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Nancie Clare, Managing Editor,

To the Gentle Readers of Maria Niles, Contributing Editor at BlogHer:

Writing as the managing editor of, I’d very much like to address Maria’s recent blog entry.

First, I wish Ms. Niles had contacted either me or Editor in Chief Kerry Gladden with her concerns. Our contact information is available at the website. We might have been able to answer some of the issues she brought up.

First off, as women interested in business and business practices, you all must understand that trademarks are powerful and valuable parts of a company’s branding. Jane Dough was trademarked by before blogs and blogging became commonplace. Had blogs been commonplace, I’m certain that “Ask Jane Dough” would have started out that way. As it stands now, Jane Dough will be accessible to her readers through her blog instead of readers emailing questions. I don’t see much confusion in such a transition.

As for the cease and desist, if you want to blame someone, blame me. I read the article in The New York Times and then read Boston Gal’s blog. I alerted the attorneys, but also reached out to Boston Gal. I thought she would be a great contributor for the readers of our site and she would be able to write under the “Jane Dough” moniker (at least on our site) so, yes, I did think it would be a win-win. I hope Boston Gal/Jane Dough’s readers agree.

As for the question of charging for the blog: Blogs on are free and will remain free forever. We are a site in transition; part of our subscription model initially included the blog. Gee whiz, we were wrong about that and changed our minds. I would have thought making that adjustment would be a reason to acknowledge us on our good sense. Excuse us for adapting; it’s an example of retaining a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. In the next few months we will be introducing blogs by a single working mother and by a single woman who, in spite of having a good job, is always broke because of poor money management skills. They will also be free forever.

As our subscription model develops, we plan to introduce a bundle of useful tools for women doing their best to get a handle on their finances; tools that if purchased separately would cost far more than $9.95 a month. And yes, we plan to contribute 10% of our subscription revenue to Breast Cancer Research. I’m confused why this is being conveyed as a bad thing. is passionate in its commitment to helping women get a handle on their finances, whether it’s getting an understanding of 529 plans and different retirement savings vehicles to the lighter side of women’s financial concerns like beauty and fashion. In that regard, we all seem to be on the same team.

Maria Niles

Nancie, thank you for your comments,

First allow me to clarify that I mentioned my role as a CE to explain my focus on a personal finance blog. However, the views I express here are my own and independent of what I cover at BlogHer.

I did not contact your company because these are just my observations as someone who happened to click on your site, not concerns as a prospective customer. I would certainly encourage anyone considering membership at your site to contact you with their concerns.

I am very glad to hear that the blogs on are free. However, that fact was not clear to me when I visited the site. I applaud the change.

Also not readily apparent to me was the value that $9.95 a month would offer. From your comment it sounds as if that aspect is still evolving. I certainly think that such a suite of useful tools would be a great value to women looking to manage their finances.

I am not suggesting that contributing a portion of your revenue to breast cancer research is a bad thing. I was pointing out that there are alternate ways to support breast cancer or whatever cause one supports than through subscriptions. I would add, however, that it would be nice to see some reasoning as to why breast cancer research is the cause supported by a financial empowerment company rather than a financial empowerment cause because without explanation it appears to be default "pink" marketing to women.

And, absolutely, I think a passionate commitment to helping women get a handle on their finances is a very good thing. As I said in the title I certainly think you have the right idea and I'm glad that you've clarified some of the aspects of your site and service that were not readily apparent when I visited your site.

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