I don't know that I can hold Jim Kukral's post entitled "The Death Of The A-List" against him since it did manage to get him to the top of Techmeme. With that said I think it teaches a very important lesson about link baiting which is that, though it might appear to accomplish its goal, the end result is actually counter productive.
My topic really isn't his post but the thing to come away with is just how ridiculous it is. Here's a quick quote....
The thing we like to call “the a-list” is fading away. In fact, I think it might be already dead. Guys like Scoble and Winer and Calacanis and Arrington, and the rest, well, someone stole their mojo and they’re trying really hard to get it back by grasping at straws by trying to build the hugest Friendfeed list, for example.
Yes Jim, Michael Arrington is talking to 1.4 million people each month while you are talking to about 24,000 and there's absolutely no difference between the two. Keep telling yourself that.
Anyway, the post actually devolves even further from there as he lays the "death" of the A-List at social networking and paints the web as one big Web 2.0 love fest where friendfeed makes blogger 8217986 just as powerful as Scoble or Calacanis.
I'd honestly be surprised if he even believes what he's saying.
Which is my point. Link baiting works in the short term. It gets people to your door and makes them listen to you for one brief moment. But if what you're saying is non-sense it ends up making people feel they've been tricked. That in turn does the opposite of what you set out to do.
It actually ends up driving traffic away.
Not to pick on Mr. Kukral, he seems like a good guy, but he's the perfect example of what I mean. The fact that he claims to have been blogging since 2001 and still only has about 24,000 readers (according to compete.com) kind of proves the point. He obviously knows how to get people in the door but he's not earning their respect while they're there which means they don't stick around.
That, to me, is the ultimate indictment against the practice of link baiting.
Please Note: I quote compete.com in a few places above and feel the need to point out those numbers are pretty inaccurate. That said, I think they accurately represent levels (e.g. Arrington has a lot more readers than
Krukal Kukral) which is the point I was making.