Why I love/hate Triberr

I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve been cheating at Twitter.

Some of those Tweets I’ve been sending out? Haven’t read them, can’t vouch for them, don’t know what they contain.

And I feel really bad about that.

Twitter bird

You see, I’ve been using an online tool called Triberr to maximise my reach on Twitter, to broaden my scope outside of the travel blogging community and, ultimately, to increase the amount of traffic going to my blog.

I’ve gone from having just over 2,000 followers to something more in the region of 3.4 million potential readers every time I put up a new blog post.

The cost? The credibility of my Tweets.

What is Triberr?

Billed as a sort of blogging super-weapon, Triberr has been described by more than one blogger as a way that “David blogger can beat Goliath”.

How it works is not at all dissimilar to your standard pyramid scheme. When a blogger signs up to it (it’s free) they’re put into “tribes” where if they connect their RSS feeds every new post is then imported and shared by the other members.

The deal is that you will then do the same for your tribe mates and share their new blog posts with your followers. The theory being that each post will be opened up to a larger potential audience.

You can also sign up your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts – but I haven’t gone that far down the rabbit hole.

Why I love Triberr

It was all going swimmingly until only a couple of weeks ago. I was in a Tribe of, say, 15 fellow travel bloggers with a combined reach of roughly 80,000.

I’d seen most of them on Twitter before so I knew their stuff, I knew what they wrote about and I knew that it was good – even if I didn’t have time to read every single new post.

So they would retweet my new blog posts and I would do the same for theirs. It would add up to just a couple of minutes to send out a couple of tweets every day but immediately I saw a small jump in the amount of referral traffic coming my way via Twitter.

Love

I’m sure it was win-win for them, too. I’d feel really guilty if one of my “tribe mates” had sent out my latest blog post and I hadn’t reciprocated, so it soon became just another part of my daily blogging routine.

This brings us to a big issue on Triberr and the reason why I’m considering giving it all up: the bloggers who do not reciprocate.

Why I hate Triberr

I soon realised which of my Triber mates had embraced the true spirit of the platform and those who hadn’t. Therefore I’d always send out the tweets of the people who sent out mine and largely ignore the ones who didn’t.

Sound fair enough? I mean it’s not rocket science – either you’re going to help me out as Triberr was intended or you’re not.

Well a couple of weeks ago I was invited to join an even larger tribe, “the power sharers”. Suddenly I was in a tribe of, say, 150 people, with a combined reach of a couple of million.

For the first week or so the traffic to my blog was off the chart. According to Google Analytics I was getting twice as much referral traffic as I was before. Sure, I was spending half an hour or more instead of five minutes every day approving all the new posts – many of them well outside my usual niche – but it was worth it.

Until it wasn’t anymore. The tribe grew bigger, now I can’t read every blog post even if I tried, the quality is way down on what it was when I was in a travel-only tribe of like-minded bloggers and, strangely, my posts are being sent out by fewer and fewer people.

Apathy has set it. The decline of the mega Triber super-tribe appears to be nigh, even as more and more people join it.

And get a load of this: the creator of Triberr is in one of my tribes and yet he has never ever shared any of my posts. Not one.

How’s that for an advertisement for Triberr?

Me and Nic in Lisbon, Portugal

So it’s gotten a bit out of hand. I can see that now. I shouldn’t have been so quick to sell out.

Lately I’ve been sending out only the tweets that are related to travel or blogging in general – so nothing about the best pumpkin soup recipes, how to knit sweaters for your small children or how to ride a unicycle backwards.

But still the cost is too high for any gain I’m seeing. I’m disillusioned with Triberr. What was once a very useful content distribution system is now just a waste of my time and a burden on my credibility on Twitter.

So the moral of the story is this: get a group of travel bloggers that you trust and already have a relationship with on Twitter. Band together and start your own tribe. (Send me an invite!)

Don’t be blinded by the potential of many millions of Twitter followers as I was. Triberr can be a false community but the travel community on Twitter is the real deal.

Also check out my post The 30 nicest people to follow on Twitter or, if you’re looking for more blogging tips, read the Ten best resources for aspiring travel bloggers.

About Simon Petersen 315 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.

