Blog carnivals are meant to be a collection of posts from other blogs on a specific topic, but what about a Carnival of You? What about putting together a bunch of your favorite links from your own blog, and slapping a Carnival moniker on it?
Clever Dude has done this as a way of rounding out the year and for highlighting his best work. Today saw the 2008 Carnival of Clever Dude, with all of the best and most clever things on the topic of, well, Clever Dude.
This is a cool idea to do once in a whle. Once a year certainly isn’t too much. Maybe even once every six months. Much more often that and you risk appearing like an egotist. Strangely, though, it seems like bloggers can get away with reviewing their best work more often if it’s billed as “digging into the vaults” or “one year ago today.” Other bloggers do this to good effect. But there’s something about spotlighting yourself in a Carnival that is a bit over the top, and gets old if done too often.
Anyway, consider whether it’s worth your while highlighting a Carnival of You. It could be fun!
The larger benefit goes to the people who submit to the carnivals rather than to the people who put forth all of the effort to host them.
A number of bloggers I respect have figured this out already, and they’re fairly reluctant to host a carnival anymore.
They understand the benefit of regular submission to blog carnivals: free backlinks.
The host gets a few things out of the carnival, mainly a little bit of traffic over the course of the week that they host the carnival, and a bit of exposure for their blog. The people who submit to the carnival get a permanent benefit of a backlink that usually means an incremental amount of SEO benefit. If their post is really good, they may get additional traffic if the host makes that post an editor’s pick, but that is small compared to the long-term benefit of the backlink.
I see hosting as becoming more of a small blog’s game, and this is unfortunate. My main blog is reasonably old by personal finance blog standards, but I’ve gotten on board to host a number of carnivals over the next three months or so. Some of my colleagues who have gotten a bit bigger than myself (currently at 3,000 subscribers) seem content to submit to several carnivals, sometimes with posts from several of their blogs, and rarely host any on their main blogs anymore. And, frankly, I don’t blame them! That’s the smart way to game the blog carnival system.
Some carnivals strongly encourage backlinks to the carnival from participating blogs; others require it. I applaud those who require backlinks as a contingency for participation in future carnivals, mainly for the reason that it keeps the hosts from feeling like they’re being used too badly.
I still have some interest from people who want to host the Carnival of Debt Reduction but for some reason it seems to be a little bit harder to get people to step forward than it used to be. Maybe folks who host the carnivals see the diminishing return for the effort they put out.
This seems to be an issue that carnival managers need to take on. Some managers have implemented a "terms and conditions" clause in submitting to their carnival in order to establish some accountability for linking back. For managers reliant on BlogCarnival.com like myself, the best we can do at the moment is to add a clause in the submission instructions.
A key ingredient of blog carnivals is the hosts, and convincing potential hosts of a carnival of the benefits of hosting is getting more difficult. It’s necessary to put measures in place to keep people from taking advantage of the hosts too badly.
Blog carnivals are great tools for marketing a blog and getting some free backlinks, but there are few ways more effective at killing the proverbial goose that lays the proverbial golden eggs than ticking off the manager of the carnival by not following his/her directions!
If you repeatedly submit spam or overly commercial posts and the manager says that these types of posts are not appreciated, then you risk getting blacklisted.
If you are required to link back to the week’s carnival if your post is accepted, and you blow it off, then you risk getting blacklisted.
If you badger the hosts enough, they’ll get back to the manager, and you’ll get blacklisted.
If you complain to the manager too often, he/she may get really sick of it and blacklist you for sport.
Pay attention to the manager of the carnival, follow the directions, and nobody will get hurt!
Commentary, For New Carnivals, Hosting October 20th, 2007
I was catching up with the blogs in my reader and ran across this Carnival of Future Millionaires in my reader. It was posted this week, and honestly I had forgotten that I had. (I did not receive an e-mail from the host asking me to link back to the carnival.)
Some things to note about this particular carnival:
- There are 275 posts in the carnival (it’s posted once every four weeks) and nineteen of them were by one author. Sometimes the Carnival of Debt Reduction doesn’t have 19 posts in the entire thing!
- I didn’t receive any notification that the carnival was up. As a host, it’s a good thing to ask your submitters to share the carnival with their readers.
- This is clearly a direct cut-and-paste of the InstaCarnival that BlogCarnival.com provides to hosts near the end of the submission period. Little, if any, editing was done. The InstaCarnival is a good start but it really looks like an InstaCarnival if that’s all that’s done.
- There’s a lot of white space in between the posts. This is an artifact of the way the InstaCarnival comes out of the box.
- There are no comments posted on the carnival as of right now, and it’s been up for over three days. Ouch.
This seems to be an example of “you get out what you put into it.” Getting the carnival ready to go probably took all of ten minutes, if that: Log into BlogCarnival (or open up the e-mail with the link to the InstaCarnival), find it, CTRL-A, log into Blogger, New Post, CTRL-C, Publish, done. But, it looks like the blogger spent all of ten minutes on it, too.
This edition of the carnival is really of minimal use to anyone involved. It’s not really useful to the host, because no one has even commented on it. It’s not useful to the people who submitted because their links are buried amongst nearly 300 others, many of which look like some authors submitted everything they ever wrote to that carnival. And it’s non really useful to the readers because it’s not at all engaging.
I have said before that InstaCarnivals do serve a purpose and that they can bring lots of traffic for little work. I might amend that a little by saying that InstaCarnivals can bring a lot of traffic if they’re already popular. The carnival in question here is a new carnival, so it doesn’t have its audience built up. Unfortunately, InstaCarnivals are not the way to build up a lot of traffic.
I hope How to Make a Million Dollars (the only host of this carnival so far) dresses up the next one a little bit.