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Reflections on 48 Hours of Inviting Readers to Comment ‘Spam’ My Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 28th of October 2008 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

OK – so I didn’t ask people to comment ‘spam’ my blog – I asked them to ‘pitch’ us with their blog. Here’s what I learned from the experience….

On the spur of the moment over the weekend I decided to run a little experiment here on ProBlogger where I invited readers to leave a comment giving an ‘elevator pitch’ for their blog.

The experiment ran for 48 hours (it is now closed) and in that time over 1400 bloggers participated – so many that at times it slowed loading that page to a crawl for many. I’m amazed by the response and wanted to make a few comments/reflections about this experiment:

Twitter is Amazing

I put the success for this project largely down to Twitter. As I posted my invitation on ProBlogger I also Tweeted an invitation for my Twitter followers to get in early and pitch their blog. This tweet was retweeted time and time again by readers. I didn’t expect this wildfire of tweets (in fact people retweeted the retweets of others) and lost count at the number of people who ‘sneezed’ my post throughout the Twittersphere. When we hit the 1000 submissions mark I tweeted about it and again the tweet was retweeted many times. An hour before closing it I tweeted and again it was retweeted many times over.

I’ve experienced things going viral online before but this one was explosive. Over 1000 of the submissions came in the first 20 hours – not bad for a weekend.

I Should Have Planned More – But I’m Glad I Didn’t

If I’d put more thought into planning this project I would probably have done it a lot differently. I wouldn’t have done it on a weekend, I probably would have thought strategically about how to spread it wider, I possibly would have put up a prize for participants, I would have put aside time over the 48 hours to spend extra time moderating comments etc.

I didn’t do any of that and in many ways I’m glad that I didn’t. The thing I loved about this was that it just happened. From the time the idea came to the time I posted it took about 15 minutes (if that). I put hardly any time into it (although there was a lot of comment moderation to do) and it was a rewarding experience.

The Benefits of the Project

Someone asked me via email today how much traffic the project drove to ProBlogger. The reality is that this weekends traffic has not been significantly different to any other weekend. Traffic wasn’t the point here.

The ‘point’ (if there was one) is that I wanted to give readers of this blog an opportunity to put themselves out there and connect with each other. That might sound a little selfless but at the time of doing it that was ‘the point’. There have of course been benefits to me from doing it – the main one of which is that there’s been a nice ‘buzz’ about the experiment and a feeling of ‘community’ and/or participation.

I never promised anyone masses of traffic from participating (in fact I said it was likely not to drive traffic) but people have been reflecting back to me that they feel ‘involved’ and that they felt like they were apart of something. I guess people don’t want to just ‘read’ or consume information on blogs – they want to participate.

The other benefit from the project to me was the impact upon my Twitter profile. I had 500 new followers over the weekend – largely from all the Retweets I’d guess.

What a Varied and Rich Community the Blogosphere Is

The thing that has struck (and even moved) me most this weekend is just what an amazing variety of blogs there are. As I read through segments of the list I found myself shaking my head and shouting out to my wife “hey there’s a blog about ……(insert obscure topic here).”

If nothing else this project has inspired me about blogging again. There are some truly creative and remarkable bloggers on in the list of submissions and I would highly recommend you set aside some time today to surf through as many of them as you can.

Link to those you find, spread the word of the hidden gems that you discover, subscribe to their feeds, connect with one another and be inspired by the creativity hidden in the list. The real benefits of this experiment happen now.

Elevator Pitches

Lastly – this project taught me a thing or two about ‘elevator pitches’. I’m not going to write too much about this here as I feel a post on the topic ‘brewing’ but I’ve heard from a number of bloggers who participated that they found the exercise of refining what their blog is about into 140 characters (although some thought it was 140 words) a very rewarding thing.

For those of you who missed the project I’d encourage you to think about how you would have described and pitched your blog in 140 characters – it could be a useful exercise (more on this later).

My Favorite Pitches

I said in my initial post that I’d post a few of my favorite ‘pitches’. At the time I thought there might be a few hundred to wade through not over 1400! I’m going to include a few of those that caught my eye here – but I feel that in doing so I’m doing an injustice to many others who have done a great job also. I would love it if you’d surf the list and highlight your own favorites either in comments below or even on your own blog (if it’s relevant).

