Snark, criticism, attack-bait, poking wasps nests, call it what you want, while it might be an effective “link bait” strategy, it’s not one I would recommend. This is the path to the dark side.
First let’s look at why someone might be tempted to use this tactic.
- It’s quick and easy
- It works
- Takes little imagination
- Makes you stand out
- Builds a following
- Do it a lot and people fear who you might target next
While it is quick and easy, doesn’t take much thought and gets instant results (bad news travels faster than good, and it is very hard to resist responding to attacks and jibes) the attention gained is fleeting. The only reputation you build is not a nice one. You might enjoy being feared, and some people gravitate towards such characters and cheer them on, it’s not a way to build trust and contacts you can rely on.
So it is “quicker, easier, more seductive” but not necessarily more effective than any other tactic.
I know some of you will be thinking “I’m not here to make friends, this isn’t a popularity contest”. Fair enough, it’s not how I would play it but it’s your blog. Ethics and popularity aside, are there any rational or technical reasons why you should avoid this tactic? Aaron at SEO Book has some ideas
If what you are doing costs you significant credibility and support from within your community you are not going to rank well if the algorithms become more community oriented, plus when people search for you they won’t find others saying nice things about you, which makes it hard to charge a premium for your products and services.
For me it comes down to taking joy from others bad news. Our German friends have a name for it; Schadenfreude
Schadenfreude is a German word meaning ‘pleasure taken from someone else’s misfortune.’ It is sometimes used as a loanword in English and other languages.
Rarely will people remember being laughed at favourably. People have long memories and they do talk. A lot of people also remember how others have been treated. Is the short-term traffic boost and 15 minutes of attention enough reward to compensate for the loss of reputation?
“Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down”
This is called “social media” for good reason. Those with the social skills to match their writing skills will have more success than people who use their writing always on the attack.