The other day I was looking for a website that had a good tutorial on how to start a blog along with a description of the major blogging programs. I googled the phrase “how to start a blog” and was really amazed at how many of the hits were business sites. Blog as sales tool, dontcha know? I don’t have any problem with a business owner publishing a blog providing information in his or her field of expertise and enterprise. Two come to mind right off the bat: The Clearwater Garden Journal and Scenic Nursery. Real people writing about what they know, and hoping, if you’re in the area, that you’ll buy from them, too.
But today I saw the dark side of the blogging revolution. I was browsing the RSS feeds available through Yahoo, looking for gardening feeds that may have escaped my notice. I came across Simply Flower Garden Guy and decided to check him out. I was immediately struck by the impersonal, bland nature of the blog. This didn’t sound like someone writing about what he knew. Then I noticed that the most current post was written by somebody else, and the second most current post was “provided courtesy of The Garden Source Network . . .” Oh, my, yes–most definitely canned. Clicking on his blogger profile revealed he has six other blogs on totally unrelated topics.
Why does this remind me of pyramid schemes? One, because it’s all about numbers–getting up there in the search engine rankings, getting hits, making money. But I couldn’t figure out what he was selling–unless–could it be? he was intending to rake in the dough from the hits on his Google ads? Two, it smacks of pyramid selling because I just bet someone else is marketing this as a “surefire way to make money fast!” Quite possibly they charged him for the “marketing strategy.”
I am trying to maintain a list of gardening blogs on the sidebar to the left. But I certainly don’t want this kind of recycled pablum on it. There is one blog that I already suspect is regurgitating third-party “content.” If I get proof, out it goes. I want to give bona-fide gardeners, blogging their personal experiences and opinions, a chance to be recognized and read by fellow gardeners. I enjoy the sense of camaraderie that develops from reading and commenting on such blogs. But I want no part of the other kind. It seems scarcely better than comment spam to me. Yuck.