I See What You Did With Your Comment & You Did It Badly

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know how much I complain about people not commenting on blogs as much as they used to. I actually understand because there’s so much going on in social media where you can write a short line or just “like” something without having to take much time to write something legitimate.

sneaky self serving comments
sneaky comments…

Through the years I’ve said that people who leave good comments sometimes encourages others to visit their blogs or websites. If you write about the specific topic and you’re also know something about it, you enhance the quality of your comment, which always helps. However, there’s something new going on lately that’s been driving me nuts. Check out the example below:

My husband is complaining that his hypertension is always attacking him at night, followed by abdominal pain. Iā€™m thinking of taking my time off from work to bring him into a medical service clinic to have him checked to ask for the appropriate medicines to take. Thanks for pointing out in your article that we want to know about all the details on what is going on, no matter how big or small it might be. Cheers!

This looks like a pretty good comment, doesn’t it? It was on an article on my business blog titled 5 Things Patients Want, and the topic matches up well with one of the points I wrote about in the article.

The problem… the link the commenter had went to a company that does that very thing. In other words, the comment was fake… well written, but totally disingenuous. It also used a subdomain to go more directly to a specific thing I complained about in the article. It was used more for the keywords in the article (not intention in my case) than anything else; I was definitely irked.

Then came this one:

Mitch, thanks for sharing these tips on how to help better organize your workspace. I would imagine that hiring a professional to help with office filing systems could also be helpful. This way you can have a well-functioning system that also looks great.

This one was on an article titled 10 Tips To Better Organize Your Workspace and was directed towards people who are self employed or have small offices outside of the house. Once again, the link went to a company that does office furnishings, this time for large businesses. On the surface it looks like a pretty good comment, but it’s easy to tell that the person who wrote the comment didn’t read the article.

I don’t know that everyone looks at the links that come from people who comment on their blogs, but I definitely do. I like to see what people are sharing with me, and sometimes I’ll even comment on their blog if I can. If it goes to a website I’m not necessarily troubled by it… unless it’s something like the two examples I shared above. That’s some pretty sneaky stuff, don’t you think?

If you noticed, in the title I mentioned “you’re doing it badly”. Obviously this means I’m going to tell y’all why this was horribly inept and how they could have been more meaningful and looked genuine. Let’s tick off a few points.

1. Both of the comments used gmail addresses.

In a post I wrote almost 2 years ago asking people if their comments were trustworthy, in my first point I mentioned that unless I know the person commenting I don’t always trust their comments if they’re using gmail. It’s especially an egregious mistake if a gmail address is used when representing a business. It makes you either look like an amateur entrepreneur or like someone hired to look for blogs to leave comments on. I definitely felt this was the case for both of the above comments.

2. Adding the subdomain.

Anyone who adds a subdomain that’s not for a blog attached to a business website is trying to game the system. It’s actually an old recommendation that used to be popular except for those blogs that have CommentLuv… like this one. It only works with actual blogs, so unless the subdomain link goes to a blog and not a blog article CommentLuv gives you the choice to select which blog page link you’d like to link back to, which eliminates the need to add one where your website link is requested. I know some bloggers don’t care all that much, but I’m not one of those people.

3. Proving you didn’t read the article.

The first comment above shows the person actually read the article… or at least a portion of it. The comment specifically touched upon someone I mentioned; it was a very good comment. The second comment was way off the mark. I can’t imagine many self employed people like myself calling a company like that and having them come in to design their office space. Maybe if their rich or have a large office area it would work to some degree, but nothing like what this guy linked to.

You know what I did? I kept and responded to both comments. I removed the links they left because, since I know they were hired to write the comments because they were way too obvious, I know they’re never going to read my response, let alone ever come back to the blog again. But the comments were passable enough to leave them on those particular articles… for now…

If you’re a blogger, do you care that some people are trying to use you for their advertising purposes without caring what you’ve written or are you happy you got a comment in the first place? If you’re interested, I’d love to read what you have to say.

22 thoughts on “I See What You Did With Your Comment & You Did It Badly”

  1. I certainly haven’t been blog visiting like I used to. Certain life activities and events have taken over hours I used to spend online so I don’t comment like I used to. Fortunately, I have a pretty loyal reader base who regularly come to vote on my Battle of the Bands posts, but then that’s about all I do any more.

