If there are no rules for what can be submitted to your blog carnival, then just about anything will be submitted!  The overall quality of posts submitted to the Carnival of Debt Reduction had been going downhill a touch.  Lots of automatic carnival submission was happening through BlogCarnival.com, and I decided to cut the cord over there.  That reduced the volume quite a bit, and the folks that were submitting on-topic articles already knew about the blog carnival submission form on my site.

I decided to take things a step further and make it very clear what was to be expected of people submitting to the carnival.  I drafted a set of blog carnival rules and added a check box on the submission form that indicated that they accepted the rules.  The rules could be used as screens by the hosts.  Don’t follow the rules, and it’s an easy rejection.  It makes the host’s job much easier, which is a good thing for a carnival manager.

What I regret it that I didn’t do this a long time ago.  My aunt, who was a health teacher, always said that it’s far easier to be strict at the beginning than it is to get stricter later.  The Best of Money Carnival started things off on the right foot with very clear rules.  Hosting that carnival was a breeze, and I hope that hosts of my carnival find it just as easy.

Free Money Finance has started up a new blog carnival that turns its back on quantity.  The Best of Money Carnival, by definition, is limited to only ten posts each week.  FMF even throws in some perqs:  $1,000 donated to charity for the best post of the year and for the best host of the year, plus ten automatic entries into his wildly popular Personal Finance March Madness competition.

This is refreshing.  A lot of blog carnivals are becoming nothing more than link dumps.  Hosts have had it, and managers have had it.

Some of the advantages of a limited-post, quality-based carnival:

  • Filtering. The host has filtered out the riff-raff and the mediocre.
  • More traffic for those accepted. Being one of ten posts is better than being one of a hundred.
  • Less wasted time. You may miss a few good posts that didn’t quite make the cut, but it’s unlikely that you’ll sit through any bad ones.
  • Self-selecting.  After getting turned down a dozen times, spammers might turn to greener pastures.
  • Construction of the carnival is easier and faster. Less typing.

If your niche is being overrun with link-dump carnivals, consider starting your own Best Of carnival!

Writer’s block can come at the worst possible moment, like when it’s your turn to host a carnival.  You really want to get away from the InstaCarnival deal and do something special, but what?

Check out Holiday Insights.  They have a big list of unusual holidays.  I had no idea that today, February 24th, is National Tortilla Chip Day.  I mean, you can’t make this stuff up.  Think you could theme your carnival around the humble tortilla chip?  A Doritos® extravaganza? Or maybe just a bunch of corny jokes?

This is a way to do something a little unexpected for your carnival.

One of the sidebar ads within BlogCarnival.com showed a blog carnival submission tool called Xingla Pro 3.

Honestly, I thought submitting articles to different blog carnivals was pretty easy, but this tool appears to make it ridiculously easy.  Maybe almost too easy.

I asked a question of a guy who had a “blog carnival submission service” and asked him to clarify what his service was all about.  For $25/month, he will submit one URL per week to 15-20 carnivals.  I didn’t ask — I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t tell me anyway! — but Xingla Pro 3 would be a great way to make this kind of business really easy.  Select 15-20 carnivals, load up the URL and other information, push a button, and bingo!  Bulk carnival submission!

Or just spamming?

My Carnival of Debt Reduction is one of the easier ones to submit to at the moment.  I don’t require much of anything yet of the submitters, nor of the hosts.  (I’m thinking of asking hosts to link to my latest debt reduction tips because it seems a little less demanding to ask them to link to a post with actual information than to link to the homepage.)  But anyway, I know other managers don’t allow submissions to their carnival to go to other carnivals, and others that require a back link to the carnival homepage from the host.  This makes me a target for less discriminating carnival submitters.

So, is a tool like Xingla Pro 3 good or evil?  I think it does what it does well.  Ultimately this kind of backlinking strategy might backfire, but who knows?  In any case, if carnival managers don’t set the standard for what constitutes a valid submission to their carnival, they probably deserve to be hit with bulk submission tools like this, and they’re setting up their hosts to deal with a lot of junk.