Guru Internet Marketing Mentorship Programs Abusing Dofollow Blogs

There seems to be a new trend with internet marketers running some kind of mentorship or bonus program.

It runs something like this (though I haven’t signed up to one to get exact details)

  • You sign up to the mentorship program
  • One of the tasks is backlink building from Dofollow blogs
  • The new internet marketer runs around leaving comments on Dofollow blogs, but uses backlinks to the blog or salespage of the internet marketing guru
  • After dropping a certain number of backlinks, the new internet marketer qualifies for a bonus

The backlinks are sometimes the link reserved for the comment author, or sometimes product mentions within the comments.

I Regard This As Comment Spam

My normal reaction is to hit the spam button, which will eventually prevent me seeing future comments by the people on the mentorship program, even if they eventually start leaving comments on their own behalf.

I haven’t got time to edit links even if the comments contain some legitimate content.

The mentorship program is effectively burning legitimate link sources for the people taking the “course”.

Great job..

In addition, the chances of me giving an editorial link at some time to the “guru” or promoting one of their products as a JV partner are hugely reduced.

Legitimate Employees And VAs

As a blogger, I want to know who is leaving a comment.

I don’t mind anchor text used in comments, if my blog passes juice it might as well pass anchor text as well, but anyone following the link needs to be able to determine who left the comment.
This is a lot easier with personal blogs, or blogs run by a single person.

If my friend Michel Fortin left a comment with the anchor text “Copywriting” I am not going to worry about it. You go to his blog, it is clearly his blog.

Joy Gustilo works for Russell Brunson – that is a link to her profile on DotComSecrets and Joy often uses “Internet Marketing Joy” as anchor text – that is great, I know it is Joy and not Russell leaving the comment.

I have a few other readers also competing for that SERP so I should probably balance that out a little

If Courtney used “Internet Marketing” when leaving a comment, I wouldn’t have a problem – his blog is personal

You have probably seen Dwain Jeworski on various social networks. He used to work with Rich Schefren, and now is with the Internet Marketing Center as their Affiliate Manager. If Dwain used “Internet Marketing Dwain as anchor text in a comment, that would be appropriate. Just using Internet Marketing wouldn’t, because it would be impossible to tell if the comment was written by Dwain or maybe Derek Gehl.
The IMC have over 100 employees – can you imagine if a few of them all had a conversation in my comment area each signing their name as Internet Marketing?

One thing I would love to see on the IMC site is staff profiles which could be used as landing pages for social media link building. It would be possible to funnel juice from those landing pages through to pages where it is needed, which is much harder to do with links directly to a home page.

That is something Joy should think about with her comment links as well.

I am not quite sure how I would deal with comments from Jim Boykin if he was using anchor text such as “Internet Marketing” – I think anchor text would be appropriate for a link to his blog, as the blog is clearly his, whereas a link to the company site I would want some kind of identifier in the anchor text as to who left the comment.
Then again Jim’s ninja’s would probably use some kind of landing page method.

Of course Josh could link through to his Internet Marketing Blog as much as he likes. Again it is his personal blog. (some more on Josh’s blog coming up soon)

So ends my “SERPs Neutral” overview of acceptable linking practice, though there is a good chance I have missed a few people out from my readers.

I am Not Going To Name & Shame

At least not yet…

I left a comment on one blog regarding this practice, and it seemed to stop, at least on my blog, but the comment didn’t appear on the blog, and was not acknowledged directly.

Another “guru” when contacted about this last year offered to chat about it, but didn’t apologise.

I have noticed it starting again over the last few weeks, not just spammy linkbuilders, but quite obviously new internet marketers under some kind of mentorship.

Come on guys, behave… I’m serious

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  1. Amish Furniture says

    First of all let me say that I am new to your blog and I really like what I’m reading. Your stance on the dofollow is nice to see. Unfortunately I chose a blog platform that automatically nofollows all the links in my comment and I’m not sure how to eliminate that or switch over to a platform that allows me to dictate the do/nofollow. I’m using b2 right now. Any tips on how to do that would be greatly appreciated by the way.
    Here’s what I think of this mentoring thing:
    People taking advantage of blogs that dofollow with programs like this mentorship thing are the reason most blogs nofollow anymore. Personally I hate filtering out hundreds of spam comments a week. Everything these days seems to centered around the whole premise of how to get ahead instead of being a community.
    If you want to get a link from a blog be useful in your comments something stupid like “nice post! checkout blah blah blah for great rotten fish” does nothing but piss me off when someone does that and I immediately ban them. The fact that there is a concerted effort to basically burnout the few blogs that do follow is stupid and aggravating. There is no reason for it! Very soon according to a few of the stats I have read about there is going to be over 100 million blogs. With that many blogs there is no reason to spam anything, PERIOD!
    With that many blogs out there you can find blogs that are related to your niche. Those are the ones you should be commenting on with good useful information. Not the crap that this mentor program seems to be promoting.
    Grow up and become part of a community. Comment and other types of spam only force the development of tools like the nofollow that just about everyone adopts. Not only that but it forces SE’s like google to discount legitmate comment links and makes rankings that much harder to get. Spamming makes everybody’s life harder including you the spammer. So just grow up and stop because it really doesn’t work anymore.

