5 years might only be half a decade, but it’s more like half a lifetime when talking internet years. That being said, it’s a hell of a long time to be running an event like the Top 50 MLM Blogs.
In that time we’ve managed to give praise and credit to the who’s who of the MLM Blogging world and I stopped tracking numbers at 626 bloggers and 18,923 votes.
I am also proud to say that we’ve always played fair, hand counted all votes, checked IP addresses for duplicate votes and social profiles to validate if the voter actual exists, all to ensure that the results were as accurate as humanly possible.
But, like all things that run it’s course for a lengthy time, they have the risk of becoming stale, monotonous and losing it’s core value. As the host of the Top 50 MLM Blogs, that perspective has been creeping up on me for quite some time.
So naturally moving forward, we needed some desperate changes to spice things up and bring back the true value to this online event.
Whether this was your first encounter with the Top 50 MLM Blogs as a contestant, voter, spectator or if you’ve been participating and following us from the start, I want to shed some light on changes that were made for 2013, where we’ve come from and why I believe that 2013’s Top 50 MLM Blogs final result will be our best to date.
NOTE: This post in no way discredits any of the top leaders who made the Top 50 over the last 5 years as I will reveal later on.
So to put it all in perspective, let’s head back to the beginning.
Top 50 MLM Blogs 2009
The Top 50 MLM Blogs for 2009 is where it all started. We had just launched the blogging community over at thatMLMbeat.com and I was looking for a way to 1) give credit to all the top bloggers in the industry and 2) dare I say for more personal gain, wanted a way to get connected and build relationships with all these top leaders.
So I got to work, scoured every corner of the internet and found about 38 blogs that were credible with value. Remember, it was 2009. I figured I would find more along the way so started contacting those that I had found one on one.
I first wrote a personal review of them and their blog before doing so to get their approval which was very time consuming and a lot of back and forth editing. It took about 2 months to complete. I poured my heart and soul into that list and once it went live, it got praised, shared and raved about across the web.
It was really satisfying to see how proud all the leaders were who made the list.
And so, the annual movement was born.
Top 50 MLM Blogs 2010
In 2010, I really felt the pressure to step things up and over deliver on expectations. So we decided to relieve some of the work of doing it all ourselves and rather put entering and voting into the hands of the nominees.
This changed the game in a BIG way!
Those who entered promoted their links fiercely to get votes and that they got… votes… plenty of them!
The buzz this created amongst the network marketing community was insane, literally. Votes poured in non stop, it was almost impossible to control and our server couldn’t handle the pressure which had our site go down several times. (Yes, we truly broke the server several times and had to reboot, not a cheap Internet Marketing Subject for an promotional email 😛 )
The buzz was great for the contestants, great for us with traffic, but this is also where the first concerns started to surface.
With the results based on entries, I feel we couldn’t deliver a true Top 50 MLM blogs list as many of the leading bloggers didn’t enter.
We also had a crazy, legitimate race to the end with Ty Tribble from mlmblog.net, the contest favourite, leading all the way until the final hours. It’s here where Kimberly J Castleberry from just-ask-kim.com took over with a handful of votes.
Now, the win was fair and square when it comes to votes, but when you truly look at who the top leader in the industry was that truly represented the top blogger status, it was Ty Tribble without a doubt.
Now don’t get me wrong, Kimberly is awesome and a social media and blogging machine. Her blog gets boat loads of traffic day in and day out, but her career in Network Marketing was short lived and she has since left the industry.
She developed a smart strategy in the contest with reciprocity, critiquing everyone’s blog with lengthy reviews and naturally (naturally meaning, without asking for it) got votes in return.
Ty on the other hand is known as the father of MLM Blogging and has been doing so consistently before 95% of the internet community knew exactly what a blog is.
So if a winner had to be hand picked out of these results who truly represents the industry, it would be Ty Tribble all the way.
Top 50 MLM Blogs 2011
Not only did MLSP raise the bar, but they also exposed our event to their entire community which drew huge crowds to vote for all the bloggers.
