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Blogging for Links: Is That All There Is?

Yesterday I wrote a post about my experiment to spend more time perusing the social network discussion groups. Team Bloke member Jaffer brought to my attention a post @ doshdosh about using social networks to get more traffic.

This was my response:

Yes, a nice piece of link bait there. A little too verbose for my liking and could be easily summarized in a few sentences or less.

Interestingly, he seems to agree in a round about way with what I have been saying … that social network avalanches rarely transfer into more newsfeed subscribers. But it will provide sufficient links to keep the SERPS happy over the long term. I also agree the Stumbleupon traffic is more preferable than Digg.

What I don’t like about posts like this is they have a tendency to abuse superlative keywords, aka copyblogger style, and exaggerate the content — using words like “massive“, etc. This sort of hype plays upon basic human nature and is one of the oldest tricks in the book for titillating a reader into taking action. In this case the motivation is for the viewer to continue reading the article and to subscribe to his newsfeed for his series of topical posts.

It’s reminiscent of late night infomercials that tell you “But Wait! There’s More!!!”, or “Don’t Touch That Dial”, or “Stay Tuned For Part 11… and so forth. I would argue that there is nothing really new in his post that has not already been said.

It doesn’t impress me because I’ve seen it all before, but it will for some who don’t know any better. I see this article for what it really is. It was written as link bait to impress newbies. It merely recycles information that has already been said so many times elsewhere.

Let’s face it, the post was written for one reason only — to gain more readers and to put money into the pocket of the author. Frankly I don’t like being played by bloggers to make them rich, but that’s just me I suppose. I’m weary of the hype and recycled posts that are contrived to play upon our greed and our need to be popular. Let’s get back to real blogging and writing original content instead of trying to manipulate the public just for links.

What do you think?

1. Are the masters-of-hype leading us astray from real blogging by focusing too much on traffic and making money?

2. If our content is good then does it not follow that our blog will become popular?

3. Shouldn’t we be concerning ourselves with writing original content for ourselves, our niche and our community, and not just for the sake of getting links?

4. Or is it all of the above, and if so then how do we find a balance? What is that balance and how do we do it ethically without being hypocrites about it?

Related posts: Making Money Blogging and Ethics - Why Don’t They Mix?

Written November 3rd, 2007 by | 12 Comments | Filed under: Miscellaneous Blog Tips, MythBusters, Opinion , ,

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There are 12 Comments so far to “Blogging for Links: Is That All There Is?”

  1. Hey Bloke,

    I hope its our content (referring to your Item 2) first. And second, a easy way to communicate our presence on the web without being trapped in every misleading Blog gimmick hyped over the digital ocean!

    I don’t know if this is related but, I wonder how many bloggers are turned off by subscribing to news feeds where the Blog author wants you to click their feed (using a statement like “This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more!”) to read more of the post at their blog site which might be fine for infrequent use when a post may be too large for a news reader to handle.

    Afterwards, the blog rubs more salt in the wound by repeating the same opening sentence in their post that was in their feed with a “read more” link below the sentence.

    This seems to me to be another Blogging Blunder for killing blog newsfeed subscribers with the added Blogging Bonus of annoying your readers at the same time.

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  2. The controversy of newsfeed summaries vs full feed content is one of the biggest bone of contentions in the blogosphere. The theory being that full feed subscribers won’t visit the blog and click on ads. But many readers won’t even consider subscribing to a summary feed. I once provided both a summary and full feed option but now I just provide the full feed so it is easier to keep track of my subscribers.

    There’s no doubt about it that if you just provide a summary feed you will turn off a lot of potential subscribers.

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  3. Not strictly true, BB. You appear as a partial feed for me in Google Reader with the exact text Debbie refers to.

    Also I have to take certain issue with you over your criticism of Maki. His blog is about making money online. How can the subject of the post you refer to, yet bizarrely don’t link to despite your previous protestations about people being stingy with their links, be leading his readers astray? They go to his site to read about making money online.

    Yes the content may well be the subject of a million other blog posts but the fact is that not everyone else has read them. Also what is wrong with using the word “massive” in the context of the article? What he’s saying is correct - appearing on the front page of Digg will drive massive traffic. 99% of it will be useless but you can’t dispute the facts.

    “It was written as link bait to impress newbies”. If they’re really newbies then they have picked up some new information which they probably haven’t read anywhere else and if they’re really new they won’t even have a clue what link bait is so won’t link to it.

    Before writing a new article are we supposed to check if anyone else has ever written about it before? “Oh so and so blogged about it 6 months ago so I guess I won’t bother writing anything”. We’d never get anything published.

    What constitutes original content?

    Also if you’re so concerned about people blogging “to gain more readers and to put money into the pocket of the author” then why continue running ads on the site or publishing any new content, original or otherwise?

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  4. Hey Mike, are you looking for a fight? Sorry, but I don’t fight with my friends. :)

    First off, let me remind you that you are probably still subscribed to the old partial feed (which I don’t offer any more but never killed off).

    Listening to the tone of your comment me thinks you are still smarting from that PR letdown. The point that I’m trying to make is I’m fed up with the problogger crowd playing on people’s greed and overstating the facts to get links.

