Image via Jorg
[twitter]I write for Babble. Each month I have a quota of page views I need to reach. The top bloggers in a category each month are paid a bonus. Numbers matter.
When I first started with the site, I noticed a blogger who would swoop in the final few days of the month and get 10s of thousands of views to vault near the top, meet her goal, and collect a bonus.
I asked her how she did it and she mentioned that she was a member of a few blogger groups who would share each other’s posts around. I didn’t think much of it.
Now, you might say, there are plenty of groups where people share content. I’m a member of Dad Bloggers, for example. Each day we have a “share thread” where you can post some new content you’d like the board to read. That’s the idea, you post content you might think is interesting for the 400 or so dads in the group. No obligation to post, share, link, click, or like.
These other types of groups, however, have strict rules where you have a sharing quota. Members of the groups need to Like, Comment, and Share each other’s content a minimum number of times each week or else they get kicked out of the group.
Some might say this is smart networking, but it sure looks a lot like ballot stuffing to many others. The content is shared to fill quota, not because of quality.
So what happens? The blog’s page views go up, they can show off robust commenting and engagement of their posts to clients and they can land sponsorship deals. But who is really seeing the stuff but the choir of bloggers involved in the group?
Niche blogging has long been accused of merely preaching to the choir and this new example of trying to artificially inflate influence is just another example.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a member of niche groups who offer support and ideas to your blogging business. There is nothing wrong with sharing your content with others in the group and having them pass it along. When it’s an organic appreciation of your work, it’s wonderful.
The grey layer of the slippery slope appears when your sharing is based on quotas and are required as an entry to a group.
So go ahead and get your Sverve on with your Triberr. Make as many Like-minded friends as you can. But do it for the right, natural, ethical reasons.
Artificially inflating your influence does nothing more than increase the air in this blogging balloon, inching the big bubble closer to a burst.