5 Ways to Attract More Comments

published on September 24, 2007

One of the easiest ways to find out how well your blog is reaching people is to look at the level of comments. Are people interacting on your site? Are they actively participating with you and your content or are they just consuming (reading) and moving on? The comment level on this blog seems to mimic a wave but overall, I’m pretty happy with it. However, if you’re not satisfied with the current number of comments on your blog, here are 5 ways to Attract More Comments.
 
Make Comments5. Make Them: Regular readers of this blog will probably eventually get sick of hearing this (if you’re not already) but commenting on other blogs really is one of the most effective and worthwhile activities in blogging. When it comes to attracting more comments on your blog, it once again makes the list. By commenting on other blogs you demonstrate that you’re an active participant in the blogging community. It implies that you see the value in the types of discussions that occur on blogs because, after all, if you didn’t you wouldn’t be commenting. Also, it’s basically an ice breaker. Even in this rather anonymous online world, people are often nervous about interacting with a new person. By commenting on other blogs, you initiate the conversation. Something as simple as “Hi, I just found your site via ____ and I’m really enjoying it.” can often lead to multiple comments on your blog as well as a new reader or subscriber.

4. Reward Them: Someone once said that to get anyone to do anything, you have to show them the benefits. I’m probably butchering some great marketing genius’ advice but the point is, if there’s a benefit to the action, people are a lot more likely to do it. So, applying that idea to blog commenting, it stands to reason that if you openly reward those who comment on your site, you’ll generate more comments! This can take all sorts of forms, but the easiest and most obvious is the Top Commentators plugin. The plugin has been covered at length on several different blogs so I’m not going to get too far into it but basically you reward your most frequent commentators with a link on your site.

Another method of rewarding comments, and something I try to do on this blog as often as possible, is to highlight a comment in your post. Whether you’re answering a question directly, or a comment inspired you to discuss a certain topic (This post itself is an example of that. Thanks Zane!), it’s a chance for you to openly thank and reward someone that leaves a comment. The more ways you can display this type of behavior, the more likely people will be to comment on your posts. Why? Because they can clearly see the benefit in doing so.

3. Bait Them: Take a quick look at the list of “Most Commented Posts” for this blog and you’ll see two examples of posts that inherently elicit responses from readers. Any type of controversial post or topic is a fantastic opportunity to generate comments on your blog. Not only does controversy generate more traffic and more links, but it almost always generates more comments. Whether people agree with you, or disagree with you, most will feel the need to weigh in on the issue. Once that happens, just sit back and watch your comment numbers grow. Not only will people begin to support or argue your point, they’ll also begin to engage each other and spawn whole new conversations and topics for debate. Despite what you may think of his blog, John Chow has been a master of this. He’ll throw a post out there and then some idiot like myself will decide to weigh in. Before you know it, you’ve got a handful of people attacking your point, and (hopefully) a handful of people defending you! Bottom line? If you can touch a nerve, you’re guaranteed to get a comment (or 20).

2. Respond To Them: This point seems fairly obvious but you’d be surprised how many bloggers seem to forget about it. If you want to attract more comments on your blog, you absolutely MUST let people know that you’re hearing them. If someone leaves a comment on your blog, respond to it! Thank them for it, answer their question, or just simply continue the discussion. However you go about it, let them know you read and appreciated their comment. Personally I try to respond to as many comments as I can, but I make it a point to interact with someone the first time they comment. The Comment Relish plugin helps with this by automatically generating a response to a new commentator, but I try to take it even further and respond on the blog as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve commented on a blog and come back to find absolutely now acknowledgment of it. Did the blogger see it? Did they not like my comment? Are they not actively blogging anymore? All those questions usually lead to me not commenting again and I’m not alone in that. If you want more comments on your blog, be sure to respond to the ones you do get.

ask for comments1. Ask For Them: Once again a fairly obvious point, and yet, still the most effective way I’ve found to attract more comments is to simply ask for them. At the end of a post, ask for your readers’ feedback. Let them know their input is appreciated. If you can also highlight the benefits of commenting that we discussed in point 4, even better. This doesn’t have to be some big long plea for comments, it can be something as simple as “What do you think?” or “If I missed anything, let me know!” Darren Rowse of ProBlogger and Chris Garrett of Chrisg.com are experts at this. At then end of most posts they have some sort of call to action prompting their readers to comment and it’s easy to see the results of their efforts. I think of it kind of like a speech or a presentation. You write your post which presents the idea or the concept or your opinion, and once you’re done you open it up for questions or comments. If you never turn over the floor so to speak, you’re not likely to get nearly as many comments.

