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When Good Blogs Go Bad

Posted By Darren Rowse 29th of May 2006 Affiliate Programs 0 Comments

I was just reading through my RSS feed and I came across a blog that I used to read on a daily basis for it’s interesting and helpful content. The blogger had a good grasp of the topic and provided a wonderful blend of the latest news in their field as well as helpful ‘how to’ type articles blended in with some opinion pieces and the occasional rant.

Today as I saw their latest post and clicked through to read it on their blog I realized that two things had changed about the blog.

  1. the posting frequency had dropped significantly from 2-3 posts per day to 1-2 posts per week.
  2. the nature of the posts had changed from a blend of mainly ‘news’, ‘opinion’ and ‘tips’ posts to almost 100% posts about affiliate products.

As I reflected upon these changes I realized that as a reader of this blog I was now feeling two emotions quite deeply (one emotion for each of the above changes). In fact the feelings I had surprised me as to their depth.

The first emotion, regarding the change in posting frequency, was disappointment. I used to genuinely enjoy reading the blog and looked forward to hearing the latest thoughts of the blogger. Losing that daily contact with someone else interested in what I was into was sad. I hadn’t realized just how much I’d come to appreciate what they had to say until it was gone.

The second emotion, connected to the change in the nature of posts, was anger. I’d not really noticed the change to posts that were almost 100% linking to affiliate programs but as I looked back over the last couple of months of sporadic posts I realized that the change had definitely taken place. Previously they had written the occasional post with affiliate links in it but they were sporadic and always relevant to the topic. I’d even bought products that they’d recommended in the past because I respected their opinion.

I was surprised by my anger towards this blog. I felt that I’d almost been manipulated or that something underhanded had happened without me actually realizing it. Here was a blogger who had once been known as a thought leader and as someone who had built a reputation by providing useful content who had seemingly sold out and cashed in on his influence.

Perhaps my emotions were overreactions but it reinforced a couple of points to me:

  • Blog Readers (like me) buy into the blogs that they read to a point where they almost feel some ownership of the blog. As a result when you make changes (announced or unannounced) people can react very strongly.
  • Blogs need to offer something of value to their readers. A blog that simply produces posts that are an obvious grab for cash will end up disillusioning their readers – no matter how much trust or respect the blogger has previously established.

I realize that the blogger concerned probably has legitimate reasons for changing their blogging frequency. Perhaps they got sick, perhaps they changed jobs or perhaps they just got bored with the topic – but as I looked back over the last couple of months I saw no explanation of the change. Perhaps if they’d communicated some reasons I’d have reacted differently – but in the end my assumption was that the blogger just didn’t care about the topic and/or got greedy.

My reaction was to unsubscribe.

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. name them :-)

  2. Creating a Blog is no big deal, but maintain it is very important. Even I have see couple of similar blogs

    BTW which blog are you talking about ?.

  3. Perhaps there are several bloggers guilty of this. Big plans are made at the start of the year, and as the warmer weather starts to set in, I am sure people get more distracted easily.

  4. I also unsubscribe from “dead” blogs. But some times it rise from the dead!

  5. Name the blog, Darren .. you’ll be doing others a service.

    That and we all reeeeally want to know. :-)

  6. […] When Good Blogs Go Bad (ProBlogger Blog Tips) A great post by Darren Rowse of a blog that he used to love that sold out let him down… (and also of the relationship between a blog and it’s readers. (tags: blogging) Share or Save this post:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  7. Hi, Darren.
    I’m new in English language blogging, as all the time i’m using free chinese blog hosting, and all my readers are from China.
    As i read your blog for quite a long time, i still can’t handle well in blogging.
    Recently, i hosted a wordpress based blog with http://www.techblogy.com. But, when i start to contribute my ideas and some infos, i was blank. I really admiring you for you can produce such good articles everyday. I really hope that to learn from you, and be partially like you.
    Do come to my blog and give me some comments, please, as i’m working alone now. I need somebody give me a bright way. Thanks.
    Do drop me an email IF you free to help, thanks again.


  8. It is easy to be swayed by the promises of riches when all one has to do is link to affiliate programs and use their pre-fab content. They probably got so involved in the search for quality affiliate programs that they forgot about their original intent.

    However, instead of unsubscribing, drop them an email and give them some feedback. Your insight will be far more beneficial than your walking away.

    Feedback is what bloggers need most. Go leave a comment on your favorite blog today.

  9. This isn’t a post to shame or embaress a blogger who I don’t know the motivations of but hopefully to highlight some issues that might help bloggers think about how they end a blog or at least transition it into a new stage.

  10. It’s a good reminder. I agree with the poster who said it happens all the time. People have a hard time staying comitted to projects. I’m sure the number of bloggers who maintain a high posting frequency is limited.

  11. Darren McLaughlin has a good point.

    People say that the blogging world will become saturated, but the reality is that to write with frequency about a topic that is not self centered and narcissistic is hard work. So the quantity and quality is always going to be a scarce commodity and the earning opportunities will be with us.

  12. Was this a new blogger or a long time blogger?
    I’m getting the impression that it was a new blogger, starting out of the gate, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, thinking that he or she would cash in big time immediately on the blogging push.
    Once it didn’t happen yesterday, the blogger got disillusioned and went “on strike” only producing posts with a better chance of driving dollars.
    I’ve seen that happen more than once.

    So curious, as a non tech person, what happens to all the dead blogs (especially the freebie ones)?
    Who cleans up that mess?

  13. Gulp…hope it’s not me and my old site. I plead insanity :)

    K, no-one cleans the mess, they just become comment spam breeding zones.

