Blogs are hot… there’s no doubt about it. I’m such a fan of blogs, that I’m actually a “blog pusher and dealer.” They are a GREAT communication tool for independent service professionals who need to build trust with potential clients.
However, in response to the popularity of blogs, several services have emerged which claim to offering help driving to your blog. Some of these resources, like Technorati, MyBlog Log, Blog Catalog are legitimate blog traffic building tools. Others like Blog Rush are of questionable value, but I don’t think it HARMS your blog to include their widget…. unlike a service I stumbled upon the other day.
It’s called “Blog Skinny”and I decided to test the service with one of my “experimental” blogs.
Step 1: Fill in the form and submit your blog to the database.
I fill in the required information. No red flags yet… so I use a REAL email address that I actually check because some tools, like Blog Catalog, have social networking type features, participation in which helps to improve the tool’s effectiveness at driving blog traffic.
Step 2: Authenticate your blog by displaying not one but 2 widgets. Once the widgets are displaying on your blog, you then hit the “submit” button to authenticate.
TWO WIDGETS?!?! I mean, the rest is standard operating procedure, but requiring 2 widgets is asing a lot. (The fact that they offer another 8-10 “optional” widgets should have sent up a red flag, but it didn’t alarm me enough to stop.)
I don’t have a problem with the display preview that they show for each button. The first one is shown as displaying a tiny button and the second is a larger button. I notice as I copy the code that these the kind of URLs that would warrant a quick in person visit before approving a trackback or comment…. that red flag is starting to wave faster and closer in front of me.
Yet, I blaze on and add the code to the test blog. I click “view site” and am HORRIFIED by what I see. I’m not seeing the discreet image displayed in the display but rather a “word at home” text link in place of the discreet first button. Following the link confirms my worst fears: that Blog Skinny widget is going to link my blog with one that apparently lives in a “bad” neighborhood!
WHOA!!! A quick delete of the text widget and I take pleasure in the admonition from Blog Skinny that failure to complete the process will mean my information will be deleted from the database. I’m hating the fact that I used a real email address with them at this point and will have to wait and see if I’ve opened up a pandora’s box of email there.
I frequently tell my clients, “I’m covered with the scars from my experimentation so you don’t have to get burned.” While I initially hoped that I dropped the match before it burned my flesh… using my real email has already resulted in spam emails coming in to me pristine and well protected account.