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Is Blog Commenting Obsolete? Some Ideas on Social Marketing

On any given day, my blog comment spam filter throws more than 500 spammy blog comments into the digital trashbin.

I go through the remainder, and too a whole bunch more in as well. These are typically with the sender’s “website” listed as a squidoo lens with the lens title something along the lines of “/instant-money-bonanza” or “/5second-millionaire” and inevitably leads to a spammy/scammy page with a $27 ebook teaching you how to make $1,000,000 in your sleep, while sipping a margarita.

Right…

So if so many blog comments are ending up in the trash, especially if you have a vigilant editorial team checking the comment moderation queue, is it even worth taking the time to submit one?

puzzled

Let’s expand this a little wider and include forums and social networking/conversation sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and even Yahoo! Groups too.

The primary goal in social marketing is to establish trust, credibility and competence.

You need to be able to give out information that is reliable, accurate and shows what you’re talking about.

On a social scale, submitting a comment about viagra, or free pron! or anime hentai, particularly on a scrapbooking blog is going to be way off topic. The only solution is to delete this digital trash.

On the other hand, if you’re submitting a comment like “Nice work” or “Good job” or “Great post”, aside from feeding the author’s ego, it does nothing to stimulate the conversation.

What’s the person supposed to do?

Say “Thank you” ? It’s still the end of the conversation.

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Now here’s where I may detract from other bloggers and writers…

I feel even as a reader, given the interactive and dynamic nature of the Internet, it is your responsibility to continue the conversation…

Huh?

That means if you’re choosing to participate in the conversation, you should strive to add some value to it – give a contrasting opinion (especially if you think the writer is wrong), cite how what’s being written about has been proven in the real world, give an example of how you’ve used, or failed to use a principle or technique being shared.

Even a one-way medium like Sam Harrelson’s Affiliate Fortune Cookie podcasts (famous for their 22 minute duration) give an opportunity to interact through the blog comments section.

It’ll be interesting to see readers start doing their own audio rebuttals or responses.

[Shawn Collins already features an opportunity to post a video response to his video blogging on his Affiliate Tip blog]

Likewise, YouTube fanatics have been recording numerous video responses to each other, especially with popular threads like the  Cris Crocker-Britney Spears tirade. [CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE]

That particular clip has clocked up 1,957 video responses at last count.

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The bottomline in social marketing:

  • Provide Value:  Value is a vague term, but any info which the writer or other readers will find useful can be defined as valuable.
  • It’s a 2-Way Street: A discussion is when two or more people talk. It ends when someone stops talking. So keep the ball rolling.
  • Be Open-Minded: Learning occurs when you’re exposed to something strange and new. If you’re not willing to listen to new ideas or different opinions, social marketing will not do much for you…

17 comments on Is Blog Commenting Obsolete? Some Ideas on Social Marketing

  1. Razlan
    January 17, 2008 at 10:37 pm (4205 days ago)

    If you are to list the various benefits of leaving comments with values in them:

    1) You establish a better rapport with the blogger. At the very least, you don’t across as spammy, just wanting some free traffic juice
    2) Other readers will read your comment. Which will get more attraction – a “me-too” comment or one that get the conversation going?
    3) And of course, you get a link back to your own site. If, and only if, you provided value in your comment, there will be a chance for the blogger and his/her readers might click on your link to find out more on your site.

    In my attempt to get to know similar bloggers from this niche, I always found myself having nothing much to add on to a particular discussion. Only when I think I can add on, I will.

    A little traffic, yes, but also make sure you don’t come across as a blogger wit no substance.

    Thanks for the great post, Andrew. How this as a little ego rub? :D

  2. Shawn Collins
    January 18, 2008 at 3:08 am (4205 days ago)

    Hi Andrew -

    Due to the problem with comment spam, I am simultaneously using three anti-spam plugins on WordPress.

    Unfortunately, there are going to be some false positives, as I have filters up pretty high.

    So somebody makes a comment and it doesn’t go up, it’s because I didn’t see it.

    They’ll probably think I refused to post it and not return to my blog.

    Damn spammers.

  3. Cyrus
    January 18, 2008 at 5:05 am (4205 days ago)

    Hi Andrew, here’s my obsolete comment…
    I’m going to be launching my first CB offer and I’m hoping to be able to promote it across these kinds of mediums but I certainly don’t want to continually seem spammy. I supposed focusing on adding value is never a bad way to go.

  4. Lexus ISF
    January 18, 2008 at 8:33 am (4204 days ago)

    Yeah andrew, some of my users comments are caught in the anti-spam filter. Tough to solve…

  5. Razlan
    January 18, 2008 at 9:07 am (4204 days ago)

    But, three spam filters? Wouldn’t that be over doing it? I am just using Askimet and it seems to work fine for me.

