Sam, I’ve run out of things to write about. Every month I highlight my portfolio’s performance, and finally, I’m no longer able to mask the poor performance with savings contributions. Even if my portfolio was down or underperforming, I’d be able to contribute $3,000 – $6,000 to the portfolio to make it seem that I was still doing a good job. My readers are pretty unsophisticated, so they don’t realize what I’m doing.
With this latest stock market correction, I’m finally going to see red because my portfolio is down more than $6,000! I’m tempted to just lie and say that I was up again since they don’t know how much I really have. I just show them what I want them to think I have with my final total portfolio value in my post. But if this stock market correction continues, I’m afraid I’m going to lose a lot of credibility.
I’ve never worked a finance related job in my life. I also don’t have anything to show for my wealth because I screwed up in my 20s and spent all I had. I never even finished college. The way I’m making money is to teach other people how to build a dividend portfolio. But the dividends from my own dividend portfolio can’t even cover a third of my annual living expenses. It’s the advertising revenue I get from writing about investing that pays the bills.
I’m even teaching people how to day trade. You and I know that day trading is a zero sum game, and most people lose a lot of money. But, I can’t pull back now and tell everybody “just kidding” about day trading and following my investment advice right? My readers would find that fishy.
The purpose of the post was to discuss how stock market returns can affect blog readership, and therefore income. I commented that “The blogger you quote doesn’t seem to have much respect for his readers” and Sam responded
He does. Readers love him, as they are just like him. He’s been doing good so far with his portfolio and so have his readers b/c the market has just been going up until recently.
But like all bloggers, we suffer a certain amount of insecurity that one day this good thing might disappear. Hence, the importance of content diversity.
I respect Sam, and will give him the benefit of the doubt that this blogger might not be as bad as this excerpt makes him appear. On first blush, the anonymous blogger seems like a terrible person with problems far beyond “content diversity”. He:
- Deliberately misrepresents his investment returns by including new funds being added. The Bearstown Ladies did this years ago, out of ignorance rather than malice, and it led to class action lawsuit against their publisher.
- His solution to this deception is to just outright lie to his readers. He was ok misleading them with information he knew they wouldn’t understand, now he’s ok with making claims that are completely false.
- His finances are in shambles – pretty damning for someone who wants to earn a living providing other people with financial information.
- He’s responded to all this by providing NEW information on something he KNOWS is harmful – day trading.
- He happily does all this, to put a buck in his pocket, when he understands that people following his misinformation will be financially harmed.
Ugh, ugh, ugh!
If this is what is required to run a blog, I’m out. I think the best advice for this anonymous blogger is to go get a job – digging ditches or flipping burgers at McDonald’s if need be – and try to develop some integrity.
Thankfully, I don’t believe this is necessary to run a blog or to be successful blogging. Even this blogger admits that he has a limited audience: he’s preying off ignorance in his readers. As any of them develop some financial acumen they’ll move on to other blogs. Knowledgeable people will see through what he’s doing and not become readers in the first place.
Rather than making decisions that will help him be successful, he’s making decisions that will prevent it.
Transparency and credibility are part of what bloggers are providing to their readers. Rather than having the stamp of the “Wall Street Journal” on our writing, the consistency of what we provide determines how we’ll be judged. There are MANY smart readers out there, and I don’t think anyone is tricky enough to deceive all of them – certainly not for an extended time.
On blogs I used to run, readers would often point out mistakes in the posts, which I happily identified and fixed. I didn’t lose those readers because I had written something that was incorrect. I kept them because I acknowledged it.
How do you feel about bloggers deceiving their audience? Can this be a savvy way to build a successful blog?