Get Out of Debt with More Credit Cards?

With the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States, the problem with massive debt is more pressing than ever. Far too many people dig themselves into huge holes of debt and then they wonder how they got there. Worse still, they have no idea how to dig themselves back out. CreditDebtLife.com was created by Steve Rhode largely for this purpose, but he approaches it from an “edgier” and more “interesting” slant than other debt-minded blogs. In this review, I’ll take a look at whether Steve lives up to this claim and whether his blog is worth reading.

A Look at Credit, Debt, and Life

The tagline for CreditDebtLife.com reads: “Entrepreneur blog of sniplets of stuff to make your busy day fun, informative and never boring.” I have a couple of problems with this tagline. First, Steve should know that it’s spelled “snippets” and not “sniplets”. Also, the tagline is too long for its own good and it would be in his best interest to try to keep it short enough to fit on one line.

credit-steve.jpg

When I was first presented with this blog, I was expecting a series of tips and advice for people looking to get themselves out of debt and to avoid troubles with credit. At the time of this review, there was only one post on the front page that could be considered as helpful to people who got themselves in a little bit of trouble. It was about paying the debt of the deceased and even then, it was incredible short, pointing the reader toward a free publication for more information (downloadable PDF).

The Blunt Edge

Despite being a blog about debt and credit, CreditDebtLife.com takes on a very casual tone and Steve Rhode departs from this core focus on several occasions. This “edge” that he talks about sounds very tacked on and I feel that it acts more as a detriment to the blog than an asset. Take a look at the header.

credit-topofpage.jpg

Instead of labeling it as an “about”, you find out about the writer behind the blog by clicking on Who the Hell is Steve. I personally feel that this just takes away from the professionalism of the site, rather than giving him any sort of street cred. The use of “hell” isn’t what I’d expect from a guy that looks like Steve either. On a side note, CreditDebtLife.com seriously needs a custom header image. Dude.

The subject matter of the posts vary considerably, as you can tell from the innumerable categories and countless tags (both of which are featured in the sidebar). Here are a few sample posts that are typical of Steve Rhode.

This last post is particularly interesting. Nothing like tempting those prone to debt with more credit cards. I guess Charlize Theron’s nipples don’t hurt either.

Blog Theme Song is Just Weird

Don’t get me wrong. The blog template works quite well for CreditDebtLife. I’m particularly pleased with the prominent placement of the RSS subscription options and the Adsense integration. That said, there are at least a couple components that I would like to see changed.

credit-navi.jpg

In the extended header, you’ll see a count for the number of visitor(s) currently online. When I went to check out the blog, the count showed “01”. That’s just sad. Until you build up a decent audience, there’s no point in displaying depressing stats like that. The same can be said about the “most commented posts” when the top post only has 3 comments. Be sure to listen to the blog theme song too. It’s just strange.

At the end of each post, I like the inclusion of the “hear this post” link, because it translates all the text into an MP3 file. Unfortunately, this MP3 file is a robotic text-to-speech tool rather than a “human” voice.

Babes, Suckage, and Steve

Making money through the debt industry is a good idea, because I’m sure that the Adsense ads have pretty high click values. The same can be said about making money through credit card applications. Unfortunately, Steve Rhode doesn’t provide much in terms of useful information, instead taking on a fake “edge” with hot babes and asking if life sucks. It feels terribly contrived and Steve would be better off posting more useful advice. After all, it’s CreditDebtLife.com, not the miscellaneous ramblings of dot com debt guy.

*Editor Note – Domain name aside, the name of the blog is “Credit, Debt, Life, and Steve” so I don’t really see anything wrong with life posts or any other posts that doesn’t deal with credit and debt. Michael Kwan is normally a very good reviewer but on this one, he missed the mark. – JC


46 thoughts on “Get Out of Debt with More Credit Cards?”

  1. I have to agree with Michael about losing a bit of the professionalism with the title of his about page. But i guess is it just Steves way of trying to differentiate himself from his competition.

    1. There is a difference in being unique and unprofessional. There are many more better ways of being unique then being unprofessional at the same time.

    2. Will says:

      well it is a blog, so that in itself isn’t meant to be too professional.

  2. Neil Duckett says:

    It looks to me like he’s using Ben’s theme (the one that he’s promoting across the top of this site in rotation) from http://bloggingexperiment.com/ although he’s pulled the credit from the bottom …. i might be wrong.

    1. Shaun Carter says:

      I think you’re right. There is no credit to StudioJMC, the designer of the theme. Steve better get that fixed, pronto.

    2. Oh well, Ben is a regular reader here at JohnChow.com so he will see that.

    3. I’m double checking but I believe he purchased the theme and if that’s the case, he can pull the snippet at the bottom.

      It is nice to see some more of the sites in action though, especially being reviewed here. For anyone interested, we’ve just announced an affiliate program for our blog themes.

