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Let me Show You Inside a Secret Blogging Alliance

Posted By Darren Rowse 25th of August 2009 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

In this post I want to take you inside a secret blogging alliance. A small group of bloggers who’ve committed to work together in secret for the mutual benefit of all members of the alliance.

blog-alliance.jpgImage by and[w]

Last week I was talking with a successful blogger about factors that had helped us improve our blogs the most and in a comment that I think he regretted making shortly after he mentioned that he was in a ‘blogging alliance’ with a group of other bloggers.

I immediately honed in on the term blogging alliance and began to push him a little on it. What was it? What did it do? What impact did it have?

At first he was hesitant to share but once I promised not to reveal who he was or indicate what niche he was blogging in he began to loosen up and shared some details on the understanding that I’d be writing it up as a post here on ProBlogger (he actually checked with other members of the alliance before he told me any details). Here’s what I learned:

What is the Blogging Alliance?

From what I can piece together the alliance started, as many good ideas do, over a beer between two bloggers. They had both been building their blogs for a couple of years in the same niche and had been meeting up occasionally to share stories and swap ideas on how each other could improve their blogs.

The meetings had been informal, irregular and usually disintegrated into more of a social catchup than much else – but they were reflecting on this one occasion that despite this they’d both really benefited from the relationship. As they drank their draughts they began to wonder out loud what more they could do together to benefit them both.

They tossed around a number of ideas including a formal partnership (a blog network of sorts) but shied away from that as they began to realize the legal ramifications of starting a partnership and company together. Instead they began to wonder what would happen if they pulled together a small group of bloggers on related topics to work together rather than competing with one another.

One of them suggested that they form an ‘alliance’ – the idea caught on.

Each of the bloggers sounded out 3 other bloggers to see if they were interested. 5 of those that they sounded out responded positively – the 6th didn’t (and interestingly is the only one of the original group not blogging today).

The 7 bloggers who founded the alliance all came from the same niche. The niche was a very wide one though and each had different approaches, skills, strengths and focuses. None really were competing with each other directly but all were on related topics.

They decided to ‘meet’ at the same time each week on a conference call (they were scattered geographically so a face to face meeting wasn’t possible). On their first meeting they didn’t really know what they were going to DO together but they committed to keep meeting, keep sharing what they were doing, keep talking about their niche and keep looking for opportunities to help each other.

They committed to keep the group secret and to keep all activities of the group to be for the mutual benefit of one another.

This all took place two years ago.

Since that time each of the 7 bloggers have seen drastic improvements in their blogs. None are what one might consider to be ‘A-lister’ blogs but of the initial group 5 are now full time bloggers and the other 2 could be if they wished to be but have decided to keep working other jobs.

They have talked about inviting other bloggers into the alliance numerous times but have decided to keep things small.

What Does the Blogging Alliance DO?

OK – so at this point I was intrigued by the idea of a blogging alliance. I didn’t know who was involved (and still don’t) but I did know the blogger telling me the story and he’s a credible guy with a great blog who makes a good living from his blog.

So my next question was to ask what the blogging alliance actually looked like? What did they do? How had it worked?

We talked for a good 45 minutes about this but here’s a summary of the notes I took (with a few of my own thoughts) on the different activities that they engaged in to help one another grow their blogs:

1. Commenting on each others blogs

I’ll admit, when he shared this one first I was a little disappointed. I was envisaging a secret group gathering in robes practicing dynamic new tactics to grow one another’s blogs…. and he tells me that they comment on each others blogs!

However this was where they started and he tells me that it actually had a big impact. They decided as a group that rather than starting with anything too big that they’d simple each subscribe and read one another’s blogs and leave at least one comment on each others blogs once every weekday.

The idea came out of the fact that each reported on their first meeting that one of their biggest frustrations was that while they spent hours each week writing their blogs that they always struggled to get comments – it was depressing. So they started commenting on each other’s posts.

So instead of each post they wrote getting 0 comments – they each started getting 7. The impact was interesting because not only did the comments stimulate great conversations between them – but they started to notice others leaving comments too. The idea of ‘social proof’ came into effect – people coming to a blog with comments are just more likely to leave comments.

