Are You Truthful in Your Blogging?

This post is guest blogged by Muhammad Siyab, a fifteen year old blogger who has his own blog at Putting Blogs First.

Honesty is the best policy. This poor old proverb is truly clichΓ© nowadays, and is all too much overlooked and ridiculed, unfortunately. At least in the blogosphere, if not in society as a whole. Who wants to be truthful with their readers? They trust you: why not take advantage of that trust and tell them lies?

They wouldn’t know, I’ll just game my Feedburner feed count and manipulate the widget to show what it’s really not!

And the list continues…

Is this a familiar situation to you? Are YOU, as a blogger, entangled in this mess? Well then maybe it’s time you read this post and changed your habits. Better late then never! πŸ˜‰

Blogging, like the internet, is a web. But instead of servers and computer at its ends, there are real live people with emotions and intelligence. Why do you think people read your blog? Just for leisure or for fun? Well might be, but look a little deeper and you’ll realize that they trust you, that’s why they read your blog! Tell me: would you manage an account at a bank you do not trust? πŸ˜‰

Readers trust you to deliver information truthfully and be honest in all your interactions and dealings with them. Even if you have been dishonest with them sometimes, they have taken it to all be all true and never have revolted or hit you back with accusations: have they?

Now, before we go further, let’s look at some examples where bloggers can lie to their readers:

  • Manipulating their feed count. This is very common. Bloggers, for the sake of getting popular (and getting more subscribers), often manipulate their Feedburner feed count widget (by replacing it with an image linked to their feed). Most innocent get trapped in this deceit and subscribe, thinking a blogger has 5000 subscribers, when in reality he has only 100.
  • Holding a blog contest but never giving out prizes. This is common too, and a big example of readers’ rights infringement (there are readers’ rights, unofficially). Some bloggers hold a big and lucrative blog contest (like a $1000 prize or a PlayStation 3 or something expensive). Readers, in the hope of winning the prize, do anything the blogger requests them to do, all in his/her blog’s favour. And when the winner is announced, the blogger reneges on his/her promise and never gives the rightful winner his/her deserved prize!
  • Telling false stories of accomplishment. This has spread like the plague, believe me! Some bloggers never tire of telling readers false stories of their accomplishments, which they make up quite creatively. The sad thing is that most readers, especially the rookies, get trapped in their lies. Some stories I have read are so funny I was like ROFL! πŸ˜€

Another thing that I’ve noticed a lot is that bloggers freely give readers the false impression that people have been contacting them. It goes like this: ‘…many people have emailed me after I wrote my tutorial, asking me to elaborate on it…‘. Now not every blogger lies like this, but most do.

Just look at your self. Don’t you some times feel disgusted when you feel that a blogger has tried to give you a false impression by using the above or other methods? πŸ˜‰

Why be Truthful?

So, here comes the ultimate question: why be truthful?

You see, lying to you readers or painting a false picture is like deceiving your parents or spouse or close relatives/friends. What’s the connection here? Your parents and your spouse and your friends trust you to be truthful with them, right? It’s the same with your readers. They trust you tonot deceive them and not tell them lies.

Now you wouldn’t lie to your parents or spouse (if you were a good person), right? So why do it with your readers? Aren’t your readers of enough value for you? After all, they are really putting their trust in a stranger, aren’t they ;)?

Now for a moment imagine if your readers some how got to know that you’ve been deceiving them. THEN look how they leave you and advise others to do the same! They’ll be so disgusted that they’ll never return to you again. Just try and see! πŸ˜‰

I know you might think ‘What the heck does it matter?‘. It probably doesn’t matter much, but remember that you’re out to build a strong relationship with your readers, and truthfulness is the best way to build up authority .

So, before you try to do some thing like that, just re-think and consider whether this will actually be beneficial for your long-term relationship with your readers. Agreed that this might benefit you in the short term, but if you’re looking into the long term, it will hurt your blog and your relationship with your readership.

Your turn to speak up: Would you ever commit any kind of deceit with your readers, as little it may be?

Hoping for a good discussion here!


