Mmmmm, I love spam. I just take it and eat it up and spit it out in the spam basket. It is a secret love that goes from my comment filter to my spam box and then directly to my trash.
I suspect many bloggers do the same thing with spam. But lately spam has started to disguise itself and has tried to turn itself into various forms of ham and other unsavory meats. Nonetheless, I classify these suspect comments the same way and treat them accordingly.
So, during my weekend road trip, I checked on my comments on occasion. One of the comments in my box was well written. It was long enough to be a short post. It contained a list of tips. In many respects, it was a quality comment. So, what was the problem?
It was cleverly disguised spam.
Here’s an excerpt from that comment:
First off, this comment was left in a post that had nothing to do with affiliate marketing. It was left in my post about increasing traffic by having visitors to share with their facebook and twitter community. You can read that post here.
There should be a certain flow from a blog post to the comments. The purpose of the comments are to add a dialog to the post topic itself. It’s a section that allows the readers to add their own views to the post topic, ask questions, and open a discussion.
When I read a blog post and it segways into a comment that is on a completely different topic. There’s just a sense of disjointedness that I feel detracts from the overall discussion itself. Comments should add value to a blog post.
In this case, even though the comment itself contained useful subject matter, it detracted from the overall value of the blog post because it was not on topic.
However, there’s more that was wrong with this particular comment.
The part of the comment that I took out actually contained an affiliate link. If you’ve seen a few sales pitches and email sales letters, you might recognize the general flavor when you read this comment. Doesn’t it just read as if it’s moving you towards a purpose?
What I left out at the end was the sale pitch. This comment basically ended with an upsell along the lines of “You can discover the top secrets and methods of…” blah blah blah, “to learn more visit my website…” blah blah blah affiliate link.
This is the kind of stuff I sometimes get in my email, or I might read in a sales type article. When I take a look at that, it’s obvious that this entire comment was just a sales pitch. It might have even been a part of the person’s affiliate advertising materials that they just cut and pasted into my blog.
Now, this comment takes on a more sinister flavor. Not only did the person just try to blatantly sell their own product on my blog, but they were completely indiscriminate about where they tried to put their ad.
In my mind, these two traits puts this comment squarely into the spam category.
Don’t get me wrong. I go to great lengths to allow people to share certain links on my blog. I use the comment luv plugin to allow people to promote their own blog articles. This plugin allows a commentator to give a plug to their latest blog posts.
Not only that, but when you leave a comment, you can also put your URL in the information section along with your name and email. So, there are already two built in places for people to put their links.
I think that by itself gives the readers an invitation that says, “Please feel free to link in the clearly marked spots.” Beyond that, for the most part, there shouldn’t be a need to put additional links into the body of the comment itself. I have seen very courteous commentators who will refer a website or a service in their comments, but they will simply leave it in text as opposed to a hyperlink. I think that’s appropriate.
Secondly, if someone wanted to further promote themselves, they can also submit a guest post. I have an expanded Author profile as you can see in the guest articles. The author box allows one to put in a description of themselves and a link back to their website. It is a wonderful way to promote yourself. A well written guest article will bring a good amount of traffic back to your website.
Of course, I also have some quality controls for my guest posters, but nothing atypical of many other blogs. You can read about my requirements and the submission procedures for guest posting on Riches Corner here.
Finally, on many blogs, including this one, there is an area for people to purchase advertising. Many blogs actually allow people to post their own advertisements. On this blog, I have a section of 125×125 banners in the sidebar. You can sign up to post your affiliate advertisements here.
That said, it appears to me that when one tries to put their advertisement in a comment section of the blog, they are attempting to bypass the regular procedures of purchasing advertising space. Most bloggers monetize their blogs in some way by selling advertising space. When someone bypasses that, they are circumventing a process that helps the blogger keep the blog operating.
In my case, I sell my advertising space at quite a discounted rate of $2.50 for a week or $8.00 a month. If someone wants to advertise their affiliate links, they are welcome to sign up for advertising.
With all this said, I welcome comments on Riches Corner. Many of you are regulars and contribute to the dialog. Some of you stop by almost daily to leave a comment. I love all of you!
I love an open dialog and try to err on the side of approving comments. However, at the same time, I need to be mindful of my readers. I moderate my comments to ensure quality control from my readers.
I appreciate all the commentators here and look forward to all of your continued comments!