So there you have it, 5 Ways to Attract More Comments. As you saw there’s not some secret sauce or special formula to it. In fact, many of these things are common sense, but I’ve found a lot of times it’s the simple things we struggle the most with. For example, I’m sure other bloggers have written on this subject and I’ve probably read one or all of these points before. However, while writing this up I realized I’d done a poor job in a couple of these areas recently and the number of comments reflects that. So even if you’ve heard it all before, I hope you benefit from this little refresher as much as I did in writing it.

If you have any tips or suggestions for other ways to attract more comments, let us know in the comments below. After all, not only do I make use of the Top Commentators plugin, but you never know when I’ll turn your comment into the focus of a whole new post!

How’s that for practicing what you preach? ;)

This article has been submitted to both Digg and Sphinn. If you enjoyed the post, please consider voting for it.


A Second Opinion on Social Media

published on September 21, 2007

As you may remember, yesterday I interviewed Muhammad Saleem asking all sorts of social media questions. After publishing that interview I was able to contact Karim Yergalliyev (aka supernova17) and get his opinions on some of the same questions.

Let’s start of with the same question I asked Muhammad yesterday, what do you think of the recent changes on Digg? Do you think the changes to the profile system are having any effect on which stories are made popular or how they are promoted?

Karim YergalliyevIt seems to me Digg is trying to capitalize on the recent trend that Facebook has been enjoying lately, the whole making social connections movement. Ultimately it might be one of their goals, have Digg users interact a lot more thanks to new shout feature and probably a much better messaging system in near future.

This new change also stripped the users’ ability to digg their friends’ stories within the profile page. [Editor's note: To me, this is the most frustrating and annoying change they made. Anyway...] I believe Digg wanted to get rid of this “Digg gaming” feature for the longest time. It is a lot harder to digg your friends’ stories now, thanks to the new update you must now click on the story and hopefully read the content before you can digg it.

Are you an avid user of any other social media sites?

As far as social bookmarking, I only use Digg because I’ve been a member since almost day one and haven’t really found a good alternative yet. Most of the content is recycled among these types of websites, so it doesn’t really matter where you find it. The only other social media site I’m really active on is Flickr. Since photography is one of my hobbies, I really enjoy sharing my photos there and see what my contacts post there.

A lot of bloggers seem to put a lot of effort into appearing on Digg but most don’t ever succeed. What advice would you give to those of us looking to attract some attention from social media users?

supernova17One of the main things a lot of bloggers/writers don’t understand about Digg users is that people who use the site have a really short attention span. So you can’t submit huge essays length stories and expect them to be popular. All the user really wants to read is the main details about certain technology story, world event, product, movie, video, picture and etc. The content you are covering must be new or at least relatively new, something that has been in the news recently. Have a catchy title and interesting description, many of the Digg users might vote on your story just for the title alone.

Ok, but once we have that type of content, what then? I asked Muhammad about whether it was ok to try and contact a top user to submit the content. He was of the feeling that if the content was high quality and something Digg users would enjoy, he didn’t mind. Does this sort of thing happen to you a lot and if so, what is your opinion of it?

I get a lot of emails and IMs with links from people who want their content promoted on Digg. I really don’t mind submitting stories for websites that don’t get a lot of exposure because I feel like I’m helping small guys get recognized for the hard work they put in their sites.

So in the event that a blogger does end up getting their content on the front page of Digg, what then? How can we best capitalize on that wave of traffic and attention?

I think just continuing posting great new content on consistent basis. The top diggers have a habit of adding noticing sites like that and adding them to their RSS feed readers because they know stories coming from that say have a good chance of hitting homepage once again.