67 thoughts on “Are You Truthful in Your Blogging?”

  1. Mubin says:

    How many πŸ˜‰ did you plan to use?

    1. ViralKing says:

      I count 4, you think thats too many? 😈 πŸ˜‰

  2. This is definitely a true blog post…I really do not like the fact that people “fake their feedcount”…it just should not be done at all. But unfortunately not all of us have the same opinion on lies and subverting the truth.

    A quote – “Don’t lie…then you don’t need to remember what you said the first time”

    I am a 15 year old teen blogger too πŸ™‚
    Thanks for the post,
    Fabien

    1. Do you really think people subscribe to a feed just because they see a high count? Martha Stewart’s blog has a few thousand readers and I dont EVER plan on subscribing to it. :mrgreen:

      1. HostingCow says:

        That`s exactly what I`ve been thinking! Although some bloggers think that faking their feedburner counter will get them more rss readers, they don`t realize that “thousands of readers” won`t make me subscribe to their feed.. The content is the only thing that will make me subscribe..

  3. Yeah, this definately happens. You see it all the time. It makes me laugh. The sad thing is that people are very trusting of blogs in general. It’s abuse of trust, but it is really common.

  4. nickycakes says:

    What about pretending to be a make money online blog but never actually talking about how to make money online? πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

    1. siyab says:

      that can be one of the biggest lies ever in the blogosphere! πŸ˜†

  5. The tactic of contests and never giving away the prizes is a big one…this is HUGE amounfg Radio stations too! I once won Toronto Maple Leafs tickets from a radio station and they never gave them to me…they kept stalling me, I happened to know where the seats were and I happened to be at the game, I went to look who was in the seats and it was 2 suits! What a joke! One thing is forsure, I believe John Chow and his stats….because CANADIANS are honest people and we never complain! John Chow for Prime Minister!!

    1. RacerX says:

      The funny thing about the contests is that there are very strong FTC rules that don’t get followed by most bloggers at all. Did you know that in some states any prize over $100 that you want to give away needs to be bonded by 3-4 states? Even i you aren’t in those states, if you allow people for the states to participate you must be bonded!

      Also if they don’t give you your prize they 100% can sue you in small claims court. The bigger scam is giving it away to friends or fake names. The winner is Tom Jones! Djs do that all the time by putting their friends on hold to make sure they are caller “8”.

  6. Interesting points. I’ve often wondered how many of the make money bloggers at entrecard or 45n5’s top 100 are actually making any money. I suspect a lot of BS going on there. And do they all really have the flash cars or are they just copying the estimable Mr Chow? I think there’s a lot of “fake it til you make it” happening

  7. I believe that being truthful in blogging is absolutely essential. One of the things that makes each blogger unique is that they are themselves, not someone else. I could say that I have 9,236 subscribers, my adsense earnings last month were $4,421, I had 29,387 unique visitors…none of which is true. However if I did that, I would likely become pretty popular. It’s funny that no one seems to actually demand real proof. If you’re handy with Photoshop you can fake anything. Just be completely honest with your readers, even if the truth is that you have 12 rss subscribers (my current count) and only about 50 unique visitors per day(my current traffic). I’ve accepted the fact that I don’t have a ton of traffic and I’ll be totally honest with my readers if I do happen to get a little more traffic. AND, if I fail to obtain more traffic…then I’ll be honest about that too. That’s what will make for a unique blog; there’s already plenty of bloggers that boast a little too much. I won’t be ashamed to join the crowd of thousands of other bloggers who rely on their Mom, Grandma, Aunt Eunice and all the members of her lawn bowling team to generate their 15 visitors per day.

    1. RacerX says:

      Same here!

      It is funny that some of the most boastful site have their counter turned to private only! I am fascinated by real numbers though and I think it is only fair that people see mine. That is true now and hopefully as it grows!

  8. A nice, insightful, interesting and thoughtful post by a 15 year old. Are you sure you’re not lying about being 15? 😈

    1. Why would I lie after writing such a post? πŸ˜†

      1. Dude… I was kidding. Just playing with the word lying in your post.

  9. Aaron Gaul says:

    There is also a larger question here about personal misfortune. Lying in a blog is a way of taking something from the reader, while not delivering a fair value in return. This is bad karma for the liar. It will catch up with him/her in other areas of life. Why do it?

