BlogRoll Circle Jerk? – If You Encourage Junk Comments That Is What You Get

The quality of comments on a blog totally depend on the blog itself, the type of content you write, and the tools and method you decide to moderate content.

On Shoemoney, Pam takes a pop at the Ifollow Movement, the lists of links to dofollow blogs that traversed the Blogosphere 6 months ago.
Whilst I was included on some of those lists, I didn’t take an active roll, as the lists really didn’t present any value to me.

I suppose Akismet is great if you don’t care about the comments on your blog, or whether the good ones appear.

Comment moderation with Spam Karma can take time if you get a lot of comments but not much more than the time it takes to read them, and if you are using subscribe to comments, you are much less likely to be hit with a CAN SPAM complaint – I see some fairly nasty comment spam come through to my mailbox all the time from Akismet protected blogs.

I applaud Greg Boser’s efforts to create a hand picked selection of Dofollow blogs around a specific niche, though he will find many of the blogs in the Dofollow community on Bumpzee are high quality, but not all to do with online marketing (thank goodness)
There will be an OPML file available for the community very soon, I just need some time to do some testing and to give Scott some feedback.

Dofollow & Community Go Hand In Hand

If you want to be a successful blogger like Liz, note we are not talking about a successful affiliate who just happens to have a large fan base, but only earns 3% of income from blogging such as Shoemoney, then the comments you receive on your blog are as much, or even more important than the original article.

Lots depends on your business model as to whether creating a professional, positive business culture in your comment area is important to you.

As Kirk points out with some amazing comment stats Liz has been very successful in building up a community over 2 years. 50,000 real comments.

In a year I have only had just over 5000 comments, and many remark that I get a lot of comments.

Part of it Kirk attributes to subscribe to comments, it is important – I remarked a while ago to Darren at Problogger that one change he could make to his blog was to reintroduce subscribe to comments, as I would certainly participate more.

By doing so, I feel more a part of his community, I comment more frequently because I can follow the conversation that take place afterwards in response, and also link to Darren more.
It would be interesting to see if he can attribute an increase in return visitors due to subscribe to comments. Maybe there is a way with some hacking to measure that.

I would estimate that less than 2% of the comments I receive on a daily basis are people commenting purely for a search engine boost, and whilst I am a human so I can make a mistake, I would estimate that 90% of those comments don’t appear on the blog even if they sound vaguely on topic. Of the ones that do get on the blog, most have the link removed.

The same is true of deliberately self promotional comments of little value.

The best way to tell my readers you wrote about a subject, is to link to me with a trackback – I have seen up to 50 people leaving my site in the past following an early trackback with a good headline

I don’t mind good quality timely link drops. As an example Court mentioned the “real” PageRank update to me in a comment with a link to his post.

PageRank & Real Attribution

For me, attribution isn’t an after thought of a careless thanks or token gesture, I always try to give people links that will send as much traffic as possible, or be of most value to them (useful keywords).
I suppose you could look on it as the whitehat way of “selling links”

As an example, here is the link I thanked Courtney with:-

Nice SEO Friendly link to Courtney

When people base their article around information obtained by others, the least they can do is try to send some traffic to the other party, otherwise the link isn’t much better than a paid link.

Sure it might fulfil legal obligations, and possibly let the search engines know the source of the content, but is that really sufficient?

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  1. says

    One of my biggest disappointments at the moment is that my “subscribe to comments” plugin is not playing nicely with the others, or my theme, so I’ve had to deactivate it.

    I really appreciate the ability to “subscribe” (except when I made the mistake of subscribing to Liz’s birthday bash, went to bed and found 328 emails when I woke up)!

  2. says

    I think Liz is a model for us all to follow. I just hope I can develop a community like hers.
    More than unrelated links, it is the unrelated comments I see. It just tells me they did not take the time to read-they are not someone that will be part of the community.
    It is like the MyBlogLog comments that say nice blog, but never visited it, just the community page.

  3. says

    Liz has a real charm to her and is a top-notch conversationalist. The comments on her blog reflect her commitment to her readers and a two way dialog.

    It’ll be interesting to compare her model with Perez Hilton or entertainment sites in general. 600 comments is sweet but tiny compared to a single one word blog post by Perez which received 7217 comments. They are left by real people who don’t want anything from his site (traffic/links).

    Are they still junk? Maybe.

    Celebrity blogs are a riot.. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a celeb blogger actually leave a comment as a response to their readers.

