UPDATE — SheKnows.com director of marketing communications Whitney Ashley writes: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are investigating the allegations and will take the appropriate disciplinary actions as deemed necessary.”
SheKnows.com has been around since 1999, claims 50 million visitors a month and to have been “voted the web’s #1 site for women!”
According to the SheKnows site, food editor Joanie Segall likes to “bring readers content that is fun, unique and oftentimes brow-raising.”
We just discovered that she endorses online practices that are brow-raising too — like telling her writers to click on ads, “100 times if you want to.”
Here’s an excerpt from a recent Segall memo:
Our click-through rates are not as great as our impressions (which is not your fault). But we can help everyone out a bit if we get in the habit of clicking on any ads you see alongside your articles, on the site, in your section, ANYWHERE. Our advertisers are the reason we all have paychecks each month so it’s important that they’re happy. Literally all you have to do is click on the ad – you don’t have to stay on their site for a certain amount of time and don’t have to buy a thing. Just click! Click 100 times if you want to!
A second editor tells staffers to make sure to click on the Panera ad because “we want to keep them around.”
Both memos are after the jump.
From: Joanie Segall
Date: Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 7:54 PM
Subject: Food channel update
To: [Multiple addresses]
I wanted to send a HUGE thank you to everyone for really stepping up this month. I know most of my emails are gloom and doom, and I really am sorry about that and didn’t mean for my last email to sound like the Piñata cookie is the only article on the food channel that matters. That’s definitely not the case! There have been numerous fantastic articles from all of you and it’s my bad for not calling those out more often. The strength of the food channel is not just from one article, it’s from a deep, DEEP line-up of talented writers who consistently churn out quality content.
I want you all to know that I am so impressed with the new direction that your articles are going in, your titles are getting much more intriguing and your photo quality is definitely going up. I’ve actually had to confirm with Alicia that the photos are original because they’re that good! I also spend some time each morning selecting which articles can be used for social media and outside promotions and can honestly say that’s becoming a *much* busier part of my day because there are just so many good articles.
Since you’ve held up your end of the bargain, I promise to reach out to you more when articles do well, when a photo deserves some recognition, when I see you’ve improved, etc. There have been several conversations here about great content on the food channel and I sometimes forget that you’re the ones that need to hear it! Just don’t be surprised that I can’t slow down enough to say anything more than “Photo! Good! Yay!” Sometimes my emails can be a little on the short side, if you can imagine J
Alicia and Giana, I know I’ve made your lives a living hell this past week with the step-by-step formatting and I’m so appreciative and awed by the fact that I can send things your way with the instructions “make this happen” and it just… happens. You are magicians and just great people to work with, so thank you. Alicia, I recently described you as an angel sent from heaven and I wasn’t even close to kidding about that. I would be lost and sad and cranky without you.
Some other updates!
1. We have a LOT of sponsorships going live across all channels and sites from now until basically forever, but the big ones for food are coming in June and July. The bad news is, our click-through rates are not as great as our impressions (which is not your fault). But we can help everyone out a bit if we get in the habit of clicking on any ads you see alongside your articles, on the site, in your section, ANYWHERE. Our advertisers are the reason we all have paychecks each month so it’s important that they’re happy. Literally all you have to do is click on the ad – you don’t have to stay on their site for a certain amount of time and don’t have to buy a thing. Just click! Click 100 times if you want to!
2. While the content has definitely come a long way, I still need you to be improving your titles and only pitching good, sharable content. The pitches for July are much better, but we’ve still had to reject a lot of article ideas. (Sorry, have to add some gloom or else it wouldn’t feel right!)
3. If you have fewer titles this month than you’ve had in other months, please don’t take it personally or think that you’re being demoted or are on your way out. We’re obviously shaking up how we do things and are moving in different directions with what we’re accepting so your pitches may just not work for this particular month. Alicia can tell you I’ve been very cold hearted about what articles get through – I don’t even look at who the writer is, I’m just looking at titles, keywords and descriptions. So I have no idea if I’ve just taken away all your articles for the month. Obviously it doesn’t feel good to pitch twenty titles and have two accepted, so if that happens more than once, come talk to me about it and we can figure out why and work on ways to get you writing more on the site.
Not my longest email ever, right? Thanks again, everyone, and I’m really looking forward to reading and seeing more of what you can do.
From: Alicia French
Date: Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 2:16 PM
Subject: If you see Panera, click it
We have a big sponsorship from Panera, specifically in the healthy cooking section. If you see it, click it! We want to keep them around. If you are lucky enough to live in the Midwest (and where ever else they are) and have Panera, you know it will be worth the click.
Assignment Editor: SheKnows Food, FabFoods, ChefMom
Contributing Writer: SheKnows, allParenting