The Blogging Conundrum

If you have read about Why I Blog, you would have known that I stopped blogging more than two years ago because I could not stand the (local) blogging world back then. A blog is originally an online diary, so reading a blog is supposed to be a somewhat personal experience. Then the blog monetizing community became so big that soon, most blogs became sponsored posts blogs. Instead of reading personal stories and thoughts, I was served sponsored posts and paid reviews.

When one wants to run a blog that advertisers want to approach, one has to turn his/her blog into a niche blog and write complimentary blog posts in their niche. For example, if you want to run a food blog, then you need to start writing food and restaurant reviews, raving about how great and awesome each and every single restaurant in your region is. You can’t write negative stuff because no restaurateurs would then dare to approach you to review their restaurants.

What happened was I started to see 100 different blogs reviewing the same restaurants, the same hotels, the same tourist attractions, et cetera. And all of them have the same generic contents: “this restaurant is so cheap and affordable“, “their main dish the lobster is so delicious“, “the hotel has such a wonderful beach view, you must visit here or you will regret for the rest of your life“, you know, this kind of stuff. The blogs were no longer personal.

I couldn’t stand it after a while. In fact, I hated it. I follow 100 different blogs to read about 100 different personal experiences. I do not follow 100 blogs that sing heaps of praises on the same restaurants/places. It was so depressing that I disappeared from the blogging world for quite some time.

Now that I’m back, I’m glad that I am able to find a healthier pool of blogs to read, blogs with the personal touch, so to speak. I think I will hang around for a long while now. But, lately, as I check out more and more blogs, I have also discovered a disturbing blogging trend. And this trend is the opposite extreme of the sponsored blogs trend. I shall call this, the nasty blogs trend.

You see, I love reading blogs with the personal touch, so I sometimes rejoice when I read statements like “I think they can do better in…“, or “the taste of … is not what I expected“, or even “I don’t like this place because …“, because people are entitled to their own opinion. You can like something, or you can dislike something, it’s fine.

The nasty blogs however, write no such thing. How do I define nasty blogs? Well, to me, there’s two main bad things that create a nasty blog:

1. Bone picking

Nowadays, when I read restaurant reviews, I sometimes see statements like: “They claim their fish is always fresh, but I can taste that the fish is one day old. This restaurant is a fucking liar!“.

When I read movie reviews, I sometimes see statements like: “Ironman’s plot is stupid, man in iron suit, what a joke! And Gwyneth Paltrow sucks because when she cry, there’s not enough emotions on her face. The movie sucks!

You know, I don’t remember Malaysians (or human beings in general) being a highly complicated sophisticated bunch. I mean, back then, it used to be: delicious or not delicious, I like or I don’t like, entertaining or boring. Now it is like everyone is an expert in everything, and it seems that people get angry more easily. If you want to run a business, you better be 100% perfect or else people will blog or share in social media about your unforgivable flaws.

2. Personal attacks – Sometimes, it is not enough to pick bones, some blogs would go as far as to completely destroy the reputation of certain places that they do not like. A couple days ago, I read a blog post about a restaurant in San Diego. I’m not going to link that blog, but basically that douchebag ordered a steak to be well done and then wrote something like this: “I have never eaten a steak as tough as this. The chef is obviously trying his best to choke me to death with his steak. People, don’t waste your money to come to this killer restaurant!

First, I think that idiot is, well, an idiot. Who orders a well done steak and expects it to be tender and juicy? And, even if you don’t like your food, there is no need to accuse the chef as a killer. You are entitled to your opinion, but I don’t think it is right to present your opinion as fact.

I suppose I can understand why some bloggers write the stuff that they write. I can understand why they become douchebags. It is all in the name of “driving traffic to my blog“.

I think people love reading disasters more than happy endings. If you write a blog post of the same hotel, but with two titles: My Experiences at Heavenly Hotel and How They Can Improve, versus Heavenly Hotel, Bringing You Straight To Hell, which do you think will seduce people to click it and read it? My money is on the latter.

I read a lot about how people are smarter nowadays thanks to the internet, but I think people have also become nastier thanks to the internet. After all, you can be mean while hiding behind your keyboard and there is no need to pay the consequences. And, no, I actually don’t think people are smarter nowadays. If in the past, we are misled by the mainstream printed media, today we are equally being misled by online propaganda. How many of you who read articles online actually stopped and think of the validity of the articles as opposed to believing them completely because they are from the alternative media?

You can hate me for being blunt, but I think this combination of gullible fools who think they are smarter now + angry people who would prefer to read negative articles to get angrier is the perfect environment for the nasty blogs trend to thrive.

I hope this will change soon. I hope people will become less angry and use more of their brain when being online. The internet is supposed to be a place of endless possibilities. I don’t want anger and stress to be part of those possibilities.

