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Thank You, But… Don’t Do This

Posted by on Apr 8, 2011

Many of us write about blogging and social media in general. We hope we give pretty good tips on how to treat your audience, the people who visit your blog and the people who follow what you have to say on social media sites. We love the fact that so many people are looking for a way to thank people for doing this or that online. I’d say it’s all appreciated, but I’d be lying.

by Lars Plougmann

Truth be told, there are some things that, I’m sorry to say, are kind of irritating. I know it’s done with people in mind, and it’s supposed to be somewhat positive, but it’s not. Instead, it creates clutter, irritation, and a sense of not really caring about us as much as going through an automated process that someone said “we” wanted to see. Untrue, I hate to say. What am I talking about? Let’s look at some of these things.

1. Please stop sending me messages from your blog thanking me for leaving a comment. If you’re not going to respond to the comment, or you have it in moderation, then go that route, although I hate being moderated. I see that I left a comment, and that’s all I need. If you decide it’s not worth commenting on, trust me, I’ve moved on. You’re just making me delete the email in my Mailwasher program (great program by the way; if you don’t believe me ask Sire, who purchased it from my link); don’t waste your time.

2. If I decide to follow you on Twitter, don’t send me an automated message through the direct messages area thanking me for following you. At the same time, don’t send me a link to your latest free ebook or product or blog or anything else. If you really care, send me a real message through the normal channels first, and then if we’re talking share something with me. Almost all the time I get one of those things, I immediately drop you from my account; you’ve been warned.

3. Please don’t automatically add me to your email newsletter just because we’ve connected somewhere. If I didn’t subscribe, I’m not downloading it, and I’m going to be looking to see where we might know each other and possibly dropping our connection. I don ‘t just go around adding people to my newsletter… anymore. By that, I did used to add internet marketers that I know I didn’t subscribe to that suddenly started sending me stuff to my newsletter, but that bit of run wore out quick. If I want to subscribe to your newsletter, I will.

4. I covered this one a couple of days ago when talking about LinkedIn, but I’m not going to spread it to Facebook. If you want to connect with me as a friend on Facebook, at least add a message as to why you want to do it. I’m pretty accommodating, but I have to tell you that if you’re not connected with any of my “real” friends already, I’m probably not adding you unless you give me a reason why. Now, I’ve reached out to the few people who aren’t my friends that are following my Facebook business page and I’ve told them why in the message I send them; that’s how it’s supposed to work.

5. Please, everyone, stop following everything one of the big time internet gurus told you they do on their blogs. Stop popping up the notice asking people to subscribe to your newsletter. Stop with all the toolbars that we can’t get rid of. Stop with the videos or music that automatically starts playing when we stop by your blog. I get it; you’re trying to engage me, and you’re trying to make sure I know about your newsletter, and you’re trying to help me retweet all your stuff, or list it on some other social media site. Can’t you just add a Facebook like button like I did and move on, or a blurb about your newsletter in a sidebar (heck, I removed my newsletter link; gotta get it back on there) that people can see? And the other stuff… no more!

I think that will cover it for now. I decided not to go on the Twitter Follow Friday rant again, since I wrote about that already, but that’s another one. What have I missed folks?

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Yeah and stop with those damn popups that appear when I’m trying to read your post, all it does is make me move on. And stop with those stupid looking pages that look like they will peel back because unless there’s a naked lady there I ain’t bothering to have a look.

What do you think of those apples Mitch? 😉

April 8th, 2011 | 10:08 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

I forgot about the “peel” pages, Sire, but I’m not crazy about those. And the popups are usually for newsletters that block the content that you can’t read, which is really irritating.

April 8th, 2011 | 6:10 PM

I don’t even bother reading them and unless it’s a blogger I’m familiar with I don’t even bother reading the post. I know they say it works and a lot of people sign up through them but it doesn’t work for me and if I don’t like something I won’t subject my readers to it.

April 8th, 2011 | 8:53 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Sire, I’ll often go ahead and read the post since I’m there, but I certainly try not to go back and I don’t subscribe to the blog either.

April 9th, 2011 | 8:48 AM

Reckon you’re a lot more forging than I am in this instance Mitch 😉

April 9th, 2011 | 8:08 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I hope you meant “forgiving”! lol

April 9th, 2011 | 8:31 PM

Yeah. that’s what I meant. 😀

April 10th, 2011 | 3:25 AM

Wait, you said something bad about pop-up domination (or dominator, not sure how it’s called) and you still don’t have a price on your head, hmm, you must be doing something right…

But, indeed, some are really annoying, especially those with a delay: Here I am trying to read something, and when I’m in the middle of the post, bang, a whole page pop-up covering everything. Yeah, there’s a way to kill the mood.

