Tag Archives: mtl blog douchebag

How to make content MTL Blog style

We recently stumbled across a content guide sheet from MTL Blog. We felt it would be interesting to share with others who are interested in the inner workings of MTL Blog and how they generate content. It shows scheduling times and you can see the demographics they target, i.e. college kids, university students.

mtl blog content diagram

What’s interesting is that the target demographic here is up to young workers but their ad package states up to age 34. Granted the definition of young is a generic term, however, advertisers prefer older demographics, because the 30 plus demographic has more disposable income.  Cegep and university kids have limited disposable income since they have rent, tuition, books, and students tend to either not work or have part time jobs. What’s funny is that Facebook stats show that MTL Blog’s demographic is 18-24, a far cry from the up to 34 demographic that is pushed in their ad package and promised coverage to advertisers, but that’s another issue for another day.

 

mtl blog likes

 

Remember only you can help stop MTL Blog by getting people to Un-follow them on Facebook. You can use our handy “Help! My friends are douchebags guide” as well as our “Help! My friends accidentaly liked MTL Blog” guides to Un-Following MTL Blog.

Friends don’t let friends like MTL Blog.

MTL Blog caught with hidden sponsored content

Recently MTL Blog got caught using an non-declared organic content ad masquerading as real content, which you can read up on here. This is a paid placement masquerading as normal content. This was brough to light thanks to a mention on Twitter during the #askmtlblog smack down, which was triggered by the in depth article from Fagstein that asks 40 questions and digs up some information.

So CBC also did some follow up on it and sheds some light on the Keurig product placement and charging for coverage issues highlighted here and here.  You will need to fast forward to the 8:18 mark for the story to start.

MTL Blog caught on CBC news

Shortly after their call the Keurig ad went from

THIS

mtl blog Keurig ad placement

to THIS (note the teeny tiny orange sponsored content label)

mtl blog sponsored ad change

MTL Blog uses the”they forgot” excuse very often.  Take a look at the headache a local blogger had to go through when they called out MTL Blog on stealing their content  in not just 1 spot but 2!

A greater issue with this sponsored content post is that it shows the tag in one post in the top 10 list but does not show the entire list as sponsored. The lists’ integrity (if you can call it that) is in question since it is not a real top anything since one of the posts is paid for. The entire post in the life section should be tagged as sponsored content. Instead it isn’t and that leads readers into starting to read this post and not know that a portion is an advertisement.

mtl blog life section

 

Hasthtag hijacking by MTL BLog staff

So after the dust settled from the #askmtlblog smack down, I ended up back on the link for a post I had just put up and saw that the hashtag had one last person give it a kick and add some tail end content for blatant visibility.

What are you doing this week end? #askmtlblog Here’s what! [insert bullshit mtl blog link] #montreal #MTLBlog

This is when you take a long breath and realize that no matter what happens, no matter what people come out and say to MTL Blog, they will always worm their way to get extra traffic and clicks by being deceptive.

Using a url shortener makes people more likely to click on the link and to be honest this is borderline spam. I should also note that MTL Blog did like this tweet and that Maya Dee, aka Marialys Diaz, is an MTL Blog employee, but spam is spam and MTL Blog will continue to be MTL Blog no matter what they say or who they blame for their inapptitude and laziness.

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MTL Blog, business 1st, news organization later

Recently we were lucky enough to get our hands on the full photo sales pack for coverage offered by MTL Blog. As we have discussed before, they cover events for a fee and pass it off as native/organic content. Their site shows a version of a rate card with no prices.

MTL BLOG RATE CARD

 

Now we wrote about a portion of this rate card before, which was initially leaked to  FuckNoMontreal. Although now we have the full doc for you to look at. This doc is from late November so it is a little old and rates may have changed but this gives you an idea of what it is and silences any critics who say the previous image was faked.

sales-pack-1 sales-pack-2 sales-pack-3 sales-pack-4 sales-pack-5 sales-pack-6

 

 

MTL Blog called out for misleading headlines by STM

Just recently, MTL Blog posted an article about the STM with the headline of “STM Prepares To Sell Metro Maps To Montrealers“. You can see it on the screen grab from their Facebook page which acts as a time capsule and shows the original un-edited text.

original mtl blog stm headline

Shortly after, the STM sent out a tweet to MTL Blog saying that the title is misleading and that they are exploring the idea and not preparing to sell.
mtl blog stm tweet

MTL Blog actually changed it, which is something they rarely do.  Normally mistakes get ignored/forgotten and they keep moving ahead, but this one was public enough so makes sense that they clean up the mess. It also highlights how deceptive and misleading headlines coupled with little or no research of a story they are writing leads to a situation where people who follow them on Facebook or Twitter will think this is real and will contact the STM and clog up their resources with unfounded requests.