    I see your post notifications in my email and have intent in going back to read them, but most just get saved like so many other notifications I get. My email box is overflowing and in dire need of purging–every day I get rid of emails and more keep on coming.

    I admire your persistence in blogging. Maybe I’ll get on fire for my blog again eventually, but for now I’m just keeping it going without much enthusiasm.

    Arlee Bird

    1. Arlee, I’m the same way. I visit lots of blogs and websites, but I don’t comment as much as I used to. I’ve created a different way to follow blogs, including yours, via RSS, but I probably only check it once every couple of weeks. I’m sure you haven’t seen anything like the types of comments I highlighted because, as you said, you have a very loyal following; you’re lucky that way. šŸ™‚

  2. Hi Mitch, okay, I’m not afraid now šŸ™‚ I’m going to use my business email and see if my photo works too with the new gravatar picture.
    That’s why I stuck to using my Gmail. I wonder if others may thought that way too about gmail vs business mail? You got me thinking tonight about it.
    It is amazing how some people leave comments that don’t read anything or try to put links in.
    Way too many spammers out there. But those that are genuine are wonderful comments to get.
    I believe you were on to something about people using social media more and commenting less. It’s a time crunch.
    Thanks for bringing up the topic Mitch!

    1. Glad the gravatar thing worked; now we get to see another side of you. šŸ™‚ The other people don’t have gravatars with their gmail accounts so you don’t have to worry about that part of things. I know they were hired to provide a service but it’s lazy for the companies to not even try creating an independent email address with their domain name following it. I think it makes it easier for the rest of us to see some of the spam a mile away. šŸ™‚

      I gave that social media vs blogging answer during an interview I gave on Saturday, which came after writing this article ahead of time. Facebook was still relatively new back in the early 2010’s, LinkedIn was still just for business, and even though Google Plus was trying to be a thing it didn’t work so well for reading people’s blogs and such. I’m always happy when I get some comments, but you know me; if I don’t get any comments I won’t write anything new until I do! lol

  3. I totally agree with your thoughts about commenting on blogs. I usually get a lot of email replies to my newsletter but close to zero comments. Probably people want to stay incognito or something similar. Who knows.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    1. We used to call them “lurkers”, which was okay when traffic was still really high. These days we’re competing with social media sites for attention, but it’s still worth the time to build up a portfolio by blogging regularly.

  4. Hi Mitch,

    I think you’re right with blog posts getting fewer comments since the rise of social media. It’s so much quicker to hit a button and share the post with your followers on social media, rather than taking the time to write something useful in the comment box.

    As for those who do, in fact, a lot are spammers getting paid a small fee for every comment they drop on others’ blogs.

    On the other hand, it makes me appreciate the few comments from people who are genuine even more.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Have a great Sunday,

    1. Thanks Torsten. I also figure most of those horrible comments are from people being paid to do it, though a lot are bots because of how they scrape parts of an article or someone else’s comments… and of course those who are addressed to “webmaster” lol

      I also appreciate comments, which is why I continue trying to do so on my own, though it’s less frequent than it used to be.

  5. Hey Mitch, feels a bit weird to be commenting on a post about comments eh!?

    I agree with the point that comments are dropping off, we’ve certainly seen this on our own travel blog despite the traffic increasing.

    I guess folks are so busy posting elsewhere that they don’t have the time to type in a little response to your hard work.

    Well, that’s what I’m doing now. Have a great week!

    1. Thanks for stopping by & commenting Charlie. Truth is, since I understand why comments have lessened I don’t mind that so much as the attempts by these fakers to try to fool us into keeping their horribly written comments in our space. Still, maybe they do it because they think I’m bigger than I really am. lol

  6. Hi Mitch,

    I agree with you 100% about people trying to game the system. Sounds like a few of them are getting smarter to try to get past the gatekeepers. I always enjoy your blog posts and this is no exception!

    Thanks for another thoughtful post.


