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The Spam In Our Blogging Lives

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 7, 2016

I’d like to share a comment with you that I got on one of my posts:

HI Mitch

I just loved reading your articles. 😀

The best thing which I really like about your articles is, you covers each and every thing in your articles which makes your article more helpful.

I have seen people love to read those articles more which are easy to understand and can help a lot. And you always write such kind of articles.

Either way, Thanks for this wonderful article.

Carlos ZGZ via Compfight

Isn’t that nice? Looks like a great comment doesn’t it? Unfortunately, not only isn’t it a good comment, it’s actually spam. How do I know this?

Look at the comment again. Do you have any idea what article it was made on? For that matter, isn’t this the type of comment that could go on any article you read, only changing the name?

Oh yeah; it already has shown up on many articles. Not on my blog, but here and here and here and here. Actually, it comes up over a thousand times if you do the search; now that’s a shame!

On two of these blogs the writer of the article responded to it as if it was a real comment; I thought I should tell them but decided to keep it to myself, so only you wonderful readers will know the truth.

Something I’ve written about in the past is learning how to recognize spam that can make it through your spam filters. It looks like a real comment, but if it doesn’t address the article in any way then you know it’s fake. For instance, here’s another fake comment I received:

Well done Mitch. You have nicely explained the rules of marketing with details. great work

That was pretty lame wasn’t it? It actually went to my Pending area only because I use CommentLuv Premium, where I was able to then download Anti Backlinker and tell it to put any comment without a gravatar into moderation. Since many of you don’t have the first, you can’t get the second, so it’s possible you’ll have comments like this on your blog. Actually, it shows up on Google over 2,300 times with a slight variation after the first few words of the sentence.

Speaking of not really trying…

I read your full article and its really interesting a lot. Thank You For providing us great articles…

Come on now; I’m almost insulted that someone wasted their time with that. lol Actually, depending on what you might want to check this one comes up the fewest number of times, but it’s still repeated… must be relatively new.

How about one more:

Very interesting. I finished up my post for today yesterday and it posted in the wee hours when I was still asleep and yet you and I make some very similar points right down to the Morgan Freeman quote.

As I said in my post, though I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and knew no black people whatsoever, I was pretty aware of a lot of black history. I don’t remember it being taught in school so maybe I got it from television.

I like to hear the entire scope of history and not isolated bits extracted for some specific agenda.

This is only a sample. It’s pretty good isn’t it? It was actually a very long comment and it might have fooled most people. How did I know it was spam? Because it was an actual comment that someone else wrote on this article from February that, because I remembered us having a conversation about it at the time, and the comment not fitting on the article it showed up on, I knew was spam. This one was at least creative, if misplaced.

This is the kind of thing that many people miss because it’s a legitimate comment… just not on the right article, which made it easy. Sometimes it’s on the same article which makes it difficult; I’ve missed that a few times here and there.

Overall I’m pretty lucky when it comes to spam. The truly bad and fake stuff almost always finds its way into the spam filter, with some occasionally making it into preview mode. However, sometimes they end up on this blog or one of my other blogs, and for the most part I know it’s spam and I get rid of it pretty quickly.

Here’s a truth; not all spam is intentionally spam. Some are just bad comments left by people who think saying “nice post” has any meaning to the writer. You need to get rid of those comments as quick as possible also because if your blog looks like one that will accept them, you’ll have all sorts of bad comments and spam showing up on your site and the search engines will think your site isn’t worth bothering with.

There’s always a question whether or not search engines look at blog comments. I doubt that’s the case. However, I tend to believe that their bots will see lousy comments, notice that the links are a bit dodgy, and penalize the site in some way. Do you want that happening to your blog when you’re spending so much time trying to write great content?