There was a similar case a recently when MTL Blog did a post saying that metro maps were being given away and when people contacted the STM, they were not for the public.

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This also prompted the very rare MTL Blog edit/correction on their post, something you will rarely see no matter how many errors they make.

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We should note that if your “source” is a lone Reditt post you may want to dig a little bit deeper and actually call the STM before you make a statement to thousands of readers. The actual article by Andy Riga in the Gazette is clear when it uses words like “might”.  The article goes in depth with what might happen with the signs and does not blindly imply like the MTL Blog article which stripped away lots of the detail of the Gazette article and jammed together a few points.

This is also part of a greater issue where MTL Blog is treading the line between journalism media and an entertainment blog.  Real newspapers have editors and they check facts, MTL Blog does not. They are trying to take some info from legitimate articles, water them down but add no value to them. Covering a story is one thing if you have a reference or source but you should be adding value and opinion to it. MTL Blog just makes the story shorter and adds a nonsensical line of:  “If these prices seem fair and you really want some STM swag, let ‘em know. Hopefully we’ll all have hip and trendy STM signs in our respective apartments soon.”

I don’t know which is more frustrating, if MTL Blog becomes a news aggregator, a plagiarist or the fact that they jump on both sides of the lines and cause frustration with their misleading headlines.

 

Twitter shame, the only way to get MTL Blog to take down content they stole

So in one of our earliest posts we wrote about how MTL Blog stole the picture from La Pantry. In it we stated that a tweet and public shaming is the only way it seems to get MTL Blog to take down picture.

The pic in question was originally used in an article covering 7 places to have brunch in Montreal and then in a post on MTL Blog in which they cover 21 Montreal hangover restaurants.

le pantry original

Now ignore the fact that any article with the title of “Best Montreal Hangover Breakfast Restaurants” that lists 21 establishments is not really the ‘best of’ but rather simply a really long list of places that serve breakfast.

mtl blog stolen pic from le pantry

 

Now in our initial article we said that calling them out on Twitter was the only way to get this done and other bloggers like Will Travel for Food and Montreal Breakfast Review had success with this approach. La pantry had to go that route even though we wrote about this early on and MTL Blog is aware that we exist as evidenced by their take down attempt near the end of July.

THE TWEET

THE REPLY

Now MTL Blog took down the pic and replaced it with another one, although, they seemed to neglect doing their due diligence and going over all 20 plus spots to see if the pic is still there. Guess what? It’s there.  See below on how even after the tweet and take down of the initial pic the photo is still up. I took a screen grab with the date and time as well as well as better shot of the post itself and url.

This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. I mean, there it is, number 19 of 21, the same photo that they took down as the cover is used in the exact same post.  The excuses of being young, inexperienced, and understaffed are simply poor excuses. It took me less than a minute to find this.

mtl blog still stealing

 

mtl blog le pantry number 19

 

 

 

 

 

 

MLT Blogs sorry not sorry apology letter

So here is a more in depth recap of MTL Blogs “A Love Letter To Montreal” or as others have been calling it, the sorry not sorry apology.

The first thing I noticed is this is long, like really long. MTL Blog never writes this much so it seems that people’s complaints are not falling on deaf ears.

So yesterday we briefly went over this gem of a letter and gave an initial gut feeling on this Love Letter To Montreal as well as a link to the Twitter responses you can read that post here.

So lets take a closer look at some of their claims and apply logic and reason, i.e. expose the lies.

MTL Blog apology letter

Let’s start with “We are sorry to any we have led astray, or made weary with informational/grammatical errors. A small team of only several individuals, we lack the resources to ensure perfection in the plethora of content pumped out each day, yet we should regardless. Continue to keep us honest, because under your watchful eye we will be ever vigilant to maintain a level of excellence fitting of your viewership.”

OK so we all know they can’t spell and maybe the small army of 29 people working there in some fashion can’t spell either apparently. One would assume with such a “small team” this would not be an issue, even if you remove the photographers and only focus on content producers (I have issues calling them writers) then you should be able to get a competent editor or 2.  I mean, they aren’t checking for facts or that photos aren’t stolen, so what exactly are they doing?

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Now I can’t help laughing at the part they say “to maintain a level of excellence fitting of your viewership.” So when they say viewership, who do they mean? Well since their audience is mainly from Facebook, which constitutes around 70% of their traffic, we can safely make that assumption. One of the nice things about Facebook is that you can see stats on Facebook pages. So when we see that the age group is 18-24, this reinforces our theory that this site is targeted to Cegep kids and University kids.

