Wild West Web? How the Smoking Gun backfired.

by Katie on December 20, 2011

Sometimes in the blog and twittersphere certain occurrences make you reel. Take the latest spat that all began with newbie blogger but global doyenne of make-up, Kay Montano’s Wild West Web blog piece that was little more than a thinly veiled attack on bloggers as ‘blaggaz’ (gosh, it’s so down wit’ da kidz), making the distinction that she and her colleagues, as beauty industry professionals, are the ‘Blogeoisie’ unlike the ‘hairy armed’ (her words) swatch brigade, the lowly Plebian bloggers. 


Now, I won’t even begin to analyse the prose or the style but suffice it to say, I’m glad the lady’s found a globally lucrative career being ‘good with her hands’ but in sentiment this piece was built around the premise of artist integrity and of artistes being credited properly and not wrongly. No argument from me with that at all. I, too, would find it both annoying and distressing to build a reputation and then have it dashed with wrong accreditation. The fact that at no point does she criticise or demand a retraction from the PR responsible for the wrong accreditation of her work speak volumes. Good bloggers, like journalists act on the information supplied by the PR in terms of credits, prices and dates and take that as verbatim – No agent on earth wants hundreds of calls verifying work when they could be making money for their client. However, rather than view the culprit of this misdemeanour being the hapless PR, Montano roundly turns on the lowly blogger who used the information and any others who have since googled, viewing them as the perpetrators for evil and not simply as individuals acting on good faith.

Ironically, my friends, the resultant brouhaha caused by this turn of events appears to have caused more damage to Ms Montano’s stellar reputation than a simple miscreditation. Her vicious criticism in this article (aimed at the wrong perpetrators) seems intent on destroying an esteemed and finely honed reputation for world class creative make-up prowess whilst simultaneously alienating the very audience of readers, fans and admirers that she is so quick to deride. How to lose an audience and alienate in one fell swoop. Touché.

What riled the blogging community out there was that Ms Montano took the wrong end of the stick and ran with it…all the way to her enclave of professionals who share the same abhorrence and disdain for mere nobodies having an opinion and managing to infiltrate ‘the industry’ such as Chanel Press Open Days, it appears.

As a industry professional and blogger myself, I can roundly say that many have worked long and hard at increasing the reputation of bloggers and certainly many can tell from their RSS feeds just how widely they are read by international publications. So, it’s with a heavy heart to see beauty ‘professionals’ not reading the article properly, wading in with comments of support to Ms Montano whilst simultaneously deriding bloggers as ‘blaggaz’.  When one of those people happens to be the beauty director of Cosmopolitan, a brand reputedly at the forefront for young women’s rights and who have endlessly promoted the Cosmo Blog Awards (garnering followers and support from bloggers throughout the UK and Ireland) and the other a major ‘face’ and TV brand ambassador for Olay, one can see just how much crisis management is required and how jaw droppingly naive some industry professionals are with regard to the impact of social media.

If at any point, a sense of humour, a grasp of parody (which was certainly occurring in the twittersphere) and a finely rounded sense of perspective had been grasped, this may have fizzled out and ended up as a pre Festive bout of stupid o’clock.

The fact that this debate goes on is a sad acknowledgement that bloggers are firmly held in contempt by some industry insiders who doth protest too much it appears. For me, the lesson is clear – learn how to respect your audience and use social media effectively if you don’t want it to blow up in your well made-up face. A few words can be contra to your brand and reputation.


Please note the original ‘Wild West’ piece that appeared has since been edited since the first draft as commented by a blogger in the comments section.

Did you take part in this (Mrs Merton style) heated debate? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment in the box below. Thank you.
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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Laetitia Wajnapel December 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Why do I feel this whole thing is just about a bruised ego (KM’s) and not so much about the bigger picture (blogging)?

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Cami December 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Interesting post. I didn’t take part in the proceedings, but I did read Kay Montano’s argument with interest (and supreme irritation). The point for me, was that she argued in the comments that all the bloggers annoyed by the article thought they were being referred to as ‘blaggaz’, when she’d not said that about anyone.