    A well thought out intention, backed by clear focus, can manifest wonderful rewards in the online community?

    Aaron
    AaronGaul.com

  10. Terry Tay says:

    Many bloggers just try to fake it till they make it. Not sure if it’s a good approach but what if their sharing actually works? Just listen in and do what’s best for your blog. The worst thing that you would like to see on any blog is a sales pitch blog post. Right?
    ~Terry

  11. Ty Brown says:

    I’m new to blogging and reading blogs and this post has made me think twice about entering contests. Boy am I naive, I never even considered that someone would offer a contest and then not pony up the prize.

  12. Tom Beaton says:

    Deceit will earn you a quick buck, but being honest can earn you a long term business. At the end of the day we are in it for the long haul.

  13. Making money online is so much easier when people trust you than when you’re trying to run a scam. The long term money is in the truth.

  14. Haney says:

    Yup..I had seen bloggers manipulating the feed counts, which I think it’s absurd.

  15. Toki Tover says:

    I feel that post! I know of people who do those things, it is funny. But hell, why lie. If you are new and dont make money and only have like 15 subscribers… just know that you are in a better position that someone else. Realize it will take time, tons of posts and educating yourself to get where you can turn those lies into truths.

  16. Well, Sayib, one fact that a truthful blogger can’t help is, this world is full of immoral people. People with no morals or significantly low morals, who will do anything in their power to grab the most out of their opportunity.

    To them, manipulating their readers is something that they accomplish with a Guilty-FREE conscious. And it works for them because, they are more than happy to fake a bit and get some RSS subscribers so their affiliation points go-up. But the point is, I believe, people like that never last too long in the blog-o-sphere. If I had subscribed to one of those bluff-blogs, chances are that I someday learn that they are fake, and leave them.

    For the time being, you should know that, blogger like that, can only hunt less-prominent bloggers in the shallow waters. An experienced blogger always knows what is wrong and what is right. So, even if they accomplish getting couple of hundred subscribers by faking it, chances are, those blogs can never be successful and eventually die out.

    Simply because success is a journey. It’s not a destination right?

    Congratulations on a very moralistic post by the way.

    1. thank you. Yeah you’re rightt. they might gather a lot of readers, but its like getting them illegally πŸ˜†

  17. Yes I am truthful about my blogging although why deceive your readers?

  18. nickycakes says:

    thanks for deleting my comment

    1. nickycakes says:

      oh god im tired, nevermind

  19. Look at people who sell ebooks. All of that marketing copy that is all fluff. Sure they are not ‘lieing’ but they are padding the belief that their ebook will make you rich.

    I think that any blogger that blatantly lie in their posts will eventually be found to be frauds. But telling some stories to draw in your readers is fair game as far as I am concerned. πŸ˜€

    1. That is why I never buy e-book.

    2. Black Zedd says:

      I hate e-books telling people to make money by writing e-book.

      1. I have learned some good info in ebooks, so I wouldn’t say not to buy any ebook, but you have to be very careful what you do get. If the sales page is hype, you know the ebook will be also.

  20. I have never lied to my readers ever. πŸ˜€ And i don’t think so there will be any need for it.

  21. Blog blag blug. It does not have anything to do with blogs (apart the RSS feed count) it has to do with personality and running a business.

    People don’t become liars just for the matter of blogging, if one lies thats because he has that in its bones, and neither your post will make them change their mind. I do approve lies, only if the lie will save your little tinky winky bum.

    Now if a person is fool enough to subscribe to a blogs feed just because that blog has a huge count and not because one (or more) of the bloggers posts caught his attention, then he must be 15 years old (pardon, a kid).

    But from another perspective, nice advice from a 15yo blogger (at least you got your point).

