This is a hard post. I really love Blotanical, but it has lost it's integrity in that there is still cheating going on and nothing is done about it. I have been watching the cheaters for months and keeping the stats true by moving the fairly visited blogs up a visit when the cheaters move themselves up. I figured it out and I'm going to share with you how it's done. It's so easy, we might as well all get in on the fun.
Go to gmail or hotmail. Sign up for a few email addresses. I recommend at least four. The more the better.
Go to the Blotanical home page. Click on the "Join" tab.
Make up a user name and put one your new emails.
There is a little tick box that says..."Yes, I would like to add my garden-related blog."
Do NOT click the little box.
You will be walked through the process. Repeat this several times and let the cheating commence!!
Simply log in with one of your new 'member without a blog' accounts. Go click on your blog. You are now one visit higher. Do it again and again with each of the new accounts, and eventually you can vie for the top spots with the cheaters. You can do this once a day per account. Wow. How fun and oh so much easier than reaching the top by merit.
I have contacted Stuart again to let him know exactly how it's being done and to watch my blog soar!!! I started out at number 55 today. Right now I'm at number seven. That was just so much easier than writing a good blog and getting there when OTHER people click on my blog. And I'm not done yet.
Again, this is completely tongue in cheek. I am trying to bring attention to it in a big way so that it will be fixed. Hopefully this will do it.
I gave up using Blotanical ages ago. It was useful to me initially, as a means of "meeting" people and getting my blog known, but I'm not into the competitive aspects of that community. It is similar with Facebook, in which people are obsessed with getting the maximum number of Likes (which is completely pointless) - also on Twitter with Followers... Much better to correspond meanigfully with a small number of real friends. And if you have a good blog, the word gets round of its own accord.
BTW did you get any response from Stuart at Blotanical?
I am completely with you. I have been a very ardent supporter of blotanical. I've met some awesome people there. I really enjoy processing new blogs and helping the new bloggers navigate the site.
The cheating just bothers me. I've brought it to Stuart's attention a few times, but he never responds. So I thought...I've had enough of it all and before I leave I'm going to 'out' the cheating method and level the playing field for people who stick with Blotanical.
And have a wee bit of fun with the post.
I sent Stuart one last message to let him know how it's being done and letting him know what I was about to do. I don't expect to hear back though. I'm honestly not sure he even checks in any more.
I have had a feeling for some time that Blotanicalis more or less running itself and Stuart has moved on to other things. I use it to find new blogs and to see when blogs I read regularly have posted but I tend to use Google+ more these days, there are a number of gardening and garden blogger groups that have recently been set up.
I dont understand the mindset of getting your post picked to the top of the list but I suppose some people are after the publicity.
Thank you for the information. I was not aware that cheating was going on. I would just rather read blogs and post than worry about who is on top or who is not. I believe that informative blogs with beautiful pictures, not statistics, will always draw people to a blog. If a blog has a million hits or faves and I don't like it I don't even take a second glance.
It is kind of sad that people have such unfullfilled lives that they need to cheat on Blotanical which gets you exactly nothing. I like the site because I read my favorites there. I also like to look a the popular picks to find posts like this that I might have missed. I really don't care if people cheat because the most visited stats are meaningless to me as are the most faved.
Wow. I had never considered "cheating," but it certainly answers some of what I have noticed since joining Blotanical. That being said, I'm glad to be a part of Blotanical -- I've discovered amazing blogs and gardeners, and while I may not be at the top of the list any longer, it's still a thrill to be discovered by gardeners from around the world.
I do hope Stuart will be able to address the cheating issue. In the meantime, I hope the cheating doesn't take away from the community that is Blotanical.
Thanks for this post.
I would love to find another good group. Do you have any suggestions for me??
I'm with you Jay. I have a wonderful blog roll on my blog and I check the list everyday to see if anyone posted today. That is what I'll be doing unless I can find another good group to join.
