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Social Survival for Bloggers: a Peek from the Inside

This guest post is by David Leonhardt of Zoomit Canada.

Zombie accounts at Reddit are increasingly frustrating content creators on the internet. A “zombie” account is an account that appears to be active to the user, but to nobody else, usually as a punishment for that user submitting his or her own content.

The user submits, and he sees his or her submission. S/he comments, and sees the comment. S/he thinks s/he has an active account, and can go on for months thinking s/he does. But nobody else reads that person’s submissions or comments, and his or her up-votes are generally nullified by automated system down-votes.

No social bookmarking is so cruel as Reddit. I mean, this is downright mean. And no site is so easy to cross, because self-promotion (submitting your own blog post) is frowned upon in almost every way. I’ll bet that the zombie accounts at Reddit outnumber the real accounts by a gazillion to one. Okay, perhaps that’s just a bit of an exaggeration…

So what is a blogger, video maker, infographics publisher or other content creator to do if we wish to legitimately spread the word about a blog post? How are we to know where we can submit our own content and where it will just get us banned? Let this post be your guide.

The following sites frown on any form of self-promotion.

  • Reddit: No self-promotion allowed.
  • Newsvine: No self-promotion allowed.
  • Stumbleupon: Self-promotion is frowned upon, but if you don’t overdo it, you should be fine.
  • Mixxingbowl: Self-promotion is frowned upon, but if you have a non-commercial site with news or blog posts, not too many people will despise you.

The following sites welcome self-promotion on any topic.

  • Digg: Well, not officially, but it has been a long time since they seem to care, mostly because you just won’t be very successful if you are too self-promotional. It’s in the algorithm.
  • Olddogg: Submit anything.
  • Delicious: Submit anything.
  • Dropjack: Submit anything.
  • Snagly: Submit anything.
  • Cloudytags: Submit anything.

The following sites welcome self-promotion, but you’d better be on-topic.

  • Bizsugar: Self-promotion’s okay, assuming you submit about small business.
  • Tipd: Self-promotion’s okay, assuming you submit about finance.
  • Fwisp: Self-promotion’s okay, assuming you submit about finance.
  • Pfbuzz: Self-promotion’s okay, assuming you submit about finance.
  • Zoomit Canada: Self-promotion’s okay, assuming you submit about Canada or a Canadian site.
  • healthbuzzing: Self-promotion’s okay, assuming you submit about health and fitness.
  • Newsmeback: Self-promotion’s okay, assuming you submit newsy, informational items.
  • Blokube: Self-promotion’s okay, assuming you submit on topics related to blogging and making money from home.
  • Politicollision: Although the site is very new, they seem to welcome any political news, including your own content.
  • Serpd: Self-promotion’s okay, as long as you submit about online marketing.

The following sites are harder to classify—see the notes for each to get an idea of what you can and can’t submit.

  • Buzfeed: It is more the quality of the content than the source that they seem to be interested in. (Yeah, I know. All the sites say that.)
  • Blogengage: Any submission is welcome, as long as it is a blog post. Any topic. Any quality. But they will be brutal if you actually promote your post.
  • chime.in: Too new to tell.
  • Pinterest: Too new to tell.

This listing reflects just one user’s observations. There are actually official terms of service at each site, and other users who might have different observations. The thing about “social” sites is that so much depends on people and their judgments, not just the terms of service. Hopefully this guide will help you decide where you feel like being self-promotional, and where you would prefer to keep your hands in your pockets.

Ultimately it is up to you to get a good feel for the site and for what is generally accepted before you submit your first item. And as a newbie, it’s worth erring on the side of caution; your account will likely be held to stricter standards than those of people who have already proven to be community builders.

If you’ve had any difficulties sharing your content on any of these—or other—social sites, let us know in the comments.

David Leonhardt is a social bookmarking addict and also an SEO professional, who—not surprisingly—runs his own social bookmarking website at Zoomit Canada.

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Comments

  1. I have never heard of the term Zombie accounts. I have seen them and now know what to call them. Thanks for the helpful post. I am interested to see how Pinterest will fit into this category.

  2. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. This post is very useful. I discovered a few services I didn’t know about.

  3. Hi David,

    Good breakdown.

    Each site has its own rules. I myself like to heavily self-promote. I also like promoting others. In truth, it’s get to get a healthy mix of the 2.

    Most people who promote others all day long do not believe enough in their own content to push it. Or if they do believe in their content, are making a grave mistake. I suffered through this for a bit. That’s why sites like Reddit, although solid sites, miss the boat a bit. Gotta be willing to accept someone who promotes themselves, because frankly, most people who are heavily against self-promotion don’t have the cajones to share what they have to offer, or promote themselves.

    That being said, each site has its rules and it makes sense to respect the rules, or go into cricket-ville.

    Promoting others is super powerful, because when you help someone out many others will help you out, and will be happy to promote you and expand your presence. Not a bad deal at all.

    Thanks for sharing with us David.

    Ryan

  4. With regard to Pinterest, one of my boards is called “my own creations” so that there’s no confusion as to what that board is about. That way, if someone wants to follow it (or not follow) they know exactly what they’re getting into. At the very least it makes me feel less like a self-promoting schmuck ;-)

  5. Dwayne says:

    Thanks for the info, David, I’m pretty new to the social bookmarking sites and judging from the things you’ve told me I may have overdone it with Reddit. I thought it was ok to submit your own posts but now I will be much more cautios. Thanks so much.