Just a bit of a tutorial for you on this Monday morning. Happy blogging and moderating to you all! 😉

Addendum:You won’t believe this but if you look at the comments below you’ll see that someone came by & left the exact same comment that I highlighted at the beginning of this post; ridiculous! I removed the information from that comment so the guy wouldn’t get any benefit but shared it so we could call it out. However, it came from someone calling himself Abdul Samadessani, email address, website and Twitter handle @samad_100. I’ve sent contact via Twitter calling him out or whomever he hired; let’s see if he responds. Until he does, go ahead and abuse this guy because, trust me, you’ll probably be seeing this same comment on your blog one of these days, if it’s not already there.

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Liking Or Sharing Your Own Stuff With Others; Let’s Talk…

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 17, 2014

A couple of weeks ago the Hot Blog Tips Crew (without me these days…) did a video on the subject of what to share on Google Plus without, what Brian Hawkins of said Hot Blog Tips believes, is spamming. I thought it was a fairly interesting video, and since I’m not a part of it I’m just going to include the link to that video and tell you to check it out.

ryancr via Compfight

One of the things he said in the video I totally disagreed with, and in thinking about that one particular thing it got me to thinking about some other things, hence I thought it was time to share some thoughts while asking y’all what you think of these same things.

There was another blog post I read a couple of months ago (from where I can’t remember) where the writer was saying that in today’s social media world sometimes you have to “like” your own submissions. He didn’t mean you have to like what you write as much as publicly affirm that you like what you write by clicking a Like button or a +1 button on those platforms that allow you to do it.

His reasoning was that often some of these items you share won’t get seen if no one ever clicks on them, even if they’ve viewed them, and he’d done a test where if he voted his own submissions upwards that they’d get more attention. He didn’t talk about YouTube so I doubt that was a part of his testing.

Frankly I think that kind of thing is dubious, yet if you create a Facebook business or fan page you actually have to like your own page to be able to access it properly, and the same goes for groups you might create. Thus, in an odd way you become the first person promoting you as an authority so that others can see what you like and potentially come by even before you invite anyone.

By the way, this isn’t the first time I’d seen such a thing. Another of my online friends had said the same thing over a year ago, but she was speculating without testing. I didn’t quite like it then and I don’t like it now, so I refuse to go that route.

However, Brian’s contention is that if someone shares something of yours on Twitter, G+ or Facebook and you give them a “like”, it means you’re suddenly spamming people because they probably have seen it already if you shared it. And, if other people share what you’ve posted and you like or acknowledge all of them, now you’re really spamming and people are going to hate you for it and possibly unsubscribe from you.

This is the concept I have a problem with, and I’m going to explain why. One of the things we all talk about is acknowledging people who share things of yours. It’s a nice thing to do and it encourages people who like what you do to share, knowing that you’ll appreciate it.

I think sharing should only be done if people have actually read the piece, which is another interesting topic of discussion because I know some people who share things from blogging sites or shared sites that they’ve never read to get rankings; that’s kind of smarmy, although if you do it you won’t see it that way. I never put my name on anything I haven’t read or looked at because I care about what I approve.

Anyway, if someone shares something of yours, how do you acknowledge it? Is there really a proper way? Maybe yes, maybe no; let’s look at it deeper.

Let’s look at Twitter. There you have two things you can do to thank people. You can retweet what they’ve shared and thank them or you can just thank them. Twitter moves fast; there’s tons of messages and still 24 hours to kill, and even if you share your blog articles 4 times it means you’ve missed 1,436 minutes where people might have missed it. Is it so bad to use the opportunity to share it again and let other people know why you’re thanking someone? Maybe if it’s been shared 20 times within an hour but if it’s shared 5 times total?

I think not.

Creative Commons License [Duncan] via Compfight

Let’s look at Google Plus and Facebook. You have two options there as well. You can +1 the article or “like” what’s being shared by someone else or you can comment on it.

Here’s what I’ve noticed on both. If you write something on those shares, people in your sphere of influence see it, whether you “like” it or +1 it or not. For that matter if someone comments on a YouTube video of yours and has it go to Google Plus, and then you comment on their comment it shows in both places, but on G+ others who weren’t connected to the original poster are now going to see it.

