Social traffic is fantastic because:
- It’s highly targeted
- It’s immediate
- It’s low cost and often free
The downside is because of it’s interactive nature (which contributes to it’s virality), spam marketers will always try to flood you, and drown out your message with their spam.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Posting irrelevant images (usually a scantily-clad female) in their avatars [see: How Your Social Network Avatar Can Make Or Break Your Internet Marketing Efforts]
- Comment spam: “I like your site, come visit me at (website address)”
- Being generally obnoxious (use rules of social etiquette to figure this one out)
On social community sites like MyBlogLog, Eric and his team have instituted several measure like: limiting personal messages to 20 a day (with an innovative reciprocal message feature in place) , and eliminating animated GIF avatars in favor of single (static) image ones.
But that still doesn’t quite solve the problem of ‘widget spam’ where people with link baiting avatars feature on your sidebar widget that appears on the right of this blog.
Fortunately, MyBlogLog community manager Robyn Tippins informed me that MyBlogLog includes features to block both visitors to your site, and mask your presence on a sidebar widget with the ‘cloak of invisibility’ feature (the name I’ve given to it).
Initially I had asked Robyn about killing the community visitors altogether. (which might seem extreme, until you consider that it creates a better user experience for your visitors)
If it’s on the [sidebar] widget you can hover over then and click the red x.
At this point there’s no way to kill visitors to your community page (but you can kill community members, I think).
I’m annoyed too by those avs. We are killing animated gifs this week, but the sexy graphics are a pet peeve of mine too (and I’m hard to offend).
Here’s how you’d delete visitors (say if I wanted to remove my buddy Ryan Chua permanently from my sidebar widget:
And similarly if I wanted to ‘mask’ my presence on another blog:
Let me clear the air, I am personally not offended by these images, but if they affect the blog readers user experience, I will step in and moderate the blog.
I’ve gone one step further and made the recommendation that MyBlogLog could include a classification system that is moderated from a central node at MyBlogLog. Avatars could be flagged with a “G” or “R” rating like movies are. Or maybe it’d be easier to setup a NSFW (not suitable for work) rating (I’ve been told nude images have been used for some avatars).
True, it would reduce some traffic in the short term, but when you look at how this increases the longevity of the social networks (some of which have degenerated more into ‘spam networks’), it also makes the network a more legitimate and credible medium in the long term.