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Blog Comments: Trust, Reciprocity, and Spam

A quick note about commenting on other people’s blogs. I am a novice blogger. I haven’t been writing publicly for more than three months or so now, so it (hopefully) makes sense that I am not always up on the various tricks of the trade, as it were. But one thing I am certain about is the shared level of excitement bloggers feel when something they write becomes popular. There is no better feeling–particularly when you’re just starting up–than having a post you write get a ton of hits and scores of comments praising you for your brilliance. Or maybe that’s just me and my fragile ego. But I doubt it.

So imagine my surprise when all of a sudden some of my older posts started getting comments weeks after I had written them. And not just comments, but long, beautiful, majestic comments doing nothing but telling me how much my posts made sense to them, and begging me to continue writing!

It didn’t matter than they typically were written in less than perfect English, or that the words were a bit generic in their style. So what? They loved me, finally! My elation quickly subsided, however, when I noticed a disturbing trend among the email addresses of these would-be admirers of my work.

Almost all of them had addresses like “”, or “”. I realized almost immediately that I had been duped by people who were using commenting as a method for spamming my blog with advertisements for things that I’m not too comfortable endorsing (for free, no less). This sent me into a tailspin for a good hour or so, until I decided to take to the airwaves and announce my frustration to all of you.

I plan to write a post on this shortly (here), but I really believe that for all of its benefits, the internet has created and perpetuated a foundation of mistrust between strangers that never existed–at least to the extent that it seems to these days–before. Instead of remaining neutral when I enter into a potential relationship or agreement with someone I “meet” online, my guard is already up and I am looking for ways that I could be deceived. And it doesn’t matter whether we are referring to sales, services, or basic information gathering–I simply don’t trust the anonymous internet community as far as I can throw it.

There was one exception to all of this, though, and that was the blogging world. Since I wasn’t really writing for profit, and I wasn’t asking people to do anything but read my thoughts and offer their own in response, I never expected anything less than true reciprocity from those who decided to make their way onto my page. And since a small number of people actually did that at first (most, admittedly, were people I already knew beforehand), I let my guard down. I believed that they were legit, and I welcomed their comments. I trusted again, if only for a little while. And you know what? It felt great.

Now I’m back to square one. I feel like the high schooler who was dumped by his sweetheart, only to meet an even better girl in college and lose her over summer vacation. I feel hurt, angry, and worst of all, jaded. I want to think that the blogging community could be the one place where people can rely on their “colleagues” to support their work and help them advance. I want to be confident that when someone tells me how wonderful I am, they actually mean it. But alas, such isn’t the case. Now I have to go back to the drawing board and start all over again, a little older, a little wiser, and with my eyes wide-open. What a shame.

Adam Schechter is a PhD in philosophy and he works at an Ivy League school. Adam blogs at Thoughts and Ramblings.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by ViaMoi

Posted in Social Networking. Tags: ,

6 Replies

  1. Hi Adam

    sorry you have had such a bad experience blogging. I in fact had bad experiences when I was starting out; but with internet so-called coaches who scammed me.

    However, when I started blogging and met people in the blogging community I came across some generous hearted encouraging people who have helped me with my blogging venture.

    I hope you meet some of these people too and don’t get too disillusioned.

    Patricia Perth Australia

  2. Hey Adam,

    The reason I came into blogging was the same that blogging community is supportive and spam free. Now you can’t totally eradicate spammy comments, because spammers would always be there in the land of opportunities.

    The best thing you can do is stop accepting comments for your older posts as people won’t be reading much of the older posts and you can resist most of the spam attack. Most of all Akismet wp plugin also works well to stop spamming..

  3. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I have tried to implement some of those suggestions over the last few days, and it seems to be working relatively well. Whether or not my bruised ego will recover, however, is a different question altogether…

  4. For a blogger, I don’t think there can be anything more exciting than a blog becoming popular.

  5. Bad experiences are part and parcel of life, one needs to get over them and learn whatever they can from such experiences.

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