Why Do Some Website Owners Lie and Deceive?

This post is going to be a bit of a rant and lesson learned.

A year or so ago I was approached by a popular blogger (at the time his blog received a lot more traffic than mine) to see if I fancied posting on his site and I’d let him do the same on mine. The arrangement would give us both access to each others audiences which seemed a pretty good idea to me.

It turned out he has this arrangement with a fair few blogs and he republished his stories elsewhere with a few extra links back to his site and it had certainly worked well for him as he had some excellent SERPs.

My idea was to post summary posts on his site that would lead back to the full posts on mine, I asked if he was fine with this to which he replied yeah he didn’t really care what I posted on his site. I should of taken this as a warning sign (lesson learned there).

The arrangement had worked well for a while, however this changed last week, he published something that was duplicate so I removed that post and also deleted another one due to the language not being suitable. I then checked his site out and noticed he had very similar feedburner subscriber count to me which wasn’t very surprising considering he’d just copied my feedburner image and pointed at his feed, cheeky bastard.

His should have been: [This has now been made private for some reason but was about 4k]

But was: CG Feedcount

I’ve read about people doing this before most recently on Net Business Blog and as Dee said it’s pretty lame.

So I mentioned this in the email about the removed posts. The reply that came back surprised me, he denied all knowledge of it and suggested I had a problem with the cache in my browser. To his credit he had changed the Feedburner image to an equally fictitious hard coded graphic that he’d saved to his site :rollseyes: , I’ve just checked again now and all trace has been removed. It’s one thing for him to deceive his own readers (which I also don’t agree with) but a blatant lie like that which was so easy to catch out looking at Google cache is just idiotic.

After finding out his feedburner count was bogus I had a quick look at BlogAds (we’re both members of the gadget network) to see how our traffic now compared and to my surprise he’s sold adverts to the tune of $60,000+ for one week. Must admit I’m not sure if I believe that stat.

As you can probably guess we ain’t going to be posting on each others sites again and I’ve lost all respect for a very successful website owner. I won’t directly mention names or sites but by links and images here I’ve not exactly hidden it. And to answer to the title of the post, I’ll leave that to the comments.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. I have been curious about that particular arrangement in the past which you had with that writer. I noticed a couple of months back that links back to his site were showing the exact article if I remember correctly.

    As to why they do it… I guess the internet provides some level of being anonymous. A bit like how harsh people can get with each other on a forum. I bet they wouldnt act that harsh if they met face to face.

    • Initially the arrangement worked quite well and as we got the chance to engage with a new audience and I got extra content which attracted a lot of comments making it unique. Must admit I was never all that comfortable with it though.

  2. Google/Feedburner could stop hotlinking of these images with 5 minutes worth of php code to check the referrer headers when the image was being called.

    Not sure why they don’t…

  3. The main prblem I have come across is where I have bought links for a period of time only to find the links gone a few months later. I have read some things on just simply going out & purchasing established sites so you are the master of your own destiny so to speak if at present I’m going to pay $100 for a year I may as well go buy a site for 1,000 knowing fullwell I wll be in business for the next ten years.

    • I can imagine link buying being a bit tricky. There are a lot decent site owners out there but you’ll always get a few idiots that take the money and run.
      I reckon buying a site is often the best use of funds.

  4. Some people will do anything to create the illusion of greater success. I think the behavior/attitude that you described is far more common than most people think. Not just online (very easy to fake) or in businesses, but in everyday life too.

    Not too long ago I heard a true story about a business man who had made a framed print featuring him on the cover of the Times magazine. It looked totally real. To impress his potential clients/business partners, the cover was hanging in the waiting room and in his office.

    Anyway, you guys have a great blog. I read every post via my RSS reader. Unfortunately I don’t comment as often as I’d like to. Keep up the great work! 🙂

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Dawid. Great story about the times magazine. I remember a similar story a few year ago about a bloke on a train yacking on his mobile (this is when mobiles were really expensive). A woman went into labour and other passengers asked him to call a doctor . He refused until all the passengers protested and he had to admit he was just pretending to talk as it wasn’t a real mobile 🙂 You’ve probably got to be over 30 to appreciate that one.

  5. I am absolutely disgusted by such unethical work of a website owner. I admit that my site is nowhere near SelfMadeMinds or Coolest-Gadgets, but I am happy with the number of decent visitors that I receive over the time.

    Anyway, it’s a lesson learnt and also a lesson to be learnt by us.

  6. Thanks for letting us know about this one, business rules indicate you keep these to yourself rather than face the embarrassment. It has been one item at the back of my mind as I am starting to build content and searching for ways to help it grow. But as Vint Cerf is known to say, ‘if you don’t like the problems in the online world, fix them in the off-line world first.’ Great site and thanks again for helping us all learn a bit more on how to make this work.

  7. deceiving is wrong no matter what.

    now that one lie has been exploited, he loses all his credibility.

  8. IF you click on the icon you can see that the site in question is methodshop.com

  9. And to answer your original question WHY…?

    Because of their insecurity, feeling of never being good enough (which came from their parents), the incredibly competitive American society where #2 place is worth nothing, ego and other weaknesses of human mind.

    You can only feel compassion for these people and let go of the negative feelings inside of you which only hurt you.

    And of course, don’t do business with them again.

  10. I agree with your points, Tomaz.

    Al, thanks for sharing this story. It’s good to remind others that not everyone in business is ethical. Hopefully, people will learn from your experience. Also, thanks for the link.

  11. Well, I’m not defending this person or anything, but the person does get serious traffic according to blogads and he sells his ads for some serious money. Is there anyway to game blogads? …in other words, he’s not exactly carrying around a cellphone made of wood!

    Thanks for all the good info on this blog.

    • Thanks for the comment Liz. He is a very successful webmaster and I must admit I was surprised by his actions. He does very well with blogads though some of his figures there don’t make much sense IMO.

  12. Thats bad, but part and parcel of doing business on the internet or for that matter even offline.

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