I don’t talk much about the technical side of having a blog, but though it might look technical, this is really about the business side of blogging.
One of the things I do on the back-end is choose “plug-ins” that add features to the blog that (hopefully) enhance your experience here or at a minimum help me accomplish something that the blog software (WordPress, in my case) doesn’t do natively. For example, and at issue here, at the bottom of each post is a list of “Related Links”. A plug-in provides those.
The plug-in that runs now lists older posts on my blog so if you liked the post you can find similar things I’ve already written. For the last month, I’ve been running a different plug-in that has a great feature: in addition to listing old posts I’d written, it also links out to related posts written by people I hand-selected on their blogs. I thought it was a great way to introduce some of you to some of the people I read, and they in turn could (and did) use the same plug-in to introduce me to their readership.
That plug-in, BlogGlue, also has some integration with Facebook and Twitter to make it easier for me to let people know when new posts are available.
In general, it functioned as advertised, in that it successfully found related posts from both my own blog and those I identified and put them on my posts. Cool.
But then the trouble began.
As it was first processing my site, it started posting random years-old posts to my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Very messy and annoying. So I turned off the integration until it was finished processing.
I never turned the Facebook integration back on, though, because it kept randomly throwing links to old posts on Twitter, and even worse started sending direct comments to one of the guys whose blog I linked to saying “I suggested you in” whatever the post was. What? Why in the world would he care that this software added a link to an old post on his blog in a years-old post on my blog? It’s just spammy.
But then, that’s who this plug-in seems to cater to: spammers. Out of the hundreds of sites using this plug-in, I could only find an extremely small handful who were not quite obviously spammers. I couldn’t even fill the limit of 5 associated blogs that comes with the free account after an hour or more of searching for non-spam blogs.
And speaking of limits, that is finally what did them in for me. They have a 400 post limit on the free account. After that, you have to pay $10/month to raise the limit to 1000. I have over 400 posts already, and I pay less than $10/month for my entire hosting account. So nothing I posted after I installed the plug-in was getting related-posts additions, my friends weren’t seeing any traffic from any of my new posts, and to fix that, I’d have to more than double what I currently pay to run this blog.
Great idea for a plug-in. Nice related post functionality. But it needs some serious work on the other features.
- Don’t bug my friends with pointless Twitter pesterings.
- Don’t spam random old posts all over the place. At least give me the option of whether to tweet about old entries.
- Maybe allow me to control how far into the past to index my older posts – or just index a rolling 400 (or more reasonable limit) of my old posts so the newest ones actually show links.
In my opinion this plug-in is just a way to make some quick bucks off spammers. I’m all for taking money from spammers, but I don’t need to be on the giving side of that equation – especially when the ancillary functions are so annoying. So… later, BlogGlue.