Has John Chow Jumped the Shark?

For those unfamiliar with the term “jumping the shark“, it is a term used by the television industry to describe a show that has already peaked and is now on the decline.  The term originated from an episode of Happy Days where the main character jumps over a shark while water skiing.   After that point, the show was never the same.

So, what does this have to do with the notorious John Chow?   It has been roughly a year and a half since John began his case study on his personal blog to see if he could use his site to make money online.   Over time, through the use of clever marketing tactics and an anchor text link exchange, John was able to take a blog from zero income to over $20,000.00 this last month.  During this time, John has been widely credited for taking the “make money online” niche and bringing it to the forefront of the blogosphere, to the point where he has copycats like John Cow riding his cowtails, make money online blogs are everywhere, and just about every blog you visit in any niche is now covered in hidden affiliate links. 

Despite his success, it was only a matter of time before the blog peaked.  For it to generate any more income, he would have to push the content even further down the page.  So, has John Chow jumped the shark?  

In looking over the posts he’s written in the past two months, one would have to say yes.  A typical day on his blog now contains the following:  Pictures of a recent fine dining experience, pictures of an event he recently attended, or guest posts from other bloggers.   Rarely does John give any actual content anymore or tips to make money online.   It is almost like he ran out of things to talk about.  Unfortunately, unlike many popular blogs that grew their readership over time with content (such as ProBlogger), John’s fast rise to success is based on marketing and manipulation of Google’s search.  

In looking at John’s blog today, I noticed that his 125×125 banners section now contains a few affiliate links rather than paid advertisers.  I’ve also noticed that we don’t seem to see as many ReviewMe posts recently.   Looks to me like the fallout has begun. 

Do you still read John Chow?  If so, why? 

  • Michael

    I quit reading John Chow a while ago, there isn’t anything interesting on the site and the comments aren’t even worth the time because there isn’t really a conversation just a bunch of people talking for the sake of it. I think that John Chow really started taking a hit when Google penalized him but what really killed the blog is his focus on TTZ media instead of the blog, I understand that he wants to do is TTZ thing but when you make $20,000 or so from your blog, why not go that route instead?

  • Rhys

    Simple: he makes more cash TTZing than blogging.

    I don’t read much of his anymore, though that being said, it is a personal blog, so he’s got every right to write about what he wants.

    Just don’t expect those of us with half a brain cell to read it.

  • For the longest time reading JC’s blog has been like watching a TV channel that only showed commercials. It was interesting in the sense that I wish I had been able to do it ( he’s pulled in a *LOT* of cash ), but not interesting in the sense that I actually want to read it. His income seems to keep going up so who knows. Maybe he hasn’t jumped over the shark yet.

  • This post These comments = Happy Birthday John Chow!

    But seriously, interesting note. My friend just the other day commented on how bad John’s site looks because of all the ads and stuff. Personally I still think it looks pretty clean for all the stuff he’s putting out (adwise).

    But yeah, I agree with just about everyone else here yourself included… I mean, if you’re trying to figure out if your blog can make money, and then you’re making an insane amount, I think it’s really difficult to still GRIND away making posts about improving your blog. … For many reasons probably including you don’t need to if you’re making that much money and people are still willing to pay.

    Personally, I think if I got to that level, my blog would still be the way it is now, but probably more of a focus on gadgetry and video games then blogging tips.

    But very very interesting post.

  • Sectional Sofas

    I personally have stopped reading john chow because i was losing interest and most of the comments were rubbish too (either fawning or envious). But still have to say that going by his sheer continuing popularity, his blog has not jumped the shark yet.

  • I stopped reading John Chow long back. Even before also he rarely wrote about make money online, he used to do only reviews in his blog.

  • I too stopped visiting his site some time ago. Your observations are bang on.

  • Josh Spaulding

    The problem with him is that he doesn’t seem to care about his readers. It’s obvious the only thing he cares about is making money. His posts have been 90% off-topic for several months now, but people still seem to love it.

    He uses his blog earnings to impress newbies and it works. Unfortunately those “newbies” are getting very little return on their time investment reading.

    There are also several ethical issues I have with him that I won’t go into here.

    I would possibly go so far as to say I have more respect for the average spammer than I do for John Chow!

  • Kyle Eslick

    It is good to collect all of these opinions!

    I really didn’t mean this as a knock against John Chow personally. He was very clear from the beginning that his blog was a case study about making money online, and it is a personal weblog that wasn’t designed to earn readership, but instead focused specifically on making the most money possible.

    I guess my point is that sometimes we all get so wrapped up in certain feeds because they are popular, and often forget that there is no reason to subscribe if you aren’t enjoying the product.

    Thanks for the well written comments above everyone!

  • I stopped reading John Chow quite a while before Google de-ranked him, I personally didn’t find the content that great back then, not to go through reading it all everyday anyway.

    I’ve personally probably found the John Cow parody site of more interest and use!

  • I’d say mostly, yes.

    In fact, I DID say so, a while back: http://bloggingexperiment.com/archives/johnchow-has-jumped-the-shark.php

  • Kyle Eslick

    Ben – Wow! That was almost 6 months ago. You were way ahead of the game. I think it is funny that we both used the same term, though I didn’t feel he “jumped the shark until about 2 months ago.”

    Well said though!