John Leonard an audience of one.

About Projects Now Archive

Losing valued readers

It’s not often that I am drawn to post about other peoples’ articles on the Internet. In the vast majority of cases, I read content because it adds something to my life, and is usually based on a subject about which I know very little. Every article I read adds something to me and helps me to learn.

Over time, I gradually add to the list of websites in my feedreader. Quite often, I prune that list in order to remove content that I no longer read, or which just doesn’t offer value to me as a reader.

The Simple Dollar is one of those sites that has survived many a year from this ‘pruning’. It has consistently educated me, enlightened me, and set me on the path to financial freedom by continually reminding me of the value of the little things, and the benefits of simple mindfulness when dealing with money.

Today, I feel thoroughly let down. Today, The Simple Dollar posted this post. It’s clearly written by a guest poster, from Cut Media, whom Trent has recently granted access to his site. (I believe this was financially beneficial to him, but I will need to find his post on this to be certain).

This post is appalling. Utterly unrepresentative of the valued and greatly appreciated posts that Trent curates and creates regularly, packed with linkbait and polished off with an infographic that is ‘de rigeur’ these days in every SEO sensitive blog, it is also just poorly written. I sadly smelt a rat when I read the opening sentence by our new contributor, Nicole, and the second sentence is no better:

"I’m excited to begin providing an additional resource for the blog’s readers with a fun and informative weekly consumer-related infographic."

Excited? Fun? Informative? We have all read those blogs that promise “111 great tips to lose weight” or “23 fun things you didn’t know about cheese” and many, many others in those vein, but a discerning reader will quickly gather that these posts are the meaningless fluff of the internet; offering little value, and carefully written to gather eyeballs for the benefit of advertisers and few others.

It is with great regret that I must draw the conclusion that Trent has let the same thing happen on The Simple Dollar. With no prior notification that this was to happen, no explanation at the time of writing, and countless outraged comments on the post, coupled with a personal twitter account @trenttsd that has been dormant for months and a Simple Dollar twitter account @thesimpledollar that does nothing but generate links to posts, this is a prime example of a site that has lost sight of the value of its readers.

I may come across as a simply outraged internet commenter who demands something for nothing. I’ll freely confess that I have bought little - if anything - from the site, and as such I contribute little to Trents’ financial position. I do visit the site regularly, and subscribe to his site via RSS, and read every post he writes. I generate value with my attention, and Trent has worked hard to gather his ‘clan’ of readers who contribute to the discussions and gather together to support and recommend his writing.

In my opinion, this recent post on his site is the start of a slippery slope towards an advert packed, spammy blog laden with empty posts that offer little benefit to readers and treat them as fodder for advertisers. I’ll stay subscribed to the RSS feed, and stay glued to the site as I really want to be proved wrong.

Trent, if you read this, please, please, reach out to the readers who value you and tell us why you let this happen. I think your readers deserve an explanation.