  4. says

    Pam seems to be unfamiliar with the wide variety of different ways to implement dofollow. Before I wrote and used Lucia’s Linky Love, I got lots of human comment spam. Afterwards, not so much and I don’t need to moderate very much.

  5. says


    Even if you are earning only 3% of your income from blogging, the comments are important. I have visitors finding my blog every day thanks to keywords in comments.

    I don’t think Pam knows much about the subject. I thought that she was working for Feldman though. Hmmm interesting.

  6. says

    Well I’m insulted, but Pam is hot so I forgive her. :-D

    I removed all the nofollow tags on my comments some time ago. To me I just didn’t see the point. Comment spam get removed anyway, so why am I penalizing visitors who took the time not only to read my articles, but comment on them too? It’s silly.

    The introduction of nofollow sure did a bangup job of slowing down the flow of comment spam didn’t it. *rolls eyes*

  7. says

    Oh come on Vlad– That’s not fair. There are plenty of unattractive fat guys saying the same thing as Pam and no one is discounting what they are saying because of their looks.

    They are wrong– Pam is wrong. Why discount Pamela for her looks while giving the ugly fat guys a pass?

  8. says

    Thank you, Andy, and everyone who said such nice things about the folks who comment on my blog. I do get a lot of comment spam, but I don’t get a lot of shallow, useless “nice post” comments. I suppose there might be a downside in that some folks have said they took a long time to write their first comment . . .

    When I took the no follow off my blog, I didn’t announce it. Even now I don’t advertise that fact, though it’s easy enough to check. I don’t think “rewarding” folks for commenting is the point . . . I don’t give folks a cookie for talking to me either. :) However, Andy, I agree that community and Do Follow seem to naturally go together. Yeah.

    Those folks who write shallow comments for links tend to look like human spam to me. . . . Maybe I’ve been deleting them without realizing it. :)

    My apologies to the folks who subscribed to the birthday party. I should have put a warning by the comment box that day. Please email me if my comment subscriptions ever become a burden.

    I agree, by the way, that a link is deserved for the value of a great content found on your blog. :)

    Andy, I just checked your subscription box.

  9. says

    Thanks, Andy, Meg, and Maki, for the kind words about my blog and my readers. I live for the conversations that we have every day.

    Someone made the comment over at Shoemoney that only webmasters, spammers, and techies leave links. In my world that’s patently false. We leave links for each other often and I encourage it if it’s something that will serve folks who read with more relevant content. I with you, Andy, on that.

    For the most part, I can tell a human spammer or a google juice chaser, by seeing an unfamiliar name and checking the post on which the comment is made — too often the statement is vague and the post is out of date. Bye to them. :)

    Do follow is about connecting the web with relationships between people, blogs, and content. I didn’t advertise when I turned it on. I don’t make a big deal of it now. I would hope that folks comment because they have something to say — just as they might in a real conversation.

    And yes, I agree, Pam’s opinion is off the mark . . . she’s fabulous, intelligent, and I’d love to meet her. I just don’t agree with her opinion on this.

    Thank you, again, Andy.

    • says

      If this is true, I really don’t get it how you managed to get 50.000 real comments in two years. May i ask how many posts did you write in this period. Cause even with lets say 5 per day, this would still mean like 15 comments each… And writing 5 quality posts a day that would attract considerable feedback from readers is not so easy…

      • says

        Hi Mike,
        It’s a little misleading in that it works like this.

        A) I answer my comments so about 48% of the comments are my replies.

        B) Every Tuesday night I sit at my computer for about 4 hours hosting an open conversation. That is about 200 – 300 comments in one post every week.

        Some comment conversations also go one for more than one day . . . like this one has been going on for more than one day.

        There are as of now 2,194 posts. My usual schedule is 2 posts a day 7 days a week. I write for a living. I realize that most folks can’t do that. :)

  10. says

    And yes, I agree, Pam’s opinion is off the mark . . . she’s fabulous, intelligent, and I’d love to meet her.

    Me too! Uhh.. but probably not for the same reasons. :-)

  11. says

    Vlad: I think Pam’s video discussion of the dofollow movement was exceedingly shallow. She basically did nothing more than resort to name calling, sneering and eyerolls. Because her “argument” against dofollow consisted of nothing more than bodylanguage, I’m not surprised the “counter arguments” are also pointing to irrelevant things like her looks.

    Still, if the subject of dofollow is going to be discussed on blogs, I think it would be better for someone to post about the advantages (or disadvantages) of dofollow and try to engage whatever the heck Pam might have meant to imply with her jejune eyerolls and name calling.