It is a mystery to me why one would too. I can't imagine getting any satisfaction at all in cheating. It would be different if people just loved your blog and couldn't get enough. I'll never figure it out. But, I've brought it into the light and we will see what happens next. I'm sure Ernie and I and the Vachtra, Citraphile and Dandylyon (all the same person) blogs will be in the top five spots in no time. :-)
I love Blotanical so I really hope so too. I've been bringing it to Stuart's attention for about a year. He never answered, so I really don't know that he checks the messages or anything anymore. Sad. I will pop in now and then. As a Guru I was processing about five new blogs a week and I loved mentoring the new bloggers to the site. It was fun. If Stuart comes back and things start happening, if you think of it I would love to know about it!!
Oh I forgot one...in addition to Vachtra, Citraphile and Dandylyon they also have The Infusing Life tea blog on Blotanical. Same person.
I'm fairly new to blogging and have found many nice blogs to read on blotanical. I do think the system really works. My blog is often listed as most visited recently but I really do not get that many, I check it through my own blog's stats. Anyway it has been a nice way to get to know a few nice people and their blogs.
Check out Blooming Blogs, it's still building but I find it useful and some of the same people are over there. It's not about competition which I find strange anyway.
It's good to know Stuart is not answering email from his site.
Botanical is awesome!!! Th reason the stats have been accurate lately, so congrats on getting to the top of visited, it isn't easy, is that every time the cheaters gave themselves a Visit, I would give everyone else around them a visit. Someday they did so many, it would take me 15 minutes. Some days two times 15 minutes. I've been doing it for about ten months. All the while trying to get Stuart to fix it. I give up. I am going to just let them do whatever and back out of blotanical until it is fixed. I processed almost all the new bloggers to the site. I really enjoyed that so I will miss it. But I just don't see further benefit of me. It is a lot of work to keep things fair, read posts and process blogs. I will miss it a LOT. But I have made so many friends and found so man amazing bloggers, I wouldn't trade the experience. It's been great.
I'm in there. I will be spending a lot more time there now that I'm not spending 15-30 minutes a day working on blotanical. Yayyy.
I am effectively using Blotanical's most popular posts to skim off the cream for me.
As you can see in the Recent Comments on his sidebar, I tried to catch Stuart here
but no reaction via that route either.
I continue to find new blogs via comments, or recommendations (e.g. from Jean's Garden each month). In my turn I promote the blogs I read on my sidebar. I know that works because StatCounter sometimes shows me readers click on a few blogs from mine.
I've just come across your blog Erin - I'm a relative new comer to blogging and Blotanical was the first site I joined. It didn't take me long to realise that the site had kind of been abandoned by who ever was running it. I did get a welcome message from you but didn't reply as I thought that was just an automated message. So my apologies, I don't want you to think I'm rude - I just thought it would go unread.
I joined Blooming Blogs too but find I don't have always have the time to 'join in'.
I can't understand why people would cheat????
I you are right!! It is an automated message, but I take the mentoring part of it seriously. I've processed about 150 blogs and enjoy helping people figure out the ropes. As I mentioned in the post...I really love Blotanical. But, Stuart has abandoned us and we're on our own in there. I have been asking him for about a year to fix the cheating, but he never did.
What brought it to my attention was the blog Ernie and I. it was in the top spot for about six months or maybe more before i joined. He rarely posted anything in the blog back then and never interacted with anyone in Blotanical. It took me a while to realize that what was happening wasn't possible. So I started watching very carefully. That is how my brain is wired. I love a puzzle. Once he went on vacation (said it in his blog) and his blog dropped off the stats. He comes back and he was at number one again within the week. The other stat cheater was Vachtra/Citraphile/Infusing Life/Dandylyon. These four blogs are all the same person. They haven't been cheating in a while.
I don't know why people would cheat either. I guess being number one is important to them.
But hey, even though I'm not going into Blotanical much since the post, I will go in and look at my messages now and again or you can post here if you have questions. I'd be happy to help.
Hi Diana...you are right. I am completely on board with you. You know I was trying to figure out the cheating as almost a challenge for myself. I figured it out and now I've contacted Stuart and Outed the system. My job there is done. :-)
So now I'll just pop in and get messages and questions from my Sprouts and look at new blogs. I am going to put blinders on to stats and stuff...as I said, my job there is done.
