Are Your Comments Trustworthy?

You know what? I missed my 10th anniversary of blogging on I’m Just Sharing. I wrote my first post on 12/12/07; it was probably the 2nd shortest thing I’ve ever written here. The best post I wrote that month is now on another blog because the topic works better there. The second best post of that first month was about diabetes, and even though it shows up as the 2nd post on this blog it was actually the 8th article I wrote.

trustworthy
Who didn’t trust Mr. T?

Back then I wasn’t sure what I wanted this blog to be about; I only knew that, unless my business blog, I was going to try to make money off it. To that extent, I was marketing a lot of things from Commission Junction that I didn’t know all that much about. I was also dropping general thoughts about my day and things I thought were interesting; nothing like what I write about now.

I learned a couple of lessons early on. One, It’s hard to sell anything well that you don’t know much about. Two, until you build up some trust, you’re probably never going to sell anything. Three, even after you’ve built some trust, it’s hard to sell stuff! lol

That second point is the most important though. The truth is that you might sell something you don’t know anything about, but if it doesn’t work out then those customers will never buy anything from you again. Not only that, but they won’t come back to your blog, and might tell others bad things about you. Luckily that’s not a problem I encountered, but putting it out there like I did wasn’t wise; I never thought about it at the time.

After all this time, I believe those who come back consistently trust me to give them my best, no matter how long or short my articles are; you’d have to ask them how much, but for now I’m good with 50-50. 🙂 I have nothing to gain by being dishonest or sneaky; I can’t think of any way that can benefit me or help me in any way.

The same goes for comments I make on other blogs. I like to think I’m a good commenter, even if I don’t tend to write tomes when I comment (though I’ve been known to do it). I never comment on an article I haven’t read, and I always touch upon something that was in the article. I may not always agree, but I’m always honest. If any of my regular visitors have seen a comment of mine on their blog, they’ll tell you that… I hope! lol

Yet, I don’t get the reciprocal here all that often. It’s not from those who return but from new commenters. Frankly, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m starting to be tougher on the comments I approve. The reason? I’m not sure I trust them.

None of these people can do anything to me, but I know they’re hoping to drop a link on this blog back to their site. Yet, there are times when I’m not sure if it’s spam or just bad commenting; maybe a little of both.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.

1. Email address is different from the website/blog.

Marketing 101; if you’re going to do anything on the web/email, use an email address that helps reinforce your brand name in the minds of those you’re reaching out to.


Trusted me enough to invite me to
dinner with her & her husband in DC

For the life of me, I can’t understand why so many people who comment here don’t use an email address with their website link on it. For instance, if I comment on your blog and it’s related to this blog, my email address ends with “imjustsharing.com”, because I want the blog owners to see that and associate it with this blog. Marketing 101, as I said before.

So many people these days use gmail addresses; unless I know you, I immediately don’t trust your comment. It makes absolutely no sense for you to do that; it’s bad business, especially if you’re adding your blog or website link.

2. Name in email address is different than the name you use on the blog.

If your say your name is David Smith but your email name is some kind of foreign name I don’t trust you. If you use a female name and comes up with a female picture but your email name is Andrew, I don’t trust you. Your comment is probably going to be lousy anyway, which means you make it easy for me to know it’s spam, but on the rare occasion the comment looks legitimate, I still don’t trust it all that much… especially because you’re probably never coming back even if I respond to it.

Almost all my emails begin with Mitch; that’s my name after all. If you visit any of my 5 blogs, you’ll see that’s my name. I visit a lot of the blogs that have dodgy names or what I’ll call broken English comments, and I’m looking for two things. The first is to see if the blog is written with better grammar than the comment. The second is to see if I can find the name on the blog. When I find either of these things out of place… I don’t trust you or your comment.

3. Your comment is too generic

Most generic comments are pretty easy to figure out as spam, which is lucky for us bloggers. Every once in a while a comment is kind of borderline. It might touch on the topic of the article, but if it doesn’t have anything specific that correlates with the article, I don’t trust you.

