Howard Lindzon “smells a rat” at TheMoneyBlogs.com:

I called [the owner of TheMoneyBlgs], who picked up his own phone and asked him some questions. I immediately smelled a rat. Trading Markets will take my content and brand it in moneyblog design and keep all the advertising dollars from the aggregated data.

I love blogging and don’t mind doing it for free, but this is just plain sneaky.

If you run an investing, personal finance, business, or “money” blog, you’ve probably gotten an email from TheMoneyBlogs.com. InvestorGeeks got one, and we initially signed up since we’re proud of the relationship we have with a similar service pfblogs.org. But once we found that TheMoneyBlogs would not include a link back to our site the original article, we immediately removed ourselves from their network.

So how can you make these aggregators work for you? Find out how some people are trying to make TheMoneyBlogs work them. More importantly, I’ll go through some questions you can ask yourself to determine up front if a blog aggregator is really offering a win-win situation.

First, a recap of the discussion on TheMoneyBlogs.com
Some people have gotten around the no-link policy of TheMoneyBlogs, like Larry Nusbaum who comments on Howard’s article:

Within the body of every post I include my blog link. I also edit my posts that they pick up because I find lots of technical issues with their site.

I wonder if it’s worth the hassle. TheMoneyBlogs doesn’t seem to be giving out traffic numbers. So I did a little digging around.

As of this writing, TheMoneyBlogs.com’s rank on Alexa.com is 1,120,721 (of all users using the Alexa toolbar, they are the 1,120,721 most visited site). For comparison, InvestorGeeks.com has an Alexa ranking of 120,592. This is all complicated of course by the fact that “www.themoneyblogs.com” redirects to “themoneyblogs.tradingmarkets.com”, so all direct traffic to the site would be lumped in with the ranking for the tradingmarkets.com domain, which has a very healthy rank of 10,536. Though it’s hard to tell how much of the traffic to tradingmarkets.com comes from TheMoneyBlogs, in theory there is potential there to increase the exposure of our articles.

Then again, even if you are getting a link back to your blog (as with pfblogs.org), is it still worth it? Trader Mike has some arguments against applying to any blog aggregator:

Finally, the part you didn’t mention is that his site, like other blog aggregation sites, is likely to have higher PageRank than the blogs of the contributors. That means that Google will likely rank articles on MoneyBlogs higher than the articles on the authors’ sites. So when people do a search that would normally bring visitors to the authors’ sites they will instead end up at MoneyBlogs b/c it’ll be ranked higher. Google may also actually punish the authors’ sites because they will appear to be copying (stealing) content from MoneyBlogs — GOOG doesn’t like duplicate content.

So Should I Submit My Site to a Blog Aggregator?
In the end, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of submitting to a particular blog aggregator. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. How much new traffic will the aggregator drive to your blog?
Traffic is the currency of the blogosphere. Make sure there are noticeable links to your site.

2. What quality of reader are you likely to get from the aggregator?
Will the aggregator’s readers be likely to subscribe to your blog for further reading? Will they be likely to click on your adSense links? Make sure the topic of the aggregation site is closely aligned with your target audience.

3. Will your postings on the new site eclipse your site in search engine results?
This is one of Trader Mike’s arguments against aggregators. Limiting the content on the aggregating site to just an excerpt will help here in two ways. (1) Since your site will have all of the content, it will have more “meat” to bring in the search engine traffic. Also it should be more apparent to Google and others that your document is the original. (2) Even if a searcher gets to the aggregator first, they will have to link back to your site for the entire article. As long as the aggregator is providing noticeable links back to your site, you’ll be god here.

A related question you have to ask here is “Is the loss in search engine traffic acceptable considering the increase in referral traffic?” If you are getting 1000+ visits for each posting in the aggregator, you might be willing to give up the SEO mojo. This is something I’d like to do some more research on though.

In Conclusion…
Hopefully this article can help you with your decision to join a blog aggregator or not, whether it’s TheMoneyBlogs or any other aggregating site. You’ll have to determine if the site is only interested in using your content for its own gain or if they are truly offering a win-win proposition. The questions above are a good way to start, as sites which offer noticeable links back to your site, are built around a topic that is closely aligned with your readership, and accept article excerpts instead of full posts are more likely to provide that win-win opportunity.

Further Reading
How to Read Alex Traffic Ratings: Alexa Traffic Rank Heats Up by Benjamin Pfieffer

Hello Jason-

themoneyblogs.com here. I just wanted to clarify one item in your post.

You write:
“…once we found that TheMoneyBlogs would not include a link back to our site, we immediately removed ourselves from their network.”

This, as I stated in my response to Howard Lindzon in his blog, is simply not true. There are and always have been links back to the original blog site.

Hope that helps,

themoneyblogs.com
818.449.7461

Thanks for the clarification. I’ve updated the text of my article.

It looks like your site does include “source” links back to the contributing blogs. Even better would be links back to the original article.

While some bloggers may decide to use your service, we’ll still hold off as it doesn’t meet criteria #1 and #3 above: the links are not prominent enough and the ability to show just an excerpt would work better for us.

Overall, each blogger will have to make their own decision whether or not submitting to any aggregator is worth it for them.

Hi Jason – I noticed your post on Philadelphia BarCamp site and wanted to let you know that the Philadelphia Future Salon is starting this fall (part of the nationwide network of Future Salons started by http://www.accelerating.org/futuresalon). You can join the Google group http://groups.google.com/group/PhiladelphiaFutureSalon and I can email you a longer notice about the first meeting, Thurs. Sep. 7, 6-8 pm (free) at the Science Center at 3701 Market St, 3rd Floor. One of our fall meetings is slotted to be about prediction markets which would be most relevant to your investment interests. Best, melanie at melanieswan.com

The only link going back to the blog site is the tiny link in the column. Even the “About Me”, and “My Home”, and all the archives don’t go back to the original blog site. Absolutely no links on a per article basis.

I think it’s a very very poor deal for bloggers to post there. If I am the reader, frankly I will only go to Brice’s aggregator site, without needing to go to so many different sites. Definitely, a loss in traffics, SEO search hit, and Adsense revenue.

Yup, I’ve been invited before as well. I’ve also declined. Funny that you mentined the Alexa rankings. That was the first thing I noticed thanks to my Firefox extension that shows me the alexa rank of every domain I visit.

I too am a big fan of pfblogs.org. Their feeds help reduce my web surfing greatly.

Since I don’t have anything else good to say, I’ll stop now.

They emailed me four times to join, the exact same email, and I responded in exactly the same way. Honestly, I see no upside for a blogger unless you’re starving for readership.

They just changed their format. Looks great. One problem, they deleted the ability for the blog writer to add his own links. So, I have to put my blog address inside every post, but I can no longer visit others’ blogs

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