As blog commenting becomes more popular as a form of link building and traffic generation, there is a steady increase of those who are trying to abuse the blog commenting system. But as many comment abusers are starting to learn, with the increase in spam is an increase in systems (such as Akismet) designed to thwart their attempts. So commenting abusers are finding more creative ways to bypass these systems and look more legit.
Commenting Faux Pas
So how do bloggers determine which comments to keep and which ones to trash or mark as spam? Here are some major faux pas and red flags when it comes to commenting.
“Wow, what a great post. This is my first time to visit here, and I like everything so much that I have subscribed.”
Sounds like a great comment, right? It’s easy, especially for new bloggers or those who are struggling to get comments / subscribers to fall for this type of flattery. But the problem with this comment is that it could go with any post on pretty much any site.
Comments from the Same IP
“Angie | this domain.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | 126.96.36.199 | Blah blah blah blah blah…”
“Tera | that domain.com | email@example.com | 188.8.131.52 | Blah blah blah blah blah…”
“Tom | other domain.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | 184.108.40.206 | Blah blah blah blah blah…”
Many blog systems allow blog owners to view the IP address of their commenters. If several comments come in using different names, different emails, different websites, but the same IP address, this is going to be a huge tipoff that the comments are all spam.
“Social media is a really nice way to generate traffic. And YouTube is the best (in our opinion) means to do it. Maybe this is because one has to invest some time and efforts in making a video, so one naturally tends to make a video which is REALLY interesting for people. It’s much easier to “tweet” something, so more often than not one “tweets” rather “something about nothing” (at the same time – unfortunatlly!! – spamming the internet).”
“I’m happy to see more and more of my favorite charities on Facebook and even on Twitter sometime. I do whatever I can to help by sharing their FB messages and retweeting their tweets.”
“I have had a facebook for a long time but it was just recently that I began using it again actively. I also created a fan page and as of now is on the building and growing process. I know i have yet more to learn regarding using facebook to its full potential and advantage. It is my first time to hear about facebook insight. Will definitely be giving it a try. Thanks for sharing.”
“Social media is a really nice way to generate traffic. I’m happy to see more and more of my favorite charities on Facebook and even on Twitter sometime. I have had a facebook for a long time but it was just recently that I began using it again actively. Thanks for sharing.”
A new trend in spam commenting is taking bits and pieces of approved comments and sewing them together into a “unique” new comment. If the blog owner is in tune with their reader’s responses, they will get a feeling of deja vu which will tip them off if they have received a copied comment.
Off Topic Comments
“This graph shows exactly what I’ve wanted to know about social media trends and statistics. Thanks for the visual representation.”
This comment would be the exact reaction any blogger would want – assuming that the blog post actually had a graph in it. If the comment is specific to something that is not in the post, then it is a sure fire one to get dumped in the spam bin.
Straight Up Advertising
“If you are interested in getting the most out of Twitter, you should buy my new ebook.”
There is a fine line in some cases of whether a resource being added to the comments is helpful or whether it is just blatant self-promotion and advertising. In most cases, the best way to go is to not include something like this in the comments, no matter how relevant, unless you are certain it is 100% helpful to anyone reading the post.
Another fine line in commenting is providing a real email address. Some commenters do not want to put their real email address with their comments simply because they are afraid of getting spammed. But if the blog owner wants to respond to a commenter privately via email and gets a bounceback, they are likely to remove or not approve the comment.
“Let me tell you something, you scumbag…”
Most bloggers are not going to stand for personal attacks. Period. It is one thing if the commenter is criticizing the content of the post itself, but it another thing to start name calling or becoming downright abusive to the blog author or another commenter on the site (this particular example was from one commenter about another one). If a commenter needs to express such personally based feelings, they keep this kind of attack in a private platform, such as email.
Commenting Best Practices
How can commenters avoid faux pas and get their comments approved more often? Simply follow the “golden rules” of commenting.
Follow the Rules
If the blog provides a specific comment policy, commenters should take a moment to read through the policy. If there is not a policy, an easy way to see what can and cannot be done is to simply look at approved comments on the site. Are people only using their real name? Does the site use plugins such as KeywordLuv? Are the comments long and thoughtful, or short and concise? Comments that fit the mold are more likely to be approved.
Respond to the Post
Comments should always be in response to the post to which they are added. The only exception to this rule is if they comment is in direct response to another commenter, but even then, the comment should stay relatively on topic.
Along with responding directly to the post, comments should also add value. Great post (besides the ego boost) provides little value. Tell people why it is a great post, and how you benefited from reading it.
Be a Real Person
Commenters should distinguish themselves from bots or spammers by proving to be as real as possible. This includes having a Gravatar so blog owners can put a face to the comment, and also provide a valid email address in case a response is needed. It doesn’t have to be your main address – it can be one you create just for commenting. Just be sure it will not bounceback, and that you check it often in case response is needed.
More Faux Pas and Best Practices
What other commenting faux pas or red flags have you observed? How about additional best practices to follow?