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New Comment Outsourcing Service

Discussion in 'General Internet Marketing' started by Teli, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. Teli

    Teli Affiliate affiliate

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    There has been a lot of buzz in the blogosphere recently about a new company called Buy Blog Comments. (I won't link to them here, however, I did a complete write up called Buy Blog Comments - The Changing Face of Comment Spam.)

    From the company website:
    Did you catch that? They actually keep a database of blogs who don't use the nofollow tag on their comments (I'm fairly certain mine is included on the list and yours may be, too if you don't use nofollow), and they have a staff of 6 people who go around "reading" blogs and commenting just to gain the links.

    It's basically human submitted comment spam and it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. They say they send out quality comments, but frankly, based on what I've seen so far, most of them will be manually marked as spam by the blog owner anyway.

    If you're a blog owner, please make sure to keep an eye out for legit comments (i.e. ones that pass your spam filters and Akismet) that are really spam in sheep's clothing. Take a moment to actually visit the site linked in the URL field to make sure it's quality, and if the <strike>spammer</strike> commenter uses nothing but anchor text in the name field, scrutinize that comment even more.

    Just a head's up.

    ~ Teli
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2007
  2. TheCaymanHost

    TheCaymanHost Affiliate affiliate

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    Yup, I came across this in my travels the other week and also blogged about it. It's definitely causing a stir, and my personal view is that it's a bad idea. At the same time I'm sure that there will be plenty of people willing to buy into it unfortunately.

    Comment spam is pretty easy to control nowadays and 99.9% never sees the light of day on my blogs anymore with no input from me. Trackbacks are still a minor irritant (I had about 200 today) but they too are deletable with one click on my Nucleus blog and don't even make it as far as Akismet on my WP sites.

    If this service takes off, and if the comments are actually "quality" as the vendors claim they will be, detection may take a little more effort but I think your advice is about the best a blogger can do. I can't see the pills brigade using it for example, they are usually far more sophisticated - if you care to apply such a word to professional spammers!

    People who pay for this service will probably be owners of small sites desperate for traffic who probably haven't even considered the rights or wrongs of it. Probably a storm in a teacup, but time will tell.

    (As a blogger who doesn't use "no follow" I fall into the segment they claim that they will target) Hmmm....

    Mo
     
  3. fitnfree

    fitnfree Affiliate affiliate

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    Well that's just awful! Doesn't that take away the whole idea of a blog???
     
  4. Teli

    Teli Affiliate affiliate

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    Hey Mo,
    You're right about the target audience, however, it's mostly geared towards black-hatters. The occasional stray small business owner may come across the service, but I'm not too sure she would understand what a blog/commenting is unless she's done research prior and if she has done her research, she should probably uncover the fact that BBC is black hat.

    As for the quality question, er, that's already been debunked - LOL. Jon decided to publish some links to a couple of his "quality" comments (which he later pulled), so I tracked them down to see for myself what type of quality people were willing to spend a quarter for. Boy was I surprised -- and not in a good way. :)

    Fitnfree, in a way, you're right on the money. Blogs (well, most blogs anyway) are about building community, opening discussion, networking, and sharing information. BBC shilling comments undermines that by injecting comments that detract from the spirit of blogging.

    Personally, I believe there's a way to properly outsource comments and BBC is the blueprint of how not to do it. Hmmm, maybe I need to write a blueprint on how to do it properly. It would certainly cost more than a quarter per comment, but at least the webmaster wouldn't be spamming bloggers and would be building her brand while building community.

    ~ Teli
     
  5. TheCaymanHost

    TheCaymanHost Affiliate affiliate

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    Hi Teli

    Thanks for the update and the link, I've added you to my feed reader.

    As you say it's quite obvious from those examples that "quality" isn't an issue :rolleyes: As early critics observed, the clues should have been easily spotted by the site's awful grammar and spelling mistakes littering every paragraph.

