I don?t usually get angry in blog posts, and I hope?you?ll forgive me if?my writing?suffers because of how completely ticked off I am right now.? I?ll try to stop and take a?periodic deep breath, but it?s tough to stay calm?while telling Contest Blogger?s readers that they have been completely duped by the?one of the biggest con-job shams I?ve ever seen in the blogosphere.
Why we?re totally ticked off
Not that it had to be that way.? I warned everyone that Ashwin Khanna?s $2,500 backlink contest was a total load of crap back when he started it.??I?m not sure how many bloggers took my word for it, but from the looks of things,?a lot of?people took the bait and fell for?this huge lie.
And in the process of preying on the trust of the blogosphere, Ashwin got a whole lot of backlinks to his piece of crap blog, will probably end up getting a PR 4 at the next Page Rank update, and came out with one hell of a Technorati ranking.
The reason this makes me so angry is because of the way he did it: by hosting a total sham blog contest and promising bloggers that he would give one lucky winner $2,500 if they would link to his pukebag blog.
You see, blog contests are what we specialize in. ?I know how hard many bloggers work to to?sponsor honest,?fun contests to reward their readers and promote their?sites.? There are bloggers out there who are struggling and saving just to put together a $25 contest for their readers.? And?seeing someone?like Ashwin Khanna trick so many bloggers into linking to?his garbage, and then cheating them out of the reward, really ticks me off.
The Saga of Ashwin Khanna
For those of you who haven?t been following the ridiculous saga of Ashwin Khanna, I?ll fill you in on the details:
A while ago,?I came across this dude named?Ashwin Khanna?whose blog?was showing off?one?RSS subscriber, a Technorati authority of six, and less posts?than I have toes on my feet.? And he was claiming to be running a contest to give away $2,500.
Wait, it gets better. Ashwin, who had titled himself? ?Another Internet Entrepreneur Trying to be the next John Chow,? didn?t even have a deadline for his?$2,500??blog extravaganza.? Which?was, to me, more solid evidence that a?bull**** card?was totally in order.
Couldn?t be easier to enter!
So, what did a blogger?have to do to enter this ?blog extravaganza?? Give Ashwin first right of refusal on?their next child??Tattoo ?Ashwin Khanna Dot Com? on their rear ends??No, nothing quite so complicated?as that.? To win $2,500, all you had to do is copy and paste the following?exclamation-point laden snippet on? a blog post:
Over at Ashwin?s blog, you will find one crazy blog owner!! You can win $2500!! To enter just copy this text and paste it in your blog!! But hurry, this competition will not last long! So get posting!
And that was?it.? Never?mind?the fact that with that much money, Ashwin Khanna could have bought?more targeted, Page Rank heavy?text links, reviews and advertising than he would?ever get from running a backlink competition.
Since the dude didn?t have a contest deadline listed, I?figured he might just say that the contest would end in?the year 2315.? At least that would have been sort of funny.
Something still smelled fishy
Anyway, after I published the original?post, Ashwin changed his blog?s motto,?added a contest deadline of August 20, and promised that his competition was, indeed, genuine.? At that point, I promised I would?publish a post saying ?Contest Blogger is Full of Crap? if he really gave away?the $2,500.
But I still smelled a rat, especially when I noticed that Ashwin?s About Page gave us the following peek?into his mysterious life:
18 year old blogger from the UK, accomplished tree jumper and expert in woven artefacts.
Dude, what the heck is a ?tree jumper??? And how do you become an accomplished one?? And if you were really an expert in woven artifacts, wouldn?t you at least know how to spell it?? The enigma deepened.
Soon after that, ?The Link Bait made a prophetic guess that Ashwin would declare a friend or some made-up entity the winner so he didn?t have to really give up any money.? And Ashwin?changed the rules of his contest yet again.? Now he said that there weren?t enough entrants, and that he had to have a minimum of 50 or he wouldn?t give the money away.? Fifty links for $2,500 . . . now that sounds like a?great deal.
In the end, it really was too good to be true
In spite of the fact that Ashwin?s bogus contest was way too good to be true, though, I watched as dozens and dozens of trackbacks started showing up on his contest page from eager bloggers who were linking back to him just for the tiny chance that he might not be full of crap.
I never saw Ashwin?s RSS number go past thirty, but his Technorati authority soared to almost 500 and his piece of trash blog is now being predicted to get a PR?of 4 on the next?Google update . . . all thanks to a lie that took him no more than a few minutes to think up.
And make no mistake: it was a total sham.? Yesterday, Ashwin made the long-awaited announcement:?the winner of the $2,500 had been chosen!??Strangely, though, no blogger?s name was given; just a link to a bullcrap barebones site that was just set up two days ago.? The total number of posts on this blog?? Two.
What really makes me angry is that Ashwin is insulting everyone who took part in the contest even further by putting absolutely zero effort into making it look like there was a real winner.? I mean, the dude could have done any number of different things to make his sham a little more convincing.? As it stands, though, he?s ending?the con job by sticking his thumb into the collective eye of?the blogs he stole linkage from.
Backlinks are valuable.? Be careful who you give them to
This post is getting way too long, so I?ll end it with this: be very careful of what you believe in the blogosphere and of who you reward with backlinks.? If a contest seems too good to be true, it?s because it is.
Ashwin Khanna is now going to be able to?make some pretty good money through Text Link Ads and other methods?once the Page Rank update hits . . . and he did it by lying right in your face.
Update: Kudos to Bloggrrl, who did some research of her own and discovered that Ashwin copied the one article on his bogus blog directly from The New York Times.? Looks like he?s graduated from sneaky-but-legal blog con jobs to outright plagiarism.
Another Update: Here?s a link to Ashwin?s original blog, 30 Gigabytes Dot Com, where he apparently made a portion of the $2,500 in prize money.