We Should Have Known Better: Exchanging Credibility for a Few Bucks

By Daniel Scocco

Looking back I feel kind ashamed that I promoted AGLOCO and BlogRush. The first revealed itself to be a complete flop and never saw the light of the day. The second is operative, but most established bloggers that were using the widget dropped it after realizing there was very little value coming out of it.

Both worked with a pyramid scheme, and both had a particular smell coming out, if you know what I mean. I knew it, but I went on and promoted them anyway. Why? Because I thought that perhaps I would be able to gain something out of the deal. Not by actually using the products, but by getting people signed under my referral.

AGLOCO was promising money, while BlogRush was promising traffic.

Sure, my readers would be able to sign up and refer other people in turn as well, possibly reaping some benefits as well. But overall it was a selfish motivation, I won’t deny. Here is what I wrote about AGLOCO:

Overall I can say that I am a little bit skeptical about the real opportunities behind this deal. I decided to join nonetheless because it is free and because I was curious. Also since the Viewbar has not been released yet this could be good time to build your referral network. If you want to try it out and join my network, click here.

I did mention that I was a bit skeptical, but I encouraged people to try it out anyway. Have I had more cojones (and less greed) back in the day, I would just have said that the whole deal looked like a scam.

It did teach me a lesson nonetheless: do not put the possibility to earn some bucks, traffic or links above your real opinion and thoughts about things. If you think something is not really useful, do not promote it on your blog just because it has an affiliate scheme and because you could gain something out of it.

It is not easy to follow such path, and I am not here to preach anyone. Regardless, I think it is worth to try it. Your credibility is at the stake, after all.

Update: Sorry if I gave a wrong idea about BlogRush. I don’t think it is at the same level as AGLOCO in any way, which was almost a scam. BlogRush is an actual product, and works for some people. I don’t have anything against traffic exchange widgets, my only issue with it back then was the fact that it was structured under a pyramid scheme.




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35 Responses to “We Should Have Known Better: Exchanging Credibility for a Few Bucks”

  • Tony

    Normally if it is to good to be true it is. Well that is my rule anyway.

  • Rajaie

    Well said Daniel. Although I do admit that I occasionally have ideas like that and even try them out with social media sites and forums, I usually feel that I did the wrong thing. The best way to get money and traffic and the only way I’m sure, is to work hard a develop a sense of trust between you and your readers. Even though this can be hard sometimes when greed takes over, you should always try to wash away the get rich quick schemes.

  • Paul

    If it sounds to good to be true, usually it’s a scam.

    But as long as you acknowledge it and learn from the experience, it’s not really a negative thing. And you can turn it into a positive experience for both you and your readers.

    That’s the key thing.

  • Otto – American Interests

    I don’t believe you did anything wrong in promoting them. When we first encountered Blogrush it seemed very promising, strangely though, they rejected our blog citing that it did not make the grade in terms of written quality. Not that we care now but to this day, we’re scratching our heads about the reason given.

  • Bilingual Blogger

    Daniel,
    Thanks for coming clean but can you share with us what prompted this crisis of conscience at this time? I’ve seen the BlogRush widget on a lot of different blogs so it’s interesting to hear that it’s a bust.

    Could you please elaborate on the characteristics and/or warning signs of scammy “promote your blog” web sites and widgets? It will be helpful to those of us who are new to blogging. Thanks.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Tony, true.

    @Rajae, yeah one should focus on building a solid foundation, for anything in life really.

    @BlogRush is not in the same level as AGLOCO indeed, was not 100% right to mix them together.

    @Bilingual Blogger, was not a crisis of conscience, but rather a point I wanted to pass to readers.

    The basic test I would make to consider if I should review or promote something is: would I actually use it?

    If the answer is no, then skip it. I would never use BlogRush because I don’t like those widgets, yet I promoted it.

  • RJ

    I applaud you Daniel, it’s never easy to admit you’ve made a mistake, let alone announce it to the world. Do not feel too bad about it. You’ve come out of this a better person. You know what they say – Experience is the best teacher 🙂

  • Kevin

    Good of you to admit that Daniel.

    I agree that blogrush wasn’t a scam or whatever. In my opinion it just really sucked!