Interestingly the blogger I spoke with told me of another impact on his own blogging – he started writing better posts. He reflected to me that knowing that these other 7 bloggers from his niche were going to be reading his posts spurred him on to write better and better articles. Not only that – the comments being left were not just ‘great post’ comments but each had committed to adding useful comments – so quite often he got great ideas for new posts as well – his blog improved almost overnight simply by having other bloggers leave comments on his blog.

2. Linking to One Another

The next thing they did was again simple but effective (in fact everything they did was simple) – they began to link to one another. Actually this didn’t really start as a formal strategy as such – they did it naturally as a result of each subscribing to one another because they began to see posts on one another’s blogs that related to their audience.

However they did end up getting a little more formal with it and devised a bit of a system (they ended up using Basecamp to keep track of a lot of this type of thing) where they could each suggest a single post that they’d written each week that they’d like one another to consider linking to.

They decided not to force one another to link in this way because they wanted posts to be relevant to the blog linking to them but over time what started happening was that each of the blogs in the alliance started getting linked to by at least 2-3 of the other blogs each week.

They also committed to add blogrolls to their sidebars which linked to one another (as well as a few other blogs in their niche).

The result of this simple strategy over time was that they started sharing readers with one another and that their search engine rankings started to grow.

3. Social Bookmarking and Tweeting

An extension of the linking to one another’s posts was that the bloggers also started to help one another out in social media by promoting each others links on Twitter as well as bookmarking each other’s posts on sites like Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon.

While this didn’t have a massive impact as they were such a small group of bloggers it did drive some traffic (it drove more over time as each of their social media presences grew) and also generated links for posts.

They didn’t do this for every post each of them wrote – but again were selective and did it with a single post a week each (I think this grew to a minimum of 2-3 posts a week later on).

Some of the bloggers now not only automatically tweet when they post a new post on their own blog but have got things set up to automatically tweet when other blogs in the alliance tweet.

4. Guest Posts

Another thing that they regularly do is write for one another.

This started out simply as a way to help each other out when one of them was going on vacation (the other bloggers would fill in) but they found that it ended up benefiting everyone because it helped each of them to grow their profile with each other’s readers.

Now they each commit to write at least one guest post per month on at least one of the other blogs in the alliance. In reality most of them do guest posts as much as once a week. They mix it up so everyone gets and writes guest posts and so that the one person isn’t doing the guest posts on just one blog.

5. Joint Promotions/Competitions

A couple of times now they’ve run promotions together. I won’t go into too much detail of what they did for fear of revealing who they are but they have centered around competitions with bigger prizes open to readers from each of their blogs. The results were great as they were able to attract sponsors to donate great prizes with the guarantee that the sponsor wouldn’t just get exposure on a single blog but 7.

6. Monetization Leads

This is a more recent development but has had some real success. They realized after a while that each of them were spending time each month trying to find advertisers as well as testing affiliate programs on their blogs. They were duplicating a lot of their efforts and actually competing with one another on occasions to sign up advertisers.

They talked about pooling their efforts completely and setting up an ad network to run across all 7 blogs but pulled away from that idea for the time being as it was a little complicated and they didn’t want to formalize partnerships or have to write up contracts.

Instead what they’ve done is commit to share with one another when they sign up new advertisers, to share how much they’re getting, to introduce one another to advertisers etc. The result has been great so far – a number of the advertisers have signed up for multiple blogs where they’d previously have signed up for just one.

They each still handle their negotiations with advertisers but the introductions alone have helped all improve their revenue.

They also share information with each other on what affiliate programs are working for them and what techniques they’re using to increase sales.

7. Spot Promotions

Another technique that they’ve used a few times is to run what they call ‘spot promotions’ of each others blogs. I’m not sure how they came up with that name for what they do but in effect it involves them doing a promotion for another blog in the alliance by giving a strong call to action to readers of one blog to become subscribers to the newsletter list or RSS feed of another.

This is usually done in a blog post (ie Blog A writes a post talking about how much they love Blog B and highlighting it’s newsletter and/or feed).

The results of these promotions have apparently been fantastic.

8. Thank You Page Promotions

Another similar thing that they’ve recently been trying is to add promotions to each others newsletters and feeds to the thank you pages of their own newsletter signups (ie when you sign up for the newsletter for Blog A you’re taken to a thank you page that suggests 6 other blogs that you should subscribe to with links to each of their newsletters/feeds).