      1. Yeah, it’s confirmed he purchased the theme and is free to do with that credit line as he wants. He could always change it over to an affiliate link to make some extra money now πŸ˜‰

  3. jhay says:

    Let’s hope Steve reads this and picks up on the good pieces of advice. He needs it to really improve that blog, if not, too bad for it has lots of potential.

  4. CashoutChick says:

    I also hope that he picks up some very resourceful advise there, and all the best with the blogging. I see so much potential in the blog that it’d be a waste to see it not succeed to it’s full capability.

  5. Gah, unprofessional indeed. Lets see if Steve implements those adjustments to this childish attitude that he uses.

  6. Duckeldanny says:

    thank you for the post

  7. Katie says:

    I agree with Michael that Steve’s site is unprofessional. He would be getting allot more visitors if he acted a bit different. When it comes to money people want professional advice from someone they can trust.
    Well I hope Steve reads this great Article and learns from it. πŸ™‚

    ~Katie πŸ˜‰

  8. David Beroff says:

    John, could you please have the author byline of individual posts appear in the RSS feed? I don’t always read your blog from the blog site itself, and it’s disorienting when I read things like that editor note when I don’t even realize that it wasn’t you writing the post in the first place. Thanks!

  9. Umm… the site does need a bit of work done, especially with sidebar/header widgets and stuff like that.

  10. Scott says:

    Good article john, but i must admit I HATE THAT STUPID AD on the top of the screen! πŸ™‚

    1. RacerX says:

      I agree! Love the site, and John can do whatever he wants..but that is nearly as bad the play per visit ad…

      1. David says:

        Is it just me, or does the add bar at the top of the screen slow down the load of the page a lot…

  11. I wonder if Steve is going to comment on the blog review… πŸ™

  12. syiru says:

    who the hell is Steve?

  13. Slam Blogger says:

    John, wherever you are, you appear to be too busy to write your own posts, which intrigues me, seeing as how you’re too busy to make money, which is what you do. When you get a chance, there’s a message that I think you need to read. You’ve been slammed, but not in the same since as the last time. This time it’s more of a message to you. Read it or don’t, but I think you should. (Of course, if you’re still, “too popular” to associate yourself with smaller blogs, then I guess you won’t even read this comment.)

  14. Cheapest Man says:

    This site looks like a ‘get rich quick’ blog. The guy had an idea and just threw something together. I think the guy needs to spend a little more time trying to think like the reader. I’m turned off as soon as the site loads and I read ‘Who the hell is Steve’. There is no way I’m taking personal finance advice from a guy who labels his ‘About’ page that way.

    The tagline – Get out of debt with more credit cards is awesome. That grabbed my attention right away.

  15. Sorry John, I have to completely disagree with you on this one. I think Michael did an excellent job on this review. This is one of the shallowest, most contrived blogs I’ve come across in a long time. It gives bloggers a bad name and I think it’s an extremely lame attempt to earn money. John was actually kind to Steve.

    Come on Steve, I’m sure you can do better than this.

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Thanks! I was talking to John about this review last night and he said that I was being too hard on Steve. That might be partly true, but I feel that my assessment of his blog is fair. I have no problem with niche blogs that sway away from their focus — I do that all the time on my own blog — but when it comes to finances, debt, credit, and so on, people expect a certain level of professionalism. They’re looking for advice on a very serious matter, after all. John says that the tagline includes “Life and Steve”, but the domain includes “Debt” and “Credit”.

      1. Yes, I thought I was going to read about financial advice when I clicked on the link in the first paragraph. I looked at several pages on Steve’s blog before reading the rest of the review and it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Hopefully Steve will take your suggestions and tune things up.

        1. Bill says:

          Couldn’t someone say the same when they read your blog and read what you ate for dinner?

          Give me a break….you live in a glass house…I wouldn’t hammer anyone about staying on topic.

      2. RacerX says:

        I think it was a fair review, but I believe that even if he understood that it would be a “Fair review” and not an advertorial, I bet he though (since he was paying for it) that it would be pretty positive and it would generate a bunch of revenue generating traffic.

        Actually, what he got was better, a real guide to get better.

        If you had just raved and said “OH MY IT is sooo awesome”, he would have gotten a ton of traffic…with 99% bounce. Basically no quality.

        It is a case of expectations vs reality

    2. I meant to say that Michael was actually kind to Steve

  16. Will says:

    I can never really understand how people get in debt in the first place. Maybe my confusion is due to my personal outlook on money. I almost ever spend more than I have so I never get in the negatives ever. Then again I also found CC’s useless and stuck with debit all my life. Now that I’ve started to use CC’s, I can see why it is so tempting to use them.

    1. I never carry a credit card balance over to the next month. We charge everything to our State Farm card to get money back to pay our car insurance. That’s the only reason to use a card IMHO. Who wants to pay 20% interest?

  17. Cheapest Man says:

    I would say the assessment was pretty fair in terms of the constructive criticism. When reading reviews on this site I’m always thinking ‘ok, this website paid $450 for this review…how biased will it be?’. And I can safely say that the reviews on here are very fair to the website as well as the reader.