    AGLOCO was no more than a pyramid scheme to most people.

  • team ray

    i never heard of them

    but glad to see you learn from your mistake

    no harm done to me lol

  • Siddharth

    So nice of you to admit it. Agree that for some bucks you should not sell something you don’t know to your valuable readers that trust your recommendation.

  • Simonne

    I also promoted Agloco, but I was convinced it was OK. I’m sure you also were convinced it would work, so there’s no reason to be ashamed of that. I also installed that toolbar and used it for two months. It was only so late I thought it may be a flop. Anyway, this was an experience we all probably learned something from.

  • Andy Beard

    Daniel Blogrush isn’t a pyramid scheme the people at the lower end can actually gain a lot from it.

    During the last few months I have just been running Blogrush on my front page so it simulates the number of credits generated by a lower traffic blog.
    Twice during that time I can attribute Blogrush to being among my top10 referrers if you also allow for traffic from TrafficJam into the mix.
    Once TrafficJam was actually my top referrer for a day.

    It isn’t perfect, I have spent a lot of time over email with John on how to improve it, but the huge difference between the 2 is that John released a product.

    Just because it isn’t suitable for your blog, you prefer to sell advertising doesn’t mean it isn’t suitable for others.

    Note: Blogupp is effectively the same as Blogrush in many ways, yet you accept paid advertising.
    Another advertiser has WordPress themes “Designed by Web templates | Home Loans | Cheap hotel rooms”

    I have probably lost a fair amount of money from not promoting WidgetBucks heavily when it launched, and other programs, but I was one of the few to find any genuine fault.

    What is useful for you is not necessarily what is useful to your readers.

    Frequently, especially in many of the product launches I write about, the final product isn’t even known to affiliates at the time the launch starts, but the free content is very worthwhile. It is impossible to actually see the final product unless you are very close to the content producer.

  • Ryan

    I don’t think you made a terrible mistake by promoting AGLOCO.

    Everyone was promoting it and everyone thought it was going to be big.

    I’m not saying you should be a sheep and simply follow but a lot of very smart and successful people thought it was going to be big and to not take that on board would have been silly. I remember even Steve Pavlina, a personal development blog promoted it.

    What would you have felt had AGLOCO gone on and been a success and you’d done nothing, you’d be kicking yourself a hell of a lot more then you are over this “mistake”.

    Hindsight can be a wonderful little bitch! 🙂

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Andy, check the comments above, I already mentioned that indeed there is a lot of difference between AGLOCO and BlogRush.

    BlogRush still used a pyramid scheme and you can’t deny. You can’t even deny that most people that promoted it initially just wanted to get as many people as possible behind their names.

    But I don’t have anything against the product. If it works for other people cool. I don’t think it is that useful, but I ended up promoting it anyway because of the pyramid scheme (which I think was the goal for that structure, right?)

  • Daniel Scocco

    @As for BlogUpp, I really don’t see any problem on their product just as I don’t see on the BlogRush itself. My problem with BlogRush was the pyramid scheme.

    For the web templates I will check it out, I was not aware of those links there.

  • karthik sridharan

    You didnt get ashamed.. You got the feedback. A few months back, i signed up the Agloco. After some point of time i realized that i didnt receive any fruits out of it.

  • Jim Kukral

    http://www.blogbucks.com is the real deal. Way better than blogrush ever was. Give that one at least one more try, you won’t regret it.

  • The Blogger Tips

    Hi daniel,

    Thanks for your clarification to the bloggers.

  • Otto

    Jim Kukral says blogbucks is the real deal. The website looks tacky. Any opinions on Blogbucks anyone?

  • Farfield

    I did install the Blogrush widget on my blog, but actually I’m not seeing any new visitors coming from it. So now I’m thinking about getting rid of it again…

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Jim and Otto, I never heard of it, but I will check it out.

  • Jim Kukral

    I promise you. I stake my reputation on it. http://www.blogbucks.com is the real deal.

  • Otto

    I look forward to your appraisel of blogbucks Daniel

  • The BlogUpp! Team

    @Andy Beard: Thanks for mentioning BlogUpp! service. Apart from the fact that both promotion services use the RSS technology to share community articles, we’d like to add that there are very few similarities between BlogUpp! and BlogRush. And as Daniel mentioned the pyramid scheme, there is no such in our case. Everyone gets fairly promoted.

