When a Blogger’s Generosity is Exploited…


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In early June, I wrote a post called “Is the DoFollow Movement Getting Exploited?“. Many of you echoed concerns about spammers doing the same on your blogs, but overall felt that the rewards of joining the NoFollow movement outweighed the risks.

My particular concern was with spammers who actually left a comment that had something to do with the actual post - they read the article and write something that can slip under the radar, which allows their true intentions to be hidden - that they are a spammer just like any other spammer. They are just smarter than the rest.

Anyway, many people expressed a little skepticism as I gave them an example of one of these sneaky spam comments - yet today I have proof positive that what walks like a duck and quacks like a duck is indeed a duck.

So sadly, I have deactivated DoFollow from this blog. My time is way more important than being spent on investigating on every comment left on this blog - and I assure you, I get 1-3 of these sneaky spam comments daily.

I wasn’t the first to ring the warning bell on this one - Lorelle on WordPress brought it up at the end of last year (AND over a year ago!) - before the DoFollow movement even started.

I care enough about this blog to not risk it’s credibility, Google Trust, and existence.

If something happens to this blog, I’ll have a hard time helping you with your business.

And if something happens to this site, I reach less people with a message that is vitally important - that each of you were put on this earth to do great things.

So, PLEASE, care enough about yourself and your blog to watch this issue very carefully. You may want to continue to participate in the DoFollow movement, and that is FINE.

Just be an educated, savvy and ruthless comment moderator.

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  • Discussion

    What do you think? Leave a comment. Alternatively, write a post on your own weblog; this blog accepts trackbacks [trackback url].
    This blog has removed the "nofollow" tags, so each comment counts as an inbound link to your site. Comment Policy


    On July 9th, 2007 at 12:50 pm, Liz Strauss said:

    It’s so sad that they took that from you. I know how hard this choice was and how you were choosing for your readers either way. I am with you. I know you chose highest path, the vision for their future and your own. Congratulations, we all need to be able to stand up and say NO.

    What an example you set.
    I hope you are proud. I hope it’s okay that I say I’m proud to have you as a friend.

    On July 9th, 2007 at 1:10 pm, Stephen Welton said:

    It is amazing how people will take short cuts and ruin a good thing for everyone. We all respect the fact that you are doing it so you can continue to have a positive impact within the lives of many online.

    On July 9th, 2007 at 1:12 pm, Wendy Piersall said:

    Thanks Liz and Stephen - I am still considering that LinkLove plugin that removes NoFollow after 10+ comments - but to be honest, if I do that, I won’t promote it. I’d rather it be a pleasant surprise for those who really add value.

    Additionally, there is still a nofollow on the Top Commentators. So the really talkative bunch gets their rightly earned reward. ;)

    On July 9th, 2007 at 2:36 pm, Dennis Bjørn Petersen said:

    It’s a real shame that it had to go this way, but I can understand why you had to remove it.

    As Liz mentions I’m sure this wasn’t an easy decision.

    On July 9th, 2007 at 3:03 pm, Genesis said:

    I have had a couple of these smart spammers as well. Although I currently am continuing with the Do Follow, I can understand why you have made the decision to remove it.

    It is really too bad that a few nasties had to ruin this for everyone. But, while it was nice, we are not reading your blog for the comment links! :D Keep up the good work.

    On July 9th, 2007 at 3:08 pm, derek said:

    Wendy, I am sure this was a very difficult decision for you to make but I believe your readers will not mind (I know that I don’t).

    While I cannot speak for everyone, most of us are not here for the back link. We still love ya! :D

    On July 9th, 2007 at 3:11 pm, Erika, Plain Jane Mom said:

    You are way nicer than I was — it only took me 2 weeks to disable this plugin for the same reasons!

    And IMO the plugins that add nofollow after a certain number of comments merely encourage even more cleverly spammy comments.

    These plugins are not right for me, but bravo to those who take the time to police their comments so they can use them safely!

    On July 9th, 2007 at 3:21 pm, Hugh Hollowell said:


    I feel ya!. I am wrestling with the same problem right now. I want to reward and share with my commenters, but there is no doubt my generosity is being exploited.

    I almost ripped it out this weekend, but I wanted some time to reflect. Something has gotta give.

    On July 9th, 2007 at 5:49 pm, Mark Shead - Productivity501 said:

    To me it doesn’t make sense to judge a comment by the quality of the site they link to. I tend to delete any comment that doesn’t add value for the readers. If someone adds a comment that is genuinely helpful to readers, it doesn’t seem like it would really matter if they are linking to a job search board for SEO purposes.

    If someone is putting enough effort into writing a genuine comment, it seems they would normally avoid doing anything that would get them a big penalty in the search engines. Writing good comments takes quite a bit of effort. Why would they put that much work into it just to throw it away on a spam site?

