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5 Reasons Why Commenting Only On Blogs In Your Niche Might Not Work

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015

If you’ve seen anything I write on blogging you already know that I’m big on commenting on blogs as a strategy for driving traffic back to your blog. I’m also a fan of commenting on blogs just for the sake of doing it; it’s probably my biggest pastime in life (so I have no other life; don’t judge me lol).

What Good Commenters Do
Kathy Cassidy via Compfight

There are lots of bloggers out there who will tell you that if you want to grow your blog or get noticed that you should concentrate on commenting on blogs within your niche. There are also a lot of bloggers who will tell you to never leave comments on blogs outside of your niche, and to remove all links someone leaves on your blog that don’t have to do with your niche.

My word on that… bunk! Sure, there are some websites you might not want to be associated with that promote things you disagree with. That’s fair, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about someone who might want to know what your topic is but maybe works in an industry like windows and doors or life insurance. Those folks are interested in lots of different things, and maybe you have something to offer that they like.

At the same time, I doubt there’s anyone I know who’s only interested in one thing. Even people writing all the time about making money online have to have other interests; if not, then why do they need the money in the first place?

Want to know something else? Commenting only on blogs in your niche doesn’t always work. Truthfully, it rarely works for most niches. How do I know?

First, the disclaimer; I can’t find the blog post where I did a test and talked about it. So you’ll just have to take my word on this one.

About 3 years or so I wanted to see what would happen if I commented on 10 blogs about leadership. That’s what my business blog is mainly about, and I’m listed on the Alltop leadership page also. I’m putting that out in case you didn’t know that or haven’t seen any of my recent posts about my latest book Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy.

Anyway, what I did was comment on 10 blogs listed on that page that had what I call traditional WordPress comment areas. Since it’s a topic I know pretty well I thought it would be interesting to see what happened.

Out of the 10 blogs I commented on, only one responded. Not only that but half of them put my comment into moderation and never released it. Overall 8 blogs put my comment into moderation but at least the other 3 posted it… eventually.

That’s not a good rate at all is it?

Not 365: 13 - Point (and shoot)
Hilde SkjΓΈlberg via Compfight

Still, 3 years later all the other blog authorities are telling bloggers this bit of information and I have a feeling their only test for it happens to be in their niche. Heck, if I didn’t have other niches I might think the same thing. After all, writing about blogging and social media gets lots of traffic and comments because we understand we’re a community.

But in niches that aren’t traditional blogging circles… what would most bloggers know about that?

That’s where I come in. Since that other test was about 3 years ago, I decided to run another leadership blog test a couple of weeks ago. This time I decided to comment on 20 blogs, but I didn’t limit it to WordPress.org blogs. I added WordPress.com and Blogspot blogs to the mix. I still don’t like any of those other commenting systems so I wasn’t going out of my way to play with those folks.

My working theory was that nothing was going to have changed from the previous time I tried it. Was I wrong or right? Let’s look at this in the context of 5 reasons niche commenting might not work:

1. Out of the 20 blogs I commented on, I got a response on only one. That one comment… “Thank you Mitch.” Does that really count as a response? Come on bloggers, y’all know that if that was a comment on your blog you’d probably delete it unless you knew the person.

2. If I include the blog above, my comment showed up officially on 4 blogs. All the others are still showing me that they’re in moderation, which means I might not know if they ever get approved or not because I’m not going to continue chasing them down.

One of the gripes I always have about bloggers who moderate comments is that sometimes they take a long time before going back and even looking at comments, let alone approving them. Trust me, it’s worse in niches that aren’t what I’d call “blogger friendly”.

3. Out of all the blogs I commented on, only 2 of them had the writer of the blog respond to any comments at all. On one of the blogs there were 7 comments before mine but the owner only responded to one comment… and it wasn’t the first one, in case that came to your mind. Why that one comment? No idea, but I thought I’d point it out. Truthfully, most of the blogs had no comments on them before mine… if mine ever shows… unless we’re all in moderation.

Victoria (3)
Creative Commons License Robert Bejil via Compfight

People who really aren’t skilled on the concept of blogging don’t know that they should be responding to all comments, especially comments where the person put some thought behind it. That’s why I write about it all the time.

