The Echo Chamber Effect.

There is something called the echo chamber effect. Some people might say that me writing this post contributes to it. I suppose that’s a fair call in some ways.

I have 172 blog subscriptions in my reader. That does not count my Bumpzee communities – the ones I read have well over 600 blogs if you add them together. The week Blogrush was launched was such a horrible week in my Google Reader. I hate to think how many posts used the word Blogrush. It seemed to me like every blogger on the planet was promoting them.

Imagine you are reading 700 blogs. Imagine 650 of them wrote about Britney Spears at the MTV awards and how she blew her performance. Just how many of those blog posts are you going to sit and read before you want to hit mark all as read? How many different opinions on *one topic* can you handle in one week?

I tell you what disturbed me about Blogrush –

– It wasn’t that it seemed like every second post talked about it.

– It wasn’t the fact that it sounded like some kind of scam to me due to the whole pyramid thing.

– It wasn’t the hype.

– It wasn’t the fact that some bloggers made it sound like a cure for the common cold and everything that ails you as a blogger, up to and including cancer.

– It wasn’t the fact that I’d never heard the name John Reese before and now all of a sudden every man and their dog was pretending they went to school with him and/or wanted to bear his children and/or thought he is the marketing guru of the century.

– It wasn’t that at least half the posts sounded like they were written by people brainwashed in some kind of bizarre cult. I began to wonder – is this John Reese the next Messiah and the reason I had never heard of him because he’s been stockpiling weapons in an underground school bus which doubles as a nuclear fall out shelter and a handy basement while collecting himself a posse of brainwashed followers willing to donate all their funds to his empire and do whatever he says?

All of the above were annoying, certainly. So if it wasn’t any of that, what was it that disturbed me?

It was the fact that bloggers I once had respect for and once believed in were suddenly trying desperately to get me to sign up using their referral link. Even when they made it sound like they didn’t want you to use their link – they were all “you don’t have to use my link, just go to the blogrush website because it’s so brilliant”. Yeah right. But they knew a lot of people *would* use their referral link just based on the fact that they are so respected.

None of these leader bloggers involved knew anything more than the sales pitch of what blogrush *might* be able to do for them. The service was new. Nobody knew how well it was going to work – but you had to get in on the ground floor to get any real benefit, so they said. Isn’t this a tactic often used by scammers the world over? The Nigerian 419 scammers use this tactic. The Multi level marketing people use this tactic. Ponzi and Pyramid scams use this tactic.

Even worse is the fact that I’ll never trust some of those bloggers as much as I used to again. They could tell me the sky is blue, and I’d want to check just to make sure. Because maybe they’re trying to sell me blue. Maybe they’re being paid to write about blue but they’re not telling me. At least many of the pay per post and sponsored post people make it very clear – this is a paid post, this is a sponsored post, etc. I prefer that. I think it is much fairer to the readers.

Now, some time later and we’re finding out how UNbrilliant it truly is and how much of a lie we were sold by the bloggers many of us considered leaders – people we trusted, people we listened to, people we believed in. It makes me wonder – how much of the other stuff they told me was a lie?

It was also the fact that now, long after the fact, I see Blogrush offering to pay $5 for a positive post on some of the pay to blog services. I would never post about something for just $5. I’m worth more than that as a blogger. But it makes me question – were any of these well known and much read bloggers paid for their posts – and they didn’t say anything?

Many bloggers this week received emails advising them that their blog did not fit the “quality standards”. They told their blogs were of an unsuitable quality to be members of Blogrush and their blogs would be made “inactive” until they fixed whatever the problem was.

Except, of course, Blogrush forgot to bother to tell anyone specifically what the problem was and there was a long shopping list of options to choose from. I imagine for many bloggers receiving this email must have seemed sort of like –

Dear Blogger,

You suck but we won’t bother telling you exactly how you suck so you can learn *not* to suck in the future. Here are some of the ways in which you might suck, check these out and see if any of these apply to you and your suckiness.

Best Wishes,
PS if you somehow manage to learn how not to suck, let us know so we can let you sit at the cool kids table again!

Another complete botch up and yet another reason why I am glad I never bothered with it myself – despite the large amount of bloggers telling me I should get in on it now before it’s too late!

