Fat Stacks quote from Breaking Bad by Jesse Pinkman

Andrew Girardin Hates Me Because of How I Publish My Websites – What Do You Think?


Astonishing! Another blogger who has never met or spoken with me publicly states publishes a blog post saying "I HATE YOU for it" referring to my blogging practices. Get all the details here.

man getting punched in the face

When you publish a blog or YouTube channel or any public web property with your name attached, you need to develop a thick skin or the criticisms will spike your blood pressure.

No matter how good your site is, people will criticize. Some will be polite about it and some crass or rude.

If you sell courses, be prepared for some negative reviews as well.  That’s par for the course.

You can’t please all the people all of the time.

I’ve read my share of blogs in the marketing space over the years, but there seems to be an unwritten rule to not publicly criticize or out another blogger by name or URL.  There may be the odd exception where feuds developed but for the most part bloggers are civil.

Which is why I found it interesting that Andrew Girardin publicly denounced fatstacksblog.com in a July 3, 2016 blog post saying he “hates” me.

fatstacksblog.com wasn’t the only listed blog he hates.

Here’s a screenshot setting out part of what he says in his July 3, 2016 blog post (screenshot taken July 30, 2019):

Andrew Girardin publicly states he hates me for marketing on my blog

It’s astonishing that he says “I HATE YOU for it.”  I take it he means me personally otherwise he’d say “…HATE fatstacksblog.com for it”.  The swearing adds a nice touch too.

I’ve never met or spoken with Andrew so I’m not really sure how he could hate me. He doesn’t know me.  He can dislike my practices, but hating me personally for my blogging practices doesn’t make sense.

Maybe it’s an attempt at being funny.  Yeah, that’s it. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

What could I possibly have done for another blogger to hate me?

I guess I really offended Andrew.  You’d think with such language I came out swinging at him like he to me (and others).  But it’s nothing so egregious.  It’s not my practice to denigrate other sites or bloggers for no reason.

Turns out he hates my use of aggressive opt-in forms such as welcome scroll mats, pop up forms, etc. and Push notifications.

The nerve of me, right?  Crime of the century and all that.

Who else does he hate?

Turns out I’m in good company.

He apparently hates the guys behind Authorityhacker.com (a great site BTW… one of the best), Doug Cunnington’s blog (another super-informative blog), SumoMe and others all because of what he deems spammy practices.

On the one hand he says he’s fine with blogs building an email list, but his overarching message is it should not be done in an aggressive or “spammy” manner.

The gentleman that he is, he has a single opt-in form at the bottom of his blog with a polite “sign up” request which states “Please sir, can I have your email address?” with a little note under that saying “See how polite I’m doing this.

A true gentleman.

He suggests my spammy practices are not worth the .2% increased email sign up conversion rate.

The thing is, the scroll mat alone on this site gets by far the most email sign ups and it’s far higher than a .2% conversion rate.

My sites aren’t charities

I strive to publish helpful and entertaining websites, but they aren’t charities.  After all, fatstacksblog.com is primarily about building a financially successful online publishing business.  Of course, Fatstacksblog is a commercial enterprise.  If I had to hazard a guess, Andrew endeavors to make money with his sites.  As do you (if not, you’re in a very small minority of site publishers and hats off to you).

My other niche sites aren’t charities either.  They’re very well monetized with ads.

I’m not a trust funder where I can shell out $1,500+ per month for hosting without recouping that cost plus the many other expenses I incur publishing sites.

This site profits primarily via email and so it makes sense that I’d be aggressive in attracting new subscribers.  I’d be a fool not to given this is a commercial enterprise.

Heck, Fatstacks forum members have told me to include affiliate links in the forum to help pay for the forum (the forum software and hosting isn’t cheap). Fatstacks readers often email me for my affiliate link when they’re about to buy something I promote.  That’s darn nice of them. I don’t expect that but I sure do appreciate it.