  6. Shawn Collins
    January 18, 2008 at 9:57 am (4204 days ago)

    @Razlan

    I guess it depends on your threshold for pain. :-)

    I use Akismet, Bad Behavior and Did You Pass Math?

    I started with just Akismet, and it got to the point where I was reviewing hundreds of spam comments a day.

    So I added Did You Pass Math? and for a while there was no problem. But a couple months ago, I started getting hit hard with those two plugins.

    I added Bad Behavior to the mix, and now I get very little spam.

  7. Andrew Wee
    January 18, 2008 at 12:59 pm (4204 days ago)

    Hey Shawn,

    Yes, it’s a challenge to balance between the “freedom of the internet” and the junk that gets through the filters.

    Maybe Jason Calacanis might have some solutions at his Affiliate Summit West keynote next month.

  8. Andrew Wee
    January 18, 2008 at 1:00 pm (4204 days ago)

    Hi Razlan,
    Depends on your traffic.

    When you see 500+ comments for moderation each day, that’s a sign that it’s time for more spam filter plugins.

  9. Andrew Wee
    January 18, 2008 at 1:02 pm (4204 days ago)

    Giving your visitors a good user experience is key to building a relationship with your friends and future customers.

    If you overdeliver, naturally they’ll ask what you have for sale because they want to get more of you.

    At least that’s the way it’s worked out for me.

  10. Razlan
    January 18, 2008 at 1:48 pm (4204 days ago)

    I guess, yes, the number of comments awaiting moderation on a daily basis will play a big role. Right now, Askimet is sufficient for my use. It is a pity, really, if value-adding comments are unknowingly marked as spam by the various filters we use.

  11. Teli Adlam
    January 22, 2008 at 2:57 am (4201 days ago)

    As someone who gets, literally, 1,000-1,500 spam comments to one of my blogs each day, I certainly understand Shawn’s need for the additional spam filters.

    Not too long ago, I wrote an article about Akismet and the necessity of scanning the queue for any false positives, but one of the key points was: Who wants to trawl through thousands of comments for that one lonely false positive?

    Andrew, you couldn’t have been more right with your post. I’ve seen one too many “nice job, this helped me a lot” comments waiting for me in my moderation queue. Frankly, I’ve dubbed it human submitted spam because someone had to answer the challenge question I have up.

    It’s the commenter’s responsibility to use common sense when interacting on the web. Unfortunately, too many people are in too much of a hurry to leave a well thought out comment. Their main objective is just to get the backlink. *sigh*

    ~ Teli

  12. Teli Adlam
    January 22, 2008 at 3:00 am (4201 days ago)

    LOL. Just wrote an entire blog entry on Akismet accidentally marking legitimate comments as spam and I think it just did it to me. Andrew, would you mind fishing out my comment if that’s the case?

    Thanks,
    ~ Teli

  13. Andrew Wee
    January 23, 2008 at 9:27 pm (4199 days ago)

    Hi Teli,
    Actually your comments were held for moderation. I don’t have auto approval enabled, else I’d have to do a whole ton of retroactive cleanup.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  14. Andrew Wee
    January 23, 2008 at 9:33 pm (4199 days ago)

    Hi Teli,
    Definitely, communication is a 2way process, if you’re throwing in an “uh huh”, “wow”, “great” comment, and especially if your return URL is a Viagra4You[dot]com, It’s go into the trash for sure.

    I am a little concerned about people leaving links to product sales sites though.

    If a friend (like you), puts one in, I’ll probably let it get in.

    But if it’s someone I don’t recognize sticking in a MFA (Made for adsense) site, it’d go in the bin. Unless they had some outstanding content.

  15. Teli Adlam
    January 24, 2008 at 12:01 am (4199 days ago)

    Thanks for that clarification, Andrew. I wasn’t certain because I didn’t see the comment posted with a note that it was waiting for moderation. :)

    ~ Teli

  16. Teli Adlam
    January 24, 2008 at 12:14 am (4199 days ago)

    I am a little concerned about people leaving links to product sales sites though.

    Before I leave my own links, I always stop and think to myself first “would I allow this link in a comment left on my blog?” If the answer’s no, then I’d change it to something else.

    Generally, I check to see two things with the sales page in the link:

    Does the site contain annoying pop ups or pop unders?
    Does the sales site belong to the person leaving the comment or is it an affiliate redirect?*

    If the answer to either of the above questions is true, then I remove the link altogether.

    *I don’t know why, but I have a pet peeve with people trying to promote affiliate links within the comments — well, actually, I don’t mind if they promote affiliate links that are relevant. What I don’t like is when people explicitly try to hijack your entry (which contains your affiliate links) with their own affiliate links. LOL

    I’ve also found that a lot of people dropping links to product shopping sites tend to use anchor text like “brand name shoes” after their name and are probably, most likely, paid comments. Definitely unacceptable.

    ~ Teli

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