I’m livid. My blood is seriously boiling. And what’s worse, after doing a little bit of digging, I’ve realized that I am not the only one.
When I first started blogging in early 2015, one of the first things I jumped into was creating a sponsorship program for my sidebar of my blog. I’ll admit, I was anxious to make a little money off of my blog as fast as I could so I could buy some equipment I wanted for my camera and running a sponsorship program seemed like the easiest and fastest way to monetize. (A sponsorship program is when other bloggers pay a small fee to put an ad on the sidebar of someone else’s blog and have that blogger promote their content on their own social media channels.) I started off by doing a couple swaps and then proceeded to signup for PassionFruit Ads, a website that worked as the middleman for those running sponsorship programs. Almost ALL of my blogging friends were on the platform, it was receiving tons of amazing reviews and it took out a lot of the legwork.
Here’s how it worked: You signed up and paid a monthly fee (I paid 3 dollars a month) to have your blog on the marketplace. You picked the different sized ads on your blog, what came with them and then advertised it where you wanted. Someone who wanted to sponsor your blog would be directed to Passionfruit, add the spot to their cart and pay to Passionfruit. Passionfruit would take care of coding the ad to your sidebar and would then pay you out every week that you made money. It was easy, it was fast, it was professional and it was organized.
I didn’t have any problems with my account when I first started using it. The customer service team responded fast to any questions I had and I happily went about running my sponsorship program without any issues from April of 2015-December 2015.
Why I cancelled my Membership
In January, I decided that I was putting in way more time into a sponsorship program then was worth my time. I didn’t like how cluttered my sidebar was looking, I didn’t like having complete control over what blog posts I needed to promote and I wasn’t into sending my audience away from my site to other sites. I wanted them to stay a while. So, as I got ready to relaunch Hey There, Chelsie, I canceled my account with Passionfruit Ads. I had other means of monetizing my site to keep it running that were far more conducive to my business and future goals.
In March, as Dustin and I looked over our finances to prepare for our move, I noticed that I had been charged the $3.00 for February and March for my PassionFruit Ads shop. Perplexed, I logged on to the Passionfruit site to make sure I had canceled my account. I had. There was nowhere for me to remove any credit card information or even log into my old account. So, I sent an email off to customer service and didn’t think much of it for the next couple of weeks since I was more preoccupied with moving.
After we got to LA, I realized that I had been charged AGAIN by PassionFruit Ads for an account I canceled and did not have. I sent another, more pointed email to customer service. Nothing. I sent several tweets out to their accounts. Radio silence. So, I waited to see if it would resolve itself or if I would have to take more drastic measures.
And of course, a month later, I was charged AGAIN! I was pretty upset that my credit card was being charged and I had NO control over stopping the charges. I called my credit card company and filed a dispute. They refunded me the money for the last 5 months, put a stop to all future requests and even issued me a new credit card/number. Frustrated, but relieved, I finally felt like I could move forward.