29 Comments

  1. Hi Simon, so…ummm…lemme explain why I’ve never shared your stuff in hopes that will help you manage your Triberr experience little bit better.

    Your blog is a mixed bag -which is ok of course- but it’s mostly on travel. However, you’re a member of tech and blogging tribes. This will become important later 🙂

    When your posts come through I dont share them because I dont write/share/talk about travel.

    You’re a member of a couple of travel tribes as well. I would bet my left nut that the travel tribes are way more effective for you than tech/blog tribes.

    We’ve built Triberr to mimic the way people tribe up in real life. You wouldnt put on a tuxedo and go to a bike rally.

    If we tribe up with people like us, based on a niche, locale, values, posting frequency ….whatever makes sense…the sharing becomes inherent.

    Hope that helps 🙂

  2. Good read on this – glad I read this before falling in head first — I would be curious to test the waters of the photography categories with Triberr…but feel the same way you guys do. I imagine I should go slowly and try and manage it.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I don’t know anything about Triberr, although I’ve heard a lot about it. It’s nice to get an honest opinion about it. I don’t have time for more social networks right now, so it’s nice to know that I’m probably not missing out on it.

    • Thanks, Em! If you’re consumed by the drive for more traffic then it’s well worth taking a look – but you do tend to lose a little bit of your credibility along the way, unless you’re really good at managing Triberr. That takes too much time, though, which is why I’m definitely going to take it down a couple of notches.

  4. I totally agree Simon, well-put! And just look at the length of the average comment — now that is an indicator of a great post. And here is my reaction, in novel form LOL. I almost want to do my own Triberr blog post now but ehhh… 😉

    I belong to seven travel tribes but also the Power Sharers tribe you mentioned (and Dino has never shared any of my posts either lol) and an SEO one. I share 100% (or at least 99.5%) of the stuff that comes through the travel tribes, even if that person does not share my posts. But with the non-travel tribes, I found out real fast which people share my posts and which do not. Then I muted everyone that does not share my posts. That way I am left as still part of the big group, but I only have to see a few of the “worthy” authors that I like from that group. This helps so that I do not compromise the quality of my tweets or waste my precious time scrolling through worthless posts.

    However, it is also fair to point out that you do not have to accept every tribe invitation. I have turned down half a dozen, if not more, because they are not travel related. People like the owner of the Power Sharers tribe you mentioned just invite dozens of new people at a time, most w/o any prior contact or even expressing an interest in joining that tribe. I was invited into it back when there were only 40 people and now, as you mentioned in your post, it has really ballooned out.

    But I only joined a cpl of non-travel tribes to test out their impact. And here is what I have found:

    Now as far as the reach aspect is concerned, this to me is another example of people getting all number-crazy (like those that are concerned with their Klout). Numbers are just that — numbers. They simultaneously mean everything and mean nothing all at once. You can use them to prove or disprove anything you like. It is all in the presentation.

    For one thing, your “reach” would only ever be fulfilled if every person from every tribe tweeted out your post. Highly unlikely. But even then, not all of those millions of people are actively on Twitter at the time that tweet goes out. Not gonna happen. My reach six months ago was around 250k and now it is at 12-13 million. That is an increase of 5,000%. But has my site traffic gone up 5,000%? Has the number of comments I’ve received gone up 5,000%? The answer to both is a resounding NO. However you know the one thing that has gone up on my site: the number of items in my spam queue. And it has gone up a lot.

    That leads me to another point…have you checked the Twitter accounts of some of the people in those power-sharing tribes? I have and I can tell you right now that most of them are utter crap! People I would never follow. The majority appear to have one or more of the following issues: 1) tweet nothing but automated Triberr posts; 2) have purchased fake followers to “look better” (ha!); 3) are part of those “Followback” teams; 4) spit out so many tweets that no one appears to be replying, RT’ing, or favoriting any of them; or 5) are a business or other entity looking for a profit.

    The best way to judge your Triberr impact is to look at your posts when others tweet them. For example, when I tweet out decent travel articles via Triberr they get an average of a half-dozen replies / RTs for each, some many more. Why? Because I have 16k travelers that follow me and they like reading travel posts. Now look at Mr Power Sharer that tweeted your post. How many RTs did it get? How many replies? Just how much of an impact did you actually make..?

