Fake Commenter Names

I’ve been thinking about the use of fake blog commenter names a lot lately. Actually, I’ve thought about it before, and probably for a long time. I really started thinking about it a lot more after I wrote my post on the person who was hiding behind a fake name and defaming the model; she got hers in the end. Earlier in the summer I also wrote on the anonymity of bloggers and how I will agree that, sometimes, a blogger has to keep their name secret to protect themselves, but how generally I don’t believe that’s the way to go.

I’ve also written many times on leaving valuable comments instead of throwaway comments. One such post was about commenting and not wasting people’s time with a terrible comment. Another post was a little rant about why it behooves you to comment on other blogs. People appreciate when you comment on their blogs, and if they like it you might get some love back; who doesn’t like that?

Anyway, back to this name thing. I’m someone who likes to respond back to people who leave pretty good comments on my blog. I don’t expect perfection, but I expect realism. I know to delete all those posts that ask me where I got my theme, especially when I haven’t ever written a post about blog themes here (well, that’s not quite true; I did write one that was more about gravatars than themes but mentioned it, and another one reminding people to move things after changing their theme, but that’s it).

When I don’t have a name to respond to, I feel a little bit silly if I want to comment and I have to use the fake name, which I know some people like to refer to as a keyword name. I will often look at the email address to see if there’s a name there, and if so I’ll respond to that email name and leave the keyword name. If not, then I change the keyword name to only initials, then I’ll comment on it. But that takes time that I shouldn’t have to deal with.

I’m easily not alone on this one. There are posts galore from people about hating keyword names, such as this one from Neil Shearing, this one from Success Creations, and this one from Blogging Startup. There was even a post from Remarkablogger on writing keywords in comment posts that I thought was very good. Even my friend Sire addresses this in his comment policy.

I’ve always deleted links in comments that have nothing to do with the topic I wrote on. They’re not needed; this always tells me that some folks have no idea what CommentLuv is all about, which they see at the bottom of every post. If you’re writing from a blog, CommentLuv will go and find your last blog post and add it automatically. If you go to the CommentLuv site and sign up for an account, it will find your last 10 and you get to select which one you want to highlight. I mean, that’s just a great thing.

If you’re not writing from a blog, then just post the link you want in where it asks for your domain address, and you’re good to go. I don’t have a real problem with that, unless it’s a TinyURL or to a site that’s easy to discern as bad; I will delete those, and have. I hate hidden links as a general rule, and it’s one of the things about Twitter that makes me wary at times.

Why do people use keywords as their comment name anyway? It seems that many years ago some people were writing and saying that it would help them with their SEO efforts to do it. Gang, that’s just not true. It only helps if you’re doing it on your own blog or website. By putting it on mine, all you’re doing it either helping or hurting me if your name does or does not equate to the topic I’ve just written about. And it generates a lot of spam; many other folks seem to say that they get way more blog commenting spam when they’ve been allowing fake names, and I do get quite a bit.

I’ve given people who comment on my blog a lot of benefits. I’ve added CommentLuv. I’ve made this a dofollow blog, which means you’ll get your little bit of juice by commenting. And I don’t turn comments off after a certain point in time either. I even respond to almost every comment (I mean, there’s a point at which I might have to determine who gets the last word, and it’s not always going to be me). All I ask is for a little bit of decorum coming back.

So, from today on, I ask everyone to at least give me a real name that I can respond to before you write your keyword name, if you really feel that you have to do it. Either that or put your real name at the end of your comment, which our friend Steve of Trade Show Guru fame does. It helps us develop a relationship, and keeps me from having to go in and edit names. And, if you can, use CommentLuv or the domain name area for your links, unless you’re adding a link in your comment to add to the discussion at hand.

From today on, I will be reducing those keyword names without a real name preceding it to one letter; if I’m going to work, I’m going to make it easy on myself. And we’ll proceed from there. I think it’s fair, and so would our friend Dennis, who also wrote a fairly good comment policy, which at the time I thought was pretty tough.

And there we go. Something for a Sunday morning before football starts, where I’m hoping my Cowboys will remember why they’re known as America’s team and actually starts playing some better football.


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Bloggers Can’t Hide Behind Fake Names Anymore And Defame Others

I’m a privacy guy, believe it or not. I believe drug testing for most jobs is a violation of privacy. I’m against racial profiling (I would be). I’m against someone being allowed to see your entire credit report without your permission. I’m on the Do Not Call registry. I have a fake name in the phone book. In other words, I protect myself where I want to protect myself.

I also believe in being open about who I am most of the time. Every blog I’m on, I’m Mitch, although I was on one of those “diary” blogs and had a different name back then. I had wanted a place where I could talk about things that irked me in the world without having it come back to my business blog.

What I never did, though, was take that anonymity, find one person, and start slandering them, or saying rude things just because I was hidden behind a fake name. That’s one of the problems I’ve always had with online conversations. Some people hide behind a fake name and say things they never would in person. That’s just not right, and I don’t like it one bit. I’ve always wished I could get back at those people in some way, while being glad that none of that stuff was ever aimed at me.

This week, some woman in New York finally got hers. After slandering this model, Liskula Cohen, Cohen got a lawyer and sued Google to get the name of the person on whose blog these things were being written. And a New York state supreme court judge granted her that, so Google had to give it up. Well, they had to give up the email address, since names can always be faked, and this model knew who this woman was, and called her up. She’s still thinking about suing, but said it could possibly be avoided if the woman issued a public apology.

Man, nothing makes me more happy than this. Our local newspaper allows people to comment on news stories online, and there’s never anything said that brings any real discussion to the conversation. Are people really so bored and hate their lives so much that they can’t take the time to put together a constructive thought, instead putting everything down with the most hateful thing they can come up with (at least they’re not allowed to use bad language on the site)?

Well folks, be put on notice. Unless your site is in another country, Google, because they own Blogger (which I don’t like), will have to give up the info, and at that point your behind could be cooked. I’m thinking a nice little lawsuit would shake things up. The woman, still unidentified but who has a mouthpiece lawyer giving his opinion, said the things she said might have been disgusting, but they’re protected under free speech. No, they’re not; if you make stuff up to hurt someone intentionally, that’s slander, and you’re going to lose in every court in the country.

Fairness has come to the internet; let’s see where the chips will start to fall.


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