    I’m pretty new to blogging myself, but can pretty much find sites that are setup just to make a buck. Which is what I see this site as. A good example of a quality personal finance site is http://thesimpledollar.com. The guy is clearly out there to help others..not himself.

  18. David Chew says:

    If you have more credit card, you will probably be spending more. :mrgreen:

  19. It is a bit unprofessional especially because of the topic of the blog

  20. Holy cow. That’s one brutal review. Steve would have benefited more if he has asked Michael for a private review, rather than have it posted here. lol.

    1. Nah, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

  21. Mike Huang says:

    The blogging experiment theme is getting used by almost EVERYONE. Ben, if you’re reading this, come up with some new ones πŸ™‚

    -Mike

    1. We’ve got a green variant already and I’m sure there will be a new theme coming out before too terribly long.

  22. Epiphany says:

    I have to thank you for making a point of telling us to listen to Steve’s theme song. It’s so bad… it’s awesome! I really appreciated the laugh! πŸ˜†

  23. I dont think that credit card payments help you to escape from debts. It will trap you to more debt and more interest. The ultimate effect is become more debt.

  24. Steve says:

    LOL. Interesting review. Thanks for all of your feedback.
    1. Nobody really clicks on the adsense ads and I’m actually going to remove them. The blog isn’t designed to make money, and it probably won’t, it’s designed to be a dialogue and rambling about things I come across in dealing with money, credit and debt issues around the world.
    2. I was a bit surprised to see that the blog wasn’t embraced as what it is, a combination of things I find interesting. After all, it is my personal blog.
    3. Yes, I purchased the theme.
    4. Do we really need more advice about conforming with financial prudence or rather more real life advice about how to deal with credit, debt and money issues? Studies show that financial literacy programs are not working, so what’s the answer then? If sex can be used to sell credit, can if be used to sell advice also? Many, many people initially try to solve their money troubles by leaning towards borrowing their way out of debt. I can either close my eyes of that reality or I can accept that and help those people to make better choices about using credit and looking for better offers than letting people take shots in the dark. Thus the blog theme song.
    5. Since this is my personal blog I’m comfortable with it carrying my voice and those that have relied on my advice over the many years would know that “Who the Hell is Steve” is my voice and not contrived, nor trying to be something I’m not. I could get back to coloring between the lines with “About” but why? To conform?
    6. I was disappointed to not have the review done by John instead of some other guy, Michael Kwan. Who the hell is Michael Kwan? ❓
    7. “Fake Edge”, LOL. Edge is just a term I used in order to just be open and honest about not having to conform to a preconceived blog of a narrow band of boring financial information. There is actually nothing contrived abut the posts. The babe posts started simply because I posted a Jenifer Aniston picture and it was by far the most popular post on the site. I am simply listening to what the visitors apparently wanted to see and if the babe posts are of interest to some, like some of you that visited the blog from this review, then what’s the harm?
    8. Interesting to read about the blog achieving its “full potential”. If that would be maximum income then the blog will probably fall short but the blog is exactly what it says on the tin.
    9. “Sniplets” – yep, I made it up.
    11. Thanks to everyone for their feedback. (Although it did feel a bit contrived since you were being open and honest, snicker-snicker. (couldn’t resist)) πŸ˜†

  25. Steve says:

    And as for item 10 that I left out of my list I’m going to post that one on my blog.

  26. Feed Flare says:

    Credit cards scare me, I am one of those guys who forgets about the bill at the end of the month.

    1. Steve says:

      It’s not uncommon, especially as we lead busier and busier lives to miss due dates. Many assume that everyone is born with some internal combination of skills that makes us good at managing our money. Not true. No matter how well intentioned you might be, the reality is that you just might not be good with financial organizations skills.

      Over the years I have found that sales people, artists, musicians and other similar folks are typically less attuned to things like due dates. You have two easy options and one simple option, but they can be problematic.

      First, you could setup your card on an auto-debit but if you are not focused to watch the due date you might find yourself in a situation where you aren’t paying attention to the balance to make sure the payment isn’t going to give you problems with your bank balance.

      The second way would be for you to get in the habit of paying the bill when it comes in rather than waiting till it is due. Playing the due date timing game is getting riskier and risker as grace periods have shrunken from 30 days to 20 days for many cards. Between the statement end date and the due date, there are fewer and fewer days to procrastinate.

      Banks are giving cardholders less time to get your payment in because they want you to be late so they can charge you a big fee and jack your interest rate up.

      The super simple option is to use the services of a Daily Money Manager that will manage your bills for you. While there is a fee for this service the benefit of being better organized and doing things that improve your credit score and credit report can far outweigh the cost of professional financial management. For a listing of Daily Money Managers visit aadmm.org.

    2. David says:

      I can often forget them too, but I set electronic reminders…multiple of them, because I don’t want to be paying any interest…that’s not how you make money…haha

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