4. Only one of the blogs I commented on was ranked higher than my business blog. That’s saying something because my business blog isn’t ranked as high as it used to be. Where I think these folks are failing is that they haven’t done anything to try to drive traffic to their sites.

This means no articles anywhere else, no guest posting, no commenting on other blogs… just content that’s sitting there waiting for someone to come by. Actually, I wondered how these other folks ended up on Alltop to begin with. I know how I got there; I asked Guy Kawasaki directly and he did it (well, I AM listed in one of his books for helping to edit it after all lol).

5. Here’s the crux of the matter. If all but one of the blogs I commented on, in my niche, were ranked lower than my blog… then what benefit was I going to get by commenting only on blogs in my niche? I mean, they possibly benefit from my leaving a comment because I’m the higher ranked site, which means I’m lending them some authority points.

Bets are easy that none of those folks are ever going to follow me back to my business blog. Not only that but I didn’t mention that not one of those blogs had CommentLuv on them, so they probably wouldn’t even know that I’d left my blog link, rather than a business website link, in the first place.

Did I make my point? I’m not trying to talk anyone out of taking a shot at commenting on blogs within their niche. What I’m saying is that sometimes (more often than not) it’s a losing proposition because the assumption is those folks, just because they have a blog, have some kind of idea what they’re doing in the first place.

Maybe by leaving a comment on certain blogs you’ll get noticed by the blog owner, and if it’s an influential person that can’t hurt. However, if you ask me, you have a better shot at talking to a supermodel on Twitter (which I have lol).
 

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39 Comments »

Mitch,

You really amaze me. You offer so much wisdom on your blog.

Okay, you talked me into it. I will make time daily to find blogs in different niches to leave a comment. I will do it for two weeks and then return to this comment and report the results.
Rasheed Hooda recently posted…Create Your Own RealityMy Profile

July 13th, 2015 | 3:25 PM

Good deal Rasheed. If I may, I’d suggest finding blogs that you see having some sort of activity. At least you’ll get some kind of responses to your comments, and in that case visitors back to yours.

July 13th, 2015 | 5:30 PM

Well that makes sense.

I suppose I have to say more than four words for my comment to be acceptable, so you go. Are those enough words?
Rasheed Hooda recently posted…Create Your Own RealityMy Profile

July 13th, 2015 | 5:40 PM

Nope. lol You know what to do because you already did right with your first comment. πŸ™‚

July 13th, 2015 | 6:00 PM

Mitch, you are my #1 commenter, did you know that?

I don’t think we’re in the same niche – but then again, we have plenty in common, and we get along well.

Commenting only in your own niche is like leaving an ad for your candy store in your competitor’s candy store. If he’s got the guts to leave it there, odds are no one’s going to notice it anyway – unless you’re very obviously carrying something he doesn’t stock. (And good SEO would serve you better there, anyway.) Personally, I think you should leave comments on blogs you like and enjoy reading, and comments on blogs run by your potential clients or customers. It makes a lot more sense for me to leave comments on “Mommy blogs” and “Daddy blogs” if I want to attract potential customers, than to leave comments on fellow authors’ blogs.

But I’m only going to comment on ANY blog that I’ve read and enjoyed, and only if it feels like a natural conversation. That goes for yours, too – I’ve read a few posts that didn’t immediately provoke a need to comment, and I didn’t. Nothing personal – I just didn’t have anything to add to the conversation.

We make such a thing of “rules” for blogging and “rules” for monetizing a blog, we can just suck all the fun right out of it. After all those contests, I developed a strong aversion to commenting at all. Anywhere. Clicking that little “prove you’re real” box just annoyed me. Jumping through any hoops more involved than that, or being asked to log in just to leave a short comment, was enough to make me change my mind about how motivated I was to bother.
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Lake Tahoe, My WaterlooMy Profile

July 13th, 2015 | 9:46 PM

I’m with you Holly. I comment wherever I want and enjoy it. I wish more bloggers, if you will, understood how loyal the rest of us would be if they’d respond to comments, or even released them from moderation, but it is what it is.

I didn’t realize I was your top commenter but I guess it makes sense. I have you in my feed in multiple places and, like you, I don’t comment on everything because… we’re both kind of diverse so something there’s nothing that applies to me that I can comment on.