  • Andy Beard

    Daniel – Blogrush isn’t a pyramid – to understand that you just have to do some basic maths.
    The referral structure is top heavy, with the vast majority of referrals in the first 2 tiers.
    I would estimate that the vast majority of credits in the system, 60-70% are available for Blogrush to dispose of as they see fit, and those are being given away to the lower traffic blogs.

    Some stats John has revealed to me I can’t give you, but I will just say that John is being more than honest with the credit distribution.

    In addition, so far referral credits are not being used, or only a small percentage are being used. I am glad about that, as I would like to be able to use them to target specific blogs.

    I have a lot of referral credits – close to 4,000,000, but I would quite happily have that balance set to zero if John gets this to work.

    I honestly don’t need the referral credits to benefit from Blogrush – all I need to do is include the widget on lots of low traffic niche blogs.

    The reasons people are not getting traffic are as follows

    1. People still position the widgets in poor locations – this is a chicken and egg situation and currently there is no incentive to do so
    2. Poor titles
    3. Frequent blog posts driving negativity about the widget – this isn’t something purely a Blogrush problem, Google work hard on their quality score for ads to ensure that when people click ads, they get a good experience, so they click on them more.

    One of the biggest problems is that John provided stats within Blogrush, but they have always been inaccurate, and over the last few days I have discovered a bug he needs to get fixed which is giving inflated visit counts due to TrafficJam.com
    It is not his fault, it happens with other advertising as well.

  • Andy Beard

    @BlogUpp Team – the referral structure isn’t the reason why people using Blogrush are not seeing the traffic they expect, in fact because of how it is structured… it is not a pyramid, means that low traffic blogs actually get more headline displays than they earn.

    BlogUpp suffers from exactly the same problem as Blogrush, and also has other inherent problems.

    1. Positioning – there is no benefit to displaying the widget above the fold, thus those that do whilst generous, would be better displaying it in an obscure place and ripping off the bloggers who display it more prominently.

    2. From what I can see clicks on BlogUpp are driven by visual recognition of the blogs – this strongly favours more popular blogs, even more than Blogrush

    I should also note that when you do product comparisons, you should be very careful with your maths, and not base your figures purely on surface value, but delve into what is really happening.

    I have a dormant blog running on Blogrush which hasn’t been updated in a year, and receives very little traffic even from Blogrush because of a diabolical title.

    That blog has (admittedly based upon Blogrush stats which might not be accurate) received 600,000 display credits since launch, and I doubt the blog has earned more than 3000 credits based upon its own traffic.

    Your blog post April 2nd on the BlogUpp blog is factually incorrect. Rather than not having bonus credits for everyone, Blogrush has 60-70% of their credits as bonuses and so far hasn’t displayed any advertising at all.

    Rather than being a straight 10:2 ratio, for many low traffic blogs it might well be 10:20

    That will still be the case even when referral credits are added to the system, because the structure is so top heavy.

  • fitzheim

    Looks like we are on the same boat.

    I for once, promoted a hosting company I used to subscribe. They provide very good support which make me think, they’re worth my recommendation.

    However, things went upside down. Yes, I’m a bit ashame with it but luckily I don’t have much traffic.

    Morally, I think it’s not our fault if we suggest something that we thought worth sharing to our readers eh? Unless we are promoting quick rich schemes, then it’s another issue.

  • Barbara Ling

    Everyone’s reaction will be different. Certainly, I can post my recommendation and things might work…or they might not….but in the final analysis, I believe it’s the potential customer’s responsibility to do their due diligence.

    For example, I HATE mlm programs and would never actively promote them. Others adore them and think they’re the cat’s meow. To each their own.

    Kudos to admitting the mistake. *That’s* the true sign of quality. Nobody should expect anyone to be infallible.

  • Tatil

    Assuming the deal is around $20m, Rev/employee and company value/employee are identical to GOOG. Avid gets $2m in earnings on $5m in revs and a good property for $20m…not bad.

  • medyum

    Jim Kukral says blogbucks is the real deal. The website looks tacky. Any opinions on Blogbucks anyone?

Comments are closed.