Oh, and, I finally noticed some Chinese New Year decorations around me. And the hypermarkets are stocking up on snacks and beer. The mood is coming~ Happy Chinese New Year, peeps!~


  1. I guess I haven’t come across any of those nasty blogs (thank goodness), but I agree that while it’s important to be personal and have an opinion, you don’t need to be an a-hole about it. It’s sad for bloggers to use their power to defame a restaurant/etc. just for more page views. Also, I hate those click-baity titles!

    • Sometimes, when you defame a restaurant/hotel/shop/whatever, you might be destroying people’s livelihoods. To gain some page views which sometimes does not really translate to actual money at a cost of other people’s livelihoods seems to me like a very high cost to disregard and sacrifice. It’s a shark world out there 🙁

  2. I will never publish nasty reviews about the F&B outlets that I’ve patronized because that’s just a total swig at their reputation… when the focus is on the food and the service… I’ll only use all the colorful languages in real-life, verbal conversations, though, lol.

    Freedom of speech doesn’t extend to taking swipes at people. =O

    • Exactly, freedom of speech should not be considered as freedom to vilify. Many keyboard warriors just don’t understand this concept. Not when they can hide behind the security of anonymity. 🙁

  3. Ugh. Nasty blogs and nasty commentors. I don’t usually read food blogs, and don’t usually come across those kinds of blog reviews. At the end of the day, a lot of us want attention for the wrong reasons…some of us are just plain egotistic. Terrible.

    I’ve dealt with my share of nasty comments on my blog attacking my personal life and persistent trolling too. As Constance said, behind the name Anonymous they seem to feel like they can get away with it. In a way, it’s cyber-crime, and what goes around, comes around.

    As for paid and sponsored posts, I’ve noticed that quite a bit. I’ve got mixed feelings about that. Some do really have balanced reviews and promote a good cause, but others come across as the sucking-up kind. I’ve never been approached to write a sponsored post, maybe one day. But I have been approached numerous times by other bloggers or readers who want to guest post on my blog.

    • I don’t really care about sponsored posts. I mean, I neither like them, nor dislike them. I just don’t read them much.

      I guess when you are famous enough, you will indefinitely attract unwanted attention. Gotta stay strong and just ignore most of them. And you’re right that most of us just want attention, we want people to think that we matter. We try to be civilized about it, assholes will use whatever means to achieve it.

  4. Oh dear, I hope I don’t fall into your category of ‘nasty’ blogs coz I do tell it as it is (my honest review) if I don’t like the food (sorry, I’m guilty of writing negative reviews too). But I always end with ‘my personal opinion’ and you (and everyone else) is entitled to have a different opinion from mine.

    I’m also not particular about following blogs that have sponsored posts or paid reviews (actually they mean the same thing, right?) coz some of these are popular food blogs and it’s inevitable that they get review invites (hey, I wouldn’t mind getting free food too but then I don’t get invites at all coz I’m not a ‘famous food blogger’ :D). As long as they’re honest (and don’t mislead us) in their reviews, I’m ok with following such blogs.

    • Of course not! If you are, you won’t be in my blogroll at all! I see you write in a way that clearly specify that whatever you write is your personal opinion, and that’s great!

      I’m not attacking sponsored posts here, I don’t think they are wrong, I just don’t like to read too many of them (that’s my personal opinion and preference). I’m just using them to contrast what was and what is. The important point of this post is in the second half: I don’t like nasty blogs. It is the nasty blogs that I am attacking here.

  5. I have to agree with you 100%! All that commercialisation has taken the soul out of those blogs and it kind of puts you off. I also don’t like those overtly negative ones. But then again, it’s their blog and they do as they like. We have a choice of continuing to read or to abandon them.

    • Yeah, I read and abandon them quickly.I guess I just hope to rant and hopefully it might affect some bloggers/readers who might read my blog and be more courteous when they write/comment on social media.

  6. Guess those are paid invite post la. I still visit those blogs as reciprocal la. They come visit my blog so I go and drop a comment or two lo.

    Yea.i don’t much like those blog that criticise too much. sometimes am guilty of that too . Have to keep reminding myself to give constructive criticism . Some restaurant,shop and even bloggers did accept the criticism with a positive attitude though not all.

    • I’m not attacking paid review blogs in this post, I don’t like reading them but I can understand it. I’m not happy with the nasty blogs. I think we can criticize, but we should be clear that the criticism is our personal opinion and not fact. For example, you don’t like the food in a restaurant, that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean that “the food in that restaurant sucks” is a confirmed fact. It is good if we write why we don’t like certain places, but not good if we write to tell people not to go to that place.

  7. I personally love personal post more, those sponsored one seriously sometimes are way too commercial, just like advertisement and not trustworthy!! =[

  8. You hit the nail on the head with many of these points. And I find that it is not only some bloggers who are nasty, but sometimes commenters as well. They feel they can insult or criticize a blogger because they use the name ‘Anonymous.’