I think giving out guidelines is legitimate when we’ve done some tests or have a general opinion. However, there are some things that just don’t seem like they’d work so I test them & write on them. I always thought this “niche” thing for comments was way off, and now I’ve tested it twice. I could have gone the finance blog route… only there are fewer of those that are true blogs. lol

July 14th, 2015 | 5:19 PM
Anja Skrba:

Nice subject to write about Mitch!

Commenting truly is a great way to build up more traffic on your blog, but it’s important to know that commenting only on blogs in your niche doesn’t always work. But also, it can be really bad if you stray far away from the circle of your niche – the golden middle is what everyone should strive for, def.

Great read as always Mitch!

Kind regards
Anja

July 14th, 2015 | 6:53 AM

Thanks Anja. Actually, like Holly I’ll stray often. First, I’m interested in lots of different things. Second, I like to throw some love around where I can. And third… having 5 blogs gives me lots of options of which blog to share.

July 14th, 2015 | 5:20 PM
Ileane:

Hi Mitch,

This same thought occurred to me one day when I was getting fed up with moderating all the “junk comments” that get left on my blog.

First let me back up – you might be wondering – how do I know they are “junk comments”? Because I end up getting traffic from the sites that people use to check their backlinks: SEMRush, Backlink checker, Moz etc. you know the kind of site I’m talking about right?

Well, when I see that kind of traffic, it proves to me that the person was only commenting for the purpose of getting a link. That’s why I call them “junk comments”. In fact, on the surface, these comments seemed just fine – which explains why I approved them in the first place. Yet not only did they get their link, they have someone else double checking to be sure – hence that’s why they show up on Moz and all of the other link checkers I mentioned.

Now back to that thought I had.

Consider this – what’s wrong with leaving a comment and not including a link?

I mean if we really care about community building and making connections with people – why do we need to get a link back to our blog simply because we shared our thought in a comment?

Just to prove my point I didn’t leave a link here in the comment box just now – even though the topic of this blog is a perfect fit for my site.

I just wanted to comment for the sake of commenting – no because I’m trying to get traffic or build backlinks. After all, you know where to find me…

Let me know if you think more of your comments (or all of our comments) would get approved if we didn’t include a link. Maybe some folks think the links are more important (or just as important) as the actual comments.

Chat soon my dear!

July 14th, 2015 | 1:06 PM

Hi Ileane,

Maybe Mitch knows where to find you, but I don’t. I am a curious creature and I like to find out about people who have something intelligent to say.

With no link, I suppose I’ll have to wait for you to read this and then decide if you want me to read your blog, and if so you will let me know where to find it. If not, we won’t be building community together. πŸ™‚

What I am trying to say is, yes, it is a pain in you know what, but anything worth anything usually is.
Rasheed Hooda recently posted…Create Your Own RealityMy Profile

July 14th, 2015 | 1:51 PM
Ileane:

Nice to meet you Rasheed. My blog is Basic Blog Tips and you can also find me on YouTube by searching for Ileane πŸ™‚

July 14th, 2015 | 5:04 PM

Great seeing you here Ileane!

Actually, I’m not sure if more comments would be accepted without a link. I think those who moderate comments aren’t doing it for the links most of the time because I doubt most of them, like the leadership blogs I talked about, have any idea about the links. Instead, I think they’re worried about the types of comments they’d get more than the spam, although they use that as an excuse. Thing is, spam is pretty easy to weed out and recognize (most of the time), and with some protections (like I have) almost all that stuff will show up in the spam filter.

Also, as Rasheed pointed out (I don’t often read other comments before getting to the new ones so this is unique lol), if someone else decides to read your comment and is impressed by it, they don’t have a way to check you out to see what you might be writing or what your business is. I know, some folks don’t care (okay, MOST folks don’t care), but for those who do it’s a pretty nice thing.

Of course to the original question… I don’t see anything wrong with it at all. I know that sometimes folks don’t have either a blog or website so it happens here and there. As long as they enjoyed the content and the comment they want to make is legit… it’s all good.

July 14th, 2015 | 5:25 PM
Ileane:

I meant to ask you about that – why don’t you turn on the option for people to include their Twitter handle. That way they can find me. πŸ™‚

July 18th, 2015 | 8:41 AM

It’s not an option on the plugin I use for comments.