This is a technique that many internet marketers use to ‘up sell’ people to products – but this group have committed to ‘up sell’ each other’s lists on their thank you pages (a great idea).

9. Remnant Ad Promotions

Another technique that they’ve done a little with is to serve ads for each other’s blogs when they have spare ad spots on their blogs. So if Blog A has a spare 125 x 125 ad slot on their blog they rotate buttons for each of the other blogs in that position – driving traffic from one blog to another.

10. Product Promotion

More recently a couple of the bloggers in the alliance have released products (ebooks/membership sites). The group have committed to promote one another’s products heavily.

They have also committed to give each other ‘super-affiliate’ status of each other’s products where the affiliate commissions that they pay to affiliates are significantly higher on each other’s products (so it’s not just those who release products who benefit more from the alliance but those promoting them).

11. Joint Products

They’ve also recently just started about talking about joint collaborations on products. The ‘alliance’ itself will release a product next year which they’ll all contribute content to as well as receive a share of the profits from.

12. Networking

Another thing that this group of bloggers has done really well is to help one another to expand and deepen one another’s networks. Of course a great deal of networking has gone on amongst the bloggers themselves but there have been many occasions where bloggers have made introductions for one another to other bloggers, journalists, developers, designers etc etc etc.

Collectively these 7 bloggers know a lot of people and they’re more than willing to help one another expand their networks.

13. In Person Meet Up

In the last few months the group met up for the first time in person. They all booked rooms in the one hotel and got themselves a meeting room and spent a weekend together.

The weekend involved a lot of socializing but also some intentional times together where they did

  • some training (each had to present for 30 minutes on something that they’d learned and had success with)
  • brainstorming (they spent time brainstorming what they could do together – this is where the idea for a joint product came from)
  • blog reviews (they spent an hour workshopping each of the 7 blogs – each blogger came away with a long list of things that they could do to improve their blogs, topics that they could write on, ideas on how to better monetize etc)

A few Concluding Insights on Blog Alliances

I found this conversation to be a fascinating one. Much of what this blogger told me is similar to things I’ve been suggesting bloggers do together for years in posts that I’ve written about finding ‘blogging buddies’ (in fact this group took on some of the ideas in my posts and implemented them in their alliance) however this group has taken things to a whole new level and formalized many of them (in an informal way as there’s no contracts or legal agreements).

In chatting to the blogger I got the sense that the group has worked well because each of the bloggers had (and still have) similar sized blogs, that each of the bloggers has an attitude of being humble and committed to the idea of mutual benefit and because they have never forced anyone to promote anything that they didn’t feel was a natural or organic fit with their blog.

There have been times where a blogger (or more than one) have opted out of things that others were doing because of their own commitments or because it didn’t ‘fit’ with their blogs – but each of the bloggers has invested time and energy into the greater good of the alliance.

The Results

Lastly by all reports this alliance has helped a great deal. As I mentioned above – 5 of the 7 bloggers are now full time bloggers and the other 2 are doing pretty well with blogging as their 2nd job.

One of the side benefits that the blogger I talked with talked about was that the he didn’t think that he’d still be blogging if it wasn’t for the alliance. He’d been through a couple of times in the last two years where he’d wanted to give up blogging – but the alliance pulled him through. Other bloggers covered for him through tough circumstances and on other occasions other bloggers gave him a kick up the pants and told him to get his act together when he was slacking off. The combination of accountability and encouragement really helped him a lot.

Thanks to this alliance for allowing us to see some of what they’ve done – I’m fascinated by this glimpse into this alliance – I think it could (and should) spark ideas for other bloggers who I think could benefit a lot from similar approaches.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. I’m going to let this post and it’s ideas marinate in my head for a few days… I really like it, but If I’m going to do it, I want to do it right.

    Wonderful post…

  2. Fascinating. Really dig the idea of having an alliance with other blogs. The challenge is to find similar sized blogs to work together with. Now, who’s interested in having an alliance with me?

  3. I was introduced to the world of blogging last year and love it. I’ve spent a short while away and am getting back into it. I’ll be setting up blogs for a number of subjects, from RoadRage issues to health, to motivational, and more.

    I was hoping to set up a blogging alliance (your terminology is better than mine) and ran across this blog on the very subject…wow, how lucky is that? Or is it destiny? I’ll go with the latter.

