Short version – be careful! I use sites such as HubPages as a way to create content on a different IP and to provide free backlinks to my own sites. To honest I started with HubPages because I liked the community and now I stay because I liked the community, and because I can get free backlinks to my own sites – I think HubPages is OK with it – they make money from (some) of my hubs and I contribute to their community.
Back in October I got excited – I found a new site – today dot com- which seemed a bit like HubPages except that you applied for your own blog rather than published random articles like you do on HubPages. I got quite excited – back then I could start 2 blogs and get paid a $1/post for each blog. Now the conditions have erroded for paid blogging at Today – again I don’t have a huge problem with that – after all the economy is not looking healthy – and there is no guarantee that any good thing will last forever.
In mid April I was cut from the paid program for both of my blogs. I wasn’t surprised about one -but my Australia blog was then about 40th of all today blogs in terms of traffic. I headed over to the forum to find out what was happening – what was happening was that there were bloggers who were in the top 10 who had been cut from the program! OK so it was worse than I thought – but again I wasn’t personally insulted and I could understand that a business that cuts costs hard and fast is more likely to be around tomorrow than one that doesn’t.
I did feel sorry for bloggers who had given their heart and soul for their blogs – in some cases for almost a year. They didn’t understand that they had built their blog, their passion, and in some cases a bit of income, on a rental basis, on a site that they had no control over. They were angry – there were angry threads in the forum, they got deleted – maybe fair enough because they had got fairly heated. A notice went up telling bloggers not to leave “unprofessional” posts on their blogs redirecting readers to another, non-today blog. Now in some cases, again, this was justified and I thought little of it.
But then it got a little crazy – I posted a fairly restrained comment on someone else’s thread in the private forums saying the reason the forums had died was cause most people don’t like censorship – it got deleted. I stopped posting on the forums. So, it appears, did a lot of people.
What made me write this post about whether today dot com is a scam is quite simple. I belately saw a post on my friend’s Hospitalera’s blog about how today closed down my blog. Now I’ve known hospitalera on several sites and everywhere she is helpful and pleasent on the forums – and she’s a bloody good blogger too. But she was locked out of “her” blog – with no notice. She was paid out what she was owed – so strictly speaking, Today is not a scam – they aren’t defrauding people. BUT they are pissing an awful lot people off, and therefore I am more than happy to post – here on the great Internet where we have free speach, that for a successful blogger to be banned from a site because she put a post up saying she was taking a few days off – she after was going on holiday – is pretty bloody unreasonable. She had no contractual obligation to post more than once a month afterall.
I do have concerns about the longterm viablity of Today though – the advice that the admins were giving bloggers in the forum was of dubious value for getting posts ranked in the serarch engines and generating traffic. I tried to discuss SEO but the admins were all about Entrecard and stumble traffic – traffic which is notorious for not clicking ads which is what was paying Today’s expenses, or not as the case may be. Ironically at the same time Griz’s Make Money with Adsense today blog was providing the information they themselves badly needed to know!
Today kept on changing the rules. They rewarded posts which had images (by featuring them on subject pages), but then they cut payment for traffic from Google images! They told people to blog about their lives, their passions, and then started telling people to try to get sales from affiliate product links.
In summary Today didn’t really seem to understand that to grow a successful site you need to have your bloggers on your side, not against you. You need to teach them how to get targeted traffic to their blogs.
Now to be honest I don’t really want to lose my today blogs – and no I won’t comment on blogging at Today on those blogs – neither of them are about blogging after all – so here on MY blog where I do talk about rip-offs and scams is my:
Mesage to Today Management
The Internet is a big place and you can’t control the messages that get out about your company anywhere but on your site. You had the absolute right to cut pay rates – it was in the contract – that obviously a lot of bloggers didn’t read. But if you keep on changing the gaol posts – people get pissed. Your forums are private, restricted to only bloggers, not visible to advertisers and others (well that’s what you tell the bloggers I hope that is the csae). Its their space – you have to let them talk – that was all it was harmless talk – until you escalated it and started throwing people off the blogs they had developed and promoted.
BTW this blog is currently ranked position 5 for “site build it scam” – you might wnat to check out why – on this post – oddly enough hosted on today … SEO, Keywords and Backlinks.