Alright, Karim, thanks for your time. I really appreciate it. Now Bob from ChristianPF.com wrote in yesterday asking about StumbleUpon. Since Karim hasn’t used the site before, I figured I’d field this one. Bob writes, “I have been toying with Stumbleupon trying to figure out more about their algorithm – I have gathered that the amount of Stumble traffic you get is based on # of thumbs ups, how active you are in the Stumble community, and (hurts traffic) the amount of self promotion you do – Do you have any other ideas, thoughts, or facts about how it works?”

There are a few other factors that play into your success or failure. The first is making it to the buzz page. This is sort of the equivalent to hitting the front page of Digg only on a slightly smaller scale. The second factor that can really help your submissions is the number of reviews it gets. The little speech bubble on the SU toolbar is a link to review the page you’re on. The more reviews you get, the better your story will do.

I also seem to remember seeing a collection of posts about SU around earlier this week. I’ll see if I can’t find that and post a link as well. That’s it for now though. Thanks again to Karim for taking the time to answer my questions. For the rest of you, I hope this provided some more insight into how you might be able to leverage Digg and other social media sites to your blog’s benefit.


Top Digg User Answers Your Social Media Questions

published on September 20, 2007

On Monday when I postponed the regular feature Reader Question Session, I promised it was for a good reason and that I’d make up for it. Well today is the day that I’m hoping to deliver on that promise.

Digg Littleman LogoAfter having one of my posts hit the front page of Digg, several of you began asking questions about social media and how a blogger could leverage sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon. While I’ve participated in social media quite a bit, and even had some success, I figured I’d better serve you, my readers by going directly to the source. I contacted Muhammad Saleem who is currently ranked #6 among Digg members, and has written about the subject of social media on high profile sites such as Pronet Advertising, 901am, and CopyBlogger. Basically, I found one of the top social media experts to answer the questions you had (as well as a few of my own).

Muhammad, thanks a ton for taking the time to answer these questions for us. I know you’re busy so I’ll just jump right in. What do you think of the recent changes to Digg? Do you think the change to the profile stystem will have any effect on how or which stories are made popular?

Over all I really like the changes. We now have the much needed social networking functionality which allows us to better connect with our fellow Diggers and paves the way for a friend recommendation and story recommendation engine. This will certainly have a huge impact on both the way and the speed with which stories are made popular because Digg has removed direct access to stories from certain areas (i.e. direct Digging from friends’ profiles) and has increased the number of steps required to Digg a story (i.e. you can’t Digg the story directly from certain pages; you have to click on the story to go to single story mode and then Digg it from there).

Ultimately I think this will improve the quality of content on the front-page and add diversity to it too. While I love 90% of the content from the top Digg contributors, not all of it deserves to be promoted (including from myself). By making it harder for content to be promoted and by limiting the blind-Digging of friends’ stories, the new system ensures that only the creme of the crop rises to the top.

You’re very active on all sorts of social media sites, which are your favorites?

My favorite social media site as of this moment is without a doubt StumbleUpon. The community is one of the friendliest and most appreciative ones that I have had the chance to engage with. Furthermore, I enjoy the environment on SU because it truly is more about sharing content than trying to promote content to the front-page.

A lot of advice to bloggers and writers hoping for social media success centers around how to create content that will succeed on the various sites. Once you have something that you feel is worthy, how should you go about getting it the attention needed to succeed?

There are several ways, and unfortunately submitting it yourself is not one of them (social media sites have an unnatural hatred for own-submissions). What you can do is reach out to the community leaders (without spamming of course) and see what they think about your content.

That’s interesting you mention reaching out to community leaders… do top users mind being contacted like that with submission suggestions? Does this sort of thing happen often?

Muhammad SaleemTop users that I have talked to generally don’t mind being contacted. However, too often I (and some of my fellow top social contributers ) get contacted by spammers and people whose content is either not suited to a particular site or is not of great quality. It’s people like these that are most frustrating to deal with because they don’t understand social media and aren’t willing to listen.

Zane from KungFuCabbage asked, “Are they really worth it in terms of turning visitors into long term recurring income generating readers? They often come see what they want to see and leave.”

The short answer is that unless you have created a service, it’s hard to monetize direct social media traffic (i.e. from advertisements). Where it does help is in the following:

1. Getting exposure for your site so that it is on people’s radars and will get submitting repeatedly.

2. Over time you will build both link popularity as well as a substantial RSS readership.

Social media can help you fast-track those two things, which are what will bring in the money. Of course being popular once on a social media site will not have long-term effects and that’s why you need to have a social media strategy that goes hand-in-hand with excellent content.