I will follow your lead. Good plan. Bloggers are the coolest people I've ever met on line. The most giving, generous people. I feel blessed to be a teensy part of it.
Interesting. I remember reading about this issue in the past--maybe through Diana's post? I think some others complained about it, too. I'm very sad about this, because Blotanical is where my blog really got going. The community of garden bloggers here is ... well, words can't express how much I appreciate everyone. :) I have noticed that Blotanical seems to be waning in other ways, too. I'll probably keep checking back, but it's nice to know about bloomingblogs.com. I had heard about that one, but haven't joined yet, so perhaps now is a good time. I, like you, am just happy to be able to participate in this wonderful community of garden bloggers!
Thanks for unraveling this puzzle. I knew there was cheating but I couldn't figure it out. I did notice that the cheaters you named never picked me, lol. I have three blogs but only one persona.
Thanks for unraveling this puzzle. I knew there was cheating but I couldn't figure it out. I did notice that the cheaters you named never picked me, lol. I have three blogs but only one persona.'
Your new puzzle to solve is why I can't comment with my Google/blogger self on blogspot blogs that have embedded comment pages. Sometime I can use my Wordpress account, sometimes I can't comment at all. I think it is the embedded thing that stops me.
Hi PP. it was Diana at one point who noticed things weren't right. I was actually picking her brain a bit when I realized that something was amiss but couldn't figure out how. I kept thinking they had to be going somewhere in Blotanical that was out of the usual and found a glitch. I was making it way to hard.
Besides this, I have loved every blogging minute. I love blogging. I love bloggers. I have made some amazing friends. I am so lucky.
I do belong to blooming blogs. The main difference between the two is you have to insert your blog post yourself rather than a feed grabbing it automatically. Maybe they will fix that at some point. It would be awesome!!
Hi NJ. I truly appreciate your comments. It was really such a brutal decision. I love the blog world and have honestly had the best time. And doesn't everyone just help and help and help each other. I am very new. I have needed a lot of advice to get his garden thing going quickly for me. This is my third season and I can see already that this year things are going a lot better. Yayyy.
Well done Erin and Diana for working this one out. I must be so naive - it never dawned on me that someone would be so desperate as to cheat.
Erin, you were very helpful and extremely generous with your time when I had an issue with the fact that it was impossible to pick posts from certain blogs on Blotanical and I thank you for this. Unfortunately Stewart didn't respond to me regarding this glitch. Looking at the comments above, it appears that Blotanical has been abandoned by Stewart. I still visit Blotanical because I can pick posts from certain bloggers and this puts them on the front page, thereby, I hope, increasing their readership.
I have joined Blooming Blogs - I like the fact that there are some of my favourite blogs already there and I am enjoying reading new blogs which are not on Blotanical. I also really appreciate the speed with which admin at Blooming Blogs responds to any questions I might have.
Thank you so much. To be honest I thought I was going to take a lot of flack. I have been so pleasantly surprised by people reaction.
You are right. We are definitely on our own. I tried to get Stuart to fix this loophole, but never got an answer. One of our bloggers is having a lot of trouble with the preview picture of her blog. I have tried everything i can think of to fix it, and we've both contacted Stuart but nothing. I processed it so I know the feed was working but you can't see her blog snapshot. It's Happenings in the Garden if you want to peek at it.
Hi Erin, Whilst on blotanical I spotted the title of your post. I mean who could resist a visit. I have recently become disappointed with blotanical but stick with it, thats where I have my list for visiting blogs which I like. I am not fond of readers as I like to experience what people have done with their sites. A blog list on the side bar would be a good idea, have you any experience of this slowing down the loading etc of your site. Did I miss it on your post, how on earth did you find out such information regarding the cheats. Off to read it again just in case.
Hi Alistair. It has been an incredible ride. I knew something was wrong last summer. I just kept plugging away at it until I figured it out. It took months. When I realized that Vachtra, Dandylyon, Infusing Life and Citraphile were the same person and all their blogs were in the top positions, that is when the light went on for me. I realized that setting up new blogs to cheat would be hugely labor intensive so kept looking. Bingo!! It is the non blog members. ta da. mystery solved. The thing that really got me started was the blog that stayed in the number one or number two position for about six months. he wasnt active in Blotanical, didn't do posts very often back then and the blog was an okay blog but not spectacular like you would expect the always at number one blog to be. There were a few of us talking about how odd that was.
