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Is the “Evil” John Chow Gaming the System?


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Ever since I first saw that John Chow had a crush on Darren Rowse, I have become a regular reader of John’s blog. I have to admit, I have been sucked in by this rather charismatic guy who writes about how much money he’s making with his blog (he’s got my butt whooped!) and his Dot Com Mogul lifestyle.

Then earlier this week I got a ReviewMe request from John to review his blog. Since he has no shortage of people reviewing his blog for free (in a sheerly brilliant linkbait strategy, I might add), I totally wondered why the heck this guy would this want me to review his blog. Was he just looking for more backlinks and to spend his huge ReviewMe paycheck?

Digging deeper to write this post, I had to take a hard look at John’s really questionable “evil” tactics for growing his blog and readership. Just the other day he put up a post filled with total hacks to game companies into giving you free traffic and links. And in the past he’s been banned from Technorati and Digg. In the last few weeks alone, John suggests:

OK, enough of the drama. ;)

I have to admit, though I’m not sure that I would employ all of John’s promotional tactics, John has been both shrewd and sheerly brilliant with his innovative marketing. He has totally pushed the envelope and with nearly $8K in earnings in February alone from his blog, he’s doing something right.

And I’m totally guilty of being ‘evil’ myself in this post, because I’ve taken his tactics way out of context to get you to go read for yourself why and how he is so annoyingly inspirationally successful with

John ChowBeing the kind of person that loves a good mentor, I don’t just read John’s blog for the tips and ideas - ones I quite literally have not found anywhere else. I read his blog to understand how he thinks, how he runs his businesses, and the beliefs he holds about family, wealth, community, and balance.

Here’s some insights into the real man behind the “evil” grin:

Sorry to start out my post in such an “evil” fashion, John. But I wouldn’t be a very good student if I didn’t put into practice what you’ve taught me. ;)

PS - Thanks for the ReviewMe opportunity!

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    On March 8th, 2007 at 1:08 am, Rory said:

    *sigh* I sent a perfectly reasonable review to John Chow’s site, and I didn’t even get a look in. So, I provided a review with about ten links to his site, but was not chosen to be entered into any batches. I know I don’t comment very often, but my picture appears on his MBL widget, so I meet some of the criteria.

    La-di-dah, la-di-dah (said in an Annie Hall-esque stylee)

    On March 8th, 2007 at 11:11 am, Alex Shalman said:

    I’m not so sure the ban from digg has much of an affect on John, but the ban from technorati might be more of an annoyance. Plus, if he’s banned from technorati, the people doing the ReviewMyBlog for him may not be getting appropriate link credits. I wonder if it is affecting his affiliate marketing as well since many base it on technorati rank.

    On March 8th, 2007 at 11:37 am, Wendy said:

    Actually, Alex, he contacted Technorati and played dumb and got ‘reinstated’. But his new thing about posting a list of links will not fly on Technorati - they have already addressed that issue via the 2000 Bloggers meme.

    Rory, I’m sorry that happened to you. If you want to review my blog, I’ll link to you. :D

    On March 8th, 2007 at 1:51 pm, Alex Shalman said:

    Wendy, I did catch that he was reinstated on technorati. But, now he’s banned again. I guess my main concern was, is his linking less powerful now that it doesn’t appear on technorati?

    On March 8th, 2007 at 4:09 pm, John Chow said:

    My links still count on Technorati. They didn’t really banned me. They’ve just frozen my ranking, but it’s still counting people I link to and people linking to me. They have me locked at 14,000 odd backlinks. A check now shows I’m over 20,000 but they’re not crediting me for them. I’ll be back soon enough. he he.

    On March 8th, 2007 at 9:06 pm, Tyler Ingram said:

    Oh good review.. you’ve somehow taken the evilness out of John from the last few comments about him ;)

    Though I’m sure he’ll find a way to be more evil now!

    On March 8th, 2007 at 9:08 pm, Wendy said:

    Tyler, there is no amount of sugar coating that can take the evil out of John Chow. ;)

    On March 9th, 2007 at 1:54 am, Ed said:

    I have written quite a few reviews. All good fun, not for money, blah blah.

    I checked technorati to gloat at the link love that came from a review of John Chow’s site. I shot up the rankings the same day, but “my” Batch 18 shows no links! Google PR according to the firefox plug-in is 0 for that page.

    I dont care if it is an evil plan or not, but wazzup exactly? Aren’t these rankings empty boasts?

    On March 9th, 2007 at 1:55 am, Rory said:

    Thanks, Wendy! Maybe my review was a bit too cheeky. The great thing is, if you google John Chow Cult, I’m in the top 2.