I certainly hope a lesson was learned by all. The lesson I learned – there’s several. Never jump on the bandwagon just because bloggers you respect tell you to. Wait and see. Make up your own mind. Don’t insult your readers intelligence. If you want to post about something new go right ahead, but don’t make it sound like a paid advertisement – and always always disclose within the post if you got paid so that everyone knows what is going on. It is only fair to your readers.

I suspect the final blow to these Blogrush outcasts might be spam. Everyone who signed up but was kicked out provided an email address. I had a quick look at the terms of service and the privacy policy and I hate to tell you – nowhere does it state specifically that your email address will never be sold or given to other parties. The reason for that might be because they *intend* to make money by selling your email address. Perhaps Mr Reese can drop by and clarify this – and then amend the privacy policy to specifically state this?

There is also a HUGE lesson to be learnt here by the “big boys”. Google, heads up, pay attention – this kind of bad press seen below could be coming to YOU as a surprise if you continue your page rank lowering ways. In fact it’s already started a while ago with big name bloggers like Andy Beard not being afraid to say what they really think – and today Problogger took a hit as well as others.

Perhaps Google think this is a good idea but they are underestimating the power of the blogger. And they forget that many of us are now waking up and smelling the coffee. We’ve given them too much power and it is time to take it back. Use a different search engine. I’m investigating other rss readers and other services I use Google for over the next few days because I intend to move away from Google as much as I can. I need to find a good search plugin for WordPress so I can get rid of Google – any suggestions?

If you’re interested in reading more about these “banned” or “inactive” blogs and what they have to say on the matter, here’s some linkage for you. All of them are fantastic blogs with amazing content – I found a few new reads here. If they’re not good enough for Blogrush – then Blogrush has serious problems. 10,000 blogs were apparently affected. That’s an enormous chunk of the blogosphere These are only a small selection – if you were banned and wrote a post about it, leave a comment with a link..

– this one above is a must read because apparently people can earn $12 an hour “reviewing” blogs for Blogrush.

what not to do

18 thoughts on “The Echo Chamber Effect.

  1. Yep. Blogrush’s quality standards seem rather random. I’ll admit I still have the widget up on my “money / seo / marketing” blog (where I mostly observe!) I keep it there because I want to periodically scan what shows up and comment on the offerings.

    Comparing before and after the ban: no obvious change in quality. The targeting was generally “money” sorts of blogs. Yes, many monetize– but that’s the niche. All good blogs in that niche monetize!

    I took the widget off my knitting blog. The offerings were 40%-60% pure cr-p thin affilliate link sites. The rest didn’t fit my niche in any meaningful way. I can’t in good conscious leave the widget up there.

  2. Well, lucky for me, when I add something like Blogrush widgets to my blog, I hardly even read the fine print, let alone realize I should be begging others to join on the bandwagon. I joined because I want to get my blog read. So no one probably even noticed that I’d added it. I wasn’t one of those that jumped because others jumped – I don’t even remember seeing anything about it until I got that stupid letter. Oh well – their loss, truly.

  3. This is the first I’ve heard of Blogrush, but I’ll tell you what. I’m thinking of getting out of Bumpzee. How many more blogs can they have about affiliate marketing, making money and getting traffic? It’s hard finding an actual blog where someone writes about something substantial. (I know, I should talk.)


  4. It’ll be interesting to see what does happen. They do say that any publicity is *good* publicity. I have no idea about these kinds of things so generally stay right out of it. :-)

    I do have a blogrush widget. I think I clicked on someone else’s widget and decided I liked the idea. I actually like the idea of random blogs coming up – to me it seemed like a nice way to help other bloggers get some traffic and also for me to discover other blogs. There are quite a few undiscovered quality blogs out there.

    Can’t say as I know much about the whole referral pyramid thingy. I think I’ll keep the widget for now. I don’t think I actually have any referrals and haven’t promoted it as such. No idea if anyone other than me has clicked on any of the blogs in the widget. And I have no idea if it has generated any traffic for me. But then, I have no idea about a lot of things….especially when it comes to blogging. LOL.

  5. Goes to show you just how influential some blogs are. A few posts on supposedly authority sites and -blam- suddenly everyone is writing about how great this thing will be. My guess is that the email addresses are being stored for the second round launch from John Reese, his other blog states its a three pronged strategy they’re developing, so who knows what is next. With the colossal failure of blogrush though, its going to be a tough sell for them i think.

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