  14. I’m with Thilak and Duncan… give us a name! :-) I understand the lack of desire to speak poorly about someone in the blogsphere and then name them… but well… they made that choice when they changed their content to be a cash grab.

    Points well made either way though Darren. I think a lot of us, especially those of us that didn’t start with the idea of blogging for dinero, can lose sight of why we were blogging in the first place and just start being blinded by dollar signs.

    It’s natural for me to be skeptical of anyone that promotes an affiliate. I realize that there’s nothing wrong with it – just as there’s nothing wrong with sales of anything – but I’d be a whole lot more interested in a product if someone suggested it and wasn’t making cash off it. A blog that is just affiliate touting is completely useless in my books – there are too many other blogs that find a medium.

  15. name them :-)

    Is it just me, or is it fairly obvious who it is?

  16. I think the best thing to do when you’re falling apart blog-wise is to bring in young and fresh blood to your blog — get other writers. If you have a good amount of subscribers and readers, don’t lose them because you’re getting writer’s cramp or boredom.

    Bringing in just one or two fresh writers can help you create new topics, too, just out of replying to theirs. My network of blogs is only 6 months old, but I’ve already brought in 4 new writers to help me create better opinions and a larger base of thoughts. My writing is actually UP in response to their varying opinions, and my traffic is well up (enough that I can financially compensate the other authors).

    Don’t let a good blog die — just do what any business owner does and delegate responsibility to others. The best part about doing this is that it gives new bloggers an option rather than building from scratch, and it also gives you additional marketing traffic in how they drive readers to the blog.

  17. Actually what you’ve just mentioned here, it is not you the only one would felt that way, for sure there are numbers of readers on the blog you read, would be having the same thought and felt.

    For some reason, blogging is not just sell things for your affiliate nor helping them to be a salesman or salesgirl, if once in a while, the post mentioned about the affiliate products or introduce, it will be understandable for readers that read it, but what sells most on your blogs, is actually the idea, and your own words in the blog.

  18. Everyone says about the second point Darren has given. For me the first is important. Darren was disappointed by worse frequency of posts. Does it mean that bloggers should try keep posting frequency by (almost) all cost? And does it mean that newbies should start small (with lower frequency) and adjust number of post if they’re able to instead of challenging high posting frequency from the very beginning?

  19. Sure .. I am nobody and this is just my opinion .. but I think bloggers who try to justify “blogging frequency” as a reason for removing RSS feed .. well ..they are almost as low as bloggers who claim content is king, but outcasts you already because of “poor blog design”

    If you don’t like what you are reading, you don’t have to keep the feed .. but let’s be honest about it and less snobbish and hypocritical, Mmmmmmmmmm kay?

  20. To me, it is very obvious who is being talked about here, because I have felt the same way about this blog for some time. I used to really enjoy the blog, but it made a 180 degree change several months ago. What do I know, though….. I am only an Entrepreneur, and it’s been a long Journey…..

  21. I won’t be naming the blog. Sorry but I’m just not going there friends.

  22. I think you address an issue that happens frequently — blogs that turn from consumer reviews / unbiased advice into basically advertisements for other companies. I’ve never been presented with the situation myself, so I can’t judge, but I think a lot of bloggers see dollar signs instead of progressing their blog in a normal manner.

  23. Given that readers don’t want to read about affiliate links. Cluttering up your blog with them is pointless and counter productive.

    All things considered I think it is more profitable to write good content, about subjects reasonable earnings per click, that people want to read about. It’s a threefold path.

    Lord knows the web doesn’t need an extra “mesothelioma” blog, even though good old mesothelioma is the best paying keyword on the internet.

    So just keep on keeping on, and rely on the network power rule n*(n-1)/2, over time you will suceed.

  24. Hi,
    to be honest, I have not had any really good experiences with fedback for my blog so far. The feedback that I get most of the time is, um, you are the perfect site, love, blah-but nothing really beneficial!

    About finding ideas…um, going for a walk is sth that really helps me. I can write more about that if you wish me to!

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

  25. I don’t have anything against the occassional relevant affiliate link – its just when thats all is written about that I lose interest.

  26. […] When Good Blogs Go Bad: ProBlogger Blog Tips […]

  27. […] Make Money Online with ProBlogger Blog Tips Affiliate Programs Helping Bloggers earn Money. … Free ProBlogger Newsletter. About. Darren Rowse. About ProBlogger · About Darren Rowse · ProBlogger FAQ · Subscribe … […]

  28. I can sort of sympathize with the sentiment here, but I wouldn’t be posting this if I were Darren.

    I love ProBlogger — it’s my favorite blog on the Web — but this website is so damn saturated with external javascripts as to be almost unusable. It’s all ad systems. So in a way, the unnamed blog and ProBlogger are similar — I think that the user experience at this site has been really compromised by overzealousness of advertising.

    That said, I’m not going to condemn Darren for trying to make a buck. I’m guilty of it too. Probably guilty of too many external javascripts as well.

    But the posting frequency jab is unwarranted. I think that ProBlogger posts too frequently — it actually keeps me from reading the blog as much. Feels like I’m inundated. In Bloglines today I saw 100 unread posts from here (although half of those were dupes — what’s the problem?). That deters me from reading. I know there are different schools of thought on blogging frequency, but I prefer 3-10x per week.

  29. “Was this a new blogger or a long time blogger?
    I’m getting the impression that it was a new blogger, starting out of the gate, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, thinking that he or she would cash in big time immediately on the blogging push.”

    You mean people are making money off this???


  30. […] “When Good Blogs Go Bad” by Problogger Darren Rowse, he analyzes why he was unhappy when a favorite blog changed from original content to blogging for […]

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