    For example, Shoemoney recently admittedly that he only makes 3% of his income from blogging. But he still waves that big (unverified) cheque in everyone’s nose on his blog doesn’t he.

    I’m also fed up with unoriginal content flooding the airwaves. So why should that tick you off? Is it wrong to call a spade a spade?

    Truthfully, I will check to see what others may have written if I’m not certain my material is original. I try my darnedest to write original material and I wish the problogger crowd would do the same instead of just borrowing from one another.

    Some professional bloggers. More like pro plagiarizers.

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  5. Oh yes, I didn’t link directly to the post in question because I linked to the comment where Jaffer has already provided the link. Crikey, I’m already bitchin’ about these guys fishing for links so last thing I’m going to do is give him two links.

    Ya digg :)

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  6. Hey, instead of just taking pot-shots at me why doesn’t somebody come up with solutions to the problem? I’ve listed 4 questions above, or read my new post called “Making Money Blogging and Ethics - Why Don’t They Mix?” where I’ve stated my case in no uncertain terms.

    I’m all ears.

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  7. OK well I’ll cover your points here and then head on over to the new post and reply there too.

    Fair point about the feed - will subscribe to new feed if it offers full text.

    I’m not looking for a fight, I’m voicing my opinion based on this article.

    No, I’m not smarting from PR bitch slap. Quite the opposite. I’ve picked up new subscribers to Twenty Steps as a result and have also picked up new advertisers on one of my other sites despite the -2 penalty. The PR bitch slap has nothing to do with my comment.

    Have a look at any magazine cover in the newstand. Look at the headlines they use to sell the magazine.

    10 Ways To Make You Slimmer
    5 Step Plan To A Better Sex Life
    101 Great Holiday Destinations

    That’s the way people are pitched to in todays market both on and offline. There’s so much competition out there in every field that you need to try to stand out from the competitor.

    I was waiting for a train the other day and browsing the magazine section and counted over a dozen mens lifestyle magazines. Just because FHM writes about mens lifestyles does that mean all the others should pack up and go? Just how many shaving tips can there be?

    Don’t use a blunt razor or you’ll cut yourself.

    Right, no more articles about shaving cuz we’ve pretty much nailed that one.

    Rehashing old content? Well aren’t we all guilty of that? You’ve posted in the past that you’re pissed off with A-listers so why write another post? Isn’t that recycling to an extent?

    I hear totally where you’re coming from but attacking Dosh Dosh, which is one of the better blogs on the subject of making money online, seems out of line. Why not go after someone like John Chow who used to get people to pay him to remove the nofollow tag from their comments? That’s a target if ever I saw one.

    If writing about the same subject as everyone else is considered plagiarism then every single blog on the planet is guilty to a greater or lesser extent. Nobody has the right to have a monopoly on a subject.

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  8. I’ve suffered a catastrophic computer failure and was unable to get online until now. Because I am unable to respond satisfactorily I will appreciate nobody taking advantage of my absence while I’m unavailable because I do wish to respond to this nonsense. Otherwise I will have no choice but to close comments for this blog.

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  9. Definition of plagiarism:

    “Stealing someone else’s ideas and presenting them as your own.”

    Lifes’ a bitch, huh Mike?

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  10. Sigh! I guess I have to respond to this.

    There’s one major difference from them and me. My stuff is original and I don’t recycle for the sake of selling magazines, getting dugg or links.

    I don’t raid my own archives (or other’s) either. If I need to change something I just do it. Googlebot will notice. I certainly don’t need to spin it off into another post.

    And it so happens a-listers are one of my sore spots. I only bring them up when one of them says something stupid (which unfortunately seems to be on a regular basis).

    Granted, I agree that doshdosh is better than john cow and I will get to him one of these days. In fact, I have already talked about him before if I’m not mistaken. As I recall I foretold his doom with Google and it has already come to pass.

    I hope this helps clarify matters.

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  11. I am not into blogging for monetary gain, which means most of what pro-bloggers write is irrelevant to me. At least what I’ve read so far. In fact, most of what I’ve seen reminds me of those late-night infomercials that claim to have the secret to earning 5-10K per week. According to them, it’s so easy everyone can do it.

    It’s funny, but if everyone could make that kind of money so easily why isn’t everyone doing it? The truth of the matter is the real secret is being able to appeal to stupid people who will send you $50 or more to find out that the secret is taking advantage of gullible people.

    In essence, isn’t that what most of the pro-bloggers are doing? They claim to have the secret to turning blogs into gold mines. When, in fact, their secret is having the ability to compellingly write in a way that entices gullible people to click on the right links to trigger payments to the pro-blogger. Unfortunately, most of the links lead to content that is boring, misleading, over-simplistic or all of the above. The sad fact is that most people who set out to earn big money by blogging only make pennies, at best.

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  12. “In fact, most of what I’ve seen reminds me of those late-night infomercials that claim to have the secret to earning 5-10K per week” !

    Lee, you are a blogger after my own heart. Read this: http://www.blogbloke.com/blogosphere-infomercials-making-money-online-the-old-fashioned-way/

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