    Given all of that, the next question you have to ask yourself is which one will give you a more relevant reach and a better overall impact? Sharing to people that are interested in the same subject, or sharing with people who are in it solely for the numbers?

    There is also the question of how frequently to share your Triberr posts. The minimum is every 20 minutes, but I have mine set to 65. That way I only share 22 Triberr tweets a day, so as not to completely flood my followers. It also means that I only need to visit Triberr once every 3-4 days, as those 15 minutes of work approving new posts will have me set for the next several days on Twitter. Depending on the number of tribes people are a part of, bloggers could set their Triberr posts at 2-, 3-, 4- or even 6-hr intervals.

    In closing, I too praised Triberr at first for its innovation. Now that innovation appears to be turning to automation — especially with the creation of their new power tribes, which completely bypass the approval process.

    After all, anytime personal innovation takes a backseat to automation — at least in regards to content — the end result will always suffer and thus the usefulness of that particular feature or function will likewise begin to diminish.

    Triberr was great a year ago, when it was niche. Now it is a tool for SEO hockers and people putting out useless content on a daily basis. There is a reason why so many of the original travelers on Triberr have not used their Triberr accounts in six months or more….

    • Best. Comment. Ever. You have blown my mind, sir – and thank you for taking the time to put all these thoughts down into words!!

  5. I missed the “Riding the Unicylce Backwards” post. 🙂 – Why don’t you leave the Tribe that created issues for you? Finding people you trust, and you know their content is consistently solid, is the key to Triberr. An occasional tweet on something out of your niche is not going to crumble your Twitter presence. Dino, one of the owners, would be Tweeting out every second if he was to tweet out from all users in his tribes.

    Triberr can be effective, as you’ve discovered. I appreciate your transparency, but it’s on you to manage properly to get the most out of the network. Leave the big tribe, stick with your tighter tribe, and find more bloggers in our niche to join the tighter tribe. Problem solve. Have a great Sunday Simon.

    • Haha, I was disappointed nobody had noticed that little joke! That’s true about Dino – but then maybe he should think about joining less tribes like I am right now 😉 You’re right, though, and I am going to leave the big tribe.

      • I’m in over 50 tribes and have over 2000 bloggers in my tribal network. Yikes 🙂

        One of the responsibilities I take on is to test human/machine limits and push the envelope.

        It would be totally stupid for anyone else to have that large of a network, and few others who do are early adopters who communicate their scaling problems with me all the time.

        All this is in order to build features which help you better manage your tribes. Mute button -for example- came from pushing the envelope and from user feedback, and the need to quiet certain tribemates.

        Hope that makes sense 🙂

  6. I set up my own tribe and invited the bloggers who I read regularly. It’s not a huge tribe but it is so much easier to keep up with everyone’s blogs if I use Triberr to notify me of new posts, and then approve the ones I want to share. Because I set up the tribe myself, I chose the members, and I share a lot of the posts.

    Different members share in different quantities – some may already be a member of many other tribes. I can’t really expect them to share every post from my tribe.

    Triberr does make it easy for the tribe owner – the “chief” – to see who’s sharing and who isn’t. It’s much more within your control if you set up your own tribes and invite members gradually. I used to be a member of a larger tribe and it did get a bit out of hand.

    Another thing that’s helped me is to set up a second Twitter account. I now have my personal account – @benbarden – which is mostly used for chatting with friends, family and colleagues. I also have @quickblogtips, which I link to Triberr. It took a bit of time to get some followers for that account, but without Triberr I wouldn’t have a lot to post on the account. Triberr simply means I can share interesting content that isn’t only my own stuff 🙂

    • That’s very interesting. Maybe I should do that! Start my own tribe and have multiple Twitter handles. Thanks, Ben – you’ve given me something to think about!

  7. I’m not on Triberr, but I will say I *hate* my Twitter feeds getting clogged with stuff that isn’t relevant just because someone’s auto-RTing everything their ‘tribe’ is putting out– if I wanted to read everything a tribe posts, I’d just follow those people anyway. I appreciate that you’re pretty selective about what you share, but if it’s not working for you, or you feel it’s damaging your credibility, there’s no shame in walking away.