Zane went on to ask another great question and one that I feel a lot of people overlook when they think of social media and their site. He asks “What makes a site sticky for the various social sites?”

1. Good content.

2. Relevant content.

3. Good design.

4. Minimal advertising.

Stumbleupon LogoJason Peck, our blog contest winner, asked a similar question a while back that I think fits in well with this conversation. He asked “How do you actually get Digg/Reddit/Stumbleupon love? I have the buttons. I have done a couple of submissions. I have yet to cross that magical threshold of tons of traffic love. What’s the secret?”

There are a couple of ways. First of all, write consistently good content (this way you’re not just a one shot wonder) and content that is relevant to your site and the community you are targeting. Second, participate in the sites. Yes, content is king, but in social media, community is just as royal.

I couldn’t agree more. While I haven’t had quite the success you’ve had, I’ve found the best way to sort of “figure it out” is just to jump in and become a part of the community. If you approach it as a learning experience rather than trying to exploit the community, I think you’ll be surprised at the success you’ll have.

Shifting gears a bit, I’d like to finish up by asking a question about blogging. You seem to have had a LOT of success guest blogging, appearing on lot of high profile sites as I mentioned earlier. What advice would you give to someone hoping to follow the same path? How did you land such high profile spots?

Honestly, there are no ‘tricks’. If you blog about your passion, and keep at it, the opportunities begin presenting themselves. I was contacted by both Neil (for Pronet) as well as Brian (for CopyBlogger) because of the content on my own blog. The most important thing is to blog your passion, regardless of whether it is the latest trend or not, and do it because you enjoy it not because you feel forced to.

Thanks again, Muhammad for taking the time to answer those for us. If you have any more social media questions, there are two things you can do. First of all, leave them in a comment below. Not only am I going to try and talk Muhammad into commenting, but I’m also going to interview another top Digg member! Also, if you’ve not subscribed to Muhammad’s blog, go do it. He really is a wealth of information about all things social media.

I hope that was informative and worth the slight delay for the Reader Question Session. Be sure to either check back in tomorrow for that second interview or subscribe to the blog either by RSS feed or by email so you don’t have to worry about ever missing another Blogging Experiment update.


Send Me Your Social Media Questions

published on September 20, 2007

questionmarkAs you may recall, I postponed Monday’s Reader Question Session but promised it would be for the better. Well I plan on publishing the special edition question session today, however, I’d like to get as many questions as possible. So, please, ask away!

What would YOU like to know about social media? What do you want to know about Digg, StumbleUpon, Netscape/Propeller, Sphinn, FaceBook, etc. ? If you’ve ever wondered how to get traffic from these sources or make the most of the traffic you do get, or even where you see social media heading, now is the time to ask.

Due to time constraints and having to actually write the thing up, you’ve only got about 2 hours to ask and still have your questioned answered, so you’d better hurry! Edit: This is such an interesting topic that I’ve convinced another top Digg user to answer questions for us so those of you that didn’t get your questions in the first batch, there’s a second chance! Don’t wait though, there’s limited space!


For Better or Worse, Digg has Changed

published on September 20, 2007

This morning I checked my email and found one from the Digg staff about their recent changes to the site. Basically they’ve completely overhauled the member profile pages, in an attempt to become more social and make it easier for their members to connect and network. Now I’m sure this is going to have some big implications in the way stories hit the front page and become popular but I’ve not had a whole lot of time to analyze the changes yet, so for now I’ll just leave you with a few excerpts from the email they sent out.

Some highlights to note:

* Digg will notify you via email when certain activities happen,
such as when someone adds you as a friend or a story you submit
becomes popular. You can control what emails you want to receive in
the Email Settings section of your Digg User Profile.

* You can easily find your friends’ Profiles on Digg by searching
for them by their email address. If you don’t want to enable others
to search for your Digg Profile by your email address, or if you
want to manage what personal information to display in your Digg
Profile, you can reflect this in your Privacy Settings.

The best way to learn more about these changes is to try out
Digg Profiles for yourself. Visit Digg.com, login, and click the
Profile button at the top of any page on the site.