Here are 10 (listed in no particular order) that caught my eye over the weekend (for one reason or another):

  • Are your beans for the birds? Learn about eco-friendly, sustainable coffee, and how your morning cup can change the world. – Coffee and Conversation
  • Mom-101. I don’t know what I’m doing either – Mom 101
  • I’m in a band called Linkin Park. For insight into the business and culture of music, plus updates on my band and art, visit me – Mike Shinoda
  • We are the TOP shed blog! Good Looking Sheds – Built To Last. Almost everyone needs a shed! We happen to think so :) – Idaho Wood Sheds Blog
  • You’ve just been sued for statements made on your blog. What do you do? How do you prevent it? Read the California Defamation Law Blog – California Defamation Law Blog
  • About a lioness travelling with a big kangaroo round the world. Right now, we are feeding at a watering hole called Tokyo – Lioness in Japan
  • My readers have called me both a hero and a straight laced prude. You decide – Maw Books
  • A budget fashionista’s hints, tips, tricks and trends for effortless style; because most of us could look better for less. – The Style PA
  • Some chubby math: A Fat man + various meats x bacon – vegetarianism = one funny and entertaining food blog – Eating Cleveland
  • Does this triathlon make my a** look fat? Running, swimming and biking at 51. Why couldn’t I take up knitting, like normal old people?! – Run Mom Run

As I say – these are just 10 of those that for one reason or another caught my attention. There’s 1400 others in the list – which caught your eye most?

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 and LinkedIn.
  1. thanks darren for this information about spam.

  2. for you information everyday i received many spam in my blog comment.Now i all the spam has been eaten by Spam Karma.you can see it at bottom of my blog.

  3. Thank you very much, Amirulcyber. Your blog is very interesting!

  4. Wow… 1400 bloggers, and I’m the only one with the “Aviation” word in. No aircraft, no airplane… That’s a small niche…

  5. One really frustrating aspect of the 48 hour comment “spam” experiment:

    I discovered several other bloggers in my niche that I didn’t already know about. I wanted to contact them, thinking that problogger-minded people in my niche would make a great network to help promote each other’s blogs. Not a single one of them has any way to contact them on their blogs!

    Hey garden bloggers out there! Email me if you’d like to discuss networking possibilities: fern at lifeonthebalcony.com

  6. Kravazon — Thanks for noticing me! Your blog looks really interesting too. I’ve been considering martial arts for some time now to improve my discipline and stay in shape. There is actually a Krav Maga studio very near my apartment. I just subscribed to your blog, maybe your posts will finally get me off my butt and into a martial arts studio!

  7. Wow. I was the one(or at least one of them) who thought it was 140 ‘words’ and not 140 ‘characters’. I was quite intrigued why people are posting such short pitches when the limit is 140 words? :)

  8. nice post. i was too late to pitch my own blog

  9. Hey Darren,
    I entered my blog, and I was also yelling out to my husband about the random blog topics that people posted. It was really cool to see the variety. I just added a link to your post on this site. But you should also check out what Chuck Westerbrook is planning. It reminded me of your experiment.

    “How You Can Help End the Problem of Blogs With Great Content and No Readers”


  10. My favorite one:

    Мой Neways

    Здравствуйте! Меня зовут Нина. Я обращаюсь ко всем кто ищет компанию Neways, ее продукцию или возможность заработать дополнительные деньги.

    But again, I’m Russian : )

    But really it’s a great blog…if you can read it

  11. Allisons Kitchen says: 11/01/2008 at 5:13 pm

    Hey Darren,
    I really appreciated the opportunity you gave me, I received lots of new visitors to my blog.
    Keep up the good work

  12. Thanks for recognising my pitch as one of your favourites. It is great to know that I am doing something well, not to mention getting a fair few hits from it too.

    Thanks again, it was a great feature.

  13. Thanks Darren ! I got really good traffic to compared to what I had previously. And that traffic is returning. Great experience for me.

  14. I CANNOT believe you gave me a shoutout, and … I missed it! Thanks so much, you RULE. :)

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