There was a great comment on the I Will Teach You How To Be Rich post I linked to the other day:
Most personal finance sites suck. There’s an overwhelming number of them run by people who really don’t know much of anything about finance — they simply found themselves in debt, decided it was too much to deal with, and went looking for help on the internet. What they found was the “online personal finance community”.
And they liked it. And they wanted to participate, so they started their own sites. But they have no real new knowledge nor research of their own, they simply apply the lessons they’ve learned from the rest of this community and write the same stories as everyone else. And so, once one person stopped buying lattes and wrote about it, everyone else did the same thing, and they all wrote about it, too.
It’s a self-perpetuating cycle of mediocrity and regurgitation.
Wow. Absolutely fabulous comment, Tyler.
I don’t want to pick on the Simple Dollar, but for the sake of being lazy, let’s. What the hell is he doing giving anyone advice? He’s just some schmo who worked himself out of a bad debt situation. Good for him. But explain to me how he’s qualified to give advice?
Then there’s the disclaimer. I hate the disclaimer. It usually says something to the effect that, while the site gives out advice, a person shouldn’t really listen to it. Or if they do, and the you know what hits the fan, then don’t hold the author responsible! It was for entertainment purposes only!
I’m reminded of the old saying, “Free advice is worth what you pay for it.”
Now, I don’t want to discount the advice that Trent or anyone gives. Mostly it’s pretty good. Yet there’s an awful lot of responsibility to get your stuff right. How can someone live with themselves knowing that they gave advice that didn’t work out, that lost someone money?
If I had a nickel for every post I’ve seen on ING Direct, I’d have quite the bag full of nickels. By now, if you haven’t heard of the benefits of ING Direct, you either can’t read or are living in a cave without internet access. How many more times do we have to see the same post? Is it a personal finance blog rite of passage or something?
Same thing with going to Starbucks, frugal tips to do whatever, avoiding overdraft fees and the evils of going out to eat. I get it, those are bad. So does everyone else. How about something that makes ya think?
I understand the desire to cater your blog to the lowest common denominator. More people=more page views. And once you’ve written a few hundred posts, the quality has to start going down some. I understand all that. But please don’t represent yourself as the knower of all and then hide behind a disclaimer.
If you keep reading this blog, there are going to be some posts that are going to strike out. Every blog has that. All I ask is that someone just try, rather than churn out another cookie cutter piece on the ways to save money grocery shopping.
How about your blog, or your favorite blog? Does it sound a lot like what Tyler describes?