Traffichacks: Can I press the “dislike” button?
Today I logged on to WordPress to see whether there were any pending comments and to check my stats, basically to see how well my last post had been received. I was happy to discover that it had 5 likes, which is pretty good for me. Now, it’s my policy to check out the blogs of people who like my posts out of curiosity and out of a kind of sense of returning a favor: you give my blog a chance, I’ll give yours a chance.
So when I saw that a new person had liked my review, I followed the link to their blog. What I found there frankly upset me. At first, it captured my interest by saying that it contained tips for increasing traffic to my blog. As I’m new to blogging, I’m all for getting as many tips as I can, however, what followed was not what I had in mind.
“This cool tool by Traffichacks automatically presses the ‘like’ button on a HUGE amount of posts in wordpress (Basically as many as you’d like). Than, the owners of those blogs get a notification about a new like via mail or through wordpress notification. Than, they want to see who ‘liked’ their post and get back to your blog – bingo. And that’s exactly what happened with you now, this is how you got here.”
Here I was, happy that someone had read and enjoyed my post, and now I find that same person did not even lay eyes on my blog. They just want to use the “like” option on my posts for free advertising. And they assume that I will now want to do the same.
If there had been a “dislike” button, I would have pressed it in a heartbeat. Is this a way to increase traffic to your blog? Undoubtedly. But it’s also dishonest and hurtful.
You might wonder how such a policy could hurt anybody, but just stop for a moment and think about how the ripples spread. I’ll tell you right now that I am hurt. I’m hurt that this person stole away the happiness I got from thinking that they liked my post. But at least this person freely admitted to using “traffichacks”. I immediately wonder how many other bloggers are using this. How many of those little avatars underneath my post have popped up there only as a result of software playing tricks on me? Are any of them real?
And if I am having these thoughts right now, how many other people are? Can you see now? Using “traffichacks” undermines the credibility of the entire system, so that whatever good purpose the like button was created to fulfill is either greatly reduced or undone altogether. Honest people who use the like button as it was meant to be used receive diminishing returns. People who receive likes on their posts are robbed of that little pleasure that comes from receiving a compliment and even the ability to see true feedback. I know that I’ve used the number of “likes” I get on a post to compare one against another and try to get a feel for what my audience is interested in or how well each one is written.
So, no, I will not sign up for this. I would rather have no likes on my posts at all than have 10,000 fake ones. I would rather have honest criticisms than fake compliments. I want the truth. And what I want I will give to others, just as I always have. If I enjoy a post, I will “like” it. If I leave a comment, I will tell you what I really think, the honest truth. I will not be using “traffichacks”.