Profiteering Freeloaders – a reader poll

Posted by @ 10:36 pm on Sunday 6th May, 2012.
Categories: Blogroll

So, you've got yourself a blog and you've made yourself a blogroll. You might link to other blogs because you like them, you might link because you'd recommend the places to others, you might link because of a reciprocal arrangement. In short, it's up to you, and you draw the line.

I've had a fairly comprehensive and (I think) reasonably well-organised blogroll sitting there in the sidebar for many years now, I try to keep it updated and I add a few more links now and again.

When the original single list got too long I brought in drop-downs to make it more manageable, but of late it's been getting more unwieldy and so I've been reviewing my qualifying criteria. I've been thinking of fair ways to cut it down a bit, to redraw the line, to get rid of the dross.

I'd like to start by dealing with blogs which make money via my blog (when visitors from my blog click their affiliate links, say) but whose owners can't be arsed to link back to mine. Don't get me wrong, I've nowt against folk making a buck out of blogging, but to make it with my help without the courtesy of providing a readily-accessible backlink is a tad rum IMHO.

I'd value your opinions before I start chopping so here's a poll for you to play with. If you want me to add any more options it can be arranged.

I'll run the poll (and keep this post "sticky") for a week while I sharpen the axe, you have until the end of Sunday 13th May 2012 to tick yer box.

You could call it "A Week in Review"...

 

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10 Responses to “Profiteering Freeloaders – a reader poll”

  1. This is a very interesting topic indeed.

    My blog is just over a year old and when I first started it I signed up to as many affiliate programmes as I could and plastered it with Google AdSense. I then started to focus on the quality of my walking route descriptions and recently added ViewRanger maps. Facebook and Twitter are my "blogrolls" and they have been great in finding new people to read my walks and chat to.

    I now only have 2 adverts on my homepage, one is for a brilliant competition from Seasalt and the other is for the National Trust, the rest are all in the Shop page so readers can see more of the walks and less of the adverts when they first visit.

    I distribute my links in 2 places, to a Links page and on my Walking Routes page. The Walking Routes links (which is where your link is by the way) is for quality bloggers that add value to my readers. They fill the gaps on areas of the UK that I probably won't cover in as much detail as I do with all my other walks in the South. For example; If someone is looking for walks in the Lakes or Scotland then there is a list at the bottom of the page of other bloggers to visit that have loads of walks in those areas. The Links page is for everyone else.

    I also offer Guest Posts to other bloggers so they can have their links there too.

    So the point I am trying to make is that you should make your decision on the strength of the editorial content. If the website you have linked to is a really good one then keep the link because it will help your readers visit other quality blogs. If the website you linked to is just overloaded with adverts then drop them because your readers aren't going to want to get caught out by you directing them to a poor quality blog.

    I voted for your third option 🙂

  2. GeoffC says:

    I think you are being too kind and polite in this regard.
    Commercial-ridden freeloader sites would never make it into my blog list in the first place : FTO! Actually there is some merit in a special Freeloader category as a public name-and-shame exercise - you could maybe list their names with non-functional URLs starting with hxxp://...).

    I've commented before (to no avail) about the creeping corruption of our early vision of personal sites written purely for mutual benefit. Now it's all degenerated into a game of pumping up meaningless numbers and showing in-your-face adverts linking to irrelevant affiliate sites, nothing but a blight on the cyberscape. Come to think of it, I'll trawl through my Blogroll sometime and see how many blogs remain untainted by the stench of commercialism - there aren't many. I still include links to those with (otherwise) good content.

    It's also a question of honour, even with non-freeloaders. You get blogmasters who actually promise you a reciprocal link and never add it, despite adding others. Maybe another section for those without honour... you're giving me ideas now!.

    While I'm here, why is that revolving map showing me an icon labelled Hinckley Leicestershire?.

  3. BG! says:

    Interesting responses!

