Some will remember I posted early in the week about a service called RSSXplosion. This has been atopic of contreversy among quite a few bloggers … some who know what they are talking about, others who o0ught to be alittle less adamant about things that are outside their area of expertise.
My cut on the service remains as I originally stated … it is a service that could be used ethically to build an initial subscriber list. It could also be used unethically, to create subscribers who are false for the proposes of artificially inflating a site’s perceived value. Like other "for pay" services the manner it is used and not the service itself determines the ethical properties. No less a pair than John Chow and Jeremy Schoemaker (Shoemoney) recently spent a whole boring month running cash and prize contest after contest to increase their respective subscribers. Is offerring someone a Wii box or an MP-3 player or a free advertising link if they subscribe any more or less ethical than paying someone otherwise not interested in a blog to sign up for the RSS feed? In your book it may be more ehtical, in my book it certainly isn’t … and from a blogging point of view, for me, it was so boring that I unsubscribed from both bogs … and I had been a subscriber to both for nearly a year … so ehtical or not it was certainly dumb.
Actually, know how I originally became a subscriber to John Chow? John was buying ads that ran on Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger site about how a blog could be a money maker. And how Darren loved John or John loved Darren … I forget the pitch. It was actually so unseemly that Darren banned the ads … but John still runs similar ads all ’round the ‘Net. Is ld that unethical? It certainly brought a readers and subscribers by "non-natural means — and John Chow makes money partially based on his subscriber count … so what is all the furor about RSSXplosion?
My colleague Kumiko over at CashQuests, for example, goes way out on a limb and syas that what RSSXplosion is doing is "fraud" in nearly every country. Well I’m not a lawyer and neither is she … but I would argue as a layperson who does know a bit about the law that inflating numbers … as long as the potential buyer is cautioned that the property is for sale "as is" with no claims made would not be fraud in any state I know of.
Perhaps Kumiko and the other "outraged" ethical dictators out there have never gone to buy a building lot and upon ordering their own land survey (the due diligence any investor should pursue) found the property boundary stakes to be a little "optimistic". Or rushed off to buy a home for a low an "unbelievably low" monthly rate only to fail to read the legally disclosed fact that their mortgage interest would increase … anybody seen anything in the newspapers about some sort of "sub-prime" real estate financing problem?
In short I have been very happy so far with my short-term foray into the world of make money blogging. There is always more to write about than I can begin to cover and there are a lot of really nice and helpful folks in this "space". But there are also one heck of a lot of "hard of thinking" people out there who make their rules on morality based on what the A-list blogger that they idolize says, and then tell the world what to think based on the view of their guru. The combination of naivety combined with belligerence I see from a number of people in this "space" makes me question my judgement in participating.
We are all entitled to our opinion. What we are not entitled to do is to try to force that opinion down the throats of others … no matter who has a better RSS count. Or so Dave opines.