April 9th, 2011 | 5:37 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I’m with you there, Alex. Delay or even immediate, I’m not a fan. People say they get a lot of subscribers to their newsletters doing it that way; I really can’t understand why.

April 9th, 2011 | 6:27 PM

Hi Mitch

I agree with you. And the worst are the popups when I’m trying to read a post and if it also includes the loud music I can’t turn off! That will make me leave pronto.

Patricia Perth Australia

April 8th, 2011 | 12:37 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Pat, that music thing is one of my pet peeves, especially if I can’t turn it off. It’s the reason I never set up a MySpace page, because that was the biggest irritant.

April 8th, 2011 | 6:11 PM

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you have written here, Mitch. As a web designer, I usually make it a point to recommend to my clients never to have all these annoying pop-ups and music that do not even have a turn-off button. As to the automated DMs on Twitter, well, they made me give up on reading my DMs almost entirely.

April 9th, 2011 | 4:02 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Wes, I figure those automated DMs are easily enough to get rid of, and since I’m using TweetDeck I have those things segregated nicely from the rest of my messages. It’s just irritating to deal with, though, since you also get an email for it.

April 9th, 2011 | 8:49 AM

Hi Mitch,

The saddest thing about all of these annoying irritants is that site owners don’t seem to realize that they fall into two categories:
1. Easily remedied
2. Ineffective

From what I understand, there are plugins associated with commenting on WordPress that can be set to control email notifications. While you’re not specifically talking about being notified when someone replies, I do believe the same plugins are being used to irritate you – otherwise I would always get an email after commenting on a WordPress blog. Anyway, those are totally user-definable and, if someone is using a plugin that DOESN’T let the site owner control email, it should be drop-kicked to the curb.

The Pop-up Domination thing is SUPPOSED to track your visits and not bother you again. However, either it doesn’t work, or it relies on cookies, which might be brushed away when you close your browser. Unfortunately for those of us who are annoyed by it, it works like gangbusters.

The flip side is the ineffective stuff. I don’t have proof in this case, but I think toolbars and peelers are so 20th century that they’re just part of the background noise. Heck, I barely pay attention to SIDEBARS anymore. (That’s why Pop-Up Domination is so good. It’s in your face.)

I also can’t prove that Auto-DM is ineffective, but it sure is spammy looking, so I ignore it.

The only area where I don’t feel irritated is the Facebook friending thing. That’s just me and there is no reason for it. I guess I like getting to know people. 🙂



April 9th, 2011 | 4:22 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Mitch, I think people who are new to Twitter or blogging might think receiving those messages are kind of neat, but those of us who have been around for awhile start to get irritated by the clutter. And you’re right, some of the plugins people have do have settings they may not know about.

However, I still look at sidebars, and if there’s a blog I’m interested in viewing more than once I’ll turn off my pop-up blocker so I can see how they advertise on their site. That type of thing, along with checking out a person’s About page, can give you a lot of perspective into someone.

April 9th, 2011 | 8:53 AM

Awe, stop being such a crank. Live and let live 😉


April 9th, 2011 | 4:35 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Actually Dude, I’m surprised you haven’t written this post already. lol

April 9th, 2011 | 8:56 AM

Mitch, Amen, I am all with you on these. Especially the one about people RT A-list bloggers non-stop. Make up your own voice and choose people who have something to say. Yes PLEASE stop it guys, if I want to read A-list bloggers I know where to go, I don’t need you to repeat what they say.

April 9th, 2011 | 8:13 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Oh yeah, John, we see that on Twitter all the time. I sometimes wonder if people are actually reading many of those posts since sometimes you don’t see that any of them have left a comment on those blogs. And I’m not saying that sometimes the post isn’t good; I’m saying that it’s okay to RT as long as one also talks and interacts with others every once in awhile.

April 9th, 2011 | 9:07 AM
Jessica Sighart:

Aha! You are what I call RANTastic, my friend. All of those things annoy me. The worst is the generated DMs on Twitter and the music when you open a web page. The DMs are so bad, I stopped checking them altogether. I’ll only look now when I’ve ignored it for so long that someone actually sends me a tweet to check the DM they’ve left for me. The other thing that annoys me is those huge popup newsletter sign up things I’m seeing on a lot of blogs. I get that it wants me to sign up, but even if you do, it’s right back there again the next time I visit the blog. It should know better.

