Outsourcing Building Back Links (aka How To Ruin Your Good Name And Pay For The Privilege)

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: , |


Those seeming positive comments that don’t actually say anything and are generic enough to be posted on any site? Which, of course, they are! Here is the latest I received on my Colorado Social Security disability law site:

I am speechless. This is a fantastic site and very engaging too. Excellent work! That’s not really much coming from an amateur publisher like me, but it’s all I could think after enjoying your posts. Great grammar and vocabulary. Not like other site. You really know what you’re talking about too. So much that you made me want to explore more. Your blog has become a stepping stone for me, my friend. Thanks for the detailed journey. I really enjoyed the  posts that I have read so far.

I love legal bloggers;  so I hate seeing them go down the wrong path. One of the benefits of starting small is that you can make mistakes. However, when you take shortcuts to try to get more viewers… well, you are just showing your mistakes to a wider audience.

So I decided to find the attorney and write back:

Hi there. I think it is great that you started a blog. It is one of the best ways of getting your name out there.

I am an attorney in Colorado and your astro-turf campaign commented on my legal blog. You don’t have to blog for very long before recognizing this as comment spam. I also did an IP look up and found the commenter is in Pakistan. Since I doubt you have a out-reach office in Karachi, I figure this is from whatever company you hired to build back links to your site.

This type of marketing is ultimately self defeating and fails for a number of reasons:

1) When you blog, you are joining a community of dedicated bloggers. We write our own posts and moderate our own comments. In other words, we are engaged and will read what your agents write in your name.
2) Bloggers recognize this a fake engagement. Your comments are likely to be marked as spam and your name, domain, and ip address(es) may be blacklisted.
3) Comment spam does not build quality back links. The only sites that wont recognize it as comment spam are those which are either a) abandoned or b) run by other new bloggers who do not know better. Either way, the back links will be largely useless to you.
4) Comment spam hurts your reputation. The way your agents act on other sites reflects on you. Let me ask you: would you hire a company to send someone to a bar function to pretend to be you? Would you be happy when they acted like buffoons, upset the guests, and peed in the punch bowl?

Blogging is an awesome way of reaching and getting clients. However, it is a slow process attracting attention, gaining readership, and converting prospects into clients.

The key is creating good content. Taking shortcuts doesn’t work and risks ruining your good name.

Did I cover all the bases there? What do you do with comment spam on your site?

  • http://www.cfgriffith.com Cynthia

    The few that make it through my spam filter are so glaringly obvious as spam. They usually have a business swing on them which makes no sense considering I’m not a business blog… I sew historical clothing for my own fun and occasionally post about teaching myself to play Irish fiddle! So for starters, I can usually tell it’s not a real compliment but a cut-and-paste fake.

    The other glaring mistake I see is when they ask if I have a Twitter feed. Well, unless they were too excited to look at the upper right hand area where I have a Twitter feed, and an email subscription form… I’m guessing it’s another cut-and-paste.

    Plus, in all honesty, I’m not a big blog and will never be, so someone excitedly wanting to be a huge fan on all these places is just overkill. They load their comments down with flattery to get you to post it. I’m not desperate for comments, especially when it’s only to get me to post their spam.

    I use Akismet and “delete permanently” so Akismet will add them to the blacklist.

    I wish Akismet also helped with referral spam. I’m getting mighty sick of seeing that in my non-public stats. It floods my real referrals, although I’ll admit that’s another handy way of knowing comments are spam. When I see one of those referral spams, I know I’ve got another fake flattery comment to go delete permanently.

    • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

      Hey Cynthia, where do you check for referral spam? Google analytics or in the WordPress backend?

      • http://www.cfgriffith.com Cynthia

        Sorry I didn’t reply sooner. I thought I might have subscribed to these, but I didn’t see a notification.

        I check my host’s stats, which I don’t believe are public (part of the problem with the referral spam, I believe — they hope your stats are public). Google Analytics is great about filtering out that stuff, so I never see it there. In the real stats however, it’s flooded with them! I knew about it with my old darthcynthia.com site, though… just hated seeing it pop up on the new site :( When I first started my blog, it was set to turn away everything and I didn’t even have an anti-spam plug-in running. Saw a couple things that I personally feel are referrer spam (won’t mention them here, as I don’t even want to give them a hint anywhere online that could be found and give them points), but it was mostly quiet. Shortly after opening my blog up to search engines (both through the WordPress program as well as my robots.txt), I started getting hits from them. It seemed as though it really started once I got a lot of hits from Google and other big search engines. I have a few things that hit my site daily and make me wonder if they’re looking for things for the referrer spammers to hit (linking to older entries and then trying to comment as well sometimes). But yes, I see them in the actual site stats (I use Blue Host).

    • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

      Hey Cynthia, where do you check for referral spam? Google analytics or in the WordPress backend?

  • http://www.thejugglingwriter.com Christopher Gronlund

    I have my blog set up so the first time you reply, I have to approve it.

    Comment spam never sees the light of day…

    • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

      That’s one reason I like using Disqus, since it flags most of these.

    • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

      That’s one reason I like using Disqus, since it flags most of these.

  • http://twitter.com/KevinChern KevinChern

    I think these are really good pointers for proper comment etiquette, but some bloggers seem to be a little overly skeptical of compliments or nice comments. While some compliments may seem suspicious, do they really harm your blog if they don’t include any links to their website? One time I left a few kind words on a blog just because I genuinely liked the post but I didn’t have anything to add to it, and the writer wrote back an angry response about my comment, implying that I was being self-promotional. (I can’t remember what I said exactly, but it was one line that said something along the lines of “Great post, very informative.”) While it is always a good idea to monitor comments and be careful how you comment on other people’s blogs, it is also just as important to learn how to accept compliments and some other comments at face value.

    • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

      Hey Kevin, I think you are absolutely right. It is easy to be overly critical. However, I think you can pick out the comment spam. It’s the one that’s effusive in its praise, yet extremely generic as well. However, I’ve commented on blogs and sent emails to artists I like saying, “you’re so awesome! I love your work!” So, I know where you are coming from.

      Fortunately, many commenting services will filter out fake praise comments because the comment keeps reappearing *so many times.*

      Before I take someone to task though, I will try to investigate. In the post above, the lawyer is in the US but the IP address is in Pakistan. Ding-ding-ding-ding! We have a spammer!

      I have to say though that your comment that we have to “learn how to accept compliments” is just plain off the mark. I was raised Catholic, sir. And if it’s one thing Catholic’s have no idea what to do with, it’s a compliment. ;)