  6. I had no idea there were that many social bookmarking sites that were active. I don’t submit because I don’t know which one allows what. So this list is really timely. Thanks!

  7. Mick Meaney says:

    Great list, it mirrors my own experiences to some degree.

    Stumbleupon has been a great source of traffic for me, while I don’t promote there myself I do encourage my visitors to promote my blog posts there – it seems to work out fairly well.

  8. JohnnyFit says:

    Thanks for this. There are so many different social sites to choose from and it’s just not practical to spend time sharing with all of them, especially in considering ROI.

    I found Reddit to be so annoying in their banning of self promotion that I simply removed any social links to them from my site. Not that removing my modest traffic from them will make any difference but maybe if others do the same thing it will affect their practice.

    I find Stumbleupon to be a really effective place to submit articles to. Every now and then one really takes off and returns a lot of traffic. Although, I have a hard time predicting which articles will work.

  9. I’m a huge fan of Pinterest and the terms of service basically say don’t overdo the self promotion. While it doesn’t appear that there are any real checks (currently) to this, people want a variety of images and are super unlikely to follow your boards if the only topic is your items. The premise is to share a variety of images on similar topics.

    Off topic and mis-tagged images annoy everyone and don’t end up getting repinned (what you want to happen). Really it is in your best interest to submit “pin” some of your images with similar on topic content from others as it will draw the most lookers to your boards.

    I’m in no way an expert but I spend WAY to much time with friends on Pinterest and always get a bump on posts that are pinned in that manner.

    PS. If your image isn’t interesting or typographically grabbing it won’t matter what you spam on Pinterest.

    • Lisa says:

      Yes, I would say Pinterest is like the other social sites in that’s it’s social (give and take) . And it’s addicting. I think it will become in the top 5 soon. ( I understand it’s in the top 10) It’s an easy site to work too. Images are very important there! Happy pinning.

  10. Michael says:

    I think it is important to be able to try to promote other people’s stuff for the majority of the time and then vaguely sneak something in of yours.It’s important to be able to focus on trying to be a part of the community that you are trying to submit links to. That makes the most of the time that we are involved with those particular communities.

  11. How quickly the social sharing scene changes! Since I write this article a few weeks ago, OldDogg has been revived as http://thenewsseed.com/ and http://myseocommunity.com/ has been born (where self-promotion is OK, as long as the content is about SEO, blogging and social media)

    • Bartłomiej says:

      This also shows two things: how hard it is to have an evergreen content – probably bad thing – and that it makes it actually easier to re-use old lists in new posts – for example by checking/updating/refreshing them.

      BTW. thank you for grate article, it helped me to improve my linking strategy :)

  12. Awesome post and very informative. Blog articles like this one are helping me to improve my web presence on a daily basis. Thank you!!

  13. Devesh says:

    Hey David,

    Great list. These all are great social networking sites and thanks for including Blokube in the list.

    Another great social site, I’d like to share with you is MySEOCommunity.com ;) !!

    -Dev

  14. Ferb says:

    I love from the second part of this post. With self-promotion, It’s feel better on page rank and less concerning about PR too much.

  15. Obinna says:

    I only promote my blog posts through facebook, google+ and twitter. Those are the ones that are important to me at the moment. Might become active on others later.

  16. Marcie says:

    Thank you for sharing your social bookmarking addiction with us. This is an area in which I would like to gain more knowledge, and you have provided the foundation.

  17. Josh Sarz says:

    Wow. Just wow. I love the list of social bookmarking sites you have there. Thanks for sharing them.

  18. Vic says:

    I agree to what David has just discussed here based on my own experience, especially with regard to Reddit. This article / blog post is very helpful for bloggers and social media marketers. I’m surely bookmarking this.

  19. This is good info to have on hand, most people don’t take the time to read where they can or can’t promote their own work, I was guilty of this and got banned on SU a couple years ago, but am back now and very careful.

  20. bennix says:

    Thanks a lot for the breakdown, a very worth-reading and totally helpful list.Thumbs up sir…:)

  21. Philos says:

    Didn’t know about some of the sites you mentioned. A research well done. Now it is my turn to check the ones I didn’t know about.

    Happy blogging David.

  22. Marryann says:

    Thank you so much for this very informative post. I too was unaware of all of the social media sites out there. Now I know which one’s to stay away from in terms of self promotion.

  23. David, this is very useful and thorough. Until recently, I had no idea that StumbleUpon frowned upon self-promotion. Now that you mention many of the other services I use, i’ll start back doing due diligence. (I used to read ALL the TOS, but so many services … so little time. (Ok, no excuses!) :)

  24. Ileane says:

    Thanks for the run down David. I’m lost with using the latest version of StumbleUpon and I’d love to find out more about how the new tool bar functions. I do agree that sometimes you can fly under the radar on that one. :)

  25. Zombie accounts are really frustrating ! Reddit should do something about it !

  26. Geoff says:

    Great summary David. Looks like I’ve been missing a few sites I should start paying some attention too.