An unfortunate reality of hosting a blog carnival

The larger benefit goes to the people who submit to the carnivals rather than to the people who put forth all of the effort to host them. A number of bloggers I respect have figured this out already, and they’re fairly reluctant to host a carnival anymore.

They understand the benefit of regular submission to blog carnivals: free backlinks.

The host gets a few things out of the carnival, mainly a little bit of traffic over the course of the week that they host the carnival, and a bit of exposure for their blog. The people who submit to the carnival get a permanent benefit of a backlink that usually means an incremental amount of SEO benefit. If their post is really good, they may get additional traffic if the host makes that post an editor’s pick, but that is small compared to the long-term benefit of the backlink.

I see hosting as becoming more of a small blog’s game, and this is unfortunate. My main blog is reasonably old by personal finance blog standards, but I’ve gotten on board to host a number of carnivals over the next three months or so.  Some of my colleagues who have gotten a bit bigger than myself (currently at 3,000 subscribers) seem content to submit to several carnivals, sometimes with posts from several of their blogs, and rarely host any on their main blogs anymore. And, frankly, I don’t blame them! That’s the smart way to game the blog carnival system.

Some carnivals strongly encourage backlinks to the carnival from participating blogs; others require it. I applaud those who require backlinks as a contingency for participation in future carnivals, mainly for the reason that it keeps the hosts from feeling like they’re being used too badly.

I still have some interest from people who want to host the Carnival of Debt Reduction but for some reason it seems to be a little bit harder to get people to step forward than it used to be.  Maybe folks who host the carnivals see the diminishing return for the effort they put out.

This seems to be an issue that carnival managers need to take on. Some managers have implemented a “terms and conditions” clause in submitting to their carnival in order to establish some accountability for linking back. For managers reliant on like myself, the best we can do at the moment is to add a clause in the submission instructions.

A key ingredient of blog carnivals is the hosts, and convincing potential hosts of a carnival of the benefits of hosting is getting more difficult.  It’s necessary to put measures in place to keep people from taking advantage of the hosts too badly.

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