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Get Naked and Rule The World… Why I Blog. Why Do You Hate?

Get Naked and......Rule The World

Check out the Wired magazine article The See-Through CEO “Get Naked and Rule The World” – about blogging and transparency for businesses. This similar to the New York Magazine article, in which I was mentioned.

I like this Wired article because it talk about how businesses have finally realized that Google has turned from a search engine into a “reputation-management system”:

Think about how Google works. When you type in a term, the search engine puts the site with the most links pointing toward it at the top of the list. That means bloggers and discussion boards are extremely powerful in influencing Google’s search results, because bloggers and discussion-board posters are promiscuous linkers, constantly pointing to things they love or hate. Google hoovers up those links and makes recommendations based on them… Companies have watched their biggest screwups quickly migrate to the top of a Google search. When Shel Israel and blogger Jeff Jarvis wrote about wretched treatment by Dell’s customer service, their posts were so gleefully linked to that for a while they appeared as the number one and two search results for “Dell.”

In my case, I was the one who decided to air my dirty laundry in public by talking openly about my real estate investing screwups, shady loans and facing foreclosure.

Why did I start blogging? I’ve been wanting to do some kind of a business blog to share my real estate investing adventures. I have a very open personality and wanted to have a voice on the internet. At the time I was already experimenting with a personal blog of my daily life. (which I took down because it was too naked).

Ironically, it was the old personal blog that got me denied for “just one more” cashback deal to help float the other properties. That’s when I saw the power of blogging and internet search. I realized I am going to be facing foreclosure on 6 homes last August. I saw an opportunity. Impulsively I ceased the moment. I registered the domain and wrote my first entry. I was hoping this foreclosure blog might help others and can turn into some kind of financial gain too. Never did I realize what was about to come…

Shortly after I started blogging, I got picked up by HousingPanic and other Housing Bubble blogs. That’s where I got some of the “haters” and harsh comments. All of a sudden I had an audience, although, a very critical one. To keep “the fans” happy and to get more “naked”, I naively posted about possible mortgage fraud and straight up admitted to lying on my loans.

Right then, I kind of got scared that I might be sharing too much so I impulsively took the blog down only to bring it back online a couple of days later. When I was down, Motley Fool mentioned me. “The cat is already out of the bag”, I figured… better stay online and have a chance to control what is being said about me. That’s what the Wired magazine talks about:

But here’s the interesting paradox: The reputation economy creates an incentive to be more open, not less. Since Internet commentary is inescapable, the only way to influence it is to be part of it. Being transparent, opening up, posting interesting material frequently and often is the only way to amass positive links to yourself and thus to directly influence your Googleable reputation.

I reasoned talking about my “shady loans” couldn’t have been that big of a deal. None of the mortgage brokers told me I was committing fraud and it seems like all the other investors were stating their incomes. Besides I was just trying to survive and help people by tellin’ how it is. So I kept talking.

Not long after that I started getting interview requests from various main stream media outlets: CNN, NPR, The Economist, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Magazine, Sacramento Bee, Scotsman Guide to mention a few. I just kept saying “YES” and telling my foreclosure story exactly how it is, without putting on any kind of a spin. I was at the mercy of the media, though I figured I would still have the last word on my blog. Surprisingly, the media told my story in a fair and balanced way every time.

Not so “the haters” and the numerous “hater sites” that emerged. It still amazes me how emotional people get over my story. Look in the comments on any entry and you’ll see. The environment in the comments is so negative that my family and friends get offended and don’t even read them anymore. They wonder how I can stand this negativity and if it gets to me. Well, there are those days, but most of the time it’s all good.

I figured if I filter too many comments people will think I’m trying to hide something. So I would let the “haters” post dirt about me because I can then explain it and give my view. By keeping it “organic” and encouraging “free speech” I have been trying to follow the strategy that the Wired article talks about:

Putting out more evasion or PR puffery won’t work, because people will either ignore it and not link to it – or worse, pick the spin apart and enshrine those criticisms high on your Google list of life.

The problem is that I can’t share EVERYTHING because I want to respect the privacy of people close to me. People also blow things our of proportion.

For example, posting a screenshot of my bank account a couple of months ago took the level of hate to a new level when they saw such names as: Macoroni Grill, Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Chipotle, etc. I tried to explain it away many times. I even accepted $250 to get chewed out for an hour about eating out while being in foreclosure, not getting a W-2 job and stuff.

I really identify with this next part:

There’s no going back, yet many young CEOs worry that they’re on a treadmill: Once they’ve started blogging, they can’t stop, and that takes valuable time away from running their businesses. They also worry that all their witty little missives are simply giving critics fuel for later pyres. One new firm, Reputation Defender, last year began offering services to “clean up your tracks” online – by emailing sites and discussion forums that contain unflattering information and asking, nicely, to have it removed. “We do search and destroy,” says Michael Fertik, the company’s founder.

I agree. All the blogging, defending, and moderating comments eats up a lot of my time. I need to get going on monetizing this blog the right way so that I can justify the time spent here.

And yes, I sometimes do wonder if all this “honesty” and “transparency” is doing me much good. I feel like it doesn’t even matter what I say… the haters are going to hate. You know who you are. You call it “tough love” but I feel like you have already made up your mind.

To the “haters”:

  • You say I need to get a W-2 job? But according to Nacho if I actually start making solid income from my business(es) the perception will change. Will it really? Or are you still gonna hate?
  • Some of you say I should file bankruptcy? Others of you say I need to pay back every dirty penny like I intended? Which one is it? Or are you still gonna hate?
  • What if I turn this blog into a foreclosure help site and create true value while making a living out of it? Are you still gonna tell me I need to get a W-2 job and throw away the position I have developed? Or are you still gonna hate?
  • If I become a raging success through this “failure”… Are you still gonna hate? (or be jealous?)

There is no pleasing you. You think everything I do is a scam. You’re quick to judge and you don’t know even the half of it!

Have you been in my shoes? Are you a business owner, or investor or entrepreneur? What qualifies you to give me advice? Why should I listen to your negativity?

Yes, perhaps I have not been very good about explaining things or I have given you partial information. I need to get better at that. But still, why do you have to jump to conclusions? Don’t you see that I’m naked here and trying to make something out of my situation…

What do I have to do to get support around here?

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