Link Spam Formula – Advanced Blog Spamming 101

Link Spam Formula – Advanced Blog Spamming 101

by Dave Curtis on 04/07/2011

in Blogging,Blogs,Grayhat SEO,Social Media

Lest I turn anyone off with that title, let me preface this post with the comment that the headline is tongue in cheek. I do not advocate blog comment spam in any way. That said, there’s definitely an art to successfully spamming comments but 99.99% of the spammers out there either don’t know it or don’t take the time or make the effort to practice it.
This post is about the difference between spam links and helpful links, and about how some blog owners regard any link embedded in a comment as spam, but there’s more to defining spam comments as merely those that contain links. I think it has to do with the very meaning of social interaction in Web 2.0. Society in general. Social media is all about real people finding and providing value and seeking and giving meaning to daily life. Essentially what it is that we’re doing with our blogs and on Facebook and Twitter etc is that we are looking out for each others needs if we’re being honest. I think it all comes down to showing real concern for others and networking by sharing information that’s relevant to the present conversation and useful to a percentage of the people taking part in the conversation.
Stupid predators (including a lot of spammers) don’t do that. Smart predators (sociopaths?) are pretty good at manipulating people into thinking they’re showing concern and will say or do anything in order to turn a quick profit as long as they think they can make what they’re saying believable.
I’m convinced that the profile of the most successful manipulators requires that they gain the highest percentage of the public’s trust and that includes comment spammers too.
So let’s say a spammer wanted to spam your blog (or anyone else’s) with links. First he’d compile a list of blogs in the area he’s interested in targeting and do a little research on the main participants involved in running each blog. He’d then follow them on Twitter and if possible friend them on Facebook and interact a bit there. Then he’d visit each blog in turn, read what’s posted there and comment on what seems to be getting the most attention. He’d interact with a few of the other people who were commenting and hope to get a little dialogue going. Essentially he’d make it a point to come back and do this several times to “set them up” by appearing to be the ideal social media citizen.
So now the sociopath user spammer without heart or conscience has ingratiated himself into the blogger’s heart and into the online community.  Up until now that spammer has worked hard to convince you that he or she is someone who is genuinely interested and has insights of value to share with you and others and has become somewhat trusted.
So now the spammer drops a helpful link on his fifth, sixth or seventh comment. Then another one in his ninth or tenth, and on the twelfth maybe it’s not so helpful and possibly a little bit self serving and by that point in many cases the posts are being auto-approved.
Fortunately most of us don’t have much to fear from this kind of link spammer because there are far too few who are industrious and smart enough to take the time or make the effort required to make this kind of spam campaign work.
Unfortunately we’re still inundated with problems on some of our blogs where we get dozens of bot-spammers dropping all kinds of links, keyworded reply names with links back to sites and other annoying garbage.
Frankly I’d much rather deal with somebody who showed some effort over time and at least attempted to provide a comment of moderate value even if I were to become slightly suspicious (meaning I’d be willing to turn a blind eye to it as long as the commenter didn’t get too pushy too often).
Keeping the conversation on target is really where it’s at. The blogs you comment on are going to be the one’s you’re interested in and the links you add need to be on target and related to the topic in a supportive way (either pro or con) that will enrich the online community’s experience in relation to where their heads are.
For those who understand the Advanced Blog Spamming Formula and hate it, there is something to it. If you’re running a small business and are regularly checking out blogs don’t forget to leave halfway well thought out relevant comments on what posts are of interest to you but do not put down your business as your name – that’s spammy. Definitely do put in your business web site though, and, if after replying several times to several different posts you happen to be able to help someone out with a link of true value (whether that link be a link to your own web site or someone else’s) then do it and don’t worry if your reply gets rejected once.
If you find over time that any reply you write that includes a link gets rejected (particularly if other comments are allowed to contain links) then you may decide you don’t  need to be there, but before you go you may want to email the owner and ask why your comments with a link (particularly if others post replies with links) are rejected before you do. Your focus isn’t to post links but to make a useful contribution to the community of readers. Ask whether perhaps there is something about the way you are providing a link (something about your style) that’s making it look spammy. After all if spam is all about links and community is all about helping each other out then your content that doesn’t have links must be considered to be somewhat helpful to the community and enriching to the blog or none of it would have been approved. So ask if maybe it’s just the way you put the link in there. That could be enough to convince the blog owner that you’re alright.
Has this been any help, or is this, like, just making it worse? (hehe) 🙂

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