This means that if you decide you want to thank someone for sharing something of yours, it’s going to go out to the masses anyway. Are you spamming, or are you being courteous? Should you ignore people who share things you’ve put out or not?

One last point here.

Normally we think of spamming as more of an automated thing. I hate that stuff, and I notice on Twitter sometimes that some things pop up every 15 minutes or so. At some point if I get sick of it I’ll just unsubscribe from that person and get on with life because I know they’re not there and don’t really care.

To do the acknowledgements however, you have to be present. Truthfully, how many times for most of us does our stuff get shared? Maybe for someone like Ileane Smith or Adrienne Smith (no relation lol) they could get 20 to 25 shares per article, but that’s across all platforms.

Are any of us really upset when we see different people sharing their things and then seeing them being thanked for the honor?

Are we really that sensitive to seeing things more than once when most of the time, because of how fast the internet and social media moves, we’ve probably missed it not only the first time but every subsequent time as well?

All of this is both my question and my opinion. Now it’s time to ask you for yours. Is the option not to ever thank people for sharing your posts and videos and whatever as opposed to thanking as many people are you can recognize? If you thank one person and ignore everyone else how to you think they’d feel? And put yourself into both of these situations; how would you feel if it’s you?

Making you think on a Monday; I’m so wrong… 😉

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Spam I Don’t Understand

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Dec 14, 2013

I’ve written about spam around 125 times out of the almost 1,500 posts on the blog. I’ve talked about how much I hate it, ways to identify it, why it’s important to keep it off your blog and how to move more of it to go directly to your spam filter so that you don’t necessarily have to rush to your blog to remove it from going live as often as you might without putting certain things in place.

And yet, like the reason I have to wear this mask on my present consulting assignment right now (that’s another story) I don’t always understand the purpose of some of the spam. Back in the day most spam looked to be trying to sell something. Nowadays a lot of it is so nonsensical that the only thing you can believe they’re hoping to achieve is to get a link placed on your blog so that it goes back to their page. Obviously some of those folks got bad SEO advice of a different sort than the bad advice I mentioned in that post I just linked to.

What am I seeing? Let’s chronicle some of it:

1. The long, rambling post about nothing. I got a spam comment from someone calling himself “best gym supplements for muscle growth“, and other than occasionally trying to pop a link into it the spam comment was almost 100 lines of nothingness. Someone must have been told that writing a long spam comment gives it a better chance to be thought of as being legitimate; please!

2. The comment with lots of characters in it. What the heck is this type about? I got this mess: “ѕuρp&X6c;eme&X6E;ts mаy also re&X6e;еw the respira&X74;ory”. The thing is I get lots of these and I’m betting you do as well. It’s not even close to readable so why even bother? I’m of the opinion someone’s technology has gone haywire; I wonder if spammers can get their money back.

3. The short, incomplete and nonsensical spam comment. I can’t believe anyone even took the time to actually write this, so it must be some kind of randomizer: “Just file manufacture clear subject matter. What did you say? precisely I needed! I have been before browsing search engines like google the complete day for some correct clause such as this” That was it; didn’t even finish the sentence. Intelligence obviously belongs to other family members.

4. Spam that attaches itself to an image. This one is totally incomprehensible. It shows up at the blog with nowhere to go except spam because it thinks the image is the blog post. I hope the spammers didn’t spend too much money on this program because it’s a total loser, like the spammer.

5. The “good post” spam. That one’s been around forever, as well as calling you “webmaster” and asking you if you’re using a free theme. I’m always amazed when I visit a blog and I see the owner actually responding to those comments; well, at least they’re trying to be a good host. 🙂

6. Spam that shows up without any links whatsoever. Why did the owner even bother sending that one out? By now most blogs probably won’t accept posts without a link because those are usually trolls and what benefit is a spammer hoping to get from something like that?

