A day in the office

Recently, we posted Comment Spam vs. Comment Links: What’s the Difference? and received some great comments based on our readers’ opinions. Ironically, one commenter proved the point we were trying to make, about how links in comments can enhance a conversation without being spam.

Gail Gardner, social media marketing and Internet strategist of GrowMap.com, left an excellent comment (thanks, Gail, and welcome to the Level343 SEO Article Archive) on the article… and here is where this article begins.

Cutting Off the Conversation

“If the only reason for you being on an article is to post a comment and build links, you’re in danger of committing the SEO sin of comment spam. Tread carefully. However, if you’re at an article to read it, are moved to comment, have written or read a piece that you want to share with others, and so post the link with your comment, this is not spam. This is communicating, engaging and building a community.” – Quote from Comment Spam vs. Comment Links

Now, we hope Gail will forgive us, because we’re going to tear her comment apart to show our point…

This is a subject near and dear to my heart and I may have written more posts on it than most any other blogger around (that I know of anyway).

She may not be the most prolific writer about spam, but she’s definitely written quite a few articles on the topic. It’s important to note these articles aren’t “How I Hate Spam” or “All Spammers Must Die”, etc. They are well researched, in depth articles (see: Akismet Deletes Comments Bloggers NEVER SEE!) about the topic.

There is definitely NO CONSENSUS across the blogosphere on what comments are spam and which are not. I know that because I did a Twtpoll Spam or Not Spam post where you can read the results.

GrowMap Poll on Comment Spam

Really? Now that sounds interesting. It really does. However, because Gail is a conscientious poster, she left out the link. We had to hunt for it. Now, TwtPoll: SPAM or NOT SPAM – YOU Decide was a pretty small poll as these things go; 15 people responded. However, it still says a lot that 4 of them (27%!) said they’d consider a comment with a link as spam.

Would you believe some bloggers flag as spam any comment they don’t like while others will flag any comment that links to a business and some even flag as spammers any comment from anyone they don’t know. (THAT is why Akismet can NEVER work unless they implement a fundamental change in how it flags spam – see my recent post on Crowdsourcing for more details on that or the many, many posts I’ve done about Akismet deleting our comments and being rude to our commentators.)

This… this is frustrating. We’d love to see the many posts about Akismet that Gail has written, but there’s no link. This means, we again have to spend time hunting them down.

…see my recent post on Crowdsourcing…

Crowd Sourcing

Ummm… where? Does this mean we can find a post about crowdsourcing on GrowMap (It does, but we didn’t know that)? Can we find the information somewhere on one of the 43,000 search results for “crowdsourcing, Gail Gardner”? Where is this recent post?

I wrote a post about believing in the Google Fairy for those who buy the silly notion that if you do nothing to build links your blog or site will somehow still be found.

Again, we would have loved to see what Gail had to say on the subject. It might be something that might bring us around to another way of viewing things. It might be an article that inspires us to write a response. It could be several things, but we’ll never know, because searching for “believing in the Google Fairy” didn’t bring up her article (it did, however, bring up ours…).

Personally I love CommentLuv for the reasons I explain in my post about how it grows businesses and blogs and that post explains my suggestions on how bloggers and businesses can mutually benefit from developing relationships through commenting.


HEEEELP! Where are we now? What post? After finally finding the Google Fairy article, we read down and there’s nothing about CommentLuv. We’d love to see what reasons she has for liking the plugin. We’d like to read her suggestions about developing relationships. We’d love to have read just one of these articles she talks about… but we can’t.

She didn’t post any links.


She didn’t want to be thought of as a spammer.

With at least four links in her comment, most bloggers would drop her into the spam bin if Akismet didn’t get there first.

The lack of links, plain and simple, cut off the conversation.

Putting Our Money Where Our Mouth Is

Well, putting our blog where our mouth is, anyway. We love conversation, whether it happens here or on another blog. Over the past months, we’ve done a few things, like making sure the automatic nofollow was removed.

We THOUGHT we’d see a huge spike in spam. In watching our little spam basket, it’s amazing… things didn’t change for the worst. We have more traffic now than a year ago, and a lower spam to comment ratio.

Last week, we also added linking guidelines to the bottom of our posts and added CommentLuv for our readers. Lastly, we’re trying out the GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin, and have retired Akismet for the time being.

How you run your blog is your business, but we don’t want our readers to feel inhibited. We don’t want you to cut off a conversation because you didn’t want to be thought of (or blocked) as a spammer. If you have a related link you think our other readers would enjoy or find useful, please, share it with us.

We want to know more about you – do you have a favorite article you’ve written or read? Just this once, we’re opening up this comment to unrelated links. Let’s see what kind of conversation we can get going!