I make it pretty easy for you to have something to say; at least I think I do. Almost all my articles are over 1,000 words (like this one), and I touch upon a lot of different themes often enough, especially when I have numbers listed like I do here. If I don’t know you and you write something like “I love this article, especially point #2”, and you don’t follow it up with anything, I’m probably sending your comment to spam… because I don’t trust you (sense the theme?).

4. You’re trying to sneak a 2nd article link in

If you’re new, I have a commenting policy. The short version is right above the comment box. There’s a line in that short paragraph which says: “don’t put subdomain links to other articles in the area where you put your website, as it will be removed and any CommentLuv you might have received from your link also won’t show.”

If you link back to a blog, CommentLuv will give you an opportunity to get a link back to your site. You even have choices of which link you want to pick (you have more choices if you’ve installed CommentLuv Premium). Adding a subdomain link to the web address you put in is not only sneaky (I know this because CommentLuv gives people a link to their blog only if you don’t use a subdomain article link, which means you’re doing it intentionally) but on this blog those articles automatically go to moderation.

Only a very good comment will be pulled out and approved, but only after I remove the subdomain article… which also kills any CommentLuv link you might have had. At least I don’t pull the domain link… often… because I don’t trust you all that much.

Those are only a few examples of what I see. I’m more than generous most of the time, but with my new policy towards being more authentically me I’m going to start killing more borderline comments that show up here. As I said earlier, none of those people ever come back, and because I regularly do maintenance on this blog I know those folks are getting notification of when I comment back to them.

I close by asking this question again; are your comments trustworthy? Well… are they? 🙂
 

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17 comments on “Are Your Comments Trustworthy?

  • You write, “So many people these days use gmail addresses; unless I know you, I immediately don’t trust your comment. It makes absolutely no sense for you to do that; it’s bad business, especially if you’re adding your blog or website link.”

    Lighten up, already. I’ve been using GMail since it went beta. I own SEVERAL domains, but use my GMail account because I’m used to it and the spam filtering is awesome. I wonder how many other bloggers feel as you do about this? Also, you seem to assume that all of your readers even HAVE a website to promote here. Did it ever occur to you that many people out there don’t know what they’d DO with one, and still ask, “What’s a web host?”

    I can’t argue with you on this one: “If your say your name is David Smith but your email name is some kind of foreign name I don’t trust you. If you use a female name and comes up with a female picture but your email name is Andrew, I don’t trust you.”

    I actually liked the feature in Premium CL that rejected comments if the commenter didn’t have a Gravatar – or at least threw them into the moderation queue. (I mean, to be fair, my DAD doesn’t have a Gravatar. But it’s easy for a human and hard for a bot to have one, so there’s that.)

    Some people do have a reason to go by nicknames or pseudonyms online. Safety being #1. But they should at least have a consistent persona and personality. (Are there no GOOD trolls out there, these days? No, seriously.. not all “anonymous” people are trolls or bots.) What you’re describing, though, is a poor attempt at deception. I don’t mind that half so much as I mind knowing the commenter thought I was running my blog on autopilot or too stupid to notice.

    As for “generic,” you have to admit not ALL commenters can be as good as me. 😉 How many people are going to give you a whole blog post in the comments section?

    “I make it pretty easy for you to have something to say; at least I think I do. Almost all my articles are over 1,000 words…” There you go, using up all the words, leaving none for the poor commenter with a vocabulary under 1000 words.

    “You’re trying to sneak a 2nd article link in–” and you STILL won’t let me, after all these years. That’s okay – that’s what my blog is for. Still…seriously?? I don’t get trust and special dispensation on this?

    “If you’re new, I have a commenting policy,” and if we’re old, we just read Emily Post a gazillion years ago and try not to be bad houseguests.

    I know not whereof you speak with this subdomain business…I’m tempted to test it, though, just to see if you really are that merciless…

    I mean, if I’m bored enough to create a subdomain, I’ll come back and give it a go.