    Anyone interested in considering the possibility of forming such an alliance, please feel free to email me at [email protected]

    I love that unlimited email from Gmail. No more wasted time deleting junk…how brilliant was that idea?

    So what are you waiting for…email me! I may be fairly busy this week and will be out of the office quite a bit, but will get back to you as quick as I can. Are you still reading this…email me now.

    And Darren…let’s hear from you too! I’m working on a huge project, actually, two huge projects. Let’s double your income…LoL!

  4. Would be nice to have a place finding other bloggers to build an alliance.

  5. Forming such an alliance seems like a smart idea. And in a sense the collaboration (in that niche) is not a secret as they openly comments and do guest posts on each others blogs.

    As a sidenote, I think the social aspect of such a group can’t be denied, even that they only “meet” virtually, as blogging can be quite lonely art at times, especially with the most in the mastermind blogging full-time.

  6. I love this idea! Some of their strategies are obvious, but others not so much. Sounds like I need some secret blog pals of my own!

  7. Mini Social Network!!!
    The term ‘Secret Blogging Alliance’ and the dark image gave a feeling as to you are going to unveil some kind of mafia. LOL.

    Ultimately, it boils down to what you and many others are advising. Build your networks.

    Probably, in this case, it was predetermined, mutually binding (?) and exclusive. But they sure were not stepping over the line [or they didn’t step over and reveal to you ;) ]

    Anyway, thanks for sharing. It was inspirational.

  8. Thank you, I have been working on something loosely based on this with other bloggers in the same genre of my own, I find that our tones are different, and we cater to different readers, but it is true, strength in numbers helps!

    Thanks!

  9. Sounds like a collusion of sorts!

  10. Last year, i did try to gather some like minded people to join me to do this thing. But none of them are like minded enough. I mean, some of them are so want to blog alone instead of sharing knowledge and keep improving from there.

    I am in college and i believe only 10 percents of the students really know what blogging means. The other 50 percents are girls that signed up at blogspot and talk about crap, problem with loved one, attention grabber and they often talk about sex which i found really annoying.

    As today, i blog alone. None of my close mate really know what blog is, none of my classmate really how to blog (they are a software engineering student and they have no idea what wordpress is, what is AJAX?). None of my housemate really share the same interest.

    But i keep blogging. I let myself inspired by other writings such as this one. I let another blogger inspire me as the author did.

    I believe in i keep doing this, and as long as i keep learning, and keep improving, i can go further than where i am now.

  11. Darren, another “you made my day” post of yours. Thanks and keep up the great job.

    It wouldn’t be me if I did not ask anyone who is interested to form an alliance :-) Please visit my blog and see if you are interested in cooperating.
    I really need a kick, creative critique, need to cooperate with someone so we can go to the next level.
    I would obviously help you, too. This post inspired me so much that I simply _must_ form an alliance and achieve success! And what is more I feel I am capable of it :-)

    Let’s do something great!

  12. It’s a fantastic idea, and I’ve personally tried to pull together a few people to form such an alliance. The real difficulty is in finding the ‘right’ people to join you.

    Just as in your post, at least one of the people is no longer blogging and unless the alliance is truly committed then there is plenty of room for it to fail.

    I guess the real challenge is finding people who are genuinely committed to putting in the work. I can see that the benefits are well worth the effort of both finding those people and of actually getting the job done.

    I particularly like the idea that they have a weekly mastermind call. No doubt this has had a very positive outcome to the effectiveness of their group.

  13. As I was thinking further about it, I was wondering how important it is that the members of a group are in the same niche. And I thought that is indeed one way to do it, but personally I would prefere a mixed group where every member writes about all kind of aspects of their own expertise, in a way that is understandable for everyone.

    I very much like that if it is done by journalists who manage to get a difficult topic (of science or medicin or art or classical music or whatever) understandable for the average reader.

    And I mean in a normal intellectual way, so not so much in a ‘I will teach you dummies’ way. But every professional has a level of speach that he uses with colleagues or others in the same branch.

    And I think it would be great if there would arise a field around all those specialities that could be followed by everyone that was interested.

    So maybe that would be an idea to use in the setup of a group, a great mix of niches. Think of a scientist who is very interested in classical music, but can not read notes. Or an artist who wants to know more about gravity. Well, I can think about a million combinations right now.