FB Stats

They get to addressing the part where they have been stealing bloggers content as well as media stories and repackaging them. Well sort of … “We are sorry to any and all in the Montreal community, from artists to fellow media contributors, for whom we have slighted, in any form. The ethics of the internet are ever-evolving, and our lack of initial experience on the subject has led to unacceptable errors on our end, creating a rift between ourselves and certain others. We have taken note of your griefs and concerns, and know we will do all in our power to remake our relationships into an equal exchange, where all can benefit. Help us to improve, and so will you.”

Here is a tip on how to help them improve. Stop stealing stuff. Ask permission before taking pictures. If you find it on Google, look where it comes from, there’s a source for everything. Also there are services out there than scan images for the original copyright holder. You should try using them. In fact, look at all your food posts and assume they are stolen. You can narrow it down further and look at articles from Bledstein/Joseph, Fulginiti and D’Alimonte. Those are the 3 whom we get the most results for in terms of posts with stolen images or stolen / re-edited content. What’s odd is that Bledstein (or Joseph as he switches names) has journalism experience with the McGill Tribune so one would assume he would know better but his posts are loaded with stolen pics. Fulginiti is a blogger herself  with a food site (http://agrowingappetite.me/) and of all the people MTL Blog pissed off, bloggers are up in arms over their content being stolen. It’s sad one of their own is part of the problem.  As for D’Alimonte, all I can say is I hope you don’t plan a future in real journalism because many reporters already hate you, trust me, I get their emails.

 For anyone working or considering working for MTL Blog consider this, you are in poor company and if you think it’s good to have on your CV, think twice as it will not open any industry doors if they look at the content on the site and MTL Blog’s poor track record.

Rounding out our last section is this doozy “Lastly, we are truly sorry to any we may have offended with our content. Displeasure among our viewership is never our intent, and at times we have seemed insensitive and altogether crass and uneducated. We will never hold back our thoughts or opinions, but we understand the emotion certain topics and themes can invoke, and so, moving forward, we will always think about how you will feel, and not solely use our own personal perspective when sharing across our network.”

 All I have to say is why is this post still up? What does it have to do with Montreal? Why are you such douchebags? If you really care how people feel, take it down.

mtl blog no class

 

Remember only you can help stop MTL Blog by getting people to Un-follow them on Facebook. You can use our handy “Help! My friends are douchebags guide” as well as our “Help! My friends accidentaly liked MTL Blog” guides to Un-Following MTL Blog.

As a bonus here’s some of the comments from the initial post. Normally we don’t suggest you ever go to MTL Blog which on the reasons we use screen grabs, but the comments on their post are pure old. Here are some exerts so you get an idea of peoples frustration.

“This is such a long-winded half apology. Being “youthful and inexperienced” isn’t an excuse for lacking basic research and editing skills. Let’s call it what it is: laziness. Righting your wrongs is something you should’ve done a long time ago. If a reader points out a mistake, whether it big or small, fix it and make sure it never happens again! So simple. And don’t be so bold as to rebuke anyone who challenges you. Point is, you could’ve avoided having to write a post like this. Regardless, I wish you luck and hope you achieve credibility.”

“Yes, the ethics of the internet are ever-evolving. Because in ancient times there was no law or ethics or common sense; ’twas a Sodom and Gomorrah of content theft, neighbour pillaging neighbour, Judean blogger, Galilean photographer and Samaritan tumblr alike; until the Webmaster Moses came unto them with a tablet device full of commandments and terms of service and said unto them THOU SHALT NOT SIMPLY COPY-PASTE, PLUS THERE’S THAT LOGIC AND GRAMMAR THING but lo, they did not heed in their prideful wickedness; and verily did the Lawyers smite them with the hammer of DMCA.”
“This is an incredibly pretentious and terribly written piece. It veers between overt self-congratulation, pointless floridity, and unconvincing humblebraggy apologies.I never had a huge problem with MTLBlog. Sure, it was full of errors (both grammatical and, more concerningly, factual) and most of the content was useless fluff seemingly designed for 19-year-old McGill kids straight out of rez who were looking for cool things to do in the city. But a select few of the articles were entertaining and I legitimately learned about a lot of interesting events through it. Montreal has so many things happening that we’re in desperate need of a good blog that collects some of the best ones for us.But to respond to the genuine criticism of the site with this is just inexplicable to me. You didn’t need to write an open letter taking single-handed credit for bringing about “a level of adoration and glory for Montreal unseen for many decades,” you just need to hire a goddamn copy editor–or at least have SOMEONE read over the articles once or twice before hitting “publish.” Also, vaguely fact-checking the things you write would be appreciated.I genuinely hope you guys can turn this blog into something awesome. Best of luck.

EDIT: Oh, wait, just realized you guys are getting hated on because you stole content and photographs from other websites, not just for posting shitty articles. Screw you guys.”