    And I thought I was starting to sound like a “Get off my lawn!” blogger. Define “very good,” as in “worthy of fishing through and dragging out, dripping and sniveling, to give a grudging second chance to.”

    And hey, you do you, Mr. Authenticity. I was thinking of giving The Onion a run for its money in 2018 (God help us all if I ever do turn to the Dark Side). Generous? You are such a teddy bear, till you get your dander up! I just can’t imagine why people try. I mean, you’re not even ON that site that encourages strained attempts at being social in the guise of selling snake oil…

    If I answer your closing question in the affirmative, does that make me MORE or LESS trustworthy in your eyes? I can smell a trap!
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Never, Ever, AskMy Profile

    Reply
    • First, I’m going to tell you something you probably rarely hear… you’re wrong! lol On two counts, though I’ll give you 1/4th for one of those counts. I mentioned that it didn’t make sense for people to use a gmail address when they’re putting a website link in the box; this indicates that all those people have been adding websites, so your premise about them not having websites doesn’t fit. On the second count, you mention that you have multiple websites which is why you use your gmail address. You personally aren’t looking for a business link, per se, but almost everyone else is, which means they’re missing the importance of branding themselves & that business. As I indicated, since I’ve been self employed for 16 1/2 years at this point, that always makes me question them and wonder if it’s actually the owner writing the comments or if they’re paying someone to write the comments… that’s why I don’t trust them until I know them.

      On the generic comments thing, I’m certainly not expecting War & Peace (except from you lol), but when so many comments are like “Thanks for the post. I really learned a lot, especially your 2nd point” and don’t offer anything else… sorry but that’s just too generic, and I ain’t buying it.

      As for those links… both of those come from GASP that’s embedded in CommentLuv. I could turn it off but I’d have way too many fake comments showing up as real and I’d be deleting them all the time. Unfortunately it won’t let me add specific people who are allowed to get around it, otherwise I’d put you there. Also, because this blog has that issue with some Chrome commenters (which I can’t figure out) I really have little control over where some comments go (yours showed up in trash for some reason, even though you’ve been whitelisted).

      The subdomain thing is like if you typed in your blog address like this, http://jahangiri.us/2017, you get the CommentLuv link, then you go back and type in http://jahangiri.us/2017/never-ever-ask/; that’s sneaky, and comes from some stupid marketer recommending people do it about 4 or 5 years ago; ugh!

      No traps here… at least on this post. 😉

      Reply
  • I’m not sure I wasn’t the “stupid marketer” who first figured out you could change the commentluv link then put your own domain in the website box, back when friends and I were in friendly blogging competitions and trying to get people to come comment. (But to be fair, I usually mentioned that IN the comment and said, “Hey, my friend Abhi would love it if you’d come comment on his blog and help him win this silly contest thingy.”) So, yeah. A little sneaky, I know; I suppose it’s easily abused, too. But you said subdomain, which would (technically) be like me putting books.jahangiri.us/2017 in the link, and I’m not sure your G.A.S.P. or whatever is really going to stop EITHER of those things, so long as the root domain matches. It’s not going to like me using two completely different root domains, for sure.

    You know I don’t mind being told I’m wrong – IF I’m wrong. LOL I notice you didn’t argue with me calling you a teddy bear. You talk a good fight, but you’re not exactly Ming the Merciless. Except when it comes to me and those links. It actually tossed my comment in the TRASH this time? How RUDE!! I didn’t even put a LINK IN IT. Let’s see what it does with this one.
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Liebster AwardMy Profile

    Reply
    • This one it accepted immediately; I don’t get it. lol Anyway, I go back and forth in calling it a subdomain or an article link, but GASP calls it a subdomain so I didn’t originate it. As for being the stupid marketer, that would have been you if you’d written about it & recommended everyone do it to sneak it in as a sales technique… which you wouldn’t do. 🙂

      Overall, I wish Andy was still healthy and updating CommentLuv because there’s going to come a time when it’s not going to be compatible with anything; sigh…

      Reply
  • You are the best judge to answer your own question about my comments. I don’t comment on all your posts though I read all of them because I subscribe to your posts. I only comment when I have something worthwhile to say. I comment on many other bloggers’ posts and none of them have ever deleted any. You have not either. So, I guess that I pass.
    Rummuser recently posted…Separation.My Profile

    Reply
    • LOL! After all these years, your comments definitely aren’t in question; you keep coming back for more. 🙂 Still, I bet you get those occasional comments that you look at and think “this comment doesn’t say anything”.