    • says

      In this case I had 3 options

      • get rid of the link to a site that had no personal information
      • change the anchor text to something personal
      • hit the spam button

      In some parts even a good comment isn’t enough to get a link, because the perspective of who is saying it is equally important.

    • says

      I look on this as worse than Blackhat comment spammers.

      In fact normal comment spam is almost whitehat compared to this.

      A blackhat knows the risk, it is calculated, and ultimately is looking for low hanging fruit. His is burning his own domains, email address etc, but who cares, it is all automated and some of it will stick.

      In this case people are using their real email address, but dropping the Guru’s links.

      I don’t mind hitting the spam button when leave some manual spam.

      It is when an apprentice learning how to do things from a guru that is the problem.

  2. says

    I have a similar comment policy and I’m actually surprised how many people either actually read my comment policy, or adopt the technique as regular practice.

    I allow anchor text as long as the commentator leaves a name, that’s it. I do still get alot of abuse. It’s already becoming quite time consuming though. I can only imagine how it is for you, Andy.

    Thanks for the plug!


    • says

      The plug was long overdue, I just didn’t want to upset other search results too much – I am going to find to do that promised write up on what we did before so expect some more link love.

  3. says

    I agree with Alex. You are fighting GREED. ;(

    BUT, your words do carry weight in this business so if you manage to convince a couple of other big names, you guys actually have a chance of changing something…

    • says

      I am not sure it is greed or them being lazy, or possibly not thinking things through to completion.

      A “XYZ Is Blatantly Teaching People To Comment Spam” headline wouldn’t be any different to some of the junk SEO firms that get called out.

      Some of these guys actually do read my blog, as do many of the people they are training.

  4. says

    I recently got one of these comments on my site. The name sounded made up but the site was that of someone starting a new mentor program. Your articles are always timely.

    • says

      I certainly much prefer it to top commenters, and I think the size of conversations on my blog and the quality have always been disproportionately better than many others.

      Comments are a measure of engagement, and if part of the motivation for coming back to comment repeatedly is a link, that is no problem, as long as I also engage people.

      If you are looking for 1000 dedicated fans, I think the chances are much higher in blogging if you stimulate conversation, and not just people telling you how great a post was.

      Note, whilst that topic has been discussed a fair bit in the last week, it certainly isn’t a new idea.

      I gain traffic from being a dofollow blog, maybe more than most, I just need to work on ways to monetize that traffic – I gave some ideas the other day and at least one person is working on something.

  5. says

    Andy I’m glad you posted about this. Looking through my recent comments I see several different people have all done this at my place pointing to a German marketing site. Not being a German speaker I didn’t catch what they were doing.

    They just earned banishment to Spamilvania.

  6. says

    Thanks for your honesty Andy. I feel the same way.

    As a relative blogging newbie, I WAS using anchor text when leaving comments for a short time, but I never do that anymore. Just my name.

    There is a lot of s/w now being offered to identify dofollow blogs etc. etc.

    And I agree, this is spam.

    I leave comments to participate, ask or add something, and if I happen to get visitors or link juice from that, great. If not, it really doesn’t matter. I want to show the writer that I read the post and have some input. Period.

  7. says

    Hi Andy,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, but this is probably one of my first comments here. As a somewhat newer blogger, I’ve struggled a bit with exactly the best way to implement “do follow”. I settled on using a combination of commentluv and linkluv to turn off no follow after several comments. Fortunately most comments on my blog are still from people I know … so I don’t mind passing juice to them.

    With these “gurus” teaching people to abuse do follow blogs, do you think there’s any danger of some bloggers just deciding that it’s more trouble than it’s worth, and go back to letting their comments remain no followed?

    As far as leaving anchor text in comments … what’s so wrong with trying to rank well for our own name? From a networking perspective, it sure doesn’t seem like a bad thing.


