Readers, I have been running this blog for a very long time now (it started in Sept 2008 so we’re going into eleven years now!) and you know what really sticks in my craw? This blog post on a book about how to scam on eBay. Specifically the continued popularity of it.
We’ve talked about this before. Several times, in fact. Most recently here.
No, I am still not over it.
But you’re sitting there say, um, aren’t you the person who wrote that blog post? And, yes, I did write it. I wrote it in about five minutes in 2008 and freely admit it has absolutely no substance whatsoever. It’s basically me going, “Hey! Look at this thing! Weird, huh?” with literally no added analysis or value.
And yet it was very popular when I posted it. And it remained popular for years and years afterwards until now, right now, in this cursed year of 2019 it is still in the top five most visited pages on this site every single day. (I often wonder if that book has ever sold any copies and, if so, how many came from that blog post alone.)
But T. W., you say, is this not a good thing? Isn’t traffic the very thing we bloggers do all this for? If that post is bringing people in, shouldn’t you be happy about it?
Perhaps I should. And yet I am not. I despise it. For several reasons.
Firstly, I have come to realize that people are not stumbling upon that post very innocently as they look for ways to avoid eBay scams (as I told myself was happening for years), they are actually looking for ways to run an eBay scam. Dozens of people EVERY SINGLE DAY for 11 years are out there trying to get their crime on and ending up on that blog post. They are literally Googling “how to run a scam on eBay.”
Frankly, I was happier before I knew that quantity of people were out there actively trying to scam eBay buyers on the regular. I wanted to believe in the goodness of people and the list of most popular search term queries for my blog has shattered that belief for me. Way to go, guys. You killed my hope in the human race.
And that post is bringing those riff raff into my home! It’s attracting vermin! It’s bringing an unsavory element here to my own little web space and that irks me. I wrote that post to commiserate with other sellers about eBay scammers and instead lured those scammers here! And they don’t even really do me any good from a demographics, Buy My Book! kind of standpoint. I don’t want them here. Shoo, scammers! Shoo!
Also I feel kind of bad that I turned the rage of a bunch of random eBay sellers on that guy. I don’t know if all those angry reviews on there are from people who saw the book here on this blog… but it’s pretty likely that they are.
And even though it’s a scammy, sleezy kind of book about cheating people, as an author myself, I would not feel super awesome if a blogger riled up a hate mob and threw them at one of my books. Yet I sort of inadvertently did that here. In my defense, I had no idea that quickie blog post would have these kind of legs. Is it abuse to point out a book that purports to teach you how to cheat people? That’s a moral grey area for sure.
But there’s no such thing as bad publicity they say, though, so maybe I did him a favor? Yeah, ok, sure, let’s go with that.
The other problem is thatconfused souls somehow think I’m the person who wrote that book (and then wrote an blog post to decry myself, I guess) which is probably not great for branding in the big picture.
And, most of all, because it is a post that represents next to zero effort on my part which is getting all this traffic and attention while posts I spent a really freaking long time on making good and informative and stuff don’t get anywhere near as many eyeballs. This always seems to happen. I take several days to write a nice, long, well sourced post and there’s barely a blip but then I post an incoherent screed that I wrote in 10 minutes and it sets the world on fire. And it’s a good thing, I guess, to know readers are, well, reading but it’s also rather discouraging from a writing standpoint.
But, when it all comes down to it, no matter how much I dislike that post or how many misgivings I have about it, I haven’t taken it down. I actually just finished updating the Amazon Affiliate links in it because if those would be scammers are going to buy that book because of my post I am AT LEAST going to get a kickback for it, by cracky! (Why does blogging about e-commerce make me talk like a 90 year old sea captain? These are the questions I ask myself when I proofread.)
At the end of the day, it IS bringing people to the blog, for better or worse, and that has to be a good thing.
But I’m still allowed to be annoyed about it every single time I see it on the list of trending posts…