PF Blogging and John Chow

What does PF blogging have to do with "John Chow". At first glance – nothing at all. So when I read a review about his blog on the Broke-ass Student’s blog, I was intrigued. I decided to check it out. It turns out, the reason for the review of his site was a link bait. That is, he has offered to link back to blogs that review his blog. Now this guy is ranked 1466 on technorati and apparently has an alexa ranking of 3823. That’s an offer new bloggers like me (and apparently, broke-ass student) can’t afford to turn down. So the dilemma starts – should I stay true to my topic i.e, personal finance or should I bite and do the review?

Well, maybe if I look hard enough, I can see a PF angle. Just *maybe*? Take a look at and you will see it isn’t easy. After much pacing, I finally decided that I will look to see if there are any posts that may be of interest to the readers of this blog and review them. If I cant find any nice posts to review, I give up. Fair Enough.

I started out by searching the keywords "personal finance". Not bad – two hits! The first one was titled How Much Is A Domain Name Worth?. An interesting-looking post which summarizes the results of a domain name auction. But I was a little disappointed. The post consisted a long list of domain names and the prices at which they sold and that’s it. I scrolled all the way to the bottom looking for more (the comments were quite interesting, though :), but the post ended at that. For me, a good blog post is one which presents a new idea, or sheds some new light on an old idea, or at the very least is humorous. Something. Anything. Not a long list of domain names! I can get that from the original article. If someone has nothing original to say, I would rather they just post the original link and direct me there. Not pretend to make a full post out of it!

The next hit was titled Learning To Manage Cashflow. Now that’s interesting. I am at present reading the book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and this post should be nice. So, I make myself a little more comfortable on the couch and I click on the link. Well, what can I say? Let me just suffice by saying, when we were kids my grandma used to tell us "If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything".

Maybe I just ended up reading the two posts that aren’t his best. Maybe, he just doesn’t like blogging about PF and his posts on this topic aren’t the best reflection of his blog. I look around some more, but can’t find anything that captures my interest. I give up.

So, then, why am I still posting this? Because there is a lesson for us to learn here. Just when I was ready to give up, it dawned on me. It's something along the lines of what Kiyosaki talks about in "Rich Dad, Poor Dad". John Chow, makes his blog work for him, instead of working for his blog. John used his smarts and the power of his blog’s popularity to generate more and more incoming links. He enjoys multiplicatively increasing number of incoming links through the reviews written by newbie bloggers like me who WANT that incoming link from his blog. Each of us who does a review will spend a lot of time on his blog and have more page views that any random passer by would. And some of us will bring more bloggers to him. And the cycle repeats. John not only commercializes his blog, but commercializes its popularity. The scheme is just brilliant. You just can’t help notice the parallel with building wealth. Like us newbie bloggers, people with little or no money need to work hard to get some. And slowly, if you use your smarts, you can use this money to work for you to generate more and more good stuff :)

So like I said at the very beginning at this post, at first glance PF blogging and John Chow have nothing to do with each other. Dig a little deeper, and John Chow might just teach you one of the best lessons on Personal Finance ever.


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Jennifer Lynn said...

Very interesting and insightful post. John's site may appear superficial and pretentious at first glance. But if one dips beneath the surface, there are some invaluable nuggets of wisdom at one's fingertips through his archives. He can definitely weave a clever scheme - I do agree with your parallel with Kiyosaki.

If I had decided to approach this from a purely 'PF' angle, I probably would have emphasized on this article (which you may or may not find helpful, but here's the link if you'd like to read);

ispf said...

Thanks for the link, Jeniffer. That is indeed a very good post.

I subscribe to a few PF blogs and usually most of the posts (even when they are off-topic) make an interesting read. When I read all the hype about this blog, I expected more and set the bar quite high. I was disappointed when I read the "recent posts" as well as the ones I found when I looked for "personal finance". Didnt bother to look beyond :(

I have no doubt John knows how to write a great post when he wants to (he wouldnt be as popular otherwise, would he?) Just not my type though :)

Jennifer Lynn said...

Yes, his site is very easy to dismiss. I wonder if you will find this series a bit more enlightening about all the hype surrounding him. They are four short posts chronicling his journey to becoming a millionaire, and his struggled survival through the dot com bust.

Part I -

Part II -

Part III -

Part IV -

I would say this is the essence of his popularity on the net. Which is why your parallel with Kiyosaki (who also has a great deal of hype and controversy surrounding him) is so clever.

You can't afford to take Chow too seriously - he's a goofball who can can barely keep a sentence grammatically intact. Yet he has also been a huge success financially. You can't afford to _not_ take him seriously either. And to give him credit, he has been generous about sharing his secrets candidly with his readers.

Therein lies the true paradox of John Chow. Love him or hate him, dismiss him or embrace him - anyone interested in financing would be wise to keep a shrewd eye on what he pulls out of his sleeve next.

Jennifer Lynn said...

"he's a goofball who can can barely keep a sentence grammatically intact..."

oh man, talk about karma kicking me in the arse.


ispf said...

Wow! That is some story!!! Thanks for taking the time to point me and my readers (hello, anybody out there?) to it!

No matter what I think of his blog, I WILL watch out for "what he pulls out of his sleeve next" :)

ispf said...

Alright folks. I publicly admit that (thanks to Jennifer) I have added to my "non-PF blogs" subscription list.

I still doubt if his blog posts will ever be as insiring as his life story, but I recon just having his name some place where I see it every so often, should do the trick :)

Jennifer Lynn said...

Ya, it is extraordinary stuff. John is the ordinary guy next door who developed this fabulous rags-to-riches story through developing his passion on the internet. I personally find it exciting when someone finds so much success by following their dreams. It shows how anything really is possible.

And as further testament to John's character;

and his donations to charity;

He is the epitome of what we each strive for - and what many of us love to hate. But John's a decent guy. That's why I had no qualms doing a review for his site. I wouldn't have bothered to review him otherwise.

Uh oh, have I converted you to a Chowhead too? ;p

ispf said...

> "I personally find it exciting when someone finds so much success by following their dreams"

I agree! Thats why I added his blog to my list. A non-cheesy inpiration plaque :)

> Uh oh, have I converted you to a Chowhead too? ;p

I dont know about that... I just cant think of myself as a "chowhead". Dont like the ring of it :)