The Aaron Goldfarb Blog

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25Mar/110

How to Have a Highly Successful Blog You Hate

Back in the day, every so often I'd get bored with my real (and unsuccessful) writing career and think:

It's time to create one of those high concept blogs that quickly goes viral, gets tons of ads and a book deal, makes me rich, and finally allows me to live the good life.

Here were two notable attempts.

Is Anyone at Cosmo Getting Laid?

December 2005-March 2006

Why I Started it: I'd always see Cosmopolitan magazines (and women's magazines of the ilk) sitting around my sister's place and think, "Jesus, do these people know anything about sex?"

How it Succeeded: A lot of people apparently liked to see these dumbass magazines and their dumbass advice getting ripped on and, very quickly, IAACGL was featured everywhere:  Gawker, Nerve, even MSNBC.  I was getting tens of thousands of readers per day, sometimes even hundreds of thousands.  I was arrogant (and stupid) though so I didn't realize that was pretty good.  I was also getting solicited for tons of dates.  Writing anonymously--I'm not so sure why I cared about my anonymity back then, I suppose I just thought it was what bloggers were "supposed to" do--I'd have assumed most people would think a lady or homosexual was the one penning a Cosmo snark blog, but, no, everyone knew it was a heterosexual man.  I went on a few of these dates, one with a woman who actually wrote the sex column for Cosmo, but nothing ever materialized.

Why I Hated it: Back then, in the early days of blogging, you had to know basic HTML to do anything online so every time I wanted to post something with any formatting or images, I had to have my coding-knowledgeable sister do it for me.  That got annoying.  Almost as annoying as scouring women's magazines every night for material.

How I Know I Was Onto Something: Even to this day, I still get comments on half-decade old posts and emails to the website.  And, I still think it's a pretty good idea for a snark site, an idea that no one is still doing successfully (unless I'm unaware, which I'd probably am because snarking on women's mags really does not interest me).

NYC Tourists

November 2008-March 2009

Why I Started it: Living and working in midtown New York, passing through Times Square and Rock Center every single day, I got so goddamn sick of bumbling crowds of tourists.  One such day, when I got home, I registered a blog on WordPress, and quickly wrote:  "Give me your tired, your poor, your disgustingly fat retarded sloths that get in my fucking way every time I try to negotiate midtown…"

How it Succeeded: It was featured in even more places than the Cosmo blog.  In all of the NYC local blogs but most notably, in a feature on Gothamist where they absolutely hammered me for being so mean-spirited and not respecting the New York "melting pot."  I may have been hammered, but any press is good press when you're ripping on tourists because countless fellow New Yorkers agreed with me and started emailing me and commenting on my blog.  I was amazingly so busy from all the press, I did nothing for several days but work on NYC Tourists.

Why I Hated it: Gothamist was actually...kinda right.  I started feeling bad about mocking these kindly, defenseless slobs from middle America.  And I really fucking hated now walking around at all times with my camera shutter ready to take absurd pictures.  I wanted to just live.  I also didn't want to do the work it took to keep producing content.  I still liked the idea of the blog, in theory, and it was certainly one I'd have liked to read every day, I just didn't want to be the one creating it.  I wanted the site to quickly grow into a site (or sites, one unrelated site sprung up in DC based on my tourist-hating inspiration) solely run by contributors, walking around taking their own pictures and uploading them with their own captions while I sat back cashing the checks.

How I Know I Was Onto Something: Within months of me folding up shop, other snarky photo websites such as People of Wal-Mart and Look at This Fucking Hipster sprung up, getting tons of readers and contributors, book deals and earnings.  I was clearly *that* close.

Now, I like my beer blog and certainly this personal blog a ton more than these previous attempts.  But, they also get a ton less readers, comments, and everything else.  Such is life I suppose.  Maybe this piece will get reblogged and retweeted and I'll soon hate this blog too.

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