The Big Blogging Secret – Linkbaiting

The Big Blogging Secret – Linkbaiting

I was listening to This Week in Tech with Leo Laporte yesterday (Twit 171 – The Lemondrop Kid) which featured appearances by Jason CalicanisAndrew Horowitz, and Geoff Smith.  At some point Laporte asked Calacanis about his decision to stop blogging (he hasn’t really stopped, but he has drastically cut back) and Jason said he’d realized that being at the top of the blog food chain, the return on value wasn’t there for him.  (I am paraphrasing here, and not directly quoting him.)

The problem is attributed to linkbaiting (from wikipedia):

Link bait is any content or feature within a website that somehow baits viewers to place links to it from other websites. Matt Cutts defines link bait as anything “interesting enough to catch people’s attention.”[5] Link bait can be an extremely powerful form of marketing as it is viral in nature.

For Calacanis, it became such a huge time waster, he had even posted “Linkbaiting Rules” in April of 2007. From his post:


If someone writes anything about me or links to this blog I find out about it instantly with my various RSS alerts, Technorati, Google blog search, Bloglines, etc.

Some folks have figured this out and they get on my radar by writing a critical piece. That’s a savvy move–to a point. I’d like to outline the best way to link bait a person like me

The real problem is the evil link (again, wikipedia) 

Saying something unpopular or mean may also yield a lot of attention. Writing about something that is not appealing about a product or a popular blogger. Provide strong reasons for it.


As a blogger, its very easy for us to post inflammatory topics and reap the link benefit.  But as with so many tactics, I think it’s just a flash in the pan benefit.  You’ll have lots of new one time readers, but none will be compelled to become subscribers or return readers.

From his comments, I’d say that Calacanis, who is no shrinking violet when it comes to getting his view across, simply tired of the withering attacks.  Even more I can imagine how would be to simply keep up with the general comment stream.  With all the social media available to us, we should consider what it’s like to be one of the guys on top, drinking daily from the fire hose.   Think of what it must be like to simply watch the stream of 34,000 “friends” on twitter, as the tweets scroll past at light speed.

I guess you just can’t be everyone’s friend!

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