    This whole link thing is a thorny subject and like I said each blogger must draw his/her own line. I've no problems with linking to outdoors blogs that carry ads but I think I'm going to make it conditional on the provision of a "proper" backlink. By "proper" I mean an entry in a dedicated list, not just a link in a single post. Linking to outdoors websites is a separate issue which needs a bit of further thought on my part, but to be fair the best of these websites do provide backlinks (Alpkit, The Outdoor Warehouse and a few others).

    Of course, there's also the commercial aspect of my blog to consider - I don't make a buck from my place but I do provide links to gear-shops, manufacturers and also to organisations that provide kit in return for test-and-review. Maybe you could run your "stenchometer" over my blog and provide me with a reading, Geoff?

    Honour amongst bloggers? It'll never catch on :mrgreen:

    That revolving map should show where this blog's current visitors are located (based on IP number). "Hinckley" is probably me.

  4. george says:

    I get the feeling this is something more than a few bloggers having the odd advert on their blog ;-). I've carried a few ads of the past few months but they haven't been affiliated links, so no clicky's required :-).

    I always try to add a reciprocal link but sometimes I don't always know if someone has linked to me.

    I usually go through my blog-roll every 3 months or so, and if I find a blog hasn't updated for 4-6 month I'll delete it, I also delete sites if I think that the owner is an A****le, that doesn't happen often but it does happen 🙂

    As GeoffC said; there is a creeping corruption now turning up on these blogs, but for me the worrying aspect is that these people are starting to believe their own hype and are starting to lay down rules on how blogs, reviews, video's and even podcasts should be produced.

    A lot of us were early outdoor bloggers and and even from back then, you could see who the people that were only in it for the money or fame.

    The adage HYOH should be changed to BYOB, only follow the people read or like and let the rest do what they wanna do.

    Oh; and I voted option 3 🙂

  5. BG! says:

    Originally Posted By george
    I always try to add a reciprocal link but sometimes I don't always know if someone has linked to me.

    WordPress used to have a handy "Incoming Links" dashboard tool for this, based on Google's then-working Blogsearch, and it used to report only blogroll links so it was ideal. Then Google changed the API so that it reported all links and we ended up swamped with data because for blogs with sidebar blogrolls it reported every page as having a link. Google changed the API again and now it's a pile of useless junk.

  6. BG! says:

    Originally Posted By Walks And Walking
    I distribute my links in 2 places, to a Links page and on my Walking Routes page. The Walking Routes links (which is where your link is by the way) is for quality bloggers that add value to my readers. They fill the gaps on areas of the UK that I probably won't cover in as much detail as I do with all my other walks in the South. For example; If someone is looking for walks in the Lakes or Scotland then there is a list at the bottom of the page of other bloggers to visit that have loads of walks in those areas. The Links page is for everyone else.

    Maybe I'm being a bit dim here but I can't find/see your Links page. I did find me on the Walking Routes page so thanks again for that.

  7. @BG! -

    I put them here walksandwalking.com/walking-routes/walking-links/

    It's not a very attractive page and I also use it to test out my very limited HTML skills...

  8. BG! says:

    Originally Posted By Walks And Walking
    @BG! -

    I put them here walksandwalking.com/walking-routes/walking-links/

    Cheers. I've had a look, I can see it but I can't see how it fits into your site navigation. Is the internal link for your eyes only?

  9. @BG! -

    It does get indexed by the search engines but I have hidden it from the navigation as most of the links aren't relevant to the readers and doesn't fit in with the general aesthetic of the site 😉

  10. Geoff says:

    I hadn’t thought too much about this before your poll.

    I find adverts on blogs as irritating as adverts on television, and I’m not sure I approve of money making from blogging.

    Knowing that each time I log onto someone’s blog there is a cash register ringing in the background doesn’t add to the experience, but maybe I’m just envious I don’t have their commercial appeal!

    If bloggers receive free gear then good for them, but I would hope they mention this in their write up.

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