      Reply
  • Beverly Mahone says:

    Well Mitch,

    I have to say everything written on this page was quite interesting (specifically the comments back and forth)!

    I used to be one of those people who commented on other people’s blogs just so they would come and comment on something I wrote but I don’t do that anymore because I simply don’t have the same kind of time I used to. So if I do take the time to comment, I want my comments to be considered “trustworthy” simply because I am taking the time to provide some feedback or thoughts.

    I rarely have people commenting on my blogs anymore.
    Perhaps because I don’t promote them as much or perhaps it’s not a subject they’re particularly interested in.

    And, like you, I am much more skeptical of the commenters who do decide to comment because many of them have an ulterior motive.

    Glad I just stumbled across your page today 🙂

    Reply
    • I’m glad you stopped by & commented on this one Bev; thanks. I don’t comment as much as I used to either because, as you said, I get busy, but I still do it when I’m interested in something. Still, I make sure I have my branded email addresses ready because you never know if it’s the thing that will stick in the owner’s mind later on.

      The ulterior motive thing isn’t such a big deal if the comments make sense and address the content. It’s when they’re borderline and generic that it’s irksome, but still easy to deal with.

      Reply
  • Hi, Mitch!

    My comments are trustworthy.

    While reading this post, I went and changed my gravatar email address, because it just made sense to do so. Thanks for the heads up!!

    I do not share anything (articles) on social media unless I have read it. And if I’ve commented on the blog post, I try to share it even the more.

    Take care,
    Evelyn

    Reply
    • Good stuff Evelyn. I read everything I share, and if I take the time to comment I’m sharing the article. I’m also touching upon at least one thing in the article because of it’s enough to encourage me to comment it’s worth mentioning why I’m commenting.

      Reply
  • Thanks Mitch for giving such informative idea which usually commenters don’t think. For my case, I believe I am doing as per your guideline. I am a trustworthy commenter and I have mentioned my mail id and original name in the mentioned box. What you have written is highly recommended because spam commenters are everywhere in the blogging industry. I really enjoyed your article because of the clarity of your perceptions.

    Thanks for the sharing.

    Reply
    • Welcome to the blog Dhrubo. Your comment is good, but the rest is slightly suspect; just a bit of education if I might explain why.

      First, you’re using a gmail account, not one from your website. Second, I looked at your website (something I mentioned I do) and your name isn’t anywhere on it. There’s a link at the top purporting to go to a blog but when I clicked on it… there’s no blog. Third, there is an email address listed on the site ending with the domain name (branding) which would hold slightly more weight than the gmail address.

      The saving grace is that your comment is original and more than a simple line saying something generic. That helps me believe your comment is trustworthy and authentic… even if the rest of the stuff looks questionable. 🙂

      Reply
  • Lisa Sicard says:

    Hi Mitch, you just taught me a good lesson. I just changed my email address to the blog name email vs my gmail which automatically comes up when I fill out comments 🙂 Thank you! I never thought about it like that as you said here. If they don’t match – how can you trust it?
    I get lots of weird stuff from time to time and once in a while I’m not sure if I trust a comment or not. Most of the time I will put it in spam if I am not sure.
    Thanks for the lessons here Mitch!

    Reply
    • I know that some people think every comment is real; I’ve had to tell a few bloggers about that over the years, which is why I write about it sometimes. Others never pay attention to comments, which explains why they never respond to our comments.

      Reply

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