I was just reading through my RSS feed and I came across a blog that I used to read on a daily basis for it’s interesting and helpful content. The blogger had a good grasp of the topic and provided a wonderful blend of the latest news in their field as well as helpful ‘how to’ type articles blended in with some opinion pieces and the occasional rant.
Today as I saw their latest post and clicked through to read it on their blog I realized that two things had changed about the blog.
- the posting frequency had dropped significantly from 2-3 posts per day to 1-2 posts per week.
- the nature of the posts had changed from a blend of mainly ‘news’, ‘opinion’ and ‘tips’ posts to almost 100% posts about affiliate products.
As I reflected upon these changes I realized that as a reader of this blog I was now feeling two emotions quite deeply (one emotion for each of the above changes). In fact the feelings I had surprised me as to their depth.
The first emotion, regarding the change in posting frequency, was disappointment. I used to genuinely enjoy reading the blog and looked forward to hearing the latest thoughts of the blogger. Losing that daily contact with someone else interested in what I was into was sad. I hadn’t realized just how much I’d come to appreciate what they had to say until it was gone.
The second emotion, connected to the change in the nature of posts, was anger. I’d not really noticed the change to posts that were almost 100% linking to affiliate programs but as I looked back over the last couple of months of sporadic posts I realized that the change had definitely taken place. Previously they had written the occasional post with affiliate links in it but they were sporadic and always relevant to the topic. I’d even bought products that they’d recommended in the past because I respected their opinion.
I was surprised by my anger towards this blog. I felt that I’d almost been manipulated or that something underhanded had happened without me actually realizing it. Here was a blogger who had once been known as a thought leader and as someone who had built a reputation by providing useful content who had seemingly sold out and cashed in on his influence.
Perhaps my emotions were overreactions but it reinforced a couple of points to me:
- Blog Readers (like me) buy into the blogs that they read to a point where they almost feel some ownership of the blog. As a result when you make changes (announced or unannounced) people can react very strongly.
- Blogs need to offer something of value to their readers. A blog that simply produces posts that are an obvious grab for cash will end up disillusioning their readers – no matter how much trust or respect the blogger has previously established.
I realize that the blogger concerned probably has legitimate reasons for changing their blogging frequency. Perhaps they got sick, perhaps they changed jobs or perhaps they just got bored with the topic – but as I looked back over the last couple of months I saw no explanation of the change. Perhaps if they’d communicated some reasons I’d have reacted differently – but in the end my assumption was that the blogger just didn’t care about the topic and/or got greedy.
My reaction was to unsubscribe.