I'm just a regular person with a regular job and a little barbecue blog that I've worked on for eight or so years. I started the blog to help family and friends, and then others found Barbecue Master, and my numbers went up. This doesn't mean I got rich. It took four years I think to make the $100 pay out amount for Adsense, and a good month now (spelled summer with my topic) is when I do make pay out in a single month. Clearly, I'm not in it for the money.
Open Sky - We Have a Vision
Open Sky got in touch three or four years backs. I don't recall all the details on the dates. I'm better with information over dates and numbers.
The idea that was sold to bloggers they hunted up online was that we could share really good products with our readers and get (or sometimes even not) a few cents if someone clicked through and purchased. I link companies all the time for free (and no kick back), and this sounded kind of like Adsense. But, it included kind of a custom store - sort of like Amazon affiliates when you link (which you can't in my state).
A lot of the little bloggers out here thought we might help out with best picks. It did not appear that there would be much money, but people could get the best of the best we could suggest.
What Open Sky Did
Open Sky kept pulling in more and more bloggers and pushed for our contacts for good small products and pushed for us to spam link our blogs and pushed for us to backlink to Open Sky (which makes it rank higher on Google). The stress was great (if you listened to the emails and calls). I know one early Open Sky shop keeper (as they called us) committed suicide. I don't know why, but I'm sure extra stress did not help.
Most of the bloggers bailed on Open Sky when they tried to get us to push products we did not know, love, and trust. They put a Beer Pong table on my Open Sky page which is when I cut all ties. I teach, so there is no way I would have ever recommended a Beer Pong blow up table thing. Per the email . . . oops Open Sky was sorry about that.
Others (mostly new bloggers I think) stuck with this plan. Open Sky was very convincing.
Then . . . Open Sky canned all the little bloggers who did not have huge fan lists and sales. This little blogger model was what they sold to everyone, but they just got the backlinks and then dumped all the little ones - most who were honest and on the level.
You can Google around and find many stories about the early years of Open Sky.
Open Sky - The New Company SPLASH
I've seen a few articles just out about this new company Open Sky that is fab-u-lous. They make it sound like it's a few months old. That is not true.
Tonight Dr. Phil's wife ended his show with a pitch for Open Sky with her personal favorite products. You sign up, and you can buy what Mrs. Phil loves. She gets a cut of your money as well as Open Sky, and the companies sell more but priced up, of course, for such big endorsements.
What You Get at Open Sky
Some products at Open Sky are great. Some are not. That's life.
The short time I was active, one shop owner who was featured by Oprah was able to sell a ton of cereal bowls for $16 each. She was the darling of Open Sky back then (and others like her who had a TV audience etc). You could get bowls just like the ones on the darling's site for a couple of bucks at Target.
So, the bottom line is that you have two middle men when you shop Open Sky. That's fine if you want to pay for what stars tell you that you should buy. If you just Google the product, it's likely that you can find it for less, unless the actual company is new and desperate enough to take very little or no profit.
Note to Dr. Phil
You are good at business Dr. Phil. That's clear, or you would not be where you are. Good for you. I did, however, think that you had some heart, and I thought your wife did with her showing up at your tapings all the time.
I must say that I am disappointed that it appears that you did not do your research and did not know how many people Open Sky walked over (little bloggers, little companies, buyers) to suddenly be a new HIT. This is not a new company, and they did not build those backlinks. They used up people, and they tossed them in the trash. I'm just thankful I walked away.
Sure. Robin can have her little Open Sky shop to share what she love, love, loves, and make money, money, money. That was the idea (I guess), but the first idea was that the shops would be by real experts who really cared about the product areas. The topic experts with real blogs would not sell out, so that did not work out. Not enough money for the real deal.
I can't say what the impact will be with a small blogger sharing this information. I'm sure Dr. Phil could smash me like a bug. Heck, all the Open Sky big wheels have connections that could hurt me I'm sure. Just check the pedigrees.
As far as my readers, if you need or want something related to grilling, smoking, or barbecue, I will tell you what I use and love period. You can take that to the bank, and you do not need to pay Open Sky and a TV star to tell you what to buy.