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Lee Odden

Blog Comments: Are You A Person Or A Thing?

By Lee Odden     Blogging, Online Marketing

Blog Comments Real ThingAfter 7+ years, I’ve seen it all in blog comments. Genuine people responding, asking and sharing in ways that inspire streams of comment responses and even blog posts elsewhere on the web.

I’ve also seen far too many bots that automatically find blog posts that are of a certain age, written on a certain keyword topic and that have follow vs. nofollow links. Once found (automatically using software) they scrape parts of previous comments to create a new one with embedded links to their Viagra SEO New Delhi Insurance Leads spam site. Bleh.

Then there are the benign “good job [insert blogger name here] comments or those that have been translated into another language and back into English. Here’s another good one: comments from reputable people from reputable companies that insist on leaving their full email signature in the comment. One link isn’t enough, they must have two or three or more. Greedy.

It’s truly amazing how some people choose to add value (and when doing so it defintely gets on my radar) but that so many choose to be spammy.  When people add value, I notice. When they spam, I am quick to blacklist.

What should you write in a comment? Opinion, reaction, questions, resources and most of all, something relevant. There are no bad comments when they come from a real person with real substance related to the blog post.

I understand people blog for a variety of reasons. TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog exists as an information source that gives our community a peek into the expertise and point of view within our marketing consulting agency. It demonstrates thought leadership and serves as a hub for our social media participation. TopRank Marketing’s presence on the social web is to engage with prospective customers, peers, potential employees, marketing partners, vendors and the media.

We do have a comment policy. It’s linked right above the comment box. It serves to provide readers a simple DO’s and DONT’S for commenting that creates value and that supports our purpose for having a blog.  Each time I see a new comment without a person’s name or handle in the name field, I have to ask: “Is this a person or a thing?”

We’re here to engage with people, not bots and certainly not comment spammers or greedy link-types. Many, many conversations have been inspired by the thousands of posts authored here over the past 7 years. We welcome them all. Agree, disagree, it doesn’t matter.

Hopefully if you have your own blog, you’ve created your own blog comment policy. It won’t stop the bots or the 5 cents per post offshore outsourced comment spam, but it will provide human readers some guidelines.

Mainstream blogging has been around for about 10 years or so, but there are many people who are new to reading blogs or are not familiar with what’s appropriate. Help them by providing guidelines. The benefits will be improved quality in the comments, which motivates others to join in and revisit the blog.

Some of the best content on a blog is in the comments, not the blog posts. When a comment thread takes off, that’s the magic in blogging (to me). The exchange between an Author and readers is a highly valued outcome. Inspiring exchange and discussion between our readers, between real people with opinions, is priceless.

If you’re a blogger or read blogs fairly frequently, what do you consider comment spam? What kind of comments do you find most useful, interesting and worth responding to?


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