 

 

 

 

MTL Blog and their non apology

So MTL Blog posted its apology letter or, as they call it, love letter to Montreal with the title of “You’re welcome, and we’re sorry.”

I’m on vacation with limited internet so I will keep this reply short. It’s barely an apology and the Twitter comments on this are golden.

Feel free to click on this link for the twitter blow up.

The first few paragraphs are basically them professing how great they are and how they are changing/challenging the media establishment – “we’ve proven anyone can disrupt the media monopoly and social dynamics built and enforced by the generation of our elders.”

If by disrupting the media establishment they mean stealing other peoples images and content, then I guess they are right.

Let’s be clear, MTL Blog is not Vice Magazine, not Eater, they are not revolutionaries like Che Guevara. They are a very douchy version of Buzz Feed.

I love the part where they say, “Our unmatched knowledge of events, parties, and general goings-on has given you a new level of understanding of the city.”

I should point out that they charge for event coverage (rates aren’t public) but when other blogs do that, it’s called a sponsored post and it’s clearly stated. MTL Blog does not state anything regarding fees.
MTL BLOG RATE CARD

Here are some of our favourites Tweets

MLT Blog copies from The Main

Dumplings, we all love them as does MTL Blog. The only thing they seem to love more is stealing photos. This time it’s a lovely dumpling pic from The Main’s Battle Dumpling article.

the main original article

As you can see the main has a nice picture and thorough article on Dumplings in Montreal, published back in 2013.

But wait, what’s this, the same picture on MTL Blog with no citation mention done in a 2014 article.

mtl blog stolen dumplings from the main
Here’s what will likely happen. If the man has an issue they will contact MTL Blog. MTL Blog will blame some intern, then put a link after the fact. This is not the 1st time nor will it be the last. Feel free to read our last post regarding other bloggers who had their photos stolen MULTIPLE times.

Playing the blame the intern card or oops we got it from Google and didn’t know game is like a cheating partner saying they won’t do it again and then they go out and do it again, multiple times over.

Here’s a rule of thumb to help avoid this: ASK FOR PERMISSION BEFORE POSTING. Assume your picture does not belong to you and ask the content creator if you can use it. It’s just an email or tweet away, often they will say yes.

 

Remember only you can help stop MTL Blog by getting people to Un-follow them on Facebook. You can use our handy “Help! My friends are douchebags guide” as well as our “Help! My friends accidentaly liked MTL Blog” guides to Un-Following MTL Blog.

Friends don’t let friends like MTL Blog.

 

MTL Blog – Stealing content month after month

Some bloggers have contacted MTL Blog in the past regarding  their photos being used without consent.  In some cases, all they want is recognition and a link pointing to the source. You know like when you write a paper and have to cite your work.

Well here’s a not so funny story of what happened to Montreal Food Pictures.

In regards to 2 photos being used without permission, Montreal Food Pictures got through to MTL Blog and asked to credit the photos and link back to the source.

In an email from Montreal Food Photos, they said, “The first time, the editor excused himself saying that the intern was clueless and didn’t know that she has to put credit. The second time, the editor did not apologize…”

mtl blog stolen pic bbq 1

MTL BLOG STOLEN PIC
MTL BLOG STOLEN PIC

The first incident was in April, the 2nd incident in May and the most recent one in June (see below).

 

MTL Blog post with stolen picture dated 2014/06
MTL Blog post with stolen picture dated 2014/06

 

Montreal Food Pics Original Post dated 2013/08
Montreal Food Pics Original Post dated 2013/08

As you can see there is no source mention on the above picture.  If you look at the incidents you will notice that we have 1 every month and the excuse offered by MTL Blog staff of the intern was clueless and didn’t know that she has to put credit is a lie to make it seem like they didn’t do anything bad. Pleading ignorance or that it was a simple mistake only works once, not multiple times, like in this case where the norm seems to be taking the photo without asking for it and the consolation prize is adding a citation and a link.

It’s important to note that MTL Blog makes money of off pictures because their text based content is so short. In fact, the pickle post is only 57 words, compared to the 372 words in the original post by Montreal Food Picture.  I mean, only 57 words, I’ve seen txt messages longer than that.

I think a comment made by Montreal Food Pictures best summarizes the frustration by those who have their photos stolen.

 “You can’t imagine how much effort I put in to take pictures and put some finishing touches. I have been learning food photography for over 5 years, trying to improve myself every day in taking better pictures. It sucks for a person who takes my pic without crediting, without being considerate how much effort that has been put into this work.”

 

Remember only you can help stop MTL Blog by getting people to Un-follow them on Facebook. You can use our handy “Help! My friends are douchebags guide” as well as our “Help! My friends accidentaly liked MTL Blog” guides to Un-Following MTL Blog.

Friends don’t let friends like MTL Blog.