The latest uproar in the blogosphere is a new service which will pay bloggers to comment on blogs. Liz Strauss writes about it in “Now You, Too, Can Be a Spammer for Only US$19.99” and Problogger’s Darren Rowse, calling it a “sick comment spam service”.
Liz previously brought up the issue of ethics and paid comments, and I’ve talked about the growing risk from human comment spammers. This new service is one that is making a lot of bloggers very unhappy, and some believe it gives blogging a very bad name.
The idea is that you hire and pay this company to find “blogs within your target market” and their hired “commenters” will read the blog post and comment as if they were you, leaving a link to your blog in he comment form and/or comment signature.
Off the top of my head, I see four things happening from such bought comments:
- No relationship is established between the blogger receiving the comment and the paying blogger. Total disconnect.
- If people find out that you are paying others to comment on blogs – well, that’s a reputation breaker.
- Signatures in comments are now suspect.
- All comments are now suspect and bloggers may take drastic measures like turning off all comments. Thus the spammers win because we are losing the interactive connection with our audience.
Blogging already has a questionable reputation. Ask anyone what they know about blogging and you will get a lesson in perception. “It’s a bunch of people sharing their fantasies.” “It’s just babble.” “A bunch of egocentric gossipers talking about the daily crap in their lives.” “It’s an online diary.” “How can anyone read that dribble?” “A lot of people with too much time on their hands.” “It’s corrupting children.” “It’s not safe.” And on and on.
Comment spam creates a fear in many potential and new bloggers. They long for that first comment but fear a deluge of spam crap filling up their blogs, wasting their time. It costs blogging a lot of money and time, and it sucks the joy out of the experience.
Blog comment spam is an attack. An attack that often hits at your spirit. Pages upon pages of sex, money, gambling, cars, mortgages, drugs, more sex, ugly sex, and even violent sex. After a while, the non-stop deluge of “Cool!”, “Nice!”, “Sorry!” grows tiresome and exasperating. Even using Akismet to capture and protect against comment spam, many still pour through the captured comment spam, looking for the ones that got scooped up that shouldn’t have. As you scroll through pages of this disgusting trash, it can’t help but affect you.
After several years of clearly identifiable comment spam, this human threat notches up the fear response even more. This threat is going to give blogging a really bad name.
Clearly seeing the threat for a long time, I’ve challenged bloggers to brainstorm ways to stop comment spam at the root, non on our blogs. Unless we stop comment spamming from being the lucrative business it is, there is no comment spam filter or gimmick you can use that will put an end to this. They have to be cut off from the money root.
Again, whining, complaining, and increasing comment spam fighting efforts on your blog is not going to stop this or change things. So far, the blogosphere and web has done a fairly good job policing itself. And the web is filled with intelligent and creative thinkers. Among all these brilliant minds must be an idea to help stop comment spam, especially human comment spammers.
What can we do to make bloggers who choose this money making effort not make the choice, and what can we do to stop comment spam at the source.
Let’s give human comment spammers a very bad name.