    1. Thanks Carol. I still find myself changing names of those who leave legitimate comments but use the name of their company instead of their actual name, per my commenting policy. If you see a name with initials in your stream, it’s probably me that made it that way. lol I still don’t want to moderate more than the bit I’m doing now with gravatars and dodgy IP addresses; most spammers seem to be on one or both of those links… thank goodness.

  7. Lucky for me, I have a small group of core followers who believe in commenting. The downside is, there’s not always time to respond right away. Better late than never, yes? šŸ™‚ I’ve seen a few of those legitimate-looking comments on my blog, but always check out their links and usually end up marking them as spam. First-time commenters are subject to moderation, and that helps, along with a good anti-spam plugin. (Not Akismet, which sucks. It was always putting legit visitors in the spam folder.) Isn’t blogging meant to be a social activity? I’m a bit puzzled by the current climate of not commenting or responding to comments. Some bloggers have gone so far as to eliminate the comment form! What’s the point, then?

    1. I’ve said that exact same thing about not accepting comments anymore. I know a few people who’ve gone that route, but they’re quite popular so they’re probably not missing anything. I couldn’t do it, though if I was getting upwards of 200 comments per post I’m not sure I’d respond to everybody anymore. šŸ™‚ I have a video coming out on Thursday that’s a gripe about folks who not only don’t reply to comments but sometimes don’t approve them either. That irks me to no end!

  8. You’re more popular than some of us. šŸ™‚ I struggle to follow up now and couldn’t handle responding to hundreds of comments! It’s no wonder commenting has decreased, in general. Time constraints are a real factor. Some people automatically moderate every single comment, and yes, it is aggravating when they don’t approve them. Also, why can’t they whitelist you, once you’ve proven you’re not a spammer? Looking forward to your video!

    P.S. I see you’re still using the old version of CommentLuv. There is a new one available, which is more secure.

    1. I have two problems with CommentLuv on this blog, one on all my others, though the others might be eliminated based on your reply. lol The first covering all my blogs is that I’m using CommentLuv Premium. I don’t know if the upgrade to the regular CommentLuv will work with the premium version, and I haven’t had anyone to ask. The other problem that’s only for this blog is that it officially doesn’t have a footer.

      The first theme I had on this blog was cool, but I learned there were these keywords and links embedded in it. I was ranking for things I wasn’t writing about, and that wasn’t cool. I found a way to remove the code in there, but it removed everything that made it a footer. Even when I switched to this theme, which I now modify for all my blogs, I’ve never regained the footer after all these years and all the WordPress updates. I tell you that because one of the CommentLuv updates broke the theme and the blog. Andy worked as hard as he could, but he realized that without a footer I couldn’t use his update. Later I purchased the premium version and for whatever reason it worked, but without knowing if the update works with Premium, I’ve been reluctant to mess anything up.

  9. Interesting! I had the old Premium version and it started causing problems for commenters, so I removed it. If it still works well for you, might as well stick with it, but it doesn’t allow secure website links, which I see you don’t have either. There’s a red “Not Secure” warning up top with an angry-looking triangle ! sign. Aren’t old, un-maintained plugins considered a security risk? I’ve read that so many times. The new one doesn’t have a premium version yet, but I found I don’t miss the extra features. There’s a Facebook group established by the new Commentluv developers where people can ask them questions: I see you don’t allow links so search for CommentLuv – Help and Share group.

    1. I just ran a test and you’re right, it doesn’t accept the secure domain name; that’s interesting. When I took the S off it gave me the choices of which article I wanted to share. That’s something to think about, but I’ll have to think deeply about whether I want to kill the Premium version for that specific thing, especially since I still couldn’t update to the latest version on this blog… although I may test that also. Thanks!

  10. Hi Mitch,
    I have idea about you feelings. As you said before, ‘people who leave good comments sometimes encourages others to visit their blogs or websites.’ Yes, its obvious. But those who are commenting like these, may didn”t wanted to hurt your feelings. So i request you to not get angry on them. Cause i am also one of them, a regular viwer. Thanks in advance for forgiving them.

    For sure, i will be your regular viewer from now on.

    1. Actually, those bad comments aren’t people worried about my feelings. They don’t care enough about me or their business to do things the right way. I don’t have to worry about forgiving them because their comments would never see the light of day, which means they wasted their time.

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