RealBlack = Real Shady?


If you've been surfing black blogs over the last few months you've undoubtedly seen those big, bright pink Essence ads taking up prime Web estate. If you do a quick search of the ad outfit that alternately calls itself RealBlack, Fatvine, or CustomerForce, you'll see that Black Web 2.0 was sounding an alarm early on. Last August, when many African-American Web site owners were being lured to CustomerForce through its association with Essence magazine, blogger Jade Davis wrote this:

"Contrary to popular belief, RealBlack.com does not appear to be Essence’s ad network based on their user agreement:

Real Black is owned and operated by Customerforce.com. By using Real Black you signify your acceptance of all terms, conditions, and notices contained or referenced herein (the “Terms of Use”)."

Now, months later, many of those ads are coming down. Several bloggers and webmasters have informed the Black Twitterati that they've either been underpaid or haven't been paid at all for running the ads, despite running this company's ads since. What's more the network has been running the same one or two ads, leading to a severe cut in clicks and interest. The author of a family-related blog told us last week, "It was a crappy deal to begin with, because it turns out they were only paying for clicks and not impressions." Others say they get the impression that owners of the most popular blogs were paid while everyone else was ignored, despite delivering an unprecedented amount of ad space. One thing remains clear: Essence has received a massive amount of extremely cheap (and in some cases entirely FREE) advertising- all at the expense of mostly Black bloggers. There's nothing RealBlack about that.

8 comments:

(fŭng'kē) [blak] [chik] said...

..and I have yet to receive a check

afrobella said...

I've received a check, but I have major, major issues with the way they do business. I've reached out to my rep, and I'm giving them one last chance for the month of February before making a final decision.

Thanks for blogging about this, BTW.

Ginger said...

I took their ads down a while back. They are really unprofessional and I just don't need the headache. Sad to say Im not at all surprised, coning from/associated with Essence.

Ananda said...

Thank you for sharing this information.

adrienne said...

thanks for this. I was considering using them.

Ken Gibbs said...

In the interest of total transparency, Essence.com is publicly acknowledging that the Realblack ad network has gotten off to a rocky start. All of the participating publisher’s have received direct communication from me informing them of the pending improvements. The first step was the relaunched Essence.com, and now we’re totally focused on the network.

But if you're a publisher who hasn't heard from me, please do contact me at Ken.Gibbs@essence-online.com.

Black Twitterati said...

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, everyone. Thanks to you too, Ken, for stopping in to fill us in and put yourself out there as a contact.

Anonymous said...

Not a problem, it's the least we could do.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin