Where I am outed as negative, with difficulty trusting people

Just to follow-up on my post yesterday about a budding comment-spammer, I thought I’d share with you what happened.

I received an email back – however, Traci, the alleged originator of this product – asserted that she HAD been getting my blog (though she cut-and-pasted a Google news alert for “maternity products” of which, you’ll find, I’ve only written ONE blog entry) and that her intentions were not to mass market, but rather, be helpful. I could cut and paste all that, but I’m lazy and will spare you. To say the least, this made me rather sad and concerned about her and her company’s future on TEH INTARWEBS. For while her intentions were good (according to her) I saw other similarities – here’s part of what I wrote back to her:

I cannot fault you, as a business woman, for wanting to increase your business and the awareness of others to your product. However, the method you have chosen is one used by many spammers to sell pornography, pharmaceuticals, face creams and more – and I assure you all of these spammers have tried to use comments in my blog (often times, completely non-sensical or nrelated) to sell their product…

You have put yourself in the same ranks as people who run very shady businesses. As that you responded to me personally, I can only hope that you are NOT one of those people, but rather someone else that is just trying to get a start on Internet commerce. My unsolicited advice to you is to choose another avenue. There are many options, like banner ads on sites relevant to your product, partnering with other maternity Internet retailers, or Google ads – which is quite popular with many people getting started out.

I guess my first mistake was trying to be “helpful.” In her initial responses, she created a portrait of a small business woman, just setting out in a horrible economy (embellishment mine), with a product she needed to advertise, and not a lot of great ideas on how to get this product to a wider audience. Instead of coming off as an evil spammer, she came off as naive – so I took a chance that maybe I could share some of my Patented AdviceTM to be helpful.

I pout pitifully now, as I share with you her response.

I will tell you again that you are incorrect in your assessment, but believe as you will. You must have much more time on your hands to write than I. I do not need to explain how I was recieving your blog…you just want to see it your way…so be it. I hope your life fills with positive energy , you need it.

I’m incorrect, but you won’t tell me HOW. Oh, wait, you don’t need to explain it to me. Nevermind. Uh oh, is she saying that I’m filled with negative energy? Hm. Maybe I should get an exorcism. (Uh oh, no really, this DOES sound negative. I’m being sarcastic! OMG OMG OMG!) Ok, I’ll stop that.

All I can do at this point, as to not continue this discussion that seems to be one sided…is to hope that you find an outlet for you advice and negativity. I truly am sorry that I bothered you…and wish I hadn’t brought on all this negativity into my own life. You apparently must have difficulty trusting or believing in others. I know my intentions were good….that is all that matters.

Well, Traci of BellyPod, they say that “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Even worse, I believe this is especially true for people who not just suspect, but KNOW that their intentions were good. Unfortunately (not to get too philisophical), even the concepts of good and bad are highly subjective. To reiterate, while I don’t fault a small business owner trying to get ahead in business, I do think that there are better ways than others to do that. I offered those suggestions to you – maybe so you wouldn’t make the same mistake of bothering another person who has “difficulty trusting” all the promises made on the Internet and uses their personal blog to dispense “advice.” As for the negativity – just as you see your intentions as good, I see my intentions as being at least helpful (though I wouldn’t say good.)

My simple point is this – to any legitimate business person on the Internet – don’t use the same method to sell your product as spammers who are trying to sell Viagra without a prescription. Unless you want your product to be thought of, and bought by, that same market, there are better ways to do it. Heck, I’m sure that even Amazon has some options for small businesses and their products. There are options, and I’m sorry if that seems negative – but you know, I have only good intentions.

BellaBand vs. Tummy Tube (BellaBand Wins!)

I’ll preface this by saying that this is a public blog – as such, I choose to keep my personal life out of my blog, and in a more secure space. That being said, I’ll let it slip here that I’m presently pregnant, and have a product review to share with a larger audience (ie. TEH INTARWEBS).

One of the fascinating and helpful inventions to come to maternity clothing was the tube-like sleeve, knit, with a bit of spandex, with the intention of allowing a pregnant woman, in her many growing-belly stages, the ability to wear her pre-pregnancy pants a little longer (unbuttoned/unzipped), and hold up the not-quite-fitting-yet maternity pants. Think of it as an elaborate belt or cummerbund.

The first product I heard about was Ingrid and Isabel’s BellaBand. You can pick one up at a variety of maternity stores (specifically local boutiques), or order one conveniently through Amazon. The cost will run you about $26 for one, though Amazon does offer a 3 pack deal. The BellaBand, at first, seems pricey for an accessory that can cost as much as a pair of inexpensive maternity pants, but the upside is that it can work with any pair of pants, and they say will last you through post-pregnancy.

While in Baltimore a few weeks ago, I decided to go on a quest for the BellaBand, and called up MiMi Maternity and Motherhood (part of the same company) to see if they carried it. No, they replied, but excitedly told me about their Tummy Tube, a much less desirably named object, that at $16, they claimed would be the same thing. I purchased two, one black and one white – and found the first difference from the BellaBand to be that they are all One Size Fits Most. Given that I’m a woman who has changed sizes dramatically over the past two years (something like 6 sizes down), I find that laughable. Nevertheless, the Tummy Tube, though a bit binding at times, did the trick of holding my Lucky Jeans button-fly up with a few buttons undone, all without being noticable to anyone else.

After a couple weeks of the Tummy Tubes, I remained unimpressed, and found that they really didn’t add up to everything I hoped the BellaBand (or something like it) would be. I went on a quest, to a local Seattle maternity boutique, for the BellaBand. Happily, they had all the sizes to try on, which was a relief, since my pre-pregnancy size seemed to straddle the line. I found that the larger size was less snug and more comfortable in some ways, and was counseled by the sales assistant that I would appreciate the extra room as my tummy grows. SOLD. At around $24 per BellaBand, it was more expensive than the Tummy Tube, but what I found was a thicker, softer, seemingly more resilient fabric, better sewn seems, an overall wider span from top to bottom (allowing for a larger tummy later). It felt less like a tube of spandex and more like the bottom part to a spandex-fitted knit shirt I might wear.

The bottom line is, the extra cost is worth it. I know that Target sells a lower-cost BellaBand product, which runs around the same price as the Tummy Tube, however, I’d be concerned that it would fail to do the same things that the BellaBand does. I don’t know, though, and have no experience with it.

Hopefully, this will be helpful to other women out there wondering, as I did, what’s the difference? The difference is – you pay for the quality. To me, $8 more for a product I like twice as much is worth the extra change. It’s also worth it to not spend money on maternity pants unless I absolutely have to.

Oh, and I didn’t mention that the BellaBand also comes in different styles and colors, including lace trim. Very awesome.