All and all, 2011 was a great event, but the cracks started to surface with the voting structure.
In fact, it got completely out of hand. With MLSP as a corporate sponsor, there was lots more at stake to make the Top 50 and a few bloggers pushed the boundaries too far with the way they were gathering votes.
We started to spot duplicate votes from the same IP addresses, majority votes coming from the Philippines which were definitely outsourced, votes with poor english and just dumb spam that made a few people question the integrity of our event.
This lead to some really tough conversations with a few contestants and we had to remove plenty of votes.
In fact, we had to manually sift through more than 10,000 votes, one by one to make sure we delivered a true result.
Measures needed to be taken to make sure we didn’t have a repeat of this chaos in 2012
Top 50 MLM Blogs 2012
2012 Was yet another great event, once again backed by our official corporate sponsor My Lead System Pro. Great leaders stepped onboard and the contest took its usual fierce pace.
The highlight of the event for me was watching Cesar L Rodriguez from cesarlrodriguez.com come in at a late entry and battle it out with another great leader Jane Orlov a.k.a. The Russian Firecracker from janeorlov.com.
The contest ran with great sportsmanship and Cesar took the no 1 spot with a marginal win.
But this is the year that the problem became really evident.
The Top 50 MLM Blogs was no longer about the blogs, it had turned into a marketing contest, or to put bluntly, a popularity contest.
Top bloggers started to drop off from the event as they knew how much hard work it would be to get ranked at the top.
Too many bribes started to surface for votes and reciprocity became the law: I voted for you so you must vote for me.
Now I do take responsibility for encouraging this as many bloggers asked me how to get more votes. But in reality when you have an audience, you will get votes, no need to depend on reciprocity.
We also dealt with a ton of fake votes. No doubt, I wasn’t going to run another event this way. We needed to get back to our roots…
Top 50 MLM Blogs 2013
And so that brings our journey to 2013, our most recent Top 50 MLM Blogs which results will be released later this month.
This was also the first time that we separated the brand from thatMLMbeat.com, hosting the event separately and with 3 independent sponsors.
The event was great with a higher calibre of bloggers in the run, but the event took on a different pace which was expected.
The goal was to nominate top bloggers like we did in 2009 and deliver a real list that represents the industry truthfully.
So the event ended up being a blend of our roots of nominating top bloggers, staying open for general entries AND focusing on votes. I must admit, this did create some controversy and confusion in the beginning.
Although we didn’t want to shy away from the voting that brings the buzz and excitement, the end results will be based on 90% blogging / blogger and 10% votes.
We’re digging deep into Alexa rankings, consistency of content, value vs promotional content, content routine, klout score, industry leadership and votes.
So why have voting at all if all the focus is on the above?
Because it will be the key differentiator for bloggers who might not have the strongest blog with the biggest following. Votes could be the one thing that determines whether these bloggers make the cut or not.
We’re hard at work with the results, so stay tuned for that!
In 2009, all the emphasis and value was placed on the actual final Top 50 MLM Blogs list. Being in that list was packed with pride and honour. When we reverted to voting, the focus started to lean more on the event itself, the voting, the buzz, the reciprocity and the constant battle for votes.
Although the event has grown in numbers every year, we’ve seen less excitement about the actual final list result which is where all the emphasis should be.
To have that final result thats truly represents the real Top 50 bloggers of our profession.
Again, that’s not to discredit the many top bloggers that we’ve featured over the last 5 years. But you only need to go through the Top 50 MLM Blogs of 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and see how many links we have removed because of blogs that no longer exist.
There are many links that we kept active to blogs that haven’t produced new posts in months, some even more than a year.
That’s why I am more excited than ever to deliver the end result of 2013.
The list will consist of top leaders in the industry that you can rely on to deliver consistent and valueble content that you can take to the bank in 2014.
And finally, what will be a true testament to the results is the amount of bloggers who make the cut for 2013 who were also part of our original Top 50 MLM Blogs for 2009.
Would love your feedback, do you feel that we’re on the right track for making these changes?
Leave your comments below!
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