How To Get Subscribers — For Free Or For Pay

Here’s an interesting site/service I came across yesterday while I was working on the post about making money with domain names at Picky Domains.

What RSS Xplosion offers is a service that charges you $1 to produce an actual RSS subscriber to your blog. How they actually do this is, I would guess, a trade secret. I would also hazard the educated guess that they provide the service by paying a group of "subscribe bots", real or virtual, to generate the subscriptions. Sounds useful, but … is this even ethical?   I’m of two minds on this:

Take one:  If you are using a service like this to simply artificially build up the number of subscribers to a blog to try and sell it at an artificially inflated price then I have no problem in categorizing RSS Xolosion as unethical, underhanded and downright wrong.  People do perform tricks with website and blog numbers to try to get them sold at artificially high prices and I have no patience with these kinds of people.  But I also have no patience with folks who neglect their due diligence and by a web property without making sure the numbers are real … it’s not just RSS numbers that can be manipulated … so RSS Xplosion could be used in an unethical fashion … but there is nothing unethical about the actual service performed.

Take Two:  Everyone, the ethical and the less ethical among us wants subscribers.  The number of subscribers builds slowly … slower even that regular traffic and readership statistics.  There are many reasons for this lag and one of them is that on-line people tend to follow the "herd".  If a blog attains a couple hundred subscribers, the subscriber list grows faster and faster … but if a blog has virtually no subscribers readers seem very reluctant to sign up.  So exactly as a person might quite ethically buy Google AdWord ads to route people to their site, or pay for visits from StumbleUpon or order paid reviews of their site, buying RSS subscribers to get the subscription ball rolling sounds like a totally viable and ethical practice to me.  Any moral questions reside with the user, not with the service itself.

The clever thing that made me write this post is that I notice RSS plosion is doing the viral advertising thing … which I think is smart as the dickens.  I’m writing this post to express my views on the service and make the service known to you … like the idea or hate it … and in return they will provide me some free subscribers.  Fair trade in my book … I’ll let you know how it works out.

Update: Interesting comments and advice have been received re: this service.  I will be posting again soon with some thoughts and perhaps even some facts … or not.  The Internet is a place where the term caveat emptor applies almost as much as at your friendly car dealer or cell phone store.  I wrote what I believe to be a balanced review of this service.  I do not recommend it or dis-recommend it, I furnish these words as information and readers must act upon their own good judgement … not mine.

Comments

  1. Thank you for the first balanced review of our service.

    You’re absolutely right, it all depends on what the end user does with your service. I’m glad you see through the fog along with others!

  2. Dave, maybe you should be careful about being associated with this service. I just read that they are impersonating top bloggers in their marketing emails. Not sure if it is true, but you can read about it at John Cow (http://www.johncow.com/this-months-stupid-cow-award/).

  3. Ha ha, this led me down a couple interesting trails, thanks Pat.

    I’ll make afurther post on this service soon … but i really had a laugh reading the chain of messages over at John Cow … here’s aguy complaining about phony nmes in the blog contact page … which is a dumb technology unable to be secured … who has “rocketed”, more or less to blog stardom by capitalizing on a famous bloggers typo spelling complaining about another blogger appearing to use someone else’s name.

    Carl Ocab anyone? or perhaps Lonelygirl15 or mebbe Steve Jobs? Not condoning such actions but I am also not one to get all wrapped around the axle about twisted identity … I’ll post more thoughts soon … meantime I do not recommend or dis-recommend RSSXplosion and I’ll make that clear,… thanks again Pat.

  4. bravo. When and how did make money bloggers become so damn snobby. Everybody who is bashing the paid rss reader service should chill out. Johnchow johncow. i like their blogs and i think its cool they are making money but come on…they are not important or credible people. they write or pay people to write on their wordpress blog. They trick the system to get better ranks. isn’t what the so called “evil” thing is about. Very refreshing post and your comment on scot’s page.

  5. Hello

    I’ve first read about this RSS gaming, that’s what some call it, at Garry Conn’s blog. Thanks for this review, I guess it’s worth a second look. :)

  6. @==>> BloggerNoob. Tahnks for dropping by and for your intelligent comment. Indeed, I like the vast majority of bloggers in the “make money” space, but there are very few of them I would trust with my wallet ;-)

    I personally fail to see how buying subscribers is any different than buyig text links or buying a domain that’s a typo of a “name” blogger and using that to gain famr … or using your 13yo son’s name to blog so people will say, “wow a 13yo does that”. As with any service it should be used wisely and with care … but not to write about the issues becuase a “credible” blogger didn’t give the “go ahead” is incredible.

    @==> Bong, thanks. I’ll take a look. I’m ot sure what part of building blog traffic _isn’t_ “gaming”, it’s just that some feel they are the ones who write the rules of the game

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