JohnChow.com is one of the many blogs I read about blogging, and he’s certainly one of the most popular. John has been a very successful blogger, and is a leader in the field. But sometimes the leaders stray off path and start to turn off their regular readers.
John Chow is an excellent example of this. His blog tagline is “Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com.” Naturally you would think that the blog is about Making Money Online, right? Well if you go to Johnchow.com right now, you won’t see any posts about *how* to make any money online. At the time of me writing this, his last 18 posts tell me nothing about how to make money online; the reason people read his blog.
There are posts about how to avoid income taxes, posts about t-shirts from events, children, nanny services, misc tech industry, contests, and of course John bragging about how much money he made and how many RSS subscribers he has, etc. While I certainly don’t mind the occasional off-topic ramble (in fact I really enjoyed the posts on how to avoid income taxes,) this is not the reason I read the blog.
Ben from BloggingExperiment actually sparked my interest in John being so off-topic, and I agree with him completely. In his quick scan, only about 5 of the last 40 posts have been about how to monetize your site.
On a note about John being treated so “unfairly” by Google, there was no way he couldn’t have seen this coming. He basically set up a Google Bomb for his own site with the text “Make Money Online.” While I’m not completely against some Grey-Hat SEO techniques, this cannot be seen as unfair. He was using his popularity to essentially spam Google. Who could resist a link back from a Page Rank 6 blog with so many readers? Not many, apparently. The “review his blog and get a free link back” scheme worked wonders for John. He posted the reviews in batches of 10, and at last count I see he’s on batch 93 of reviews. That’s almost 1000 reviews he received with the back link text of his choice. This is a great idea, but when you’re as popular as John, Google doesn’t like how much that skews their results, and you have to expect some sort of reprimand.