Last night I tweeted this:

This is horrible beyond words – force your readers to share your content before they can read it… codecanyon.net/item/viral-loc…
— Adam Tinworth (@adders) November 21, 2012

I’m not going to link to the site in question directly from here – you can follow the link in the tweet, if you wish. But I do want to talk about what it represents.

For those who don’t want to follow the link, it’s a chunk of software for WordPress that forces people to share a link to your content before they can read it –  a sharegate, if you like. That’s right – they have to recommend this content to their friends BEFORE they’ve actually read it. I find the level of disrespect built into that concept staggering. Let’s look at the reasons:

  • No respect for the reputation of your reader. You’re asking them to put their reputation on the line for something they haven’t read.
  • Marketing trumps content. You are blatently making it clear that the marketing is more important to you than the value of the content.
  • Arrogance – you’re assuming that everything you create is worth sharing
  • Say goodbye to authenticity or relationship. This is a straight transaction – their reputation for your content.
  • Worse, perhaps, is that you are asking them to swap their friends attention for your content. They – in the short term – aren’t even the ones paying…

This was being actively promoted by Guy Kawasaki on Google+. He’s fallen a long, long way.