– Posted in: Pests, Plagues, and Varmints

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.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

What differentiates a bulb from a perennial plant is that the nourishment for the flower is stored within the bulb itself.…There is something miraculous about the way that a little grenade of dried up tissue can explode into a complete flower.

~Monty Don in The Complete Gardener pp. 142

Comments on this entry are closed.

Dan Eskelson March 9, 2005, 10:23 am


Thank you for the mention in your recent post. I certainly understand your distaste for recent commercialization of blogs…I just received an email from a marketing company (very well respected) with a headline: “CASE STUDY:
7 Practical Tactics to Turn Your Blog Into a Sales Machine”

I resisted any mention of my business when I first started writing in 2003, but finally caved in to some (hopefully) tasteful referrals to my business. I trust that you, and/or folks like you, will knock me on the head if I somehow succumb to the wave of blatant blog commercialization.

I certainly enjoy your writing. Keep up the good work!

Dan Eskelson

Kathy March 9, 2005, 10:22 am

I am sure some people make money at it. For example, the free version of the Opera browser has Google ads, and I bet they get enough hits to make it worth their while. But I don’t think the average person is going to be making quick, easy money by slapping a Google ad up there.

bill March 8, 2005, 9:27 am

Is there really enough money in Google ads to make a profit?

I have been wondering about how to get myself out of Google searches altogether. What’s the point of getting all those hits anyway? They don’t boost my ego as they once did. Most of them don’t read my stuff or ever come back.