The cheats have disappeared from the visited list entirely, so I assume they've seen the post. In the post I said that I was going to shoot my blog up from number 55 to the top to show people it worked. I have not touched it since. Really stunned that it is still at number one...I really didn't want that to happen, ironically, so that people don't think I'M cheating.
I have my own list of blogs to follow too. It's the best way.
I forgot to answer your question. Sorry. I have quite an extensive blog list on the blog. I set it so that it will tell me when the last post happened. That way I know whether I've already seen it. It works brilliantly!!! I have a fair amount of things to load on the blog....but it doesn't really take a long time to load. Not totally zippy, but not painfully slow either. I highly recommend it.
Thanks Erin, Telling the truth ensures that you dont get negative response. Thanks for all the info. I think I will try the list on the sidebar as security if blotanical goes down altogether. Blotanical does feel rather dead. I think I am one of the few left that bothers with the picking thing. I just have a feeling that someone else is going to take it over and bring it to life again.
Why flack? We are with you!
Alistair the speed of loading the blogroll depends on what data you ask it to show. I prefer mine arranged by Last Published rather than an A to Z, with post title and a thumbnail. The odd thumbnail that doesn't come thru is ignored, and doesn't slow down loading.
Hi Alistair. You're right it does feel dead. I still go in and process new blogs and answer their questions. But that is about it. I hadn't even thought about someone new taking over blotanical. That would be wonderful!! An exciting thought. :-)
Thank you Diana.
Very interesting read. I was one of the first members at Blotanical, back in the days when there were just enough blogs to visit on a daily basis. If you picked and sent messages daily it was easy to get to the top. From there I developed my own blogroll of places I loved to visit. I also have a huge list of Canadian sites that I love to promote. I call it the Canada Blog hop and it is one of the tabs at the top of my site. I left Blotanical due to all the nastiness that went on (in the first couple of years ... people would leave nasty messages about others thinking only the plot owner would see them. Then it became very competitive with picking, picking, picking. I actually got a lot of my points from sending messages and not picking. I just recently went back due to an email message from someone that said they couldn't access my blog anymore on there. Well that would be because I closed my Blogger blog and moved everything to my own domain. Of course I never even thought about changing it at Blotanical as I had been away so long. But I did go back to add the new blog, and then processed it myself to add it. I've picked a few posts and sent some messages and posted on the forum just to see if anyone is around or if anyone will accumulate more points than me in one day.
I have a post going up on Friday talking about garden resources and I actually have some almost negative things to say about Blotanical. Perhaps you will stop by and visit my site. I'm another Canadian blogger from Ontario. I use a wordpress account to comment but you need to make another click to get to my site. Hope you stop by. I will add your blog to my Canada Blog Hop if you are interested.
Yikes I wrote a long reply and when I clicked publish it vanished.
Interesting read ... I've got a few words about Blotanical in my post tomorrow. If you want to stop by, click my name on the comment and then do one more click to get to my site.
Thank goodness the post made it to me...all that typing was not for nothing. I will check out your post tomorrow. I go in still to process new blogs and get messages. That is a part of blotanical I love. Stuart never answers their or my enquiries or requests for help. There is a blog I processed, with a perfectly acceptable feed and her thumbnail / preview picture never shows up. I have tried everything I could, but needed to get Stuart's help. Nothing. So her blog is doing okay but of course not really getting noticed. Sad.
I am going to check out your blog.
I'm using today's post as a test to see if I can get the red star beside my new site. I can't remember if it is done automatically or if it has to be processed. It will be a good experiment to see if someone actually reads it before giving the red star.
Hi Linda. Your long post just came in today, so I'm not sure what the heck. I would love to be on your Canadian blog list. There is a really close bond we form in Canada. The struggle of gardening so far north. Although I'm on Vancouver island so I sure can't complain. How did your experiment go??!
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