April 9th, 2011 | 8:22 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Exactly Jessica. I’m not sure when my browsers decided to stop keeping certain cookies, but if I happen upon a blog I’ve already been to and that newsletter popup comes again, I’m irritated as sin. And music when I don’t want it… the only time that should happen is if you happen to be visiting a band’s site or maybe some other site that’s media related. Even then, very brief and very low.

April 9th, 2011 | 9:09 AM

Well, Mitch I have to take issue and disagree with everything you said. Those are all great marketing tools and I wish everyone used them.

Nah… I’m lying! 0

I hate all those things too. Especially the popup that blocks my view and says “If you like what you’re reading, sign up for my newsletter”. I don’t know yet… I haven’t read what you wrote. Buzz off for a bit.

April 9th, 2011 | 9:42 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Allan; you kill me! lol By the way, how you’re now handling Follow Fridays is the way to go, and if everyone was doing it that way then it would bring more value to the subject, so don’t stop that.

April 9th, 2011 | 9:52 PM

I will go against most of the comments and I will agree with you. Probably because the volume of blogs and websites that I am working on and huge part is mine. Tools are tools, but the way users are doing it is very irritating and I don’t want to receive 20 emails a day from twitter – “thank you visit my website”. Everything automated doesn’t really works and this is not the magic bullet, it do the opposite.

April 10th, 2011 | 5:14 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

My thoughts exactly, Carl. All the extra email for stuff like that is something I don’t think most of us really need.

April 10th, 2011 | 11:33 AM

Hey Mitch,
We are so on the same page on so many things. For example, I`ve never used the plugin that sends the automatic emails to people when they comment. It just feels so wrong, robotic, contrived and pushy and I `m not that way at all in real life. So why would I change my mentality when going online? I can`t stand pushy automated stuff like that. Annoying.
Now.. there`s a fine line between being smart and marketing and being pushy. For example. When I give a well detailed answer to a comment, I sometimes send a personal email to the person that commented just to let them know that I responded to their comment. I might even tweet them – if I already have a relationship with them and let them know that I responded to their comment.. just to keep the conversation going. I would love to receive a personal email form a blogger- individually speaking to me about my comment. The golden rule applies perfectly. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Great post!
All the best,

April 13th, 2011 | 3:02 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Eren. The reason I don’t do the follow up like you did is because I’ve taken time to test my blogs to make sure that people receive responses to my comments on their comments. That’s a step I don’t think many people have taken, which explains why I don’t get as many comments back from all the blogs that I comment on. After all, when you subscribe to comments, you don’t only get yours, but every other comment that comes after you. And yes, I guess there is that extra step that might be appreciated, but it’s one I personally wouldn’t need to receive if the other process was working correctly.

April 13th, 2011 | 3:02 PM

I have a query Mitch. When you subscribe to a comment on my blob you only supposed to get an email when someone replies directly to your comment, is that the case or do you get emails every time someone leaves a comment on that post.

I know when I subscribe to your blog I get an email every time someone comments and honestly I would rather be notified only when someone replies to the comment I left.

April 13th, 2011 | 6:46 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Sire, I get comments every time someone writes a comment after mine from your “blob” lol

April 13th, 2011 | 8:31 PM

Well that’s not right, you should only get an email when someone replies directly to your comment.

April 14th, 2011 | 12:50 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Maybe, but see, I don’t mind because I like seeing the other comments people are writing. As long as I know mine was answered as well, I’m good with it.

April 14th, 2011 | 1:06 AM

I think there`s a special plugin that allows you to only get replies to your own comment.. however it only works when you have threaded comments working on your blog and not all themes allow threaded comments.
My theme for example won`t take threaded comments for some reason. I`ve tried but it won`t work.
Maybe someday I`ll dive into the php code and try to make it work.
All the best,

April 14th, 2011 | 10:32 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Eren, only Sire wants that; I’m happy seeing other comments, as it encourages me to go back and check out what’s new every once in awhile. And when I get tired of it all, then I just unsubscribe and move on.

April 15th, 2011 | 12:50 AM

What a terrific post Mitch! If your words were bullet many would have get killed! Haha! The pop-up which close button cannot be found or it’s moving around the screen so we can’t close it, they are so irritating. Plus of course the automated message which loses the ‘human touch’ because it’s not personal. All of these for me are minus points.

April 15th, 2011 | 6:08 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Justine. Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff online that irritates us that someone thinks is either benefiting us or themselves, and that stuff just doesn’t work.

April 15th, 2011 | 12:13 PM