  22. mack goodman says:

    I read this post and to me it seems you are not really convinced in what you are saying. For instance, why did you say..” I know you might think β€˜What the heck does it matter?β€˜. It probably doesn’t matter much, ” You say it doesn’t matter much if you lie.??
    Well that is very conflicting with your entire post. Get on one side of the fence or the other. Stand up for truth! I think you are right that truth matters and is the way to go.

    1. siyab says:

      I am at one side of the fence! :lol:.
      What i meant was that bloggers might think what’s the use of it. My readers don’t know I’m lying to them, and as long as it benefits me, why should I care?

      Well, if that’s the way you wanna go, then go ahead, but then you’re looking at the short term benefits.
      Your readers will discover sooner or later that you’ve been lying to them ❓ Then you’re busted!

  23. Desiree Ha says:

    People lie to appear more trustworthy which is a bit ironic.
    Anyways, that’s the reason I only spend time reading blogs I feel are genuine and connected to. But still, you never know.

  24. turnip says:

    Good read, I constantly get into arguments that RSS feeds do not reflect the true readership of a blog. When marketing blogs try to avoid ad companies that count and report pageviews to potential advertisers, I grow suspicious.

  25. Mike Huang says:

    Wow! This is my read of the day πŸ™‚ Keep up the good work!

    -Mike

  26. Abdalla says:

    Nice post but your theory is flawed! I agree building trust is good but to lie about certain things gives you an edge over everyone else.

    Now, if a webmaster lies about a contest and never gives it out or names a fake winner, then I would say its a clever marketing ploy. Yes people get angry but imagine the amount of linkbacks gained that will give you a lot of benefit in terms of search engine traffic. In my opinion, as long as no reader gets ripped off by paying anything etc then it makes sense. Posting about a blog contest thats fake is not getting ripped off! Its your fault for trusting it in the first place.

    Its upto the individual webmaster at the end. I dont make my income such as the $30/day I earn by adsense from my loyal readerbase, I make it off newbies reading tutorials that arrived via search engines.(geeks never click ads)

    Hope this sheds some light on the issue.

    Abdalla

    1. siyab says:

      i agree it gives you a certain ‘edge’.

      Ok, a fake contest may bring you loads of backlinks – but once people discover its a fake, probably 50% of them will remove their backlinks to you! And to make it worse, no one’s gonna trust you anymore with such contests! And people will realize their fault for ‘trusting it in the first place’ and probably won’t trust it anymore.

      1. Will M says:

        Trust me if Abdalla is being deceptive it’ll come back to him in the end.

  27. Navin says:

    Now, I realize why so many fraudsters are running contest in the name of prize…. never cared, but wondered, may be you are right.
    I never did any of the things mentioned above. But nice read.

  28. CatherineL says:

    I don’t lie on my blog, but I probably tell far more of the truth than I should, and I will admit that I’ve deliberately had digs at people who’ve annoyed me – but not other bloggers.

    I’m with Astrit from SEO blog on the subscription thing – if they’re dumb enough to subscribe to some crappy blog just because it seems popular, more fool them.

  29. Ted says:

    I find this post most intriguing, especially coming from a 15 year old, now, I only have one question in mind. How do you you know that these things are common behaviors? 😈

    1. siyab says:

      because I’ve heard all too many stories of deceit from the Cow and other bloggers ❗

  30. Andy says:

    At the top of this post it says: written by John Chow but it’s a guest post. A typo I guess?

    But I have read another prolific blog where all the posts are signed by the blog owner yet he freely admits that he uses Interns to do many of the posts and challenges you to guess which ones are done by him.

  31. Katie says:

    I totally agree that honesty is the best policy. Honesty is very important. I have been honest with my readers. I haven’t done any of those bad things you mentioned. I want my readers to trust me and never lose trust. And I want people to be able to say good things about me. Not say she lied. Lying hurts people too and makes people mad. Once you break someones trust you may never be able to get their trust back..ever! Thanks for this great Article. I hope others will take what you said at Heart and do what you said. πŸ˜‰

    ~Katie πŸ˜€

  32. Will M says:

    Wow this is a great subject. It’s a shame that a 15 year old has to call out the evil doers in the world of Blogging. Kudos to him. I have always wondered if the people that have been announced were getting their prizes.
    I’m new to this whole world and I’m glad to see that there is some honesty in some of the people here. Keep up the good work John & Muhammed.

