Mum stays strong despite war over website names
GYMPIE Stay at Home Mum Jody Allen has made no apologies for buying the domain names that have led to a media-hyped blogger feud.
The Pie Creek-based mummy blogger and The Gympie Times columnist has been accused of poaching internet traffic and diverting it to her website by registering domain sites with names that are similar to those of other lifestyle bloggers.
The story has attracted the attention of media including The Sydney Morning Herald, A Current Affair and The Gold Coast Bulletin, which labelled the dispute a "mega war".
However, while the Gympie blogger made "no apologies" for buying the domain names, she said a "whole-hearted" sorry to anyone directly affected by the redirection of traffic intended to those domain sites.
The apology took the form of a recorded video posted on her Facebook page yesterday.
"I'd just like to start by saying that yesterday was one of the worst days of my life," she said.
"There's been lots of horrible things said.
''I was accused of a number of deeply saddening and hurtful things but my only error was in judging the advice I've been given.
"In saying that I solely take responsibility for this bad decision and I do apologise whole-heartedly for anyone that has been directly affected."
Mrs Allen told The Gympie Times that buying several domain names was a "savvy" business move as it was a safeguard for her business.
She said buying up housewife and parenting-related names was a means of reserving naming rights for future projects.
However, the domain usage caused a social media uproar this week when fellow mummy blogger, Gold Coast mum Katrina Springer, who is behind the site The Organised Housewife, which operates from the domain name theorganisedhousewife.com.au, accused Mrs Allen of taking the similar domain organisedhousewife.com.au to lure readers to the Stay at Home Mum website instead.
THE Organised Housewife posted about the domain issue on her Facebook page on June 18 saying "I was not aware it (organisedhousewife.com.au) was diverting to another company's website; though I was aware they bought it before I had the chance.
"I don't know why they would want to do this to me, but I am obviously saddened and confused as they are trying to gain from my branding."
The debacle quickly grew and included online news stories and a Thursday segment on A Current Affair.
Mrs Allen said while organisedhousewife.com.au was one of the domains she owned, she didn't realise the contractor responsible for the revamp of her website (to launch on July 1) had set the domains to re-direct to Stay at Home Mum.
"I did not know about that," Mrs Allen said.
She said she had been under the impression the domains remained dormant. However, as the boss at Stay at Home Mum, Mrs Allen said she took responsibility for the domains' re-direction but said it wasn't a deliberate way of clocking up clicks from competitors.
She said these domains had since been stopped from trafficking users to the Stay at Home Mum site and the domain organisedhousewife.com.au was in the process of being transferred to Mrs Springer and two other sites in an act of "goodwill".
She also said neither she, nor her staff, had been contacted by Mrs Springer in regards to the domain name, which could have been bought from Mrs Allen.
She said buying a domain name was a common "business transaction" which she, too, had to undertake when launching Stay at Home Mum.
She said another woman already had the right to the domain name stayathomemum.com.au when Mrs Allen went to launch her site and so she contacted the woman and bought the domain.
She labelled Mrs Springer's Facebook post - which was launched to half a million users - as "incredible timing" saying it coincided with her own Facebook page reaching 400,000 likes. She said she worked to "keep out" of any blogging rivalries and simply did her "own thing" when it came to her business, which employs 37 staff and is reported by the Melbourne Age and The Sydney Morning Herald to be worth an estimated $3 million.
But despite the success, she is adamant media portrayals of her business as a corporate mogul are incorrect, saying her head office remained at its humble location in her Pie Creek home.
While Mrs Allen said her page had lost 4000 readers after the debacle began, she gained 6000 and in the 48 hours leading up to lunchtime yesterday her site was welcoming 1000 users per minute.
She also said while there had been countless brutal comments on social media, she has also received warm support for which she was grateful.