Social Media

It is Time for Putting on Some Link-Condoms!

Warning! This post uses metaphors and some phrases that are not suitable for children’s eyes and ears. It is directed towards other bloggers and not the average public who does not know about the struggles and fights that occur invisible to them behind blog plug-ins and comment management and review tools and are part of every day’s life for the average blogger today.

Back in the days blunt attempts to steal our link love did seem to have caused problems for many of us righteous bloggers. It was less the messages itself, but the sheer amount of them that was attempting to get us down on our knees and throw the towel. Messages like this:

Want <a href=http://groups.google.at/group/xyz/web/ringtones>real ringtones? </a> check <a href=http://groups.msn.com/qwkpday/loan.msnw>quick cash payday loan</a> or <a href=http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/cashloan_123>advance cash loan online</a>

Although blogs are still flooded every day with mindless messages like this one, I would say that bloggers who care about their blogs got a pretty good grip on those types of link-love theft attempts. Filters like Akismet or Spam Karma catch most of them before we even see them and created an invisible shield to protect us and our readers. We can go and watch them like exotic animals in the zoo if we do a little sight-seeing tour into the comment spam folder (not a pretty sight though). The few that slip through are mostly hanging in pending for approval status and are easily identified. The few single ones that make it through despite all the filters and everything else are so rare that nobody really considers it an issue anymore.

It wasn’t for long that comment spam appeared that was a bit smarter. Suddenly bloggers got a lot more but very short lived praise for their writings by people who never commented before.

Who doesn’t like the positive feedback like this one?

“Great post! Thank you for sharing the information.”

This is what makes all the hard work for a blogger worthwhile, doesn’t it? Well, it used to be, back in the days, when you knew the folks who posted such comments and when they were honest and sincere. Unfortunately did most of those raving fans of your writing didn’t come back to participate more in the discussions. They moved on to other blogs, because there are so many good ones out there and need the same love they just shared with you. It was all a short one-night stand. You were betrayed by those link-whores and replaced with another blog the next day. The only thing that stuck and remained from you brief but emotional encounter is a link. And you didn’t even use a link-condom, because you thought that you were engaging in a safe and long term relationship.

Well, the link-whores were messing around everywhere until every serious blogger who is committed to long-term relationship knew about them and started to push them back and reject their short and temporary love. “Delete!” Ha, you didn’t expect that? Didn’t you? No more abuse, no more one-night stands and also no link condoms for all our long-term relationships we built over the years.

But whores are tricky and don’t throw the helve after the hatchet after a minor defeat.

They were already equipped with tools to find potential targets, honest and loving bloggers who don’t use link-condoms with their trusted and contributing audience. Yes, those nasty little No-Nofollow/Do-follow finders that spy on you to find out if you use condoms or not. They still know who you are and they changed their strategy.

Okay, the generic …

“me luv u long time”

… sweet talking phrases are out the window and are now replaced with targeted messages. They look like comments from your friends at first glance. They are related to your messages and many of your friends messages look pretty much the same. However, the love is not real and the feeling that they are engaging in the subject to communicate with everybody of your audience to share the love equally and not just with you… The biatch is just faking it again. It took her one minute to figure out what you are talking about in your post to be able to then respond with a message that relates directly to the subject of the post, but really does not add very much, if any, helpful information to the discussion.

It is hard to detect those and almost impossible, if they only occur one at a time. The problem with those whores is that they are greedy and can’t get enough of something they were able to get in small doses. This geed allows us to detect them. Another indicator is the use of to pretty names to be given to them by birth. Commercial keyword1 plus commercial keyword2 and