If you’re not yet a member of Digg, you really should be. I’m going to spend some time today checking out the changes as well as contacting a few of the top Diggers to get their take on the whole thing. For now though, if you are a Digg member or end up signing up, I’d love it if you added me as a friend. You just have to navigate to my Digg profile and click the add friend button. Enjoy!


BlogRush: Dead on Arrival

published on September 19, 2007

Well, the stats were bound to come in and unfortunately for BlogRush, they fell short of a “flood of targeted traffic.” In fact, they fell short of even a trickle.

My BlogRush stats

Granted, I’m not one of the big guys that I wrote about in my post bringing up possible issues with the service. So, how did they do? Darren Rowse over at Problogger.net shared his statistics and they were even worse than my own! Darren’s content has been displayed roughly 70,000 times. That is of course a testiment to the kind of traffic his blog can drive and the number of referrals it can generate. So, how large was the “flood of traffic” he received? A whopping 35 visitors! Now I don’t know about you, but if that’s the kind of traffic a blog the size of Problogger receives, I’m not going to spend any time promoting the service or displaying their widget.

But Wait, There’s More!
Not only does BlogRush have a problem with traffic, they apparently are having trouble keeping up with the number of credits people are earning. When my stats were first displayed, I had roughly 500 credits waiting to be “spent. By the time of this writing I’m at almost twice that. However, the number of times my content had been displayed has only increased by 100 or so. Again, I’m not the only one seeing this as Darren mentioned it as well. With the number of credits he’s earning on a daily basis I can only imagine the backlog in his account. If the backlog continues to grow, BlogRush could find themselves with some very unhappy members. Regardless, with the completely inept click through rate we’ve already seen, BlogRush might go down as one of the most highly promoted, flops in recent internet history.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled posting, I don’t think I’ll be giving BlogRush any more coverage in this space. Good thing I warned you Don’t Rush to Sign Up for Blog Rush eh? Don’t worry, that’s what I’m here for ;)


How To Inflate Your BlogRush Credit Count

published on September 18, 2007

Whenever any new program or system is released, exploits and manipulations are sure to follow. Unfortunately the blogosphere’s latest darling, BlogRush is no exception. Here are two quick and easy ways to artificially inflate the number of credits you earn in the new system. This post is a “how to” not a “should you” post. I’ll leave the ethical debate up to you and your conscience.

(Note: Before signing up for BlogRush through my or any other affiliate link, please read the Don’t Rush to Sign Up for BlogRush post to avoid shooting yourself in the foot.)

BlogRush Logo

Refer Yourself
BlogRush has a 10 tier affiliate program that rewards credits for the activities of your referrals or what’s known as your downline. Usually a 10 tiered program involves 10 different people all profiting from the actions of one referral at the bottom. However, if you become two of those ten people, you instantly double the number of credits you earn. For example, say you have two different websites that you’d like to enroll in BlogRush (BR). Of course BR allows you to add more blogs to your account but why do that when you can get paid twice for doing something once? If you sign up once using your less trafficked site, and then refer yourself and sign up a second time with your more popular site, you’ll earn twice the credits from your popular site’s activity. Also, by referring yourself, and then promoting the service, you can earn twice the number of credits from referring new members. Basically, for every action that should reward you with 1 credit, you’ll be earning 2 instead.

Fake Impressions
There is one main flaw inherent in any impression based system. That is of course the issue of fake impressions. Fake impressions appear to be legitimate impressions offering the same chance that the viewer will click through to one of the sites listed in the BlogRush widget, but in fact, they’re not. Extra impressions can be generated in countless ways, the easiest being setting a web browser to automatically refresh a page displaying the widget at a certain interval. Lets say for instance you decided to refresh the page 4 times a minute for an hour and poof, you’ve earned 240 credits. Since this probably isn’t the most discrete method, many people will likely search for other methods. Whether it’s writing scripts to send bot traffic, placing the widget on pop-up or pop-under pages, or simply buying traffic from one of those “1 million visitors to your site in 24 hours for only $29.95″ it’s fairly simple to generate a whole boat load of fake impressions.

Of course BlogRush is not ignorant of this weakness, in fact they addressed it on their announcement yesterday.

