On the whole, I’d say us bloggers are a fairly nice-y nice-y bunch. For the most part we write about positive, light-hearted stuff, with occasional detours into the more deep and personal. Nothing wrong with keeping it real. Of course we know it isn’t always easy and blogging can pose challenges at times; I bet there isn’t a blogger out there that hasn’t shouted abuse at their screen on occasion! Buttt, generally the blogosphere is a nice place to hang out. We talk about nice things we’ve done, seen, worn, thought, ate, learned… etc.
When did it become a competition?
Whilst browsing the ‘Popular posts in all categories’ page on Bloglovin, I noticed more than a few of these sites offering ‘more traffic’ and ‘more followers’. Naïvely I clicked through, thinking they were possibly offering advice on how to build your blog’s following in the usual way that any ‘hints and tips’ article would. There are plenty of those floating around the internet. Perfectly innocent. We’d all love our blogs to grow – no point denying it – everyone’s striving for the same thing here! The difference with these particular articles being that these ‘followers’ can be bought for a small-ish amount of money. If I remember rightly, $15 buys 500. Seriously? Are people that desperate to increase their follower count? No likey this dodgy business.
It would seem that what started – and remains so for most – an innocent creative outlet has seen a turn to a dark side. According to the popularity of said posts, there are more than a handful of bloggers happy to hand over a little cash in exchange for a computer program suddenly faking 500 followers ex-nihilo. Last I checked, blogging involved actual people, who follow other actual people, and these actual people actually communicate. But alas, to some this personal side may not be quite so important.
I’m well aware that blog growth may be more important to some that others – each to their own! Blogging has developed into a profession, and therefore perhaps the personal side may have to take a slight backseat. Not ideal, but understandable. People gotta do what they gotta do. However, it isn’t always obvious when a blog’s followers are of the purchased variety, so what sort of unfair advantage does this give? Like I said, followers are not everything, but I can’t help but feel disenchanted by the idea. I’m lucky enough to have several loyal commenters, which leaves me with far more satisfaction than I think a greater follower count with fewer comments would. Still, this is totally unfair!
And whilst we’re on the subject of Bloglovin quirks, since they’ve done away with the ‘Up and coming’ category it’s become much more difficult to find… well… up and coming blogs. ‘Recommended blogs’ will bring up a randomly ordered list, making it pretty difficult to keep track of them. Either that, or you’re presented with a list of über popular bloggers who, of course, we all already know about. I used to really like just seeing the up and coming list, ’cause it provided something in between these two. This ‘buying followers’ scam kinda plays into the fakery here, as Bloglovin gives those with more followers more exposure. I’m sure I’m not the only one to miss this feature, so let’s just hope Bloglovin reintroduce it sometime.
Had you known of these sites offering followers for sale?
What side of blogland do you think it shows?
lily kate x
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Naomi18th August 2014 at 9:08 pm
This is really sad, but it’s a true reflection of the world we live in today.
I’m not sure how it’s allowed, though. It makes me wonder – some blogs I know have a few thousand followers and they aren’t particularly special – whereas some that are fantastic have fewer – do any of them buy their followers? I would be disheartened to find out that any of the blogs I follow buy their followers. It’s a breach of trust, I think.
I wrote a post today about my five favourite blogs to read, and have had some positive feedback. I think if we post our favourites every so often it makes it easier for others to find new blogs to read : )
lily20th August 2014 at 9:38 am
Pretty sad indeed! I think a lot of the high follower counts come from being around a while too – since back when there was far less competition and features like Up and coming helped these bloggers to grow. It really is a breach of trust, considering how personal blogs are supposed to be. I’ve checked out the blogs on your list!
Zara Kate18th August 2014 at 10:48 pm
This is the first I’ve heard of this buying followers, and I can’t believe it! For me, blogging is about interacting with others with the same interests as me, and I too have a few loyal commenters which I am so grateful for, so this really seems ridiculous! I would rather have a few followers that actually read and follow my blog because they enjoy it, than loads of ghost followers! And I absolutely agree with you on the new bloggers topic. The reason we’re considered new bloggers is because we don’t get any recognition! Great post and sorry about the rant!!
lily20th August 2014 at 9:41 am
It was the first I’d heard of it too! Loyal commenters mean so much more don’t they. I can’t imagine blogging and knowing that some of the ‘followers’ I was typing to didn’t actually exist!
Glad you liked the post, thank you!
Kathy19th August 2014 at 8:39 am
I’ve actually been rather appalled by the ease of buying things. Buy Amazon reviews, buy followers. It’s all to that element that wants to increase page hits so they can sell advertising. Keep it real sweetie. 🙂
lily20th August 2014 at 9:44 am
It’s ridiculous isn’t it! Completely lost the human side and all about money, pfft. Oh the joys!
Helen (@thelovecatsinc)20th August 2014 at 9:40 pm
i really dislike the whole buying followers thing, especially when some of us try so hard to grow a genuine readership and some just get ahead by being so fake! it really annoys and irritates me 🙁
from helen at thelovecatsinc.com // blog sale
ps. check out my £300 RayBan and beauty goodies giveaway! click here.
lily21st August 2014 at 2:13 pm
It’s so annoying isn’t it! Sad that people are prepared to do that 🙁
Matthew Pike23rd August 2014 at 2:13 pm
I agree with you on the up-and-coming blogs list, that’s lost a lot of the fun for me. it’s all about quality not quantity when blogging, it’s easy to see when you click why I blog might be popular by their content, voice and design but cheating your way to growing your following is extremely dishonest and just plain daft.
Buckets & Spades
lily23rd August 2014 at 9:38 pm
That was by far Bloglovin’s best feature. I’m sure this method of cheating followers can’t last either – people are soon going to realise that the blog isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!