Revising Leah

December 14, 2008

AlphaInventions and Blogging Ethics

Filed under: Uncategorized — J.M. Reep @ 1:59 pm
Tags: , ,

If you’re reading this post, you probably arrived through AlphaInventions.com, the website which is rocking bloggers’ worlds by bringing them more readers than they ever dreamed possible.

I think my first encounter with AI occurred a couple of weeks ago. I posted to this blog and came back a couple hours later to discover that almost 20 people had visited my blog since I last checked in, and all of them were directed my way via something called Alpha Inventions. I don’t know who submitted my blog to AI (if it was you, thanks!).

On Friday, I came upon someone else’s blog who had written about the AI phenomenon, so on Saturday, I decided to perform an experiment to see how it worked. I wrote a post (it’s the post immediately below this one) — a modest, almost humdrum post, something that under normal circumstances wouldn’t attract a lot of hits, but within an hour after submitting my blog to AI, I had 17 visitors.

thinker

It's a dilemma!

But I felt guilty — maybe even a little dirty — about what I had done. I didn’t do anything deceitful; I didn’t trick anybody. I used AI the way it is meant to be used, but somehow it felt wrong, and I wondered, is it ethical to take advantage of AlphaInventions to boost one’s hit stats?

It’s not human inventions that are evil, it’s how humans choose to use their inventions that makes them sources of evil — or good. I rather like the AI site. I find it a little addictive because you never know what interesting blog is going to pop up next. Considering it purely in terms of a web application, I have only two complaints: the user interface is still a little rough and I wish I could adjust the speed at which the blogs pass by. Too often, I want to visit a blog that I see, but by the time I get my mouse cursor up to the link, it’s gone (why can’t I just click on the image of the blog that I see before me and be taken to the blog?).

So it’s not the site itself that causes me problems, it’s how it might be [ab]used. Is it all right to submit your own blog to AI for purely selfish, if not narcissistic reasons (“Hey look! 10000 people visited my blog in December! People love me!”)? Even murkier: what if a blogger has advertising on his site and wants to use AI to draw visitors, hoping that they will click on the links? Murkiest of all: what if one litters a blog with pornographic images, hate speech, or links to malware and then submits that blog to AI just to stir up trouble?

I suppose I have a rather naive view of blogging. I’d rather have visitors who visit this blog because they are interested in what I am doing here (do those of you who were brought here by AI even know what the purpose of “Revising Leah” is?). I’d almost rather have visitors brought here the old-fashioned way: by clicking on tags or through WordPress’s Tag Surfer function. I’d rather have visitors who care about what I’m doing here, because they are more likely to leave comments and engage in a conversation. Those are the visitors who I value the most.

Perhaps the best use of AlphaInventions would be to submit the blogs of other people. If you come across a blog or a post that knocks your socks off, that makes you think, “Everybody should see this!” then submit it and give that blogger the attention that he or she deserves. I will definitely be using AI for this purpose.

So what do you think? Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Do you have any misgivings about using AlphaInventions?

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11 Comments »

  1. Wow, I sort of think thats cheating…

    I think I would disagree with advertising a blog. people can already find you via google, besides, What’s with the hits war? I guess, yes, its nice to be the featured blog if you have something to market, but I think it needs to be based on whether the information your giving is even interesting, not a mind game to see who will get there first.

    I use the advantage of being featured at times, but I get there the old fashioned way, writting something interesting…

    Comment by featherbookseries — December 14, 2008 @ 3:03 pm

  2. *writing* I hate to proof read ha ha

    Comment by featherbookseries — December 14, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

  3. Hey guys,

    I totally understand where you all are coming from as far as earning targeted readers, but this is a video that describes how a site like this can benefit a reader.