    I don’t know if that would be to difficult to set up, but the potential is infinite, I think.

  14. Wow! Bloggers working together as Team, a Great Idea infact.

    I learned some things for this article, may be implimenting for my BLOG!

    Not having an Alliance will affect the tips, which were consulted between the Author and the subject blogger?????

    I don’t think so!

    I f some is going with these routine without having an Alliance, i think he is going in right direction.

    At All! I liked this Idea Overall!

    Regardsss!

  15. Wow this idea is awesome. Anyone want to start a blogging alliance with me? Drop me a line at [email protected] if your blog is about photography, personal development, blogging, politics, WordPress, PHP programming, web development, piano, writing, technology, or librarianship.

  16. Thanks for the advice. It is relly useful for me.

  17. If there’s any graphic designers here who would like to give this a try just let me know.

  18. I am in.
    Photography Blogs will help :D

  19. This is such a great idea! Blogging while working full-time is not easy, and having that kind of support to encourage and help you would be awesome! I would love to do something like this!

    What do you think would be the best way to find blogger who might be willing to do this? I’m still relatively new to blogging… maybe sending out a tweet? I guess I just answered my own question – heheh. :)

  20. Darren, Just finished your great book, and now going to get the workbook. I have been a web designer for years, but now moving into blogging. Is there a WP simply image rotator that you reccommend? I need something simply and solid, with no navigation necessary, but want the images clickable. There are so many on the WP site.

    Blessings! Chuck

  21. Griz has set up a “blogging alliance” that is working for the rest of us. With his “How to Make Money Online for Beginners” site and others there is a way for many of us to set up the alliances that you list here.

  22. Great post Darren,

    A couple of Guys and Gals that I follow have joined together in a such blogging alliance. Gordie Rodgers has set one such thing up.

    I would encourage you all to check it out. http://www.twitter12.com.

    You create a alliance of twelve members, and then you do exactly what you propose here. Works Great.

    When you join, just mention I sent you. It will really boost Gordie’s moral.

  23. This is a seriously good idea. I welcome contact from any marketing / copywriting-orientated (on and off-line) bloggers who are interested in forming an alliance. Let’s get this thing off the ground!

  24. Just contact your blogger friends in scholl or office to make a blogging alliance, it’s easy.

  25. Wow!! There was a stunning amout of real actionable info in that post! Thanks Darren!

    I am going to try this out on a geographically local basis. There are lots of people in the loosely aggrated Human Potential movement in my area and I am thinking that adding a geographical piece to the alliance could work nicely….

    Thanks again for the most helpful single post I have read this year!!

  26. For a better blogosphere you need to do that, you need to refer others and not be greedy. John Chow recently posted a video of his new camera in which he is wearing shoemoney tshirt.

  27. I am interested in forming a blog alliance with other moms (or dads) who blog about kids products – books, movies, tv, technology, toys, food, clothes, etc.

    If you’d like to join, contact me through my website or Twitter (@KidCrunchMom.)

    Great post, Darren.

  28. I have been really thinking about finding a blog alliance, but was more thinking of awesome friends or fantastic friends as a way to interact the same way this group is doing. I admire their efforts and am so happy you shared this story. I have a few bloggers I talk to daily and we do share ideas this way but the newsletter idea is awesome!!! Thanks for this post!

  29. Thank you for a most informative article. This could be a course in itself. It seems to me that what the group of 7 did was simply maximize all the tools of blogging in a mutually powerful way. I also like that number of 7 – one for each day of the week.

    If anyone with a yoga blog would like to gather an alliance, I would be interested.

  30. Haha, that was a great post interview with this unknown blogger.

    It’s true that with some buddy at your side, you will not feel that you want to give up, even through they did not meet before.

    This is a commitment between the 7 bloggers that form an alliance to help each other out no matter what.

    I will search for such alliance if there is any, thank you Darren.

  31. I also like the idea of a “guest post swap.” Rather than writing an additional post for another blogger, offer to swap posts on the same day. So the post you were going to run anyway shows on their site, and you run their guest post on your site. This way, no one has to do any additional work, but you both benefit from reaching a new audience.

  32. What perfect timing . . . as I have been intentional about something similar for a while and I am developing this organically with friends. YES; it works!

