I have a story to tell.
I'm walking a fine line here so you'll have to forgive me. But I really want to address this and I really want to use a specific example. At the same time I don't want to actually attack this person or accuse them of something that might not be true.
So I've done two things. One, I'm keeping it all anonymous to try to obscure the identity of the blogger in question. Second, I held this post so it's been a significant amount of time since these events took place. I won't say how long, but awhile.
For anonymity purposes we'll call the person in the story "The Blogger" and we'll refer to the months it happened in as Month 1, 2 and 3. Traffic estimates are from Compete.com
"The Blogger" had recently started his own group blog. This new site had gotten a significant traffic boost coming out of the gate but had been in decline since. That is, until "Month 1" of our story.
In "Month 1" the blogger posted a non-tech story which he thought was true but which turned out to be false. The story was very popular though and as a result he got a significant boost in traffic (one which he bragged about). But that boost pretty much evaporated in "Month 2" (he did see a minor increase but only about 1/10th of the original boost)
Which brings us to "Month 3" where the blogger reported on the upcoming product release of a popular company. This story was about a tech company releasing a product at an unbelievable price point. Said company is very well covered and if the story had been true it would have meant a huge scoop for "The Blogger" and his site because none of the sites dedicated to covering this company had heard anything about it.
Anyway, it turns out the story was completely false.
Now, from the start something seemed fishy here. First the story was about a very well covered company yet this blogger, who had never had a scoop from that company before, somehow got it before anyone else. Second, of all the sites covering the company none of them seemed able to confirm the news. Even after "The Blogger" broke his story. Third, the source of the info seemed to be something that would be widely available. Finally, the rumor being reported added to a previous rumor (on another site) which had been all but confirmed (in other words, if you were going to guess about something the blogger's story would be it).
Bottom line: I personally felt the evidence pointed to the blogger having made up the story to get traffic.
Again, I have no proof which is exactly why I'm piling on the anonymity. But it got me to thinking, what would stop someone from doing just that? Newspaper reporters keep anonymous sources but they generally have to confirm those sources with an editor or publisher. Bloggers can type whatever they want with no check or balance whatsoever.
More importantly, if it was a lie the blogger got exactly what he wanted from it. The story gave him another traffic boost and in the end he could just say "my source lied to me" and there's no way to prove otherwise.
I guess what I'm getting at here is...it works! Lying to get traffic works. Obviously you have to pace yourself, you can't lie all the time. But a few well placed lies work.
I put a good amount of time into exploring how tech and morality intertwine but in doing that I don't want anyone to think I'm saying "acting morally will make you successful"
Hopefully it will but it very well might not.
Morality is good for the world but not always for the person choosing to take the moral course. The world is filled with people who chose to act completely immorally and succeed time and time again because of it. Morality requires altruism. If you aren't an altruistic person than morality probably isn't going to hold much lure for you.
This might seem cynical but it's really just the opposite. Living life requires deciding what you are willing to do to succeed. If you decide not to do immoral things you should know you've given up that success for a cause. You accept that loss because you know that, in doing so, you're making the world a better place. That might not be the greatest solace in the world but it's solace none the less.
For The Record...I am of the belief that there are successes around every corner and that turning down one chance at success doesn't mean you won't be successful. I don't doubt I could have been far more successful with just a little dishonesty but living an honest life I've still still gotten more than I personally would have asked for in life. Anyway, that belief colors the opinion above and if I truly felt someone was losing their one and only chance at success by living morally I might give different advice (though again, I don't believe that "one and only chance" is something that actually exists)