“How Will BlogRush Stop People From Abusing The Network?”

We are putting many things in place (in addition to what we already have.) We are also in the process of activating a full “Review” process for all member blogs; using some automation and HUMAN REVIEW. Please know that BlogRush will do everything necessary to stop all fraud and abuse of our system. We have no choice but to protect the integrity of our network.

Does that sound like a “oh, we’ll handle it, just trust us” type answer to anyone else? I mean who’s to say how much traffic my site gets? How would they know whether those impressions are legit or not? Especially if coded it to hit one of the titles in the widget at random? I mean hell there are already plenty of bots that promise to generate adsense clicks, what makes BlogRush think their detection systems are going to be better than Google’s?

So, there you have it, two fairly quick and easy ways to earn extra credits to promote your site or sites on BlogRush. Enjoy!

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Debate Points Not People

published on September 17, 2007

A while back I suggested picking a fight as a method to stand out from the crowd, stir up a bit of controversy, and gain traffic and readers. While several posts on this blog and even more of my comments on other blogs are perfect examples of this (I even wrote a post which illustrated the benefits that can be gained from this tactic), I feel that this is an issue that needs to be revisited. No, I’m not going back on my suggestion and yes I still believe it’s a great method to gain exposure, but I think some clarification might be a good idea.

Any time you encounter a post or an issue you disagree with, there is a chance to present a counter point. However, as the title of this post suggests, you should stick to debating or arguing the points, not the people. I must say this is something I’ve slipped up on a few times in the past, but I’ve never once looked back on it and thought making the attack personal was a good idea. If you stick to the facts and the issue at hand, and resist the lure to take it to a personal level (often even in the face of personal attacks from the other side) you retain the “high road” so to speak. Just like admitting when you’re wrong can garner respect, so will turning the proverbial other cheek in online debates. For example, take a look at this highly controversial thread on Sphinn.com. I mean even if you agreed with the DesRochers on the issue, would you jump to their defense or become a reader of their blog because of those comments? In this example no matter who is right, for the DesRochers the negatives certainly outweigh the positives of any extra attention they’ve received. If you need more examples, look at countless Digg threads. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished that someone supposedly representing my “side” of the issue would just shut up.

So, what’s the moral of the story? When you pick a fight, do so in a way that represents you well and that you’d be proud to associate yourself with. It certainly doesn’t hurt to be right too but either way, be careful to attack the issues or assertions being made, not the person making them. Otherwise you risk doing more harm than good no matter which side of right or wrong you end up on.

P.S. This week’s Reader Question Session which normally appears on Monday’s is being postponed until later in the week. However, it’s going to be a special session so I don’t think you’ll mind just this time. Here’s a hint, it has to do with Digg, StumbleUpon and Social Media Marketing. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.


Don’t Rush to Sign Up for BlogRush

published on September 17, 2007

BlogRush

If you checked out any blogs in the make money online or blogging about blogging niche, chances are you’ve already heard plenty about BlogRush. For the rest of you, according to their website:

“BlogRush is a free service that was created to help bloggers solve their #1 need:
More Readers For Their Blog.

By adding the BlogRush Widget to a blog, a blogger can get instant distribution for their latest blog post titles across a network of related blogs.

BlogRush users earn “syndication credits” (the right to have their blog post titles shown inside a widget on another related blog) based on their own traffic (loads of the widget) as well as the traffic of other users they refer to BlogRush. Users can automatically refer others to BlogRush via special links on the widget, as well as through the promotion of a special referral URL they are given.”

More traffic for free? Sounds great right? As if that weren’t enough, John Chow states that BlogRush was “designed to be incredibly viral and to provide its users with tremendous distribution leverage to receive exposure for their blog content that they could never achieve on their own.” Darren Rowse and Yaro Starak’s reviews were slightly more reserved but still suggests giving it a go. So with positive reviews from some of the top authorities in my niche you’d probably expect me to write up a glowing review of this new service to try and wrack up the referrals right? Wrong.

