Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ann Marie Michaels of Village Green Network Comes Under Fire

Ann Marie Michaels of Village Green Network came under fire this week for using private google analytics to prove her point: stay with our blog network and make $, or leave us and go it alone while losing your audience and sponsors. Since we have had our own issues with Ann Marie in the past, we felt that her dubious use of another bloggers private Google Analytics should be shown to the general public.

Kimi Harris, the blogger whose Google Analytics were used as Ann Marie's example, fired back to prove a point: stick with your principals and make your own way. We applaud her! Her open letter can be viewed here:

An Open Letter:  

I have emails from some of you expressing concern and care for me since Ann Marie choose to talk about me and my stats on a forum – stats that I didn’t realize that she had access to, nor that I would have thought she would avail herself to if she did, and certainly never imagined that she would publish online. First, thank you so much for your concern for me. As disheartening as it was to feel that the story of my blog was being used to try to compel others to stay with a certain blog network, your emails of care were balm to my view on humanity.  

We are currently working with Google to try to take care of the issue with Ann Marie having access and control to my analytics. But meanwhile, I didn’t want to talk to you about that situation, but rather use this situation to explain the story of my blog in thehopes that it would encourage you as you continue to work on your own blog and make decisions regarding it. My hope is that it will address both the dubious use of my stats, but also hopefully allow me to encourage you in your blogging journey.  

It is true that my blog has not grown a lot during the last couple of years, but that actually is to be expected and has very little to do with leaving her network. It has been simply a matter of where my priorities and energies have been the last three or so years.  

Blogging friends, it is so important that you know who you are – what your goals are, what you want your blog to be, what values you bring to your blog and what you hold as most important. You need to hold onto that tightly. For me personally, that has meant an extended period of time investing more of my energy into my family first.  

My mother in law passed away over three years ago of cancer, and it was during her illness that there was (I believe) a mutual understanding that the blogging network and myself were going in different directions and with different values (and that’s okay, wedon’t have to have the same goals or values).  

After quitting the network, we were in a very sad time as we grieved my husband’s mother’s early death, and got ready to have our next daughter. My labor with her was wonderful in many ways, but there were moments that were very scary too. After weknew that both of us were going to be okay, I held my newborn girl in my arms, and a flood of relief, gratefulness, joy and love filled my whole body. I didn’t want to waste a minute of her life, or take that gift for granted.  

We have seen death more than once in our family, and it helps put things in perspective. It helps me not make growing my blog top priority when it would be to the detriment of my family.  

Since she has been born, we have been on a road filled with giggles, and long nights, and sweet snuggles, and tired days, and lots of love and hard work. During this time I had new opportunities because of my blog, including getting a job blogging for a large website, and writing two books. This, along with a very focused time on my family, and a whole whirlwind of tragic situations with several close friends, has meant little to zero social media, interactions online, and very minimal posting for much of these years on my own blog. That has naturally meant that I haven’t grown quickly in the last few years. While I have been blessed with thousands of new readers, certain aspects have even dropped (like my Alexa ratings) simply because I haven’t been as proactive in certain things.

And that’s okay. I haven’t regretted any decision I’ve made, and it becomes clearer and clearer that staying true to what I think is right for me is the only way to survive and thrive long-term in the blogging world.

You see, I feel all of the decisions I made above were in line with what I valued most, what helped me grow as a writer, and what helped my family thrive. And that’s what’s important. Be true to yourself – your values, your goals, and your overreaching vision for your life.

If you feel that staying with this blogging network, or that one, is the best fit for helping you be true to who you are, and what you want to accomplish, then go for it! But if you want to strike out on your own, or do something different, please don’t let my blog story discourage you from that choice! Most of the successful bloggers I know did so without any type of official blogging network, so please don’t think that my story somehow demonstrates the “need” to be part of one (And I found another network that worked with my goals and values well, so now I have that too).

I just recently had the heart to really start loving blogging again, and am learning new things about how to blog more effectively, and yes, even have a Social Media presence! It’s a new season for me, and I am grateful for it. Being true to who you are, and what you want for your life can look differently at various times in your life, and that’s okay.

I hope that we can all learn what it looks like for us to embrace who we are, what we bring to the table, and how we can remain true to our values and ourselves as we seek to become professionals in our field.

Once again, thank you for the emails, and also for letting me share a little bit of my heart with you.



  1. Maybe someone could publish Google analytics for the Cheeseslave blog, which appears to be in serious decline. It's all affiliate links and giveaways, and it appears as though few people seriously comment there anymore. Most of AnnMarie's posts -- both on her blog and her Facebook page -- are gimmicky, full of pseudoscience, silly internet memes, and come across as downright spammy. Her blogosphere credibility has really gone down the tubes in recent years, as she jumped from bandwagon to bandwagon -- I think the way she falsely touted the crash diet she went on to lose weight for the Emmys was the final straw for many folks.

    It's obvious that money is her main objective and it's clear that little that will stop her from attaining that goal. She has openly stated in the past that she wants to be rich; she has a bevy of paid household help to care for her home and ONE child. I do hope more people catch on to her schtick and stop giving her pageview$ to finance her lavish lifestyle -- or, even better, publicly question her financial motives/sponsor relationships, because she really hates it when people do that.

  2. She seems to be unethical journalist and money hungry. She certainly only goes after companies that our competitors of her sponsors. Its clear though she did not do any investigation on her sponsors prior to her attacks. She will be shut down soon enough because of Slander.