  8. says

    Well thank you Andy, you cleared up more confusion. I’ve been wondering about some odd comments.

    Most hit the spam meter ans they are just waaaaaaaaaaay to blatant.

  9. says

    Just the other day I had a guy posting two messages with killer anchor texts. In one of the messages he actually assures me not being a spammer but disappears when confronted. Have not heard from his yet…

    I am really close to letting the nofollows back into the comments on my blogs.

    • says

      In this case it is very specific, and probably just 3 or 4 mentorship type programs that are doing this.

      For the usual drive by spam, there is a solution in the works.

  10. says

    I remember when SPAM was just something i made a sandwich with… now, we see it everywhere and it gives me more heartburn than the “original” version…

    Blog spamming seems to have hit a new high lately but have you seen some of the forums out there… My God, people really have time on their hands…

    Anyhow, really like your blog Andy, thanks !

  11. says

    That explains it. I was wondering why I was getting comments from different people all linking to the same guru’s website. I just thought maybe some of his students were such big fans they were leaving his link behind. That’s too bad since I like the guru in question.

    Glad I stopped by your blog. Guess I won’t be approving those comments anymore… they were making me suspicious.

  12. says

    Internet marketers often get carried away with whatever new thing gets to be the newest marketing fad. Often what results is 1) the new fad annoys a lot of people and 2) does not work near as well when too many people are trying the same thing.

    • says

      Do you moderate your comments?

      Even if you do moderate comments, a link from comments does mean some juice goes to the person commenting and not elsewhere.
      However blogs that are a community gathering lots of comments tend to gather more links, and thus they have more juice to spend.

      Dofollow blogs tend to get more comments, but they will also receive more junk commments, so it is more work in moderation.

      There is no specific penalty from Google (as far as I am aware) for having links from comments or other user generated content followed by the search spiders.

  13. says

    Every one I have learned from have been saying good content is the key and artificially trying to boost your SEO will probably backfire. I guess I have been lucky in my short bloging career. I keep reading articles from authorities like you about the right way to do things. It seems I have often stumbled into doing just that way.

    In reponse to the comment above, Another blog did mention about a potential Google penalty for linking to low quality sites that could come from nofollow comments. It would seem to me that liks out would be a positve thing for a search engine.

    Ned Carey

    • says

      It is one of those things that has lived there for about a year now… whilst the original story has passed, I find it helps keep comments slightly more professional and useful

  14. says

    Hi Andy,

    I have just turned DoFollow on for my blog, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes.

    DoFollow seems to make sense to me these days with web 2.0 and fostering reader interaction and community. But, as with everything online, there will be those that abuse it.

    I signed up to one of those “mentoring” programs because I was curious. I never started because I found out that I would be working to create traffic to the mentors website, and not as an affiliate.

    I guess that makes sense to some – free mentoring in exchange for creating traffic for the mentor. By why not pay the students with affiliate commissions?



  15. John - says

    It may be considered as some kind of spam but you can not accuse them too much. Everybody is fighting for back links these days. DoFollow movement is a new lead, so why not exploit it, right? Don’t you make use of it? Don’t you comment on other people blogs and be happy with the links back to you?

    I think everybody does his job the best way he can. I agree that spamming blogs is not good but if the person comment is a value to the post itself but uses keywords in name, for ex, then it is OK, in my opinion. However, I hate those “Yeah, I know what you mean” type of comments.

  16. says

    Hi Andy,

    I’ve been reading up on dofollow and nofollow and can’t actually decide what to do with our own comment facility. We’re and SEO and Internet Marketing agency and recently relaunched our site with an independent news resource.

    I’ve turned bb code off so that no links can be posted in the comment area and added nofollow tags to the uri, however, we still get spam posts even though we have nofollow on.

    I can only imagine what would happen if we allowed bbcode and switched from the tag from no to do.

    What would you suggest.



    • says

      Nigel you need to be using some kind of real spam filter – I haven’t used Typolight before, so I am not sure of all your options.

  17. says

    the main options with Typolight are a captcha to stop automated posts and in general moderating comments before they go live. Other than that there are no other options.

    i supose the main thing I would be interested in is whether or not I should allow links to be followed. Currently I’ve set it to nofollow

  18. says

    I see no problem with commenting, as Im sure you feel the same way, If you have something to say. Even if just trying to get link juice, say something that contributes to the topic.

    As far as the Guru program, I feel that is truly comment spam. They aren’t even building the sites for themselves. geeze

  19. bestseosoftware says

    I do commenting a several months ago until now and it's quite fun and also i can learn a lot of things on other blogs as well..