Sign Up But…
While I think BlogRush could certainly be a worthwhile service for you to sign up for, I’d urge you to be very careful about HOW you sign up. In my opinion, BlogRush’s 10 tier affiliate program, which is being tauted as one of the biggest reasons you should sign up, is in fact the programs biggest weakness. Darren’s post included this explanation of the affiliate system:

Not only that – they have a referral system so that if another blogger signs up to Blog Rush after clicking through to it from your widget you’ll get credits each time that the referral blog shows the widget. The referral system goes 10 tiers deep – so you can potentially get ALOT of credits.

That certainly doesn’t sound like a bad thing, right? Well, for the big guys it’s not. However, for anyone that signs up for BlogRush via an affiliate link, it could be a big problem. By signing up via an affiliate link, you’ll be promoting someone else’s content for free. Let’s say for example that I had signed up through John Chow’s affiliate link. Then I wrote a post recommending that everyone with a blog signed up for the program. Let’s say my post was incredibly successful and earned me 100 referrals. I’d then begin to earn credits on those referrals’ traffic and referrals, and my content would be displayed all over the place. However, I wouldn’t be the only one earning credits and having my content displayed, John’s content would be as well.

You’re Shooting Yourself in the Foot
BlogRush Widget Why is this a problem? To continue my explanation I’m going to use a math equation but just stick with me and it will simple, I promise. If I were John’s only referral, he’d be earning credits for the amount of traffic his blog generated (J), as well as my blog (M) and all my referrals’ sites (R) for a total of J+M+R. My total would obviously be M+R and last but not least my referrals total would simply be R. While other programs (such as Yuwie which I reviewed last week) run on this type of model, in BlogRush’s program, my content is competing with John’s for space. As you can see from the image to the left, there is limited space on each site. Since our blogs are in the same niche, my content would be displayed on the same sites as John’s. If he is continually reaping the benefits of my efforts as well as his own, his content will always be displayed more often than mine. No matter how many referrals I make or how much traffic my site drives, John would at a minimum, earn the same number of credits as me. When you consider the fact that the major bloggers will likely have hundreds of referrals, it’s easy to see who will benefit most from this program.

Bottom Line
Does this make BlogRush something to avoid? Not at all. However, I would urge you to NOT sign up for the service through the affiliate links of a site that is in your niche. You may also want to think twice before displaying the BlogRush widget on your site. After all, you might not want to promote sites you’re in direct competition with. However, if after considering these issues you decide to give BlogRush a shot (I did) and you author a blog about making money blogging or blogging tips, click over to BlogRush through this link (non aff) and sign up. Reap the benefits of your work and spend your time and effort promoting your own content, not mine. If your blog or website is about a different topic or niche, then by all means, I’d love it if you signed up through this link. If you do, as always, we’d love to hear about your experiences and impressions.

Update: I logged in to BlogRush this morning and was greeted by a message to BlogRush members from John Reese. It does address the “math” issue so I figured I should update this post to include this information:

In our video we mentioned that you earn a 1:1 ratio of syndication credits on your own traffic, and any direct referral’s traffic (such as “Bob” in the example video) and any direct referral’s referral traffic (yes, that sounds confusing!) such as “Jen” in our example. We also mentioned that you’d also earn credits based on activity through 10 generation levels. Here’s the breakdown of our formula:

Your Traffic = 1:1 1st Generation Of Referrals (Directly From You) = 1:1 2nd Generation Of Referrals (i.e. Jen in the video) = 1:1 3rd – 6th Generation Of Referrals = 1:4 7th – 10th Generation Of Referrals = 1:8

1:1 means you earn 1 syndication credit for every 1 impression of the widget by your own traffic or by any users located on the 1st (direct) or 2nd generations. 1:4 means you earn 1 syndication credit for every 4 impressions of the widget by any user located on the 3rd to 6th generations. 1:8 means you earn 1 syndication credit for every 8 impressions of the widget by any user located on the 7th to 10th generations.

When all of this math is added up, it leaves 1 headline space available out of every 10 that are served. This means that BlogRush uses 10% of the headline spots (5 headlines in each widget load) to monetize the service. We currently have plans to sell these extra credits to any user that would like to purchase additional credits — this is one of the ways we will pay for the service.

The decreasing returns certainly helps alleviate some of my concerns. I guess all that’s left now is to give it a spin and see what kind of results I get. I would still suggest avoiding signing up as a referral of someone in your niche as it just makes sense not to worry about splitting the returns on your work even at a 25% rate.