    Hmm, perhaps that had something to do with it.

    You might be withdrawing your offer now :)

    On March 9th, 2007 at 3:34 am, Ed Lau said:

    That man has killed *baby pandas* with freakin’ rocks…in a rock fight!

    On March 9th, 2007 at 4:53 am, David Airey said:

    An interesting read there. :)

    I wondered why you didn’t touch on the design or functionality of John’s blog. The comments section in particular carries some nasty error that strikes through text after a certain number.

    Ciao for now.

    On March 9th, 2007 at 5:46 am, ScamHunter said:

    Well the review network is working. I’ve only followed 2 links FROM, yours being one of them. The title got me interested, since there aren’t that many women blogging at the level that John Chow would want a review from them. Or maybe that was his idea to extend his network beyond his usual demographic.

    You hit the nail on the head though when you commented that he offers something unique.

    Now that I’m here, I’ll have a look around. I like what I see so far. Kudos!

    On March 9th, 2007 at 7:38 am, Alex Shalman said:

    @John Chow - Thanks for the clarification, I know feel confident that you still hold the power of the dark side. Perhaps Wendy’s power of the light will collide with yours, for an epic battle, lasting 21 days and 21 nights. We prepare.

    @ScamHunter - I didn’t hear from eMom from John’s site per say, but once I got to looking around, I became addicted. Maybe she makes me feel, safe and serene, in a motherly way?

    On March 9th, 2007 at 7:50 am, Anna said:

    Rory, did you email him via his contact form and tell him that you had completed your review (as requested in his review rules)? If so, did you get a response?

    He messed me over when I wrote his review in return for a link. I wrote the review, followed all the rules and emailed him. He replied back that I would be in batch 23. I was very excited and waited for days for batch 23 to appear on his blog. Then when he posted batch 23 and said “Here are the 10 reviews” my blog was not listed!

    Imagine my disappointment. :(

    I emailed him and asked if he had forgotten me and he then added my blog as number 10 on the batch 23 list. Unfortunately some of the damage had already been done because my link didn’t make it to the RSS feeds.

    With all this talk about him being evil I wonder if he did it on purpose but then the big question would be “why”? Lol, that’s the part that has me stumped… it must have been an honest error because he doesn’t know me from Adam’s cat so I’m sure the omission wasn’t intentional…

    Wendy, this is the first time I’ve been to your site so I’ll go poke around now and see what I can find. I’m always on the lookout for tips and tricks and to learn as much as I can.

    p.s. I don’t know if the problem is on my end but this page (while viewing with IE) has an error. The error says “Done, but with errors on the page.” No idea what the errors are.

    On March 9th, 2007 at 8:20 am, Alex Shalman said:


    Because I like John Chow, I’m tempted to answer for him that it was an honest mistake, not an evil plot. However, knowing him well enough, I know he NEVER makes a mistake. He is as precise as a sharpshooter, so you could dismiss this as another evil act! I’ll make sure that your opinion is voiced, justice WILL be served.

    On March 9th, 2007 at 9:54 am, Wendy said:

    Rory - offer still stands, although since I removed the nofollow tags, you got a link anyway. ;)

    I thought of you this morning when I saw my traffic stats from Google this morning.

    Check out who is number #3 for “john chow evil“.


    On March 9th, 2007 at 11:57 am, Rory said:

    I don’t mean to use this as a forum, Wendy, but…

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Anna. I didn’t bother following up the contact I made with him. I kinda took it as read that my review was not what he was looking for. “John Chow dot Com: Community or Cult” was perhaps not an angle he was impressed with. I rarely interact on his site, so others would get ahead in the queue. And, you know, it’s no biggie. My end of year review could include me proudly announcing, “JC Reject!” Maybe I’ll design a little button…

    Kudos on the #3 slot, Wendy. And, thanks for the use of your space.

    On March 9th, 2007 at 12:09 pm, Wendy said:

    Rory - did you just apologize for making a comment on this blog? Are you kidding me?!

    Go! Talk! Mingle! And THANK YOU for doing it! ;)

    On March 9th, 2007 at 12:42 pm, Alex Shalman said:

    Rory, I say we keep talking until Wendy gets tired of us. I want to test her mingling ‘threshold’.

    On March 9th, 2007 at 2:46 pm, Yan said:

    I can’t believe John is able to stir so much attention around him by playing on what is popular. A true evil thing to do.

    Mentions on other sites...

    1. Battle Of The ReviewMe Reviews « John Chow dot Com on March 9th, 2007 at 9:46 am

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