This actually could have been written as long as ten years ago, unfortunately. I have been on the Internet since it started at universities and created web sites after it went “public” in 1996 or thereabouts. I loved the initial Internet. Nothing commercial, everything free, and people sharing ideas and their expertise for the love of doing so and meeting other like-minded folks. Back in 1997 or so, I predicted the commercial contamination of the Internet. I was soooooooo right. Now, everyone has to try and make a buck, that is the motivation. That is a terrible motivation, in my opinion, but I am not a commercially crass lover of all things money-making. Alas. although plenty of great stuff is on the Internet, greed has won the day.
Which brings me to my point. Back when blogs started up, everyone had a blogroll. A blogroll, to those who don’t know, and from looking at other people’s blogs, no one remembers what they are, were a means of sharing other great blogs with your readers. No one paid you and I never even required reciprocity, as in “I put you on my blogroll and you put me on yours.” Or, even worse, “Your blog may suck, but if you pay me, I’ll put you on my blogroll.”
Currently, I am one of the few blogs that still has a completely open blogroll. If I like your blog, I add you. I let you know to give you the opportunity to reciprocate if you like mine. But, if you don’t reciprocate, I don’t remove your blog from my blogroll. I have noticed that most blogs don’t even have blogrolls, but, hey, they have tons of ads no one clicks on. A few have blogrolls that are very small, a few friends maybe and thinly veiled ads to affiliated blogs.
I think one person on my blogroll has me on hers, and we are friends. Most sites on my blogroll have no blogrolls at all, but they all have plenty of ads. Obviously, this is a pet peeve of mine and I am paring my blogroll down big time. I find it a real shame that most bloggers today are so afraid of traffic going to another place (other than their copius ads, of course) that they have abandoned the blogroll, if they ever knew what one was in the first place. Many today have no idea of the original vision of what the Internet was and should be, but are only about trying to make money. It is yet another sign of the times and the me-me generations that care for nothing other than themselves.
Bottom line is you should never start a blog to make money. Your blog will suck. You don’t hire people to write crappy entries for you. It should be about passion for your subject, not about money.