  33. Asela says:

    Nice post Muhammad… your article is a real treat and look forward to many more like these… I am on my way to your blog to join your rss and see what else you have to share. πŸ™‚

    Regards – Asela

  34. didi says:

    i think i can say that im truthful in my blog…

  35. didi says:

    Well, im not sure whether i’m truthful or not… but i dont like to lie…

  36. Jim Karter says:

    I have seen many people doing that RSS image thing.:) Nice post by the way.
    Regards
    -Jim Karter

  37. Gerri says:

    Well written. If you tell a lie you will get busted. When that happens things generally won’t work in your favour. It pays to be as truthful as you can all the time but one big let down with most of us is that we are HUMAN!

  38. Tom Ross says:

    I completely agree with your post, and wasn’t actually aware of lying being SUCH a large problem within the blogosphere. I’m currently trying to go one step further with my honest and document a blogging diary showing statistical evidence for my sites progress as well as an account of everything I do towards it each day. I’m tired of so many blogs giving vague tips without anything to back it up.

    Thanks for the insight Muhammad!

  39. David says:

    I dunno if it’s because I’m just an honest person, but I never even thought about lying on my blog. It’s an interesting idea, just to make it look more popular, I guess. But then, there’s something to be said about being truthful and honest.

  40. Bradley says:

    I sometimes embellish stories to make them seem more interesting. Click my name to see why.

  41. Jan says:

    Wow! Things that people do, that would never even occur to me. Not to mention there is some skill involved in being able to pull these kinds of things off. Something I don’t want to spend my time even learning how to do those kinds of things.

    As someone new to blogging, (and enjoying it a great deal) my writing is also part of who I am, and what I hope to present to my readers, and potential readers. So my writing, and being truthful to my readers, also represents me, and how I hope my readers will view me.

    I think lying is a character trait, that has to exist outside of the internet, and outside of blogging. Those who have no qualms lying to other people in person, also won’t have any problem lying in their blogs. Their personality and characteristics aren’t going to change that much from how they choose to deal with people in person, to how they write their blog.

    Great Post Muhammad and John!

  42. Truthful??? Come on… that just goes to make a dull and boring blog like mine or yours!!!

    Check out Fake Steve Jobs… now that’s a good blog!

  43. vutha says:

    Every one cannot hide their lie for long time, the lie will hurt relationship, separation of family and so on. Finally, the liar will be useless person in society.

  44. Sampath says:

    This is one of the best post that I have read so far. I agree with Siyab 100%. If you cheat your reader, it won’t be good for you and your blog. There is another way of cheating is, adding posts published by someone else to his/her blog. Some people even don’t put a link to the original post. I have experienced it. They think that they can be successful by doing this.

    If we consider many incidents happened throughout the world, it is obvious that we can’t be successful in a steady way by cheating.

  45. “Holding a blog contest but never giving out prizes…”

    Hmmm? Does John Chow *really* have that super nice expensive pen to give away????

    I’m watching you Johnny! Every day man – I LOVE your blog – no lie! I keep coming back for more πŸ˜›

    And wow Muhammad! Great to be so insightful about blogs AND honesty – I know when I was fifteen, I didn’t care about either!
    Kudos to you!

  46. Johnny Cash says:

    Interesting post, but is John Chow supposed to be an “evil” blogger? 😈

  47. JoNathan says:

    I was so excited to see you write a piece on this. I have been dealing with this lately. It bugs me to go to sites and see them pump themselves up so big as though they are raking in the dough and have thousands of visitors but yet they have a subscriber count of 14 and have had 2 people comment on their posts. lol

    Matter of fact I recently blogged about it … check out my post by clicking here. I have made a commitment to my visitors to always blog with honesty. There are enough “Corrupt” bloggers out there.

  48. Saim Baig says:

    I think faith becomes a big part when you do truthful blogging.

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