What that tells me is some people on my email list and who read this blog like the content.  They wouldn’t go out of their way to help me earn more money.

Aggressive opt-in forms aren’t a crime, but tax evasion is

Guess what?

I don’t deploy all the opt-in forms that I could with OptinMonster on this site.  I chose the few I use and leave it that. Admittedly, the popup forms are aggressive, but they aren’t criminal.

But do you know what is criminal?

Tax evasion.

Which is why I find his May 2019 income report card so odd.

His blog publishes “income reports” that he calls “income report cards” which list out anonymous niche sites where he explains generally how they’re doing.  There are no income or expense figures or revenue proof screenshots included.

The interesting part that I find bizarre is he prefaces at least one such report with “These report cards tell the story of how my niche websites are performing (in a way that doesn’t get me in hot water with the taxman).

Here’s a screenshot from his May 2019 income report card (screenshot taken July 30, 2019):

Andrew Girardin says he doesn't publish revenue figures to avoid getting into hot water with the taxman

Why on earth would he publicly say such a thing?  

I can hazard a guess.

Some people think tax evasion is cool or funny.

I don’t and I explain why below.  It’s not some moral superiority nonsense. There’s a financial reason as to why I don’t think tax evasion is funny or cool.

The fact he publishes income reports without revenue figures or screenshots is odd.

The fact he suggests he can’t list revenue because he doesn’t want problems with the taxman is very concerning (as a tax payor) and probably not the smartest move.

His May 2019 income report card suggests one of the following scenarios:

1. He makes nothing or very little from niche sites, hence no published revenue and expenses but makes it sound like he’s a high roller to bolster his credibility.

2. He makes good money but doesn’t report all of his income to the appropriate tax authorities.

3. He makes piles of money from niche sites and pays all taxes owing but insinuates he doesn’t pay all taxes owing as a joke.

I have no way of knowing with any degree of certainty which scenario is the true scenario, but logically it’s one of the above.  You decide which one applies based on the facts.

I wouldn’t normally do this

I would never single out anyone like this out of the blue, but I simply couldn’t help myself given Andrew’s unprovoked attack against me and other stand up bloggers/sites.

When a lawyer wrongly accused me of copyright infringement (for embedding his client’s YouTube video) and threatened to sue me for hordes of money, I didn’t publicly set out his name.

When a sketchy link builder accused me of copyright infringement asking for a link for an image I paid in full for from Shutterstock, I didn’t publicly reveal her name.

There have been other instances of wrongdoing against me but I exercised restraint.  It’s the small price of being a blogger.

However, Andrew’s post is egregious in intensity, choice of words, and the fact it’s public I have no choice but to reply in kind.

Without ever meeting or talking to me, he publicly announced he “hates” me.  I don’t really care. I won’t change my blogging practices, but it’s uncalled for.

He could have easily written his blog post without listing sites as examples or publicly stating he hates me (or hating other esteemed bloggers/sites that really do offer a lot of good info).

He could have tempered the language to “practices he doesn’t like” or similar.  “Hate” is a strong word.  Maybe it was in jest and he’s trying to be funny… who knows.

At the end of the day, I don’t care. I’m not changing my practices.

However, I loathe tax cheats and do care about the impact they have on me and other people who pay taxes.

Why do I loathe tax cheats?

I loathe tax cheats because the rest of us end up paying more taxes.  Governments need a certain amount of money to function and run a country. I have no problem paying taxes and do so gladly.

But I sure as heck don’t wish to pay more taxes to make up for people who don’t pay what they owe.

I doubt you do either.


13 thoughts on “Andrew Girardin Hates Me Because of How I Publish My Websites – What Do You Think?”

  1. Hi Jon,

    This could just be link bait too. Happens in other niches. In travel niche for example, a travel blogger may publish something controversial, like how awful the food is in one country, or how a certain tourist spot is not properly maintained, or how unsafe it is to go there. This could be hurtful for the people being criticized so they retaliate, and the post then becomes “viral” – earning links and free traffic.

