In case you missed it, the PR Lesson from Author Solutions & Chick-Fil-A post went kind of viral on Friday. And I have to say, it was a lot of fun. Not only was the news of Fake Jared picked up by GalleyCat, Writer Beware and The Atlantic Wire, but the link to my blog was shared on Google+ by Guy Kawasaki. Friday afternoon I spoke to Guy about self-publishing and his upcoming book on that subject!
But the thing that brought me the most joy? Author Solutions, Inc. (ASI) had to explain themselves to the publishing community. GalleyCat’s Jason Boog got this official statement from ASI:
“At Author Solutions we take our social media activities very seriously, and we are committed to following industry best practices. The manner in which the accounts were set up is not supported by our company-wide social media policy, and in no way is condoned by our company. We are taking appropriate action and we are in the process of removing the content from social media accounts.”
Of course, just like the company’s press releases, this official statement reeks of bullshit. If Jared Silverstone wasn’t sanctioned by the Author Solutions social media and PR teams, why was Jared found lurking on all the major social networks? Why was the Jared Silverstone account on Google+ still actively following people? And why had he posted a link to his blog, Indie Book Stalker, as recently as August 2, 2012?
Like the statement suggests, Jared’s Indie Book Stalker blog was removed along with his social media profiles, but you can still see the cached version of his solitary blog post if you’re curious. No surprise that the site contains one blog post, not even 250 words, and no less than three links back to the Xlibris bookstore, as Xlibris is one of the many publishing brands owned by Author Solutions.
Then there’s the blog Indie Books to Screen which I stumbled across while writing this follow-up post. If you look at it live now, it appears to be written by someone at Xlibris named Gio Ruiz. However, take a look back at the cached version of the site, and who do you see? You guessed it! Fake Jared. You see, Author Solutions doesn’t want to give up all of their precious backlinks, so they’re just changing the blog author names when it’s convenient.
Someone tell me again this whole thing wasn’t condoned by Author Solutions. G’head.
I’ll cut them a little slack on the deleting part though, as it must have been pretty late on Thursday night when the Author Solutions PR brain trust cobbled together that official statement. Clearly where it says they’re in the “process of removing the content from social media accounts,” they meant to write the qualifier “some” instead of the definite article “the.”
And though they’re gone now, we still have an ungodly number of distribution articles written by the Author Solutions employee formerly known as Jared Silverstone to take into account. GalleyCat uncovered a dozen articles attributed to Fake Jared on EzineArticles.com. And I’ve found several more articles on Goarticles.com, Easy Articles, and Articlesbase. These are the remnants of ASI’s “industry best practices.”
It seems odd to me that they’d try to spin this as if some rogue employee acted foolishly and without approval, considering Fake Jared’s been polluting the web with crap accounts since at least March. Either Author Solutions approved of these Silverstone tactics or they only discovered it was going on because I wrote about it. Neither scenario makes them look good.
Perhaps next time the BIG BOSS should line dance on the Cebu beach after the employees’ work has been inspected?