July 18th, 2015 | 6:40 PM

You and I are on the same track here Mitch. Before I even read this post I thought “Well, not everyone has only ONE interest.”

I habitually read blogs about leadership, sport betting, SEO, baking, koi fish, fashion, architecture, interior design, Las vegas… You get the point. I leave comments on these blogs if it is not too much of a hassle. (In my Feedly I have a special section just for blogs with CommentLuv as that makes it SO easy to comment.)

So should I NOT comment on a worthy post about breast cancer because that is not in my niche? I say no.

Thanks again Mitch for a fine post…though I often wonder what your image choices are for? I wonder if there is some sort of hidden meaning or something I did not catch? LOL
Troy Swezey recently posted…#842 A merry-go-round creates smiles all aroundMy Profile

July 15th, 2015 | 2:15 AM

First, glad we agree Troy.

Second, the images always have something to do with the post, unless they’re my own images, but they’re not always so easily understood. In this case, the first one should be easy to understand. The second has the woman pointing like people who are trying to tell you or us something. The last… a news anchor, or commentator. πŸ™‚

July 15th, 2015 | 2:17 AM

Hi. thanks for this info.
I was being confused after asking several peoples and was commnting only on same niches. think its time to change the strategy.
Thanks for the info πŸ™‚
rakesh t recently posted…How to build backlinks : The Step by Step GuideMy Profile

July 15th, 2015 | 6:11 AM

Good luck with it; have fun!

July 15th, 2015 | 10:42 PM

First of all thanks for sharing this information about commenting. As you said in this article about how to comment and what to comment are great topics. I am also using comments to build relationship with other bloggers. It gives also a traffic to over blog/website. It’s not necessary to comment only on our niche. Comment on all the blog post’s you like and get some unexpected things.
swapnil recently posted…Amazing Facts About Google Chrome – ExposedMy Profile

July 15th, 2015 | 10:15 AM

That’s how I see things also. It’s why I visited your post and then shared it on Twitter. lol

July 15th, 2015 | 11:03 PM

Even i agree with your idea. I don’t like to comment on the blogs which have only my niche. Rarely our comments get approved. So now i usually comments on any random article which is good. It is tough indeed to get back links. But, at least i can be glad that i’m commenting on something which i liked reading.
Rahul recently posted…Bluehost vs Dreamhost July 2015 – Why bluehost wins?My Profile

July 15th, 2015 | 5:51 PM

Same here. There are some commenting systems I’ll ignore, but there’s plenty around that I like to see.

July 15th, 2015 | 11:04 PM
Debadeep Biswas:

I definitely agree with you, I do not comment on the blogs just for the sake of improve my rankings, we can not resist ourselves from commenting quality blogs of other niches.

Regards,
Debadeep
Debadeep Biswas recently posted…How To Create Your Own Avatar For FreeMy Profile

July 17th, 2015 | 1:07 PM

I think commenting is commenting overall, and it’s all good.

July 17th, 2015 | 10:56 PM

Hey Mitch,

I happen to agree with you actually although if you are building a business you would hope that those commenting on post in your niche would be interested in what you share. There is a big but coming though… As per your own example with the leadership blogs, not all of them have a lot of comments or visitors nor do their owners understand what the heck they’re missing out on by not being more responsive with their replies.

Because most people are being taught this for the WRONG reasons you have those only here for backlinks. Now I will say that with the time I do have I don’t have a lot of extra time to just go read a bunch of posts outside my niche and comment. Sure, I love reading posts and commenting, my favorite things to do but as you probably know, it takes a lot of time to do that.

For those saying you shouldn’t comment outside your niche at all, well I guess we all have our own agenda’s right! It’s perfectly okay to do that but if you want to stay in the good graces of the search engines you should be cautious about which links you approve. Those with spammy links anyway or probably not here for the right reasons so removing theirs is probably a no brainer.

There are so many niches where blog commenting is not as popular so you have to go where those people hang out the most and start building relationships with them there. We all wish they loved blogging as much as we do but that’s just the way life is.

Another good point though, thanks for bringing it up and for using your own example.

Have a great week Mitch.

~Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted…How to Keep on Blogging When Life Gets HecticMy Profile

July 20th, 2015 | 4:15 PM

Thanks for commenting Adrienne. I think overall this is probably the norm because not all industries actually get the point of blogging to begin with, let alone commenting or responding to comments. You’re also right when you say that those who understand it a little bit better do so because they’re looking for backlinks not relationships or discussion.