  33. This is a great post. I do not mind joining something this nature but it will be impossible to meet other bloggers as I live in Sri Lanka. If someone is forming a committed online bloggers group, ( A small group consisting less than 10 members) I will be more than happy to join and share…

  34. When I first started blogging I gravitated toward a group of other new bloggers and we started doing a lot of this for each other, without ever saying out loud we were doing it. We would visit each other’s blogs and comment, link to each other, help each other out on social media, and so on. I think it’s one of the best ways to get over the “new blog” hump and start attracting other readers.

  35. I love the term “alliance”. I was thinking along the line of “network” which is what drew my attention to this post headline however alliance gives off the impression of dominance. I like it!

  36. this is a great post – makes me very aware of how important understanding what your niche market is. thanks for your great blog – I read it avidly.

    aloha –
    Angela

  37. As a new blogger, I must say the best thing about this article is that it exposes just how many tools there are available to me that I was personally unaware. Thank you so much for sharing.

  38. Thanks for getting my wheels turning. Already in talks with others to do something similar. Great info!

    Dave
    LifeExcursion

  39. Another great post. I am in the beginning stages of my Sports Site, but this has given me some great ideas. Teamwork is always better. I like how they motivated each other to keep going and improve.

  40. This is fascinating. My blog is all about featuring the stories of entrepreneurs and I find that I receive a lot of reciprocation from these relationships. Like most, my blog has benefited from these informal relationships. I can see how one would benefit from organizing a formal one. Definitely the wheels are now turning!

  41. Thank you Darren for the incredible value that you always provide here at Problogger – this was really an awesome post. It got me to thinking about forming an alliance in my own niche.

  42. TREMENDOUS POST! I have been working on organizing a mastermind group and this will bring a whole new dynamic into play. Thank you and I will be taking serious action from this post. It is exactly what I needed.

    Bradley Will

  43. This is a great article thanks Darren for the insights to building a blog Alliance, I have thoughts of similar ideas but this just confirmed it. Thanks for sharing.

  44. A few weeks ago two “competitors” entered the space I had till then occupied more or less alone. However, we too seem to be working toward an alliance. We’ve already done a couple of things on this list and I can see room for more. We all agree that there is a broader purpose to what we are doing, for the audience we’re working to reach, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to try to step on each other. All that does is show a bad example to those we’re trying to help! I sent this article to them both and I’m hoping we will be as successful as the group you wrote about. :)

  45. WOW!

    Great post Darren! that is one of the best blog posts that i have ever read!

    that was some great advice for bloggers… I will be sure to implement as much of it as i can right away!

    I can see why you have like 100 million rss subscribers!

    Take Care!

  46. an alliance sounds like a great idea but it also sounds like it would take time to develop and it would take time away from posting and other blog chores

  47. That’s a great post on an even better topic Darren, could be “Day 32” in the next revision! Loved the “Cosa Nostra” feel you gave to it as well.

    I think it really goes to show how the power of the internet can (and should) be utilised. Likewise the lesson can be applied to the offline world. While there can be obvious reasons not to get “in league” with your competition, there is strength in numbers, and setting up an alliance can definitely power a small business to go much further than it would on its own (wasn’t that the idea behind the first franchises and co-op’s?). If you want proof of that – just take a look at your local business networking group.

    My own field is highly competitive, but that doesn’t stop me getting in touch with the guy down the road doing the same thing and offering my services; hopefully I can refer custom to him when I’m too busy (which is also useful if he has a particular skill set I don’t, and vice versa). A win/win result for all.

  48. Interesting…Darren, you are talking about some third party alliance in which you are not involved, but people who are reading your blog for awhile probably notice your links to some blogs and promotion of other bloggers’ products and opposite – yours blog/e-books are promoted on their blogs. So isn’t you actually are writing about yourself? Of course your are not commenting on each other blogs any more, but other stuff is so familiar.

  49. I’m surprised the idea is new to you. Any blog with sizable traffic that does regular links post is in a “blogging alliance” in one shape or form, it’s a common practice (we’re not doing it, but we’ve had offers previously.)

    I am though surprised here by the level they’ve taken it. Certainly chatting etc isn’t uncommon, but ad swapping, guest posts, meetups…. that’s pretty cool.

  50. Sounds like a great idea to me, since I’m just getting startedl

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