    But maybe you know this already?

    Reply
    • Hey Pao,

      Ahhh, yes… anything for a link I suppose. I was going to suggest clickbait but you’re probably right in that it’s linkbait, but I don’t know for sure so I hold back my opinion. I’m all about publishing controversial content for links and engagement but I don’t make individuals the subject of the controversy. I might suggest “outsourcing is a terrible practice” and list out reasons why it is. I’ve even heavily criticized various software because it’s not good, but I usually do so in a tempered way and always back up my position with valid points and/or my experience with it. I have no problem if this goes viral (which is unlikely).

      Reply
      • I’ve heard of blog posts going semi-viral and even featured on local TV for saying bad things about a country. It works so well coz it hurts national pride and the livelihood of people working in the tourism industry, especially those in developing countries.

        I think it’s totally fine to write about controversial topics if the purpose is to genuinely share well-founded ideas/opinions. Attracting links and traffic is totally an acceptable secondary reason for posting too. But it’s a different matter when the purpose is just to mislead and elicit strong emotions just for the links.

        I do not know the guy, tbh, so I can’t say for sure as well.

        Just a suggestion: remove the link to his blog on this post (i.e. make the URL unclickable) if you do not want to pass link juice 😉

        Reply
        • Very interesting about the travel industry. Thanks for chiming in. The links are nofollow but because it’s in response, I believe the links should be included.

          Reply
    • Couldn’t agree more Tom. I’m happy to pay the taxes I owe, but subsidizing people who don’t pay doesn’t sit well with me because it means I have to pony up more money (as do you and all other people who pay taxes).

      Reply
  2. It’s always funny when a person you’ve never met, and never had a personal interaction with claims they hate you. But it’s the nature of the internet. People say they hate each other way too lightly. You can’t let it get under your skin.

    Just look at Neil Patel. Because he’s started putting popups everywhere, and it “looks like” he wants nothing but your email address on his website, people say the harshest things about him – not regular readers of his blogs, but other bloggers and professionals in the industry. It’s shocking the things people will say about him merely based on the fact that he has more email captures than they feel is right.

    To me, it sounds like this: “Hey I know this stuff works. I can get 5x more email addresses and probably double the revenue I’m making now. But I choose not to because I feel it’s spammy.” And if they see someone else successful that’s using those methods, they get outraged: “How dare they! Spammers! No integrety!”

    Reply
    • Hey Katie,

      Good points. No doubt Neil does well. His traffic volume is incredible but he pushes out a lot of content. If popups didn’t work, we wouldn’t use them. It’s like ad-supported sites. I could put one unit on the sites and earn peanuts or put several well-placed units on and have a good business.

      Reply
  3. I can’t help but laugh at how pointless of a site he has. All his recent posts are simply monthly “income reports” which don’t actually include any income numbers.

    I would just say not to waste your time on this guy. I’m sure it was nothing personal. I personally “greatly dislike” push notifications or in-your-face opt-in forms either but I wouldn’t hesitate to use them if they were beneficial on my sites.

    And don’t get me started on taxes. 🙂 I’m probably one of the few fiscally conservative site publishers out there it feels like. Used to live in Toronto for a few years but couldn’t imagine being there now. I hope BC (I think that’s where you’re at) is a bit better.

    Reply
    • Hey Ivo, yeah probably not worth my time but lucky for me I like writing so it was something to do.

      Popups are annoying but the difference in optin rate conversion is ridiculous, as in popup optin forms perform the best by far. It’s not close.

      Taxes are bad everywhere in Canada but on the flip side we have decent healthcare, schools, roads, and very well compensated politicians.

      Reply
  4. I love your website emails and blogs. I also don’t like pop ups but I can simply shut them down. No big deal.
    Its your content and helpful tips I come to read. This guy has no clue what you do. He didn’t even take the time to find out.
    Just a hater. Best left to his own devices.

    Reply

Leave a Comment