I think this thing with backlinks is another thing that people are getting wrong to the extreme, like most everything else that relates to Google. They don’t care if I comment on a home improvement blog, which isn’t in my niche. What they care about is if the blog I’m promoting is something they consider dodgy in some fashion. I know you’ll delete certain links from your blog, especially if they’re not blog links. Instead of doing that automatically I’ll check out the links to see where they go. After all, as much as I talk about blogging and social media, I feel it would be unfair if someone came from an industry like law or finance to learn something and decided to leave a link to their business page. However, there are links that I don’t want to be associated with that I’ll remove, pretty much knowing those folks are never coming back anyway, and of course if the comment doesn’t really say anything it’s being moved to spam.

You know me; if there’s a blanket recommendation that doesn’t make sense, I’m a say something πŸ˜‰

July 20th, 2015 | 11:27 PM

Well there you go, somebody finally debunked the commenting on your own niche theory.

I’ve never held to that rule Mitch. Not because I didn’t believe it to be true but because I couldn’t be bothered to look for blogs in the same niche my 4 niche blogs. Actually, I think I did at one stage but couldn’t find one that was worth commenting on and so gave it up πŸ˜‰

Great post as usual mate.
Peter recently posted…Allison Stokke Hot Sport Babe #28My Profile

July 21st, 2015 | 3:56 AM

Thanks Pete. Actually, outside of blogging, SEO, WAHMs or making money online I always figured that niche commenting wouldn’t ever really work. I’ve tried commenting on a few other finance blogs using my finance blog’s link to show a connection. Once once ever did one of those people come to my blog. I’d rather comment where I’ve enjoyed the post, no matter the topic.

July 21st, 2015 | 11:05 AM

Hi Mitch,

You are right. Many times it does not make sense commenting on some blogs. I had a similar experience when I tried to comment on many blogs related to my topic. Most of those comments are still in moderation!

Then when you comment on blogs where the owner replies, it seems you only attract people who are your peers in the industry and not necessarily your target audience(people likely to buy your products). Then there was this one blog I was following closely. The blog owner, I noticed, replied comments arbitrarily. Meaning out of say 20 comments on her post, she might decide to respond to only 12. The rest were unreplied. Needless to say, I continued to read her content but didn’t comment on them.

You are right: some bloggers don’t even know what blogging is all about. They do think it is just all about writing content when its more than that.

Thanks for sharing your experience. It is such a relief to know other folks experience some of the things I experience.
Chioma Anozie recently posted…10 steps you should take to become successful in lifeMy Profile

July 22nd, 2015 | 8:31 AM

No problem Chioma, and thanks for your comment. I hate that there are so many people who blog but don’t know blogging courtesies. Then they wonder why no one is commenting on their blog or they get no traffic. I guess that’s why we write about these things all the time. At least in the blogging niche we all know what we’re supposed to do, whether we do it or not. πŸ˜‰

July 22nd, 2015 | 1:04 PM

Fabulous post, Mitch. I think staying in your own niche is boring. There are so many fabulous things out there to learn so why segregate yourself to just one topic. I know you step out of yours and even comment on my site. πŸ™‚ I admire that in you because you are being a friendly person, networking with others, despite whatever niche they may be in. I think you get farther that way my friend. I’ve never stayed in my own and will never. I like to read too many things and network with all kinds of folks.

Happy Hump Day!
Brenda Lee recently posted…What Everybody Ought To Know About Snoring #InfographicMy Profile

July 22nd, 2015 | 9:32 AM

Thanks Bren, though I’m just waiting for the day when one of my comments on your blog gets me in trouble. lol Overall, I comment where I want to comment without a strategy. Every once in a while I have to test conventions. It seems that, for the most part, no one’s tested and found something other than what I’ve seen; that’s pretty good vindication for a point of view eh?