However, she only offered a binaristic and short-sighted argument: she offered two sides of the blogosphere – the so-called ‘blaggaz’ and the ‘blogeoisie’. If you only offer two polarising points of view by which to describe the blogosphere, then clearly she is dividing the bloggers into either one of 2 categories.

So, apparently in her view, either you’re one of ‘blaggaz’, or you’re the ‘blogeoisie’ (it makes me cringe typing these descriptions). I’m not annoyed so much at her post (freedom of speech), but her failure to welcome other sides of the argument from other comments, as she predominantly screened comments from angry bloggers offering a rebuttal to her short-sighted and irritating smuggery.

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Cecilia December 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I read KM’s post last night and think people have overreacted somewhat to her words.

In my interpretation of her post, she was merely implying that there was a difference between good quality blogs (created by journalists or not) and bad ones, and the impact that this difference can potentially have on an industry professionals career when intellectually property is involved. Surely this is interesting, not insulting… Especially when it comes to protecting our own good quality content as bloggers. I wouldn’t want anyone to misinterpret anything I wrote…

Whether or not you agree with me is irrelevant however when you consider the bizarre crowd mentality that surrounds this on Twitter. Fair, KM could have potentially left out the hairy arm comment, but no one was personally vilified… All the blow’s I’ve seen have been particularly low. Has anyone reached out to her to politely correct her? I’m not sure they have…

I feel everyone might just been feeding the flame they’ve assumed she’s created. Which I really doubt was ever her intention.

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Big Fashionista December 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm

An excellent post.

I didn’t get involved in the original argument over Kay Montanos post. I read it, listened to what she said, and parts of her post nodded and agrees with, it was when she got bored of making a point and started insulting people I lost interest.

The Cosmo Beauty Boss who got involved has saddened me deeply. I was a shortlisted Nominee at this years blog awards and was proud of the fact.

Now I feel like I was a means to an end. Just a way to drive more traffic to their site while being secretly sneered at.

Kay Montano actually had to edit her own post didn’t she? After some glaring innaccuracies.

Oh the irony

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Muslimah Beauty December 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I think it’s utterly rude to discredit the hard work of bloggers. It seems as though there’s a hierarchy where the beauty editors of the glossies are the ‘creme de la creme’ and their circle is impenetrable whereas we’re the lowly, common bloggers and every now and then a magazine such as Cosmopolitan will give out an award to their favourite bloggers when they see fit.

I was shortlisted for a Cosmopolitan Blog Award not too long ago and with Inge van Lotringen retweeting the article Kay Montano wrote, I couldn’t help but feel that the Cosmo Blog Awards were a bit of a farce. I may be wrong because they are her personal opinions after all but, she arguably represents the whole magazine.

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Katie Chutzpah December 20, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Cecilia, I observed many bloggers and journos reaching out to correct her, myself included re the PR error and the attitude of ‘us’ v ‘them’ attitude. Many tweets were simply not acknowledged directly and merely re-tweeted (as in “look at how controversial I am and how silly they are”). As I said in the article, the wading in of other ‘professionals’ slamming the blogging community didn’t do their titles or their reputations any favours. Methinks there’s a great deal of backpeddling going on.

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LiAnn - Sparklecrack Central December 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I didn’t participate, only because while this had a very tiny kernel of something important near its base (improper attribution stemming from tangled communications channels between PR houses and any and all promoters) the post as a whole came off sounding like one of two scenarios:

a) one person’s sense of self-worth is damaged because they perceive others to also be allowed into the same club, and so they start looking down their noses and whispering angrily about the “riff raff.” Privilege and exclusivism. Not really behaviors to be proud of, in my opinion.

b) someone being a bully and / or causing controversy as a way to raise their personal profile.

Either way, it was infantile behavior – a bit like a five-year-old wetting their pants as a way to get adult attention, or holding their breath to get their way. Pointing out this individual’s less-than-mature behavior is definitely good – because it teaches everyone how to analyze such behavior, and thus teaches people how to avoid doing the same things themselves – but pointing out that such-and-thus person exhibited the bad behavior just gets the tantrum-thrower the attention they crave.

Just let the silly cow sit there with wet pants and a blue face. She’ll stop eventually. Or (more likely) she’ll learn to polish up her neurolinguistic gameplaying.

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