    Comment by alphainventions — December 14, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

  4. Well, it’s been a little more than two hours since I submitted this blog post to AI. In that time I have received at least 400 visitors to my blog. That blows my mind, and yet the hits-to-comments ratio has been disappointing, and perhaps helps to prove my point about the quality of traffic that I’m receiving. Only two visitors have commented on my post. The first, featherbookseries, has visited my blog before and wasn’t drawn here by AI. The second, a post from the folks at AI itself. It’s disappointing that there hasn’t been more comments, whether in agreement or disagreement with my post, from those 400 visitors.

    400 visitors. That’s more people than visited my blog in the months of June and July COMBINED.

    Comment by jmreep — December 14, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

  5. lol that certainly is a lot of visitors over that short space of time – I can see now why some peoples blogs have such huge hit numbers even when there seems to be very little activity comments-wise.
    I’d never really looked into Alphainventions, though have got some traffic from them one day and kind of went ‘hm whats that site all about?'(no idea who put a post onto there, but oh well!). I too would probably feel like it was cheating of a sort – I’d much rather people read my blog because they know me, or are interested in the things I have to say. People who will leave comments, people who communicate with me – that’s way more important than the number of hits I’m getting.

    Comment by J.C — December 14, 2008 @ 5:32 pm

  6. I don’t do it for hits. I just do it to get my blog out to potential readers. I only submit my blog to alpha inventions when I have new content. I do not believe that it should be used for spamming.

    Someone on my site, perhaps fellow authors, abused the system and I got 900 views in one day. I pulled the alpha inventions link from my site for a few days as a result. I don’t want to deceive anyone.

    I never understood someone raising their hit-counter out of egoism. I don’t care for that and I do not intend to have advertisements on my site. So, go ahead and use this tool, but don’t abuse it to the point where you get hundreds of views in one day.

    Another thing is that I pay back into the system. I keep a tab open for alpha inventions and give twice the amount of views as I receive. That way, everyone wins. I suggest everyone do the same.

    http://ourpolitics.wordpress.com/

    Comment by Sal — December 14, 2008 @ 5:36 pm

  7. @ Sal and J.C.:

    One side effect of the unprecedented number of hits that I received today is that it has spoiled WordPress’s Blog Stats for me now. Before, there was a sort of purity to the numbers that I had received. Sure, I got quite a few random hits from Google, but most of the visitors to my blog were interested in reading what I had to say, and my stats reflected that. The purity of that experience feels like it’s spoiled now.

    It doesn’t mean that I won’t use AI again, now that the genie is out of the bottle. But AI is a very powerful tool that must be used with care, and for only the most important posts. With tremendous power comes tremendous responsibility.

    Comment by jmreep — December 14, 2008 @ 6:18 pm

  8. In today’s world the highest merit is fame and the ultimate virtue is popularity.

    FYI, I found your blog surfing through tags. I make a point of commenting on every blog I stop to read. If someone replies, I’ll usually come back and read some more.

    Comment by DOMINO — December 16, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  9. @Domino

    Following tags is still the best way for a reader to find content that interests him or her. If AI could combine what they’re doing with tag-specific searching, the AI tool would be more powerful (and would be kind of like StumbleUpon).

    AI leads to a lot of hits, but not all of those hits are from people who are willing to follow a blog.

    What is the address of your blog, if you have one? The authors of the blogs that you comment upon might want to follow you, too.

    Comment by jmreep — December 16, 2008 @ 9:10 pm

  10. I’m glad you mentioned that. I might never have noticed. It should show up now.

    Comment by DOMINO — December 16, 2008 @ 9:52 pm

  11. I agree with you…AI is a great tool to get hits to your site but that doesn’t mean they’ll actually come back to your blog. It is tempting bcse I know authors of some blogs and they spend 10 hours submitting their blog to AI and their Alexa rank has shot to the roof. The only concern I have with taking that route is what’s gonna happen when I stop using AI for 10 hrs? Your rank has to take a hit, so ill continue to just blog and get actual followers who will continue to read my blog bcse of the content and not cuz I spent 10 hrs submiting my blog. Great article by the way!

    Comment by HHRAPINFO — July 10, 2009 @ 6:35 pm


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