Some Sanity is Needed, Upcoming Contest

It’s awesome. The community of personal finance bloggers grows every day. Requests for additions are flying in, and I’m not exaggerating. The issue is this: It’s pretty clear when a blog is an “investing blog” or a “real estate blog,” but what is a “personal finance blog?”

Is a blog focused solely on earning money from affiliate programs and advertising really about personal finance?

Due to Google’s Adsense, a service that has benefited many great bloggers and content producers, it’s pretty simple to earn a few bucks off a blog. Personal finance is a topic that seems to attract a number — a large number — of people who set up blogs just to see how much money they can make off of it. Sometimes the true intent of a blogger is painfully obvious.

I don’t want to get in the middle and judge who’s not serious about producing good content or enhancing the community and would rather try to make a buck the “easy” way. I want to be inclusive. I also want to represent a modicum of quality.

Should there be a time requirement for new additions to the aggregator? Perhaps a month? Now, it would be easy to back date posts to give the appearance that a blog has been around for longer than it has, so maybe there should be a waiting period. Perhaps we should let market forces do the work, include everyone on, and let those who don’t survive in the market die off. I’m open to ideas.

Incidentally, we’re getting ready to launch a major contest, with the grand prize of probably around $200 and a runner-up who would win around $50. It will be an offline contest and will involve television, radio, or some other mass media.

P.S. Sorry for those of you trying to respond with comments. The problem has been fixed and anyone can comment now. I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts.

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12 Responses to Some Sanity is Needed, Upcoming Contest

  1. Thatedeguy says:

    It’s a slippery slope your on. It is still impossible to please all of the people all of the time. You’ve done well with the 90 day inactivity part and that will help weed some out. In this day and age of social media, perhaps a ranking system of some sort? I dunno. Not an easy task at all.

  2. LAMoneyGuy says:

    As a believer in the efficiency of markets (except for stock or real estate markets), I like the “let those who don’t survive in the market die off” idea. However, I don’t know what it means to not survive. Many of us are not profitable, but have not plans to quit.

    As adding a link to another site is a common sign of respect in the PF blogging world, I would suggest requiring that new bloggers have ten blogs already on the list link to them before inclusion.

  3. Wandering Indian Monk says:

    A couple of suggestions….

    1) As we all have seen, some posts on most blogs are just links to other articles with no content of their own. How about making this a criteria that blogs carry original content most of the times? I am not sure how one would do it though.

    2) Maybe we can have some kind of a voting deal where we get to boot the ones that dont make sense? The blogs could be barred for a set period of time…?

  4. mapgirl says:

    I am sure there is no easy answer to this. Having lived on the internet and know that it falls to the lowest common demoninator, I don’t want it see it degenerate. If anything, I get overwhelmed by some of the sites that are investing focused. I appreciate the category links to filter out those blogs, but maybe those could be spun off into a different site altogether?

    I think the 90-day without fresh content rule is a pretty good one. I avoid the blog sidebar on the right if the links are faded out. (A really brilliant idea, BTW) Other than stale content I don’t what it takes to be ‘voted off the island.’

  5. Finance Junkie says:

    Assuming all things equal (and it can be done):

    (1) Rank blogs by running average of unique ip address clicks/day (clickfrom pfblogs to their site.
    (2) If making money is the primary objective, require uers to subscribe to your service for $12/yr (or some smaller fee between $4 and $12, more symbolic in nature). This would eliminate some of the chaff (non-contributors).
    (3) If making content available the primary objective, DO NOT screen additions to based on technorati or other link ranking
    (4) Drop the contribution before drop requirement from 90 days to 45 days

    R/ Finance Junkie

  6. Surfacedamage says:

    This is not a new issue and many other sites are wrestling with the same problem. Your goal is to provide useful content to the community, but you don’t really want to the police force to determine what content is useful.

    My suggestion would be to look at how handles things. They are thriving because they based their entire site on the principal of community governance. The community determines what is valuable and what is not. The web team does not have to police its community, its community does that for them — allowing them to create a UI to more easily allow the community to promote and demote people and comments.

    Even their newly implemented comment system allows people reflects this approach. Not only are articles promoted (digged) and demoted, so are the comments. In fact, unless you change your settings, if someone posts a comment that a large number of users have demoted, it is collapsed and you don’t even see it.

    Unfortunately, setting something up like this for pfblogs might be a little trickier. You are tracking the number of clicks, but you have no way to tell if the article that is published is valuable or not. You are tracking each RSS feed, but you have no idea how often a site is publishing new articles. A site could go stale and I would imagine you may not even know for quite some time. The more sites that are added, the worse the problem becomes.

    Oh, and as I re-read my comment, please don’t take any of these things as harsh criticism — I love pfblogs and visit daily. I’m just trying to throw some ideas your way.

    Anyone else have some opinions on this?

  7. Surfacedamage says:

    Oh, and I guess I should correct myself. If I had read the original post in a little more detail, I would have seen that you are pushing inactive sites further (and eventually off) the sidebar list. So, scratch my prior comment on you not knowing how fresh a site would be. Sorry about that!

  8. webmaster says:

    Interesting suggestions, everyone. Please keep them coming.

  9. LAMoneyGuy says:

    I like a community voting system. Maybe a Tivo style “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” simply click could be added to each post. I don’t know the technology very well. Is there a way for a blogger to indicate that they do not want a post to show on I like to post about the carnivals and such, but it is certainly not original content that needs to be included on That is the type of post that I would give a thumbs down, and as a blogger would opt out of inclusion.

  10. claire says:

    I like the idea of having a minimum number of already-aggregated blogs link to a new blog before it can be included. 10 is a lot though. I’ve been blogging for almost six moths and Technorati still only shows 13 blogs linking to me. Maybe 5 is a better number. Some new blogs have great content, so I don’t want to make it really hard for newbies to join.

    I also think the 90-day rule is good, but we could shorten it. Another idea would be that if people don’t update at least weekly for some period of time they get kicked off. My favorite PF blog hasn’t been updated for over 10 days, and this is the second time it’s happened this month. I’m thinking it won’t continue to be my favorite much longer.

  11. RS says:

    I even think that the 90 day rule is too much. That should be dropped to 30 days probably. If you can’t toss up at least one post a month, maybe it isn’t worth following.

    I also like the idea to have a community policing policy. Something where readers get to vote. Get too many negative votes and then that blog should be looked at (maybe by the MBN). Can’t just boot them for too many negative votes, then some unsavory types could just keep voting them off hte island.

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