I had to laugh out loud when I took this phone call the other day. A representative from a marketing agency in New York approached me about creating a guest post on my blog. Here is how it went:

ME: So what is it exactly that your company does?

HIM: We specialize in Social Media Marketing strategy.

ME: Really. Well, that’s what I do too.

HIM: I know. I’ve looked at your website.

ME: Well, you’re actually my competitor, right?

HIM: Yes, I suppose you could say that.

ME: So let me get this straight … (laughing) You are my competitor and you’re asking me to allow you to come on to my website to promote your business and attract business away from me? On top of that, you will be planting backlinks on my blog which are aimed to give you permanent advantage over me in the search engines.

HIM: Well … Yes, that’s true.

ME: Don’t you think that is a little crazy?

Now, what may seem even crazier is that I’m going to encourage him do it. In fact I help my competitors every day. Almost every person who provides a guest post on {grow} competes with me in some way! I don’t mind. It’s a big world and we can all prosper.

But the reason I wanted to tell this story is because if any “normal” business person really looked at the “best practices” on the social web, she would think we’re a bunch of blooming idiots! And maybe we are.

A couple competitors have used my original content in their company eNewsletters. Now think about that. They are taking my content (without permission) to compete against me in the marketplace. Basically, I am writing their ads for them.

Last week a lady wrote “Dear Mr. Schaefer, I wanted to let you know that we are using your blog post for an eBook our company is creating. We’re hoping you would help us promote it.” Now wait a minute. Can you first explain who you are and why you are taking my original copywritten material for your company promotion? How do I even know I want to be associated with your company?

Isn’t this nuts? Blogging turns the notion of competition upside down!

When I mentioned this observation to the New York guy who was on the phone with me he said, “Well I guess you could consider it an honor that your competitors want to be on your blog.”

What a world. Doesn’t it seem like the traditional notion of competition has gone out the door?

Photo by inspir8tion used with permission Flickr Creative Commons.