Watch out for ugly blogs

It’s pretty damn easy to get started with a blog. You don’t need any hardware or software or hosting company, the blog providers will handle all of these for you. There is no sign up fee or monthly fees. There are so many blog sites that offer FREE blogs to any one, you can quickly sign up and start to generate your content in minutes. Generating good content, now that’s the hard part.

Anyone can be a publisher; the good, the bad or the ugly.

The Good
The good side of blogs is that individuals have an opportunity to voice their opinions on various issues or report on what\’s happening in their community. Newspapers have noticed this, and many of them are offering blogs to readers, which is great in that it foster community interaction with the news delivered online.

The best bloggers can give you alternative views on news and events that can quite astonishingly and convincingly turn conventional and accepted versions upside down. They can add complexity to our understanding of what is happening in different parts of the world. The most famous blogger of our time, Salman Pax, “The Baghdad Blogger” remains the best example of what an independent blogger can contribute.

The Bad

Relying on blogs for news is unwise mainly because bloggers are not journalists who have to comply with ethics and standards like sourcing all material or writing coherently. The news obtained from blogs is unreliable and the best you can hope for are observations and opinions unbacked by any guarantee that they have not been invented.

Blogs can be cleverly disguised propoganda or even a mouth piece for commercial interests. Of course, one can also say the same things about some mainstream media outlets.

Most bloggers do not even attempt to report news first-hand because they don\’t have the resources to be on the spot at a news event, or spend 8 hours a day reporting, or if they do, they are usually being paid – which makes their claim to be independent of “corporate-controlled” main stream media (MSM) questionable.

Bloggers tend to focus on giving their opinions about the news, providing links to the same “corporate-controlled” media stories that they complain so much about. Bloggers have also been successful on occasion at picking apart news stories, finding mistakes by doing research on the internet, with one or two high-profile achievements in that respect.

But the reality is that if bloggers want to be successful in the news field, they’ll find they need to earn a living from their work, just like any other freelance journalist, and they will then become part of the dreaded “MSM”.

Just because something is published on the internet doesn’t make it radically different from an article published in the “old” print media.Blogs can also be very cheesy. Okay, that’s just an opinion, but it’s an opinion held by many people. A variety of people use blogs as a way to trap you for the purpose of spamming or to sell you another get rich quick idea.

Blogs have opened up a new avenue for fraudsters to reach potential targets for their scams. So, you have to watch out for that when you visit a blog and be careful not to give up any personal information. I learnt this the hard way, I have given up my email address at some blogs to get additional information, and that has caused me to receive over 400 spam mails a day and it seems to be growing.

The Ugly
The ugly people are the commercial interests that use blogs to offer specific industry news and make you believe that they are a serious publication, from a marketing perspective, this is pure genius in trapping potential buyers. But for the visitors to the blogs, this is an entrapment as they later will be approached by the company behind the blog.I am not saying that every company that has a blog is ugly, there are good blogs which companies use to interact with the buyers, in which they can gain feedback and improve themselves.

The ugly as I mentioned are the companies that use blogs as a newsletter to entrap visitors.These newsletter blogs offered by a company, are a part of their marketing mix, because of the ease of adding content to a blog. Companies newsletter blogs tend to have content from serious publications and they link back to the original article, not providing any deep analysis or original content, so be careful when you go to a site that has a blog newsletter, first find out if this is a serious publication or not.

One way to check is to see if they offer subscriptions. If a subscription is offered it is probably a genuine publisher and not a company.

Also look at the content, if they quote a publication, then it is not a genuine publisher.

Do not signup for email newsletters if the company behind the newsletter is using a blog providers hosting service. You may be allowing the hosting service to collect your email address, possibly selling your email address to email marketing companies. Read the privacy policy carefully.

So, in conclusion blogs are good, bad and ugly, be careful when you visit a site, do not give up your information. I suggest that if you want your own blog, find the community site you prefer and sign up with them.