    • All because of that sense of security that they feel, and their twisted interpretation of “freedom of expression”. They think “freedom of expression” means “freedom to vilify”. It is terrible. 🙁

    • I do. Trolling is a very wide application term. A way to explain this term is that it basically means doing things that is entirely unrelated to the topic and at the same time giving inconvenience to others. Of course, leaving hurtful personal attack type of comments on blog posts that does not address the topic at all is one type of trolling.

  9. “Then the blog monetizing community became so big that soon, most blogs became sponsored posts blogs. Instead of reading personal stories and thoughts, I was served sponsored posts and paid reviews.” Exactly why I refuse to do so when everyone keeps asking me and encouraging me to – one’s blog would lost its character, will not be the same anymore.

    Yes, I can’t stand those events – and when you blog-hop, you will see the same things again and again and again – even the photographs are near identical. I would just copy and paste my comment and post in every single one of them. Yes, it’s very impersonal…but that’s what such blogs are like – impersonal and they only want your traffic, not that they care who drops by – all about the money!

    • I’m not against people monetizing their blog. Heck, if I can, I would love my blog to earn be tons of money too! What I cannot stand is seeing blogs that masquerade as personal blogs but are actually 100% about sponsored posts. In a world where we embrace freedom of choice, it is not wrong, bloggers are free to write whatever they want, but in the same spirit, I am also free to not like to read those stuff.

  10. Eh what is conundrum ahh? Anyway I started this blog coz I see others doing it as a diary, to record about their kids progress and milestones and all.. Initially I blog a lot on kids and cooking.. Then blog blog har, errrm, tu kei boring geh, so sometime will blog about office or more deeper stuff like depression *ahem*, but not often.. Not to drive blog traffic but just to express my feelings jeh.. Sometimes ahh if read too much or wide, own self also jui mm seong (can’t catch up), so usually I just stick to my list of good blog list nia..

    • conundrum (kəˈnʌndrəm) noun
      – a confusing and difficult problem or question

      We have differing motivations to blog ma, you keep doing what you doing ya, I like your blog much much one! 😉

  11. Wah, so fast you wish us all Happy Chinese New Year already ah? Ok, I wish you back, a very Happy Chinese New Year!! How many days of leaves are you taking to spend time with your family. Wah, I just remember, you can still go around to collect ang pow lah!

    Anyway, why are you going around reading nasty blogs? I have managed to stay away very successfully, never read even one because I only read this circle of bloggers only, hehehehe, not as widely read as you.

    • Nope, 3 years pantang, this year 2nd year only, not really going to visit anyone, so probably won’t have much angpow to speak of..

      I don’t intentionally go to hunt for nasty blogs, it is just that I try to visit new blogs on and off, and sometimes I come across some that make me feel not too happy. Oh well, never read never know, once read forever no! LOL!

  12. paid post are still widely practised today….I used to be-friend with a handful of other bloggers who own genuine blog without sponsored post…but yea, as u said most have swayed and became paid blog. I have no choice but to remove them (a handful of them) from the blogroll.

    • I know, I am still seeing a lot, so I generally try to steer clear of many of them. I have nothing against those bloggers, after all everyone is just trying to make money (and for some, maybe a living), just don’t really want to read too many generic blogs, my time are more important that doing that!

  13. Yes you are often so blunt, nasty with words and often hit the nail BUT that is what made me like you. I like honest bloggers who are transparent. Well, there is nothing wrong with sponsored blogs when money is easy with simple writings. Who doesn’t like easy money? Give me $$ if you don’t want. Wakakakaka
    I loathed bloggers who used hurtful and sarcastic words on the weaker ones. There was this guy who hurt so many ladies and got silenced by others. Now he is history.

    • I saw those assholes last time, haven’t encountered (and don’t wish to encounter) them anymore now. They are just trying to use the bad publicity from the spats to climb the page view charts..

    • and also i find it amusing that some bloggers say one thing to criticise others but then they themselves are doing just the same thing.. hahaha!! can’t see the elephant beside but can see the flea on the opposite bank!! 😀

      • Cantonese say eye big can’t see mountain.

        Must remember one finger point to people, 3fingers and a thumb pointing back to ownself.

  14. oh well, from day one i don’t blog for traffic and i definitely don’t blog for money.. so i don’t care what language i use, hahaha!! what i enjoy in blogging is the interaction with bloggers especially through commenting.. one thing i have to agree with you is that, i would love a post with personal touch and i will ditch very generalised commercial posts, press release, sponsored posts etc..

    • I blog for money, but not in the form of sponsored posts anyway. There are many ways to monetize your blog without sacrificing the personal touch.

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