Website Traffic Series Part 4: Faking A Website Sale

By Daniel Scocco

In the previous parts of this series we talked about generating traffic to your website with CSS galleries, Blog Carnivals and by leaving comments on other blogs. Those were all basic techniques, so lets talk about something less trivial today: faking a blog sale.

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Before going further, though, keep in mind that I consider this technique to be unethical. I try to keep a 100% transparency approach on all my projects and endeavors, therefore I would never fake something to generate traffic, and I don’t recommend other people to do so either.

But if we are going to talk about all the traffic generation tricks and techniques (that is the plan with this series) we need to cover the “black hat” methods as well, if nothing else for the sake of discussion and to keep people aware of what might be going around the web.

The concept: The idea is pretty simple, you make it appear that you are selling your blog, and try to generate as much buzz as possible around it. The traffic might come from several sources.

If you list your blog sale on big online forums or marketplaces (some free and some paid) you will inevitable receive visits from the curious folks and potential buyers. Sometimes thousands of them.

If your blog is somewhat popular and has a loyal following you might also receive traffic from the readers that will write about the sale on their blogs or websites.

After a couple of weeks you just mention that the reserve price was not met, and you call the sale off.

Does it work?: Overall no, it does not work. First and foremost because the traffic that you will receive will not be targeted. People will visit your website because they are planning to buy, or because they are just curious to see what is going on. Sure some people might like the content and come back in the future, but I would say that they represent 10% of the total traffic.

I happened to list some of my blogs for sale in the past, but because I really intended to sell them. If I remember well I received around 2,000 visitors from the marketplaces (Sitepoint), but the sale listing had no impact on my traffic levels or RSS subscribers on the following weeks.

There is also a negative effective connected with this practice. Some of your loyal readers might feel deceived. If they stop trusting you they might also stop visiting your website.

How to get started: Just don’t get started! As you can see the couple thousand visitors that you might end up receiving using this strategy are not worth the damage that you will do to your credibility.

Over to the readers: Those are my opinions are least. Do you think that it is OK to fake a blog sale? What about the kind of traffic that you would get using this method?

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31 Responses to “Website Traffic Series Part 4: Faking A Website Sale”

  • Ken Dahlin

    (still scratching head)

  • Not John Chow

    If someone wants to make an offer I am willing to sell or fake a sale to you! Ha Ha.

    I think you may do more damage to your blog in the long run. johncow, I think, is stumbling now due to its sale.

  • Jeremy

    I think a negative perception could come about because your regular readers may think you are going to stop blogging so they may take you out of their RSS reader, so you actually lose some targeted traffic.

  • Jimmy Shelter

    I see the use in discussing Black Hat methods in this series, but I don’t see the use in discussing Black Hat methodes you say don’t really work.
    Why focus attention on this?

  • Thinkjayant

    I am loving this series. i stumbled t the fourth part and now have retraced myself and gone through the other three parts as well. Can you give a one line description on what the future installment of the series would be about. Just so that we know what to expect…

    Anyways, faking a website sale was an idea that came to my mind but that as i agree with many others is unethical. Why fake a site sell and create unrest in your fanbase? Rather use other methods to promte the website.

  • Daniel Scocco

    Jimmy, for one thing to dissuade readers that might be wanting to try those methods.

    There are blogs out there that recommend this “fake sale” method for instance, so I am giving my opinion about them.

    Secondly my opinion my not always be correct, so a post will create a discussion around the topic.

  • SD

    Hey Daniel, I think “Not John Chow” counts your april fools joke as fake sale ;D

  • Sam Stevens

    I’m disappointed that dailyblogtips.com would bother publishing a how-to about an unethical practice.

  • Siddharth

    When you posted the aquired blog I was quite shocked because to read DBT had become my daily routine and I thought here goes the big fish eats small one thing. So here we are good as always.

    Anybody who will try to fake users with this trick will sure loose a bunch of regular or reputed visitors.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Sam Stevens, if you read the post you can see that I am actually discouraging it. But I think it is important to talk about the stuff, even the bad stuff, so that everyone becomes aware.

    @Siddharth, yeah it was an April Fools though :).

  • http://persik.at.ua/

    I think a negative perception could come about because your regular readers may think you are going to stop blogging so they may take you out of their RSS reader, so you actually lose some targeted traffic.

  • Make Money Online

    Well I must say that I’ve never heard of anything like this before, Very interesting tactic but like you said, is deceiving and could damage credibility. Overall it’s NOT worth it.

  • Homebizseo Greg

    I have a hard time believing some of the numbers posted and I have noticed the “for sale” tactic to increase traffic. This was a very interesting most….I have never seen this listed as way to increase traffic.

  • Jad

    its an evil way to get traffic but it works perfectly

  • fitzheim

    Ken Dahlin: (still scratching head)

    Me too.

  • Farrhad

    I do not see any good from this method, your rep goes down that all.

  • Backlink Builder

    i dont like thois way of promotion at all, i like to be honoust with my readers. bu hey there will be alot of people in the bloggosphere that will be jumping around for this tip.

  • scott

    I have found it interesting that a blogger would want to sell a profitable blog at all. It is a personal blog that they have spent time creating and then they would sell it to a total stranger? It’s not like a blog is piece of real estate or a stock. Or is it? Also, don’t you think the fans or subscribers of the blog are left hanging?

  • Psychotic Social

    I’m surprised to see this, the traffic would be worthless – there are far better unethical ways to get traffic – and this strikes me as not being worth it. Not only is it not targetted, the people who visit are more likely to skim your content but not actually comment or interact or convert to sales/clicks/whatever. Essentially they’re lookyloos – people who just end up using your bandwidth.

  • Kate

    A lot of people use this method to jump-start traffic to their site with no intention of selling it at that time, but once the traffic has started flowing in, they will end up flipping the site by now featuring the traffic stats from that particular month.

    I’ve seen people ‘fake sell’ on one site to generate traffic/interest, wait a few weeks and flip it on another forum who wasn’t aware of where the traffic really came from. And believe it or not, a lot of people don’t check into these things to evaluate whether it’s legit traffic or not.

    I certainly wouldn’t risk my reputation trying these tactics, however that being said, there are also people with genuine interest in selling their site who do not receive an adequate bid, so we shouldn’t confuse (or assume) the two.

  • Sucker

    What if you put up a listing with a high BIN? As long as you’re willing to sell at some price, I don’t see how it would be unethical. You usually have to pay for the listing, after all.

    For example, I see a number of large sites for sale at SitePoint where there is virtually a 0% chance that someone will come along and say, “oh yes, let me just PayPal you $3 million for this site.” That’s more of a way to begin negotiations with serious buyers.

  • Fresh Articles

    This is really a fantastic piece of info. I am sure this is gonna work. I will try it out al by myself. It was really worth reading it. Thanks a lot.

  • medyum

    i dont like thois way of promotion at all, i like to be honoust with my readers. bu hey there will be alot of people in the bloggosphere that will be jumping around for this tip

  • Cook

    The blog has been magnificent with the way it discusses the main aspects of how traffic could be generated for a web site.

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