Thursday, October 04, 2007

What Do You Know: I AM Being Rushed!

A few days ago, I said that I was going to test BlogRush's claims for the existence of traffic heaven. To be fair, I think my experiment needs more time, so I'll keep the widget in place for at least another week or so. But let me report some prelimary findings.

1. There has been no significant increase in my traffic. According to the various analytic programs I use, I've had maybe three or four hits each day that were a result of the BlogRush widget. Two pleasant Christian women, new visitors, left comments on my post, so I did gain a couple of temporary readers from outside the Atheosphere. But I can't tell whether they came to me by actually clicking on the BlogRush display or just found my suggestive title through the usual Google/Yahoo/Technorati/Random Monkey-Typing channels.

2. What I have seen a dramatic increase in, though, is spam. My nomorehornets email address, which is available on this blog by clicking "Email Me" (duh) used to receive a few pieces of junk each day, mostly from friendly women who think I'm in desperate need of some "company." Since joining BlogRush, however, I get mailings, sometimes three or four at once, each from an allegedly different sender. I've received at least thirty of these in the last twenty-four hours. The subject lines read: serious business opportunities or serious investment advice or serious information about your future. The word "serious" is clearly meant to encourage me to click; after all, how could I think that these are frivolous messages? Now, it's possible the ultimate source of these mass mailings is a site other than BlogRush. But I don't think so, and here's why. When my Internet surfing has no relevance to my atheism, I don't use the nomorehornets email address.

3. In all honesty, I must say that some of the blogs appearing on the BlogRush widget don't seem to be Christian, at least judging from their names. The majority of the non-Galilean blogs, again judging only from their names, advocate different manifestations of similar nonsense: Judaism, Islam, and all those faux-Eastern -isms left over from the '60s. On the other hand, I've actually seen a few atheist sites crop up now and then. Unfortunately for BlogRush's claims, I know those sites very well. Most of them are listed on one or more of my blogrolls. I read them regularly, and I think they stop by here regularly, too. So, really, those people are not gaining any hits from me, and I'm not gaining any from them.

4. The BlogRush widget (oh, how I hate that word!) is really ugly. Those of you who read No More Hornets with any attention know how infrequently I use illustrations or photos; I'm not really visually oriented. But I do notice things that smack me unpleasantly in the eye. Like the BlogRush whatchamacallit. Oh, yeah, you do have some illusory control about the look of the thing. You can make it even wider than it is. And you're invited to choose any of thirteen different "flavors," which most of us would call "color combinations" if we weren't being too cutesy-wootsie for words. The flavor I'm displaying, FYI, is licorice. Don't get it in your teeth. Other flavors available are Bubblegum (one word), Chocolate, Watermelon, and Aqua, the last of which — in a lifetime of eating everything in sight — I've never encountered. (Hey, this aqua is delicious!) BlogRush also seems to be under the impression that Ice is a flavor; I wonder who's been peeing in their freezer.

5. Did I neglect to mention that I have a serious business opportunity for you?

Please, if you're a BlogRush displayer, leave your comments. I'll report again soon.


Mana, Master of Mischief said...

I only got 26 hits from blogrush in 3 weeks. Not that I expected to get more hits from it than I get from other lists and services. Just because it's a widget doesn't mean it's used more than technorati or StumbleUpon, for example. I get most visits from these 2 services.

Joe Otten said...

I didn't get any hits from blogcode either.

I would guess that even quality links, such as the blog author's shared links get relatively few hits, so what is the point of clicking on something that will take you to a random blog with some minor superficial similarity to the one you're reading?

vjack said...

I am going to try to stick with it until they finish their damn construction and offer full functionality. However, I'm certainly not impressed so far for all the reasons you mentioned.

Babs Gladhand said...

Well, I'm not a BlogRush participant, nor will I ever be. It's not because of your lack of results, it's because of the whole flavor thing.

My blog is already flavored enough.

The Exterminator said...

Yeah, Babs, I'd agree that you've got a highly-flavored stew over there at Flumadiddle. And to think you cooked it all up without using even a dash of Aqua!

John Evo said...

Exterminator said: "Did I neglect to mention that I have a serious business opportunity for you?"

Not to mention an "URGENT message" for Christians!

Anonymous said...

As an aside on this, if you want to whore for hits then Stumble Upon is one of the best on Why Dont You. If one of our posts gets "stumbled" it makes a significant difference and, to date, has only been beaten by the traffic which came from a mention in the Times newspaper's online religion columns.

Gert said...

Well, I found your post googling for "blogrush atheism", in an attempt to find some evidence of the alleged bias of BlogRush, a rumour that has gone round the ateoshpere faster than you can say BlogRush.

My impression is that people are really jumping to very self-serving conclusions here, regarding this alleged but largely unproven bias.

The reasons why BlogRush has deleted (according to them) some 10,000 accounts are multiple and sometimes co-current. Remember that although this service is free, Reese's goal is ultimately to sell targeted, quality traffic.

I'm guessing, based on past experience with similar programs, what might be the criteria used for acceptance/deletion of a BR account:

1. Poor content: infrequent posting, strong/obscene language, non-English, pornographic etc.
2. Poor placement of the widget: many bloggers decided to "bury" the widget near the bottom of their pages or even not on the homepage. These guys were looking to receive a little traffic without giving anything back.
3. Widget competing with multiple other widgets: this seriously reduces BR clickthrough rates.
4. Widget competing with tens if not hundreds of outbound links: again this seriously reduces BR clickthrough rates.
5. Overly commercial blogs: they stated that they have no problem whatsoever with "money making blogs" but that some of these contain almost no content and only advertising. Such blogs incidentally also get penalised by Google and other SEs.
6. Poor categorisation: choosing the right category is BR's only targeting mechanism.

Based mainly on those criteria (I believe) BR editors will decide whether a blog is of interest to them or not. Is it possible that some editors are guided also by personal biases? It is but I doubt very much if there is a systematic bias towards atheists at all.

My main beef with BR is that traffic generation is decidedly slow but I kind of more or less expected that, based on past experience with similar traffic exchange programs. I have some 15,000 credits (earned from referrals) waiting for me but no sign of delivery any time soon. But either they deliver or they'll perish: people will start eliminating their widgets soon, if the don't deliver on their promises.

And as I said elsewhere my own BR dedicated blog wasn't accepted by BR, probably because of lack of new content. That blog will now soon be deleted.