7. Copying a previous comment as one’s new comment. I have to admit this one’s creative, and it can be easily missed. I’ve missed it a couple of times, even though the Spidey senses went off thinking it looked familiar. This one was actually a legitimate comment… the first time around anyway.

The first link I put up on this post links you to many posts where I’ve talked about ways to protect your blog from some of the spam. I hope you’re using the GASP plugin and, if it’s really bad, go ahead and use Akismet, even though some people run from it like it’s a bull chasing them. We own these blog spaces, not them; don’t let them get you down or chase you away.

That’s all I have. LOL

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Quick Ways To Identify Spam On Your Blog

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 15, 2013

I can’t believe it’s been more than 3 years since I wrote on the topic of how to identify spam. In that period of time a lot of things have stayed the same while there are some new players in the game that try to trick us all.

No Spam
Thomas Hawk via Compfight

This will probably be a short post from me, which is rare, but I’m hoping to make it easy for everyone instead of getting too deep into the issue. If there’s anything here you don’t understand, leave it in the comments and I’ll give it more time later. Here we go:

1. If a comment doesn’t use your name but calls you something, it’s probably spam. Admin, webmaster, buddy, etc.

2. One line comments are most probably spam unless you know the person.

3. If a comment looks familiar look through previous comments on that same post. Most of the time I recognize that someone has scraped a previous comment but not all the time, and I end up responding to both; ugh.

4. Totally off-topic or not on the topic at all.

5. The comment is way too long. I’ve known a few people who leave long comments but in general most really long comments are spammy sales messages or rants about something totally not based on what you’ve just written about.

6. Questions about your blog in general; not on topic, and please don’t even waste your time responding to this stuff.

7. Female picture with male name, male picture with female name… that should be pretty easy to spot.

8. The email address says “info” or “admin” in it. Not always spam but my policy is it all goes into the spam filter because, unless I know the person, it often means someone’s been paid to leave a lousy comment on your blog & they’re never coming back.

9. Keyword names or somewhat offensive names. I don’t allow either and will just delete the comments without reading them because most of the time they’re spam.

I’ll stop at 9 because that’s one of my favorite numbers and it’s the 9th month. Anyone have any other quick ways to identify spam?

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Back To Akismet On Another Blog

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 26, 2012

It almost feels like I’m coming full circle. Last September, in my effort to combat spam, I did an experiment trying Akismet and the GASP Antispam Bot plugin independently on this blog to see how each worked, after having an issue with the long term use of Akismet. The GASP plugin worked very well so I turned Akismet off and things were running fine.

sweet sixteen Miss P. //1
Shirin K. A. Winiger via Compfight

Until February that is, when suddenly there was a rash of spam coming through that GASP wasn’t picking up. In what I felt was a desperate move, I added Akismet back and suddenly spam was drastically reduced once more. Well, that’s not quite right. I was still getting lots of spam, but it was going into the spam filter instead of onto the posts, which was more irritating than anything else. At that time I also changed my settings so that on all my blogs, if there’s even one link in the content it goes to the spam filter, and the same happens if there are more than 2 words in the name area as well, which I know catches some of you here and there but hey, the comment policy is in big, bold letters above the comment box after all. lol I made that particular change on all my blogs.

Things have been running fine on all my other blogs until a couple of weeks ago. Suddenly, the kind of spam I was getting here started showing up on two of my other blogs and right onto the posts. I don’t know if this means that GASP has been figured out and is easier to bypass or if it’s because the version I’m using is still the free version or if it’s really people coming by, typing in stupidity, clicking in that box and moving on.

Regardless, I turned Akismet back on for both of those blogs, and spam, for the most part, went right where it was supposed to be going in the first place, the spam filter. You know, for all the controversy that Akismet seemed to be generating just over a year ago, that bad boy gets the job done.

So I’m running both on 3 of my blogs now, and if the other two start having that problem I’ll add it to those as well and just keep my eyes open for any comments problems I might end up having at some point, since the fix for them is in that post I just linked to, and hope for the best. And right now, the best is less spam; whew!

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