Your Blog Is Your Baby, Don’t Leave It With Strangers
Bear with me; The Lisa’s mad.
So, you decided to start the New Year by creating a new blog. Your head was overflowing with great blog topics, you were happy about joining the community and you were excited about giving either yourself or your company a more public voice. You created your blog and promised to love and cherish it through the good times and the flame wars, to update it, moderate it and to be an all-around good blogosphere citizen for as long as you both shall live.
But that was six months ago.
Now you’ve either run out of blog topics, you’ve made enemies in your space, you’re on to the next fad, or you’ve decided to spend July hanging out at the beach (and really, who can blame you on that last one?). So what do you do? You decided to phone it in and hire others to do your work for you. What are "ethics", anyway?
I don’t know if I should be sad, upset or offended by all the services popping up lately aimed at helping people become sucky bloggers who insult their audiences, but last night I was very glad I didn’t have a puppy. If I did have one, I may have kicked it. I found myself in a dismal blogging mood yesterday for two annoying reasons: Guest-Blogger and Buy Blog Comments.
The first offender was brought to my attention while I was reading the new Authority Blogger Forum. I came across a post about a new service called Guest-Blogger that is designed to "facilitate introductions among bloggers". Basically, if you’re going out of town or are too busy to blog, you can look up a blogger who writes about your topic and solicit them to pinch hit.
The mere idea of this is completely frustrating to me. No doubt this service includes some veiled way for bloggers to screen candidates before the deal is finalized, but even so, you’re still trusting your blog and your audience to someone you don’t know. Is this how you treat things you care about? The only people I can see benefiting from a service like this are people pushing out spammy Made For AdSense sites and labeling them "blogs". Giving your blog to someone you don’t know is like asking the bum on the street to baby-sit your children. Don’t expect your children don’t look at you the same when you get them back. Try to ignore that crushed looked beaming out of their little eyes.
I understand that people take vacations and people have lives, but if you’re a good blogger and a trusted member in your space, it should not be difficult for you to find someone that you know and trust to lend you a hand with your blogging. If there was ever a community that looked out for one another, it is the blogging community. Just ask Rae Hoffman. People were tripping over themselves offering to blog for her, including yours truly.
The second service that got my blood boiling was Buy Blog Comments. The company lets bloggers do exactly what it sounds like it does – buy blog comments. This could be one of the worst ideas I have ever heard and I can feel my head getting ready to explode just thinking about it.
Isn’t there enough automated blog spam out there without hiring real people to contribute to it? I think so.
And have you read the content on their home page? I don’t know which line was more horrifying – listening to them tout how they specialize in selling blog comments for "blackhatters", watching them promise you better search engine rankings, or this grammatically incorrect gem:
"We dont use people who can’t even speak English. It is important to have well written blog comments so that they will not get deleted by the blogger. All of our trained staff are currently from the USA and Canada and speak English very well."
I don’t want to give the site too much attention, but I think the fact that the 20-year-old founder of the site has a testimonial from himself on the home page speaks wonders.
There’s value in using blogs for link building and search engine optimization purposes, but this is so not the way to go about it. Loren Baker had an excellent post yesterday about SEO & Link Building via Blog Comments. If you don’t know why you should be commenting on other people’s blogs yourself, go read his entry. You’ll learning something.
In the end, by participating in these kinds of spammy services you’re hurting everyone involved – you, your blog, your readers, and the community as a whole. You should care enough about your blog to not leave it with strangers or muddy its reputation through these kinds of programs. And if you don’t respect your blog enough, it’s time to get out of the space. We don’t want you.