    The dofollow movement is not just a blog circle jerk and no amount of eyerolling on the part of Pam would ever make it so.

    • says


      I agree that it would be much better to engage people into a constructive discussions on our blogs. However I am not sure bloggers like Pam will be willing to participate….

      It is interesting though that finally Shoemoney (with Pam’s help) is taking a pop at do follow bloggers. I think maybe he (along with other A listers) are just plain jealous about the quality of comments on dofollow blogs. Just take for example this blog and compare to any posts on Shoemoney. As Andy said, if you encourage spam comments that is what you get.

  12. says

    I thoroughly enjoy your posts and love to comment on them whenever I think that I have something to say. By and large, I see the same from other regular commentators. They seem to enjoy the topics and the banter.

    I would really like to see your detailed, neutral comments on Do follow.

  13. says

    Aren’t most comments (on average) either too long or too short. I tend to write fairly long comments myself, too. It’s not easy than to come up with a concise to the point small piece of text. On the other side writing a valuable, complete article that stands on its own as source for a trackback is not always possible (time wise or line of the blog).

    Did everyone every try to limit the comments to, e.g. 300 characters ? Did it hurt the quality or #Reader-to-#Comments ratio?

    Bottom line: Quality blogging, commenting and trackbacking requires more time than most people are willing to put into.
    P.S.: Some say, you shouldn’t ask questions in a comment. I say, why not. It can add value.

  14. says

    i really don’t like the junk comments and at times delete them if i feel there done for sake of a link. Just hoping now everyone getting PR they don’t come worse….

  15. says

    @Vlad: I have no idea what their motive is! But the positives of dofollow are immediately obvious to bloggers. Look at the conversation here and at many dofollow blogs? The “negative” — that we might be overwhelmed by spam– is largely hypothetical.

    I agree with you that you or me posting a “rebuttal” to Pam’s eyerolls and name calling is unlikely to get a response. That wouldn’t be the purpose of such an essay. The purpose would be to explain the advantages to others interested in Dofollow.

    If anything, Pam’s discussion make more bloggers aware of the movement, and I’ll see more downloads of Lucia’s Linky Love!

  16. says

    hmm..this is indeed a great advice and something to ponder.However,I believe a lot of commentors comment just for the sake of being noticed among a popular blog.Sometimes,it is not really what the content is.It is more on the popularity of the blog.My two cent worth.

  17. says

    Hey Andy,

    Just for the record, I’m not just looking for online marketing blogs. We’re cataloging blogs from all topics. I’m looking forward to the Bumpzee OPML. I’ll probably be joining the group (if you’ll have me) later today.

  18. says

    I notice that many of the blogs I read have tons of “whitehat link selling”. I’m wondering if google will start to notice this trend as well as the people buying and selling links.

    It’s not like google could do anything about it anyway…


  19. says

    Eli’s Blue Hat SEO is a great example of a blog that’s built a really good following of people who leave constructive comments that build on the post & really compliment it.

    Lately I’ve found that most comments really just try to take advantage of things like the Top Commentator list on the sidebar or aren’t as constructive.

    Asking more “Questions” on your blog & creating controversy seems to be a good way to get constructive comments. Throw that in with some real good “meat & potatoes” posts & I think that makes a good combination.


  20. says

    Late to the party as usual.

    In my way of thinking if you’re going to promote commenting on your blog you need to make it a two way street and that’s where Do-Follow and especially that all important “Subscribe to Comments” comes in. And of course I was was having a bit of fun about the danger of subscribing to one of Liz’s posts, something even she does from time to time. Not the first time I’ve been caught. Actually it makes following a hot topic of hers all the easier at times.

    So who needs page rank when the company’s so good I ask ya’?

  21. says

    I often leave short comments that simply express my gratitude for a well written article. I, like many are very busy, and if I am going to put a lot of thought and effort into blogging I usually save it for my blogs. I never gave the short comments much thoughts until now. Hell, I am mostly grateful that someone took the time to comment, but then I am not trying to make a living at this. I blog for fresh content as all my blogs are part of a website and not a stand alone project.

  22. says

    I completely disagree that removing the nofollow attribute from our blogs generates mostly spam comments. I have personally found being a dofollow blog has helped create a relationship between myself and other bloggers, where we now know more about each other and regularly comment on each other’s blogs.

    I read Andy’s blog on my RSS feeder, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried to comment. Some of the posts Andy has written are those that help teach me more about blogging, ways I can improve my posts etc. I wouldn’t even attempt to comment, because trying to comment on topics that I don’t fully understand, would likely make me appear to be making a pathetic attempt for a link.