    I do think one of your commentators had a point; bloggers can use spam comments to their advantage by editing them and any dubious URL's - presto, comments from different IP's. I know plenty of bloggers who do this to improve on low comment counts and as a kind of "revenge" on the spammers. I don't think that kind of falsification or is for me, but hey, it works for some :D

    I agree that BBC could be considered Black Hat, but in its crudest form.

    For paid commenting as a whole, maybe there is a place for it when it's done really well, (don't shoot me) but the cost/ROI would probably be prohibitive if the paid commentators really were quality writers. Let's be honest, a good and constructive comment adds value to a blog, and if the writer got paid to do it, any one of us would be very hard pushed to tell. As to whether it's ethical is a whole different argument of course.

    Despite my dislike BBC, it made me ask myself one important question - if someone offered to pay me a good rate to comment on blogs would I do it? It certainly wouldn't be cheap but with an adequate rate of pay which allowed the commentator to read, appreciate and respond intelligently to the subject matter, don't you think some people would happily do it? (I'm not condoning it here, just playing devil's advocate). I couldn't give myself an honest yay or nay I'm afraid. Does that make me a bad person :cool: ? I'm sure it already goes on actually and I wonder if there are any paid commentators out there willing to put their hands up to it? I doubt it, but BBC seems to have been the first to put this on people's radar, and not in a good way at all.

    Mo
    (writing this comment took half an hour - forward your check to my tax free offshore hideaway please Linda :D)
     
  6. Teli

    Teli Affiliate affiliate

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    Seems like a bit of work for something you could do yourself manually -- plus it adds an extra step (editing the comment, then approving the comment). If a blogger wanted to inflate their comment count, there's nothing stopping him from just writing a comment - the only person who will (generally) see the IP address is the blog owner anyway. But, I agree, it's a creative way to turn the table on spammers. :D

    Well, I believe that's where a lot of people get off-track. There's nothing wrong with outsourcing comments (a number of companies already do this -- think of paid employees, executive assistants, or consulting firms). The problem lies in the value of these comments. Or, said another way, is the comment merely on the blog for the sole reason of getting a backlink?

    When a comment is left merely for exposure, and exposure only, it's obvious. In other words, the commenter is trying to gain free advertising from that blog and contribute nothing to the community or overall discussion.

    Something that you said in your entry jumped out at me and it should jump out at others: read, appreciate and respond intelligently to the subject matter. The service that BBC is providing does none of the above and thus is little more than fodder with the aim of gaining backlinks and traffic. This does nothing for the blog author or the readers of that blog.

    To properly outsource comments (okay, here comes the mini-blueprint ROFL), the person leaving the comments should follow some simple guidelines:

    1. She (or he) should understand your blog, company, and goals well enough to speak on those topics intelligently.
    2. She (or he) should use her own identity when commenting on the blogs and let it be known that she is a part of your company/staff/whatevs.
    3. She (or he) should maintain the discussion when warranted -- this will help to build trust and your brand in the community.
    4. You should also show your face within the community every so often, especially on threads where your employee (for lack of a better term) is commenting.

    Okay, there's more to it than that, but I don't want to get too carried away. Those are just the basics.

    LOL. And Linda, this thread took about 35 minutes to start and has taken about an hour to maintain @ $XXX/hr, that brings your total to...just kidding. :D

    ~ Teli
     
  7. TheCaymanHost

    TheCaymanHost Affiliate affiliate

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    I'll keep my response short as between us we could drive 5Star to bankruptcy :p

    I wholeheartedly agree with what you say Teli, all good points and well made.

    As for me, I shall continue with no-nofollow because as you've already said, comment moderation is a blogger's best defence/control mechanism. Don't like a comment? Don't approve it.

    The whole nofollow thing is a bodged attempt to fix a certain search engine's self inflicted problem and I don't see that it is the blogging community's job to cure it ;)

    Mo
     

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