I’ve been poking about in my spam bucket. It’s amazing what’s in there and it’s probably best I keep well away. When I was learning how to put a blog together, I read a lot about different aspects of blogging, and one of the things I found was a warning to newbies about pulling comments out of the spam bucket.
Some of those sound so sincere, and newbies (being newbies) feel lonely and isolated when they’re sitting there in the early days with a low view count and no comments. So they want comments. The spam filter seems to be eating them all, so they look inside and… well, often they pull them out, desperate for anything.
Beware! They might sound like they want nothing more than to be best pals with you, but spam always has a link in and what they are really after is your readership and/or your customers. People follow links.
Sometimes spam is very obviously spam, but other times, honestly – apart from that link – you just can’t tell. I decided before I even started that I would not fall into that trap and that I would trust my spam filter. And I do. In fact, I trust it so much, I don’t look in there.
So, why did I look in there this time? Greg is starting up his own blog. It’s early days as yet, and I’d give a link to that, but I can’t as it hasn’t come up on Google (there’s a lot of Greg Everards out there and none of them is the one with me! So it won’t help to go looking). When it comes up, I’ll give you the link to his site because it really is going to be one of those intriguing brilliant places (full of steam engines and old technology and some fascinating oddities from the olden days). 😀 Anyway, we sat together at the controls of my blog so he could see some of the how of it all, and he spotted the spam queue and wanted to know what was in there.
I found especially interesting one that was vaguely derogatory. It was a “you’ve gone off the boil” type, wanting to insinuate to my readers that I’d perhaps lost it but their blog hasn’t and “come on over, folks”.
Greg, being innocent in the dark side of blogs (ooh, now THAT conjures up an interesting concept), wondered if there might be something this guy was seeing that I wasn’t aware of. Greg cares. So, I pulled up the stats for that day (and the one before it in case of time differences) and we could see that no one had accessed the page the comment was posted to on that day. That meant it was coming in from outside my blog (this can get a bit confusing for non-bloggers – think of it like a preview page that can be responded to without actually going inside). He had also sent his comment to a post that was an old one. Why? Why not one of the fresh posts?
Next, we checked out what I had been doing just prior to the 31st July, the day of that comment. On that day (and before that comment), I had posted Why a Series is Brilliant – Reading and Writing ‘em. On the 29th there was Aaaargh – At least it’s out, and on the 28th The King’s Sacrifice had been released, with all the lead ups that went before that. Hardly off the boil.
The page this guy tried to post to on the 31st July, before he was grabbed by my spam filter, was one I had written and posted on the 4th of April – way back. I’ve posted a heck of a lot of things since then. A legitimate reader would have seen that. So, there he was, reaching in from outside my blog to post a small put-down of my talent on a post a full four months old. Without a doubt, he was a spammer.
Point is, I saw and could show that this comment/assessment was faulty. Greg learned something about spam, and so did I. I learned to carry on trusting the spam filter and to keep out of the spam bucket!
Now, if I’d had a real slump in posting, if my heart wasn’t in it or if I had nothing to say and I hadn’t been flat-chat (busy) meeting a deadline, I might have taken that to heart. I might have felt I was failing, I probably would have included him as a legit commenter. How many bloggers do just that?
Think about that, folks. It doesn’t matter if a person is heaping upon you words of admiration, or undermining you with gentle put-downs, if it’s false it’s manipulation. Manipulators always want something. That goes for the outside world, too.
Now, before I leave the subject of spam and spam filters, if any of you have written and your comment hasn’t shown up, kick out the links you’ve put in and try again. Everybody is welcome here, but I don’t go digging through the spam bin trying to find who or what might be legit.
Cheers to all, 🙂