    It is frustrating to me to read posts from people claiming that dofollow blogs must be low/poor quality blogs, desperately seeking attention by any means possible. I’ve read many times in Darren Rowse’ blog where even HE mentions cringing when going back and reading some of his older posts, knowing it could have been better. I haven’t found a blogger yet who would make the claim that the moment they started their blog, that it was always the highest quality. We all start somewhere, improving as we go. Even professional journalists start off somewhere.

  23. says

    It seems alot of the junk comments I get are from bots. I took out the part of the comments that had the url field for a bit to see. And I still got the same number of junks with a url. So I assume they are using an automated bot.

    It would be nice if the major blogging platforms had something inbuilt to prevent this. Hopefully it would stop the bots because they would get less of a payoff.

  24. says

    Links to posts strongly related to the subject of the post should be okay in comments, not just for other readers, but for the writer of the post as well. I have hundreds of blog feeds in my feed reader and still not ALL good and relevant blogs about subjects I care about.

    The ones I do have in the reader are impossible to read entirely. You miss stuff and if your subject is recent (a few days old), don’t expect Google to show it near the top of the search results yet (with some exception with posts at very strong authority blogs).

    De-linking a reference would not make sense, if the post that is referred to is on topic and adds value to the post itself. If it does not provide anything different or new to what you just wrote then it does not make much sense to keep the link to it intact. It would be like a “me too” reply to a forum post. Some blog comments (with and without links) are having not much more quality to it than those kind of replies, which annoys the heck out of me, if it is a post where a lot of people re engaged in a conversation.

    I don’t mind if those would be suppressed or deleted, even if their was no bad intent by the poster. It will not help the guys who signed up for email notification, but the guys that read the post at a later time. The exceptions are polls or similar posts that ask for this kind of feedback. That’s my opinion which is probably not one of the popular ones.

    p.s. I like the edit comment feature. Which plug-in is that? English is my second language and I see myself making errors pretty often. It’s hard to read and double check in the relatively small text box where you enter your comment (the p.s. was added to my comment using this edit comment feature hehe).

  25. says

    And with the time, you get a lot of comments that has nothing to do with the theme of the post, but with some kind of advertising. It becomes harder to moderate comments.

  26. says

    Great post Andy. The do follow movement is a strange one, i’m tempted to start by concerned about dodgy people trying to get a free link.

    I might allow trackback to have a followed link, as this will encourage people to link to me.

  27. says

    I also think that google will be on the watch for this movement. Lets all hope that most can control it against spam.

  28. says

    I rarely use nofollow. I certainly don’t use it on any of my blogs. If people want to comment and get a link out of it, that’s fine, as long as they post quality content in their comment. That’s why I review all comments and delete those that are obviously spammy, of which admittedly, there are quite a few.

  29. says

    Commenting and taking time to read particular blogs of interest whether follow or not are educational and have created some great relationships. Now I don’t have near the thousands some who were mentioned here but the ones we do have been a tremendous help.
    So with that said it reminds me of the movie the bucket list

    A story from the ancient Egyptians — there are two questions asked of the soul at the end of this life:
    “Did you find joy?”
    “Did you bring joy to the lives of others?”

    That’s what it is all about.

  30. says

    As I’m reading your blog, I’m learning more and more…

    One question though, and maybe this is because I’m fairly new the blogging scene, but I don’t think I know how to leave a trackback? Maybe you’ve covered it in an older post, but I didn’t see it.

    Perhaps this could be the inspiration for a new trackback tutorial post if it does not exist already, lol.

    BTW, I learn all about all of the etiquette of blogging from sites like yours. Thanks. Keep it up!

  31. says

    I am more likely to continue to participate in a blog conversation if they do have the ‘subscribe to comments’ feature. That saves me from having to continue to go back, and it keeps me engaged.

    I rarely pay attention to whether a blog has follow or no follow. It’s the content that keeps me coming back, and the conversation in the comments as well.

  32. says

    I really don’t receive many comments on my blog at all, but my phone is still ringing with business from it. Occassionally I will ask a question at the end of the post as was mentioned above, and that does sometimes generate more comments.

  33. says

    I went over to Liz’s blog…what incredible comments and links she gets. I find I get more comments on posts I write that just naturally flow out of me. Those ones that I even hesitate to push the “submit” button. I think readers want real. Real passion, real value, real people.