    Sites where owners get lazy and let people post a bunch of verbose “me to” messages might have a problem, but as long as the standard is high I don’t think there is much to worry about.

    (I should mention that I’m not using the dofollow plugin, but mainly because I just haven’t gotten around to it and it isn’t that important to me at this point.)

    On July 9th, 2007 at 5:55 pm, Wendy Piersall said:

    Mark - I was actually in the process of addressing this very thing on ProBlogger as your comment came in - instead of repeating myself, I’ll just give you the link to the comment. :D

    On July 9th, 2007 at 8:56 pm, Neena said:

    What is this world coming to? It is such a shame that the spammers get the final word. But I agree with Derek, I will continue to comment, regardless. I am not here for the link but rather for the discussion.

    On July 9th, 2007 at 11:22 pm, Lorelle said:

    Good on you, Wendy, for taking a stand. The dofollow/nofollow thing is way out of control and makes little or no sense. Comment for the sake of commenting, but people comment from the content, not from any gimmicks, and those who play with gimmicks, who’d want them on your blog anyway.

    It takes a lot of courage to be brave and stand up to the masses. Good on you!

    On July 10th, 2007 at 12:08 am, Webomatica said:

    I guess it was just a matter of time for a sneaky service like that to be offered. The saddest thing is that by paying someone to comment on blogs for you, you’d be missing out on what I’m finding is the best part about blogging - reading other people’s blogs and commenting on them.

    On July 10th, 2007 at 12:12 am, Renata said:

    The blogosphere was corrupted… what they will do next?

    On July 10th, 2007 at 8:19 am, David Airey :: Creative Design :: said:

    At the end of the day, Wendy, we come here to read your content and join in the discussion. We don’t come here for a tiny bit of link juice, so don’t worry about turning DoFollow off.

    On July 10th, 2007 at 12:06 pm, JoLynn Braley said:

    I have conflicting thoughts about do-follow, too…I don’t get nearly as many comments as you do, so if one adds to the topic then I will let it through, unless it links to an obvious splog.

    I also used to examine the comments that made it through Akismet, but now I’m tending to just delete them.

    Something else that has been on my mind ever since I read it here is that you found that past comments you approved ended up changing to adult sites, when they weren’t pointing to them when you approved them! That concerns me and I keep thinking that now I must go back through all of my comments to see if the url’s are redirected…

    On July 10th, 2007 at 5:24 pm, George said:

    The truth of the matter is that with or without the do-follow tag, people are going to spam your blog with comments. The comments still generate traffic and may help your Search rankings in Yahoo.

    I have never been a fan of the no-follow tag, because in my opinion it is an attempt by the Search Engines to make webmasters fix a problem with their product. I am not paid by the Search Engines to deal with their faulty algorithm.

    I don’t blame you for deactivating the plug-in, but I will keep it active on my blog.

    Just my 2 cents.

    On July 10th, 2007 at 7:29 pm, ms danielle said:

    hi wendy. i had to leave a comment here because i had the same issue recently. i deactivated the dofollow plugin about one week ago, and it was actually a really hard decision to make. as a blogger you want to give back to your readers, but when it’s at the expense of your content, you have to consider the long term health of your site. great post!

    On July 11th, 2007 at 7:53 am, Deb said:

    I was just directed here, because I made a similar comment. It’s amazing the length people will go through sometimes. I always find it amusing, because I have multiple blogs, so I know when people are hitting the ‘do-follow’ list…i get 5 or 6 emails from the same exact person, strategically leaving me a comment on each one…usually a crap comment, or some long one that doesn’t make sense. I’m about to remove myself as well. Thx for the post, I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling it.

    On July 11th, 2007 at 9:06 am, Loretta said:

    I have all my blogs set to be “follow” right now and I am on the blogrolls and lists for doing so. So far I’ve had a little extra spam that I’ve had to get rid of but nothing too horrible yet. There have been some spammy days where I’ve considered changing my blog. But, then I feel like the spammer is still winning :( I definitely don’t want to give them any kind of victory so I’m trying to keep up with it. It’s definitely tiresome somedays.

    On July 11th, 2007 at 12:45 pm, Jeri said:

    Mine is set to follow too - it is too bad that this is such an issue! The “buy comment spam” business model is just sick, sick, sick.

    So question for you - I noticed I just popped up in your frequent commenters list - but linked to an old, dead blog, the one I was on when I first started commenting here many many months ago. Any recent comments would be linked to my newer business blog… but that’s not what the plugin is picking up.

    Maybe something to go on your technical “check it out” list - pretty low priority. ;)

    On July 11th, 2007 at 3:43 pm, AgentSully said:

    thanks for the heads-up!

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