social share expecting a post by Mark, and they are greeted by a post by someone else. This creates cognitive dissonance and erodes the trust the reader may have in future posts by all bloggers, not just Mark. This is bad. This needs to be fixed. Across the entire blogosphere.

            Business as usual is not going to cut it.

          • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

            Yes and no. Completely agree on credit where credit is due, but let’s not dispel the smarts of readers. Multiple author blogs are known as multiple author blogs. Readers know the author may not always be the one writing the post. It’s the content that matters, and I’d rather read great content and then click through to the guest’s details from there.

            To throw it another way – often it’s the “cache” of the blogger’s name that encourages the click through to start with. Removing that could (potentially) lower clicks. Not saying that would happen, but could. For every “this would be great” method, there’s always a “damn, this might affect that” reaction.

          • http://www.arielmarketinggroup.com/ Amy McCloskey Tobin

            For instance – when I am lucky enough to post on Spin Sucks, the @SpinSucks carries a lot more weight than the @AmyMccTobin, no matter how influential we pretend I am amongst friends. Isn’t it understood and even desired by some bloggers to have the @Author’sBlog instead of their own.

            And, if WHAT is the method used to determine WHICH publications are less preferred?

            But that wasn’t my original point, I wanted clarification on whether Triberr is weighting or giving more reach, longer reach or whatever you want to call it, to posts that aren’t from the publications they dislike.

            Does that mean that posts I write that have the @SpinSucks are preferred less than posts by @AmyMccTobin, because if that’s true, then how are you corralling “influencers” for companies? Considering that SS is more influential than me as a stand alone. And by the way, I am concerned about the monetization of bloggers on Triberr; I love the platform – you know that – but I am concerned about how what the blogger is worth is measured, and about how much Triberr is making off of the transaction (not that Triberr does not deserve to monetize its platform), but bloggers for hire enmasse makes me uncomfortable.

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            There is no “preferred” post algorithm.

            As for monetization, the current strategies available to bloggers are crap. We want to build a system where bloggers can be proud of their brand affiliations and make an honest living doing what they do best. Details will be worked out soon enough.

          • http://www.arielmarketinggroup.com/ Amy McCloskey Tobin

            OK – so it’s not set. And I’m hoping that bloggers get to choose their brands, not vice versa. Paid per volume, or measurable influence?

            I guess this is what I hate: bloggers getting paid to promote brands always rings disingenuous to me. Yes, loads of my social friends do it – hawking all sorts of crap, but I don’t read them, and I don’t share them. Sure, if a mommy blogger writes excellent content and I want to read it, and I see a paid ad on their site that piques my interest – not offended at all. But when they want me to share their “Win a free vacation in Xland” I want to puke.” I don’t want Triberr to become as phony as those specific bloggers, and if I know someone is being paid 2 cents per tweet, well, pukefest here I come.

            I know it’s not fair for me to prejudge a system you haven’t disclosed – just expressing my fear for a platform that I use daily.

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            The ONLY reason we’re doing it, Amy, is because I agree with you. I’ve tested all existing systems, I’ve seen all existing methodologies, and they all suck.

            We’re doing this because I believe we can do it the right way.

          • http://www.arielmarketinggroup.com/ Amy McCloskey Tobin

            OK – I don’t get it. Forbes has ‘cache’ because the magazine itself has earned that cache – from years of reporting – some excellent, some not; some politically skewed by it’s publisher. I choose to read Forbes when there is a good post, despite the fact that I am on the other end of the political spectrum from the publisher.

            I don’t like the idea AT ALL that the founder of Triberr is skewing the reach depending upon which blogs he prefers, and giving them preferential treatment. Is Triberr now judging the streams bloggers choose to connect? Does that mean that my Tribe, that I build with the bloggers I choose, if those bloggers write for publications that you don’t like, will be given less preferential treatment? Will they have less of a chance of growing their audience?
            Is it bad to have via@HuffPost but good to have say via@EntMagazine because Triberr likes that better?

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            Amy, let me say this in no uncertain terms. Triberr does nothing to “skew” posts by anyone. The culture we’ve built prefers posts from individual bloggers like yourself. That is all.

            And no, I dont think it’s ok for @EntMagazine to insinuate itself into the conversation either. The author of the post should be identified and should get the social credit. Not the platform.

            Humans first. Platforms second.

          • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

            Oh, just another thing regarding vanity. My mom LOVED seeing me in Forbes. She thought I had arrived. But my mom is clueless when it comes to these here interwebs.

            What did the write up in Forbes do for me? 2 things. It impressed my mom, and it allowed Triberr to impress people who land on Triberr homepage for the first time to see that Forbes has written about Triberr. Thus giving us a tiny bit of credibility by way of Forbes.

            However, THIS is the fight I am in. I abhor the fact that platforms are perceived as credible. Platforms like Forbes have no inherent credibility. It’s the people behind those platforms who deserve -but never get- credibility.

            And THAT is the world I want to live in. The one where people are placed above the platform, NOT the other way around.

        • Chuck Kent

          I actually think that much of native advertising is worse than paid endorsement… you know when a celebrity is on TV endorsing a product that they’re just doing it for the dough. Especially in print, where the label of “sponsored content” is a) often relatively hidden and b) hardly self-explanatory, advertisers are literally buying the editorial credibility, and readership trust, of a publication. But publications are selling out in order to stay alive (this is journalism?), and readers’ trust is being betrayed. In the end, it hurts everybody… readers first, but ultimately all marketers, because it just reveals the brave new world of digital marketing to be the same old world of advertiser controlled messaging.

          • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

            Amen to that, mate. The main difference is in the execution – there are ways to “advertise” without it being advertorial (say, a paid endorsement for a brand you’d recommend anyway, but you ask for the payment to go to a local charity, or education group, for example). Staying true to beliefs is a pretty good divider between selling out and selling something that’s beneficial.

    • sam ludwick

      It is already happening! he is way too late on this.

      • http://twitter.com/dinodogan Dino Dogan

        Hi Sam,

        You’re right. This IS already happening in a big way. We’re simply lowering the cost of transaction for brands and expanding what it means to be an influencer.

  • Chuck Kent

    Nothin’ I like better than a digital duke-fest. Keep up the back and forth, boys… influence marketing of any and all sorts needs a good thrashing to bang out the bugs

  • Sam Ludwick

    I think this guy is a clown and he does not know what he is talking about. Nike does need to hire influencers like that. Savvy people at Nike are already tapped in with who is who in influence. They’ve worked with the like of people like Marcus Troy, William Yan, Heron Preston just to name a few. Why is this guy considered an expert. So crazy.