    • Yeah, me too. That’s why I feel so bad about it! True, it took a drop in traffic for me to finally realise the error of my ways but it’s better late than never 😉 I’m going to walk away from the random crap and stick with travel.

    • Tiberr was auto initially, but hasn’t been auto in over a year. Each member chooses what to share.

      I approach tribe building like this. If you’re the kind of blogger who’s post I would share even if you never shared mine, then I want to be in a tribe with you.

      This way, I get all my fav bloggers in one easy reading/commenting/sharing view.

      What I’ve found, is that as long as you’re willing to share other people’s stuff, they will look for ways in which they can reciprocate.

      Also, Dan and are absolutely not qualified to build a platform like Triberr. We’ve made a ton om mistakes, but our mission is pure and simple. Solve big problems for little bloggers. Chief among them is how to get more eyeballs on your content. And as Simon had pointed out, it works like gangbusters :–)

  8. Simon,

    I have a love/hate relationship with Triberr, too.

    When I first started, I felt obligated to tweet everything from my tribemates, and really just filled my stream with way too much. I wasn’t doing my readers any favors.

    Now, I do a quick read of each blog post that I tweet out. The cons: It takes a while – maybe 15 minutes a day. The pros: The posts I share are much better quality, so a win for me and the folks who follow our stream. I also find a few great posts that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise.

    I”m not a big fan of the Power tribes, either. Best to stay with the tribes more focused on travel blogging.

    • You’re right – and I think I’m going to leave the power sharer tribes for someone else. I’m going to be all travel blogging from now on – unless I find a special niche that I kind of fall into, like how to blog or something like that. Thanks for the comment!

  9. Hi Simon, You’re exactly right. If you’re in a tribe that’s not a good fit, then Triberr won’t work well. Your stream will be filled with posts you won’t want to share. The key is to manage Triberr effectively.

    You can block feeds of people whose posts aren’t in your niche. For those whose posts are in your niche, you can visit the blogs, comment and get to know the authors.

    I struggle with reciprocation vs. sharing quality posts in my niche. I have broadened the topics I will share but I won’t share low quality posts. Once you get to know authors, you can usually trust their quality even if you don’t read every single post you share.

    Don’t hate Triberr, just manage it effectively. You will make great connections, increase traffic and discover some amazing posts you may have missed otherwise.

    • I hear ya! Before now I was taking it for granted because, like I said above, I trusted all my tribe mates an their content. What I need to do now is manage it all more effectively. Thanks!

  10. Have you not ragged on my post, where I said that I am manually approving all of my Triberr updates? You’ve got this one approved from me. Lesson learned. 🙂

    Really glad you got on the right track. Look forward reading your high quality stuff.

    • Yeah, sorry about that. I’m a bit embarrassed about it now! If anything your original post inspired me to put a bit more thought into what I want to get out of Triberr and to put into words the things I like and the things I loathe.

  11. I do am on Triberr and now love it. At first no one was sending out my tweets. I did not give up. It took time and I also have to get into more tribes. I do not send out all tweets. This is how I found you and your title intrigued me 🙂 I have tried many different things and I have now in 17 tribes. It makes a difference to be in many tribes and pick and choose what is relevant to your niche. You can also be creative and think a little outside the niche too. The “fringe niches. ” Good luck with it. You can also try justretweet.

    • Thanks for the comment, Lisa! It’s true that the fringe niches like social media and blogging, for example, are really interesting and are actually quite relevant too.

  12. You’re not obligated to send out tweets from anyone. I’m also on Triberr and try to only send out messages to posts I think are relevant or interesting to my followers. I sure don’t automatically tweet out everything that comes in, and I don’t see why anyone else should with my own articles.

    • But then couldn’t we all just use regular Twitter? And just retweet the ones that catch our fancy? Thanks heaps for the comment.

  13. Agree, I also am on the Triberr machine I try to send out only those tweets that I think my followers would enjoy. I was invited to the Power tribe and joined. After 24hrs I left the tribe because I didn’t find the majority of messages were suited to my audience and I didn’t like seeing 300messages needing to be approved. So now I am back to those which I know.

    • That’s good to know, mate – and I think I’m going to do the same. You’re one of the good ones by the way 😉 I’m always happy tweeting your stuff

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