I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled musing about technology and networking to talk today about something that I’m increasingly seeing come across my communications channels. The growing market for people to “guest post” on blogs. Rather than continually point folks to my policies on this, I thought it might be good to break down why I choose to do what I do.
The Archive Of Tom
First and foremost, let me reiterate for the record: I do not accept guest posts on my site.
Note that this has nothing to do with your skills as a writer, your ability to create “compelling, fresh, and exciting content”, or your particular celebrity status as the CTO/CIO/COMGWTFBBQO of some hot, fresh, exciting new company. I’m sure if Kurt Vonnegut’s ghost or J.K. Rowling wanted to make a guest post on my blog, the answer would still be the same.
Why? Because this site is the archive of my thoughts. Because I want this to be an archive of my viewpoints on technology. I want people to know how I’ve grown and changed and come to love things like SDN over the years. What I don’t want is for people to need to look at a byline to figure out why the writer suddenly loves keynotes or suddenly decides that NAT is the best protocol ever. If the only person that ever writes here is me, all the things here are my voice and my views.
That’s not to say that the idea of guest posts or multiple writers of content is a bad thing. Take a look at Packet Pushers for instance. Greg, Ethan, and Drew do an awesome job of providing a community platform for people that want to write. If you’re not willing to setup your own blog, Packet Pushers is the next best option for you. They area the SaaS version of blogging – just type in the words and let the magic happen behind the screen.
However, Packet Pushers is a collection of many different viewpoints and can be confusing sometimes. The editorial staff does a great job of keeping their hands off the content outside of the general rules about posts. But that does mean that you could have two totally different viewpoints on a topic from two different writers that are posted at the same time. If you’re not normally known as a community content hub, the whiplash between these articles could be difficult to take.
The Dark Side Of Blogging
If the entire point of guest posting was to increase community engagement, I would very likely be looking at my policy and trying to find a way to do some kind of guest posting policy. The issue isn’t the writers, it’s what the people doing the “selling” are really looking for. Every time I get a pitch for a guest post, I immediately become suspicious of the motives behind it. I’ve done some of my own investigation and I firmly believe that there is more to this than meets the eye.
Pitch: Our CEO (Name Dropper) can offer your blog an increase in traffic with his thoughts on the following articles: (List of Crazy Titles)
Response: Okay, so why does he need to post on this blog? What advantage could he have for posting here and not on the corporate blog? Are you really trying to give me more traffic out of the goodness of your own heart? Or are you trying to game the system by using my blog as a lever to increase his name recognition with Google? He gains a lot more from me than I ever will from him, especially given that your suggested blog post titles are nowhere close to the content I write about.
Pitch: We want to provide an article for you to post under your own name to generate more visibility. All we ask is for a link back to our site in your article.
Reponse: More gaming the system. Google keeps track of the links back to your site and where they come from, so the more you get your name out there the higher your results. But as Google shuts down the more nefarious avenues, companies have to find places that Google actually likes to put up the links. Also, why does this link come wrapped in some kind of link shortener? Could it be because there are tons of tracking links and referral jumps in it? I would love to push back and tell them that I’m going to include my own link with no switches or extra parts of the URL and see how quickly the proposal is withdrawn when your tracking systems fail to work the way you intend. That’s not to say that all referral links are bad, but you can better believe that if there’s a referral link, I put it there.
Pitch: We want to pay you to put our content on your site
Response: I know what people pay to put content on major news sites. You’re hoping to game the system again by getting your content up somewhere for little to nothing compared to what a major content hub would cost. Why pay for major exposure when you can get 60% of that number of hits for a third of the cost? Besides, there’s no such thing as only taking money once for a post. Pretty soon everyone will be paying and the only content that will go up will be the kind of content that I don’t want on my blog.
If you really want to make a guest post on a site, I have some great suggestions. Packet Pushers or the site I help run for work GestaltIT.com are great community content areas. But this blog is not the place for that. I’m glad that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. But for now and for the foreseeable future, this is going to by my own little corner of the world.
The original version of this article made reference to Network Computing in an unfair light. The error in my reference to their publishing model was completely incorrect and totally mine due to failure to do proper research. I have removed the incorrect information from this article after a conversation with Sue Fogarty.
Network Computing has a strict editorial policy about accepting content, including sponsored content. Throughout my relationship with them, I have found them to be completely fair and balanced. The error contained in this blog post was unforgivable and I apologize for it.
I could see how someone could get on this site: Write something Tom is burning to talk about and I’m sure he’ll give proper attribution and his comments on the matter. Wouldn’t you agree?
Thanks for speaking your mind on this Tom. I get the same kinda stuff, not as often as you do though.