July 22nd, 2015 | 1:06 PM

Oh you’ll never get into trouble on MGP. We try our hardest not to judge and that includes the person leaving their opinions. πŸ™‚
Brenda Lee recently posted…When #Life Gets In The Way #InfographicMy Profile

July 22nd, 2015 | 2:29 PM

Hi Mitch,
I totally agree with you. I try commenting on blogs in my niche, but sometimes I get no response to comment or they will simply say thank you. I get tired of doing that, so I comment on blogs that I enjoy reading, regardless of the niche. I think I’ve always done that and see really no benefit of devoting time to commenting on blogs in my niche.

I moderate comments, not by choice, but because of the theme I use. For some reason, moderation is built in the theme. I would rather not moderate, but that’s how it goes. I usually approve most of the comments I receive.

I appreciate you commenting on my blog. πŸ™‚

July 22nd, 2015 | 11:42 AM

Thanks Evelyn. You know what’s also funny is that a lot of WAHM blogs won’t respond to males; maybe I should talk to Brenda about that one. lol I’ve commented on a lot of blogs in your niche and I believe those folks are like those in leadership… it’s all about what they have to say and not about what we know is supposed to be the conversation.

July 22nd, 2015 | 1:08 PM

Hi, Mich, this seems quite controversial.

We’re used to getting so much advice about commenting more and how to do it better. There’s not a lot of experiments in there thinking about whether it works.

I do think you’re missing a big point about commenting. It’s part of building a relationship. It takes more than one comment to make an ongoing conversation. I know that on my own blog some people might comment once or twice but it never blossoms into any regualr contact. Whereas you connect with some people and you keep interacting in comments and on social media.

I agree that from a SEO perspective a good comment means something to Google regardless of whether it ‘reinforces’ your niche. All you have to do is get rid of the dubious ones.

Thanks for a great fresh perspective!

July 24th, 2015 | 8:39 PM

Thanks for your comment Donald. I must be new to you because not only had I written this particular article a month earlier, 5 Things You Should Do Before Commenting On A Blog http://www.imjustsharing.com/5-things-you-should-do-before-commenting-on-a-blog/ , but I’ve written nearly 200 other articles specifically about blog commenting and another 400 where I’ve talked about the need for better commenting and why. This particular article you commented on was more about an experiment to prove a point, and of course I proved that point while indicating why, I hope, it’s important for folks to respond to comments on their blogs.

Actually, I hate the concept of people commenting only for its SEO principles, but I also wanted to debunk the lousy advice of commenting only on blogs within those folks particular niches. I don’t tend to follow the “norm” without testing things first; I’m iconoclastic like that. πŸ™‚

July 25th, 2015 | 2:01 PM
Daniel White:

Hey Mitch! As always another great post by you. I’m also one too that likes to comment on blogs, for both reasons of getting traffic back to my blog and just for the sake of it.

I’ve honestly never just kept commenting on blogs within my niche, as I’ve never really had a blog that had one specific niche. Most of my blogs I’ve had since 2009 have been multiple niches combined into one blog instead of multiple blogs, as I found it easier to manage and to work on traffic generation.

Nowadays I don’t comment based on niche, I just comment because I enjoy the blog I’m doing it on and find it a great way to also build reputation between bloggers.
Daniel White recently posted…5 Websites Every Blogger Should UseMy Profile

July 26th, 2015 | 11:07 AM

First, where’d you go Dan? One day you’re everywhere, the next day you’re totally gone! lol

Second, I like how you comment on all types of blogs. There’s so much fascinating stuff out there that it’s a joy reading and then commenting on a lot of it.

July 26th, 2015 | 3:19 PM
Before you leave a reply; please see the comment policy if this is your first visit. This blog doesn't accept keyword names. I need a real first name or a legitimate nickname that you're known for. If your name has more than 3 words or the email address begins with "info" or "admin", the comment automatically goes to the spam filter; same if there are any links in the comment or if you don't have a gravatar. If your comment goes to spam for any of these reasons, or any other reason listed in this post, it may never show up on the blog (I do forgive the link issue if you've commented on the blog previously and I'll forgive the gravatar thing for first time visitors). If it goes there for any other reason (and I know some do), I'll pull it out as I don't intentionally moderate any comments on this blog.

One last thing; if your link is an affiliate link or goes back to a strange website or webpage I don't like, if I keep your comment I'll remove your link. That's why I have CommentLuv for blogs; if you have a legitimate business just leave that link & no sub-links. Trust me, it's best to read the comment policy if you don't get it, or never see your comments showing up here.

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