Whilst travelling I missed a blogstorm – “Buy Blog Comments” a controversial service that allows you to pay a fee to have someone promote your website writing comments.
This is probably going to be my most controversial post ever, and lots of people are going to think it is just linkbait, but I sincerely believe that paid comments can be ethical.
There has been quite extensive coverage of the topic on Problogger, and this comment by Darren Rowse really went into the details about why the Buy Blog Comments service wouldn’t work.
At $19.99 for 100 posts youâ€™re paying them 19 cents per comment. For someone living in the US or Canada to make a decent living at 19 cents per comment (he says they are US/Canadian citizens that make the comments) how many comments would they need to leave in a day? To make $100 theyâ€™d have to leave 526 commentsâ€¦.
An 8 hour day has 480 minutes in it. Theyâ€™d need to be leaving comments at over 1 per minute. Now to make a comment genuine and add to the conversation theyâ€™d need to read the post before making the commentâ€¦.. The site says they also hand pick blogs from relevant niches (more time)â€¦. I guess then that Jon needs to take his cut before sharing it with the people who work for himâ€¦. I canâ€™t see how it adds up. Those working on this scheme need some fast way of posting comments – Iâ€™d suspect that theyâ€™d need to do at least two comments per minute.
But that doesn’t mean that all such services are totally unethical, not by a longshot.
If you have a full time employee, knowledgeable about your business, there is a high possibility that you would allow them to write comments on blogs. Matt Cutts is “just” an employee of Google
Lots of people have virtual assistants, who they trust to respond to email correspondence. It is quite possible that such an employee might also be suitable to respond to blog comments that are not too specific in nature, or after sufficient training.
Many companies feel they are not quite “in-the-groove” to do their own blogging, and thus hire a specialist to blog on their behalf.
Part of such a blogger’s responsibilities might well be monitoring and responding to the blogosphere, and part of that responding could be commenting on other blogs, especially if they linked to the corporate blog in response to an article.
That would be a paid comment
Outsourcing Blog Content and Comments
I haven’t actually had time to look around inside Blog Mastermind yet, but on my trip I spent a lot of time with many of Yaro’s own mentors. I am fairly confident that he doesn’t recommend doing all the blogging yourself, you would use outsourcing for blog posts, and quite possibly expect those outsourced bloggers to respond to comments, both on your own blogs, and those that might have linked to those blogs in response to articles.
Paid commenting again…
I noticed that Darren Rowse also has a special deal to sign up with Blog Mastermind for just $47 per month – if you want to be a problogger, but not tied to your keyboard 16 hours per day making peanuts, it might be a good option, and they have just done a free podcast that is worth a listen.
Outsource As Much As You Like
Many of my readers are probably familiar with Michel Fortin, one of, if not the greatest online direct response copywriters.
Far fewer are familiar with Sylvie Fortin, Michel’s wife who has been running a service called Workaholics for Hire for 8 years, providing outsourcing services, mostly behind the scenes for many of the internet’s most successful marketers.
As well as providing general purpose Virtual Assistants, they also provide a host of specialist services.
- Viability Research – for both niches and products
- Ebook Development
- Content writing – this includes blogs
- Product location for monetization
- Transcription Services
- Customer Support
- Blog Creation & Customization (a very hot offer if you need something professional)
- Sales Page Makeovers
- Webmasters on Call
Absolutely nothing controversial in that list at all, in fact I am sure many of my readers might be tempted to use some of those services, especially the blog creation and customization for one fixed fee.
It is in the blog promotion services that things if looked at in isolation become a little controversial.
- Article Marketing
- Blog Comment Marketing
- Discussion Board Buzz Marketing
- Blog Directory Submissions
- Free Classifieds Marketing
- Press Release Marketing
- Web Directory Submissions
- PPC Campaign Management
Blog comment marketing? Discussion Board Buzz Marketing? That can’t be right… can it?
Before you have some kind of knee-jerk reaction, it is something that is totally logical, and 100% ethical.
Paid Blog Commenting Can Be 100% Ethical
- You pay someone to research a niche you know nothing about
- You pay someone to create a product and sales page for a suitable niche
- You outsource a customized blog design
- You pay someone to write blog content to help promote the niche product
- You pay someone to provide customer support
So if you have all these services, obviously the only remaining task is promotion, and that might include some ethical forum marketing or even writing or responding to blog posts and blog comments.
If you can hire someone for that role for your company on a permanent basis, it is certainly just as ethical to hire someone part time working from home to do it as well, in fact it is more ethical than doing it yourself for a niche that you know very little about.
Chris at Blog-Op couldn’t see much value and offered a great suggestion for quality traffic, get a review from me and spend the change on more conventional advertising.
Obviously that is good for me, but not always what someone in a specific niche is looking for. I am hardly going to review a squeeze page for a free dating book, and whilst I believe I have cultivated a high value audience, it is not a mass audience.
That review would be better suited to someone in the Make Money Online niche, or a high quality niche specific blog on sexual relationships such as Dan & Jennifer (nothing sexually explicit directly but discusses quite adult topics)
Note: Linking through to Dan and Jennifer has been gnawing away at the back of my mind for ages, as they are a true example of a quality niche site, and you should see how well they use video on YouTube – sometimes the encouragement to visit their site at the end of each video is as long as the content – really well done!
Dane on his new WordPress Design Tips blog thinks it is a storm in a teacup and that things like this have been going on for years.
He is quite right, and anyone seriously interested in spamming your blog with junk is already doing it, and clock up 1000s of links per day, or more likely hit your spam filters as they are looking for soft targets.
One idiotic marketer from the UK has produced a “special report” with a list of dofollow blogs he spent a lot of time trying to find and is promoting it on Digital Point – what an idiot, you can find 300 dofollow blogs just by visiting my no nofollow community on Bumpzee, but unless you are going to write something really on topic that will bring targeted visitors and give you a decent relevant link, there is absolutely no point commenting, as the comments are unlikely to stick.
He is the same guy who has also come up with a Google Custom Search engine of dofollow blogs.
Conversation & Measuring Sticks
It is all about joining in the conversation. If the intent of a comment is clearly to join in the conversation and not just for SEO, that is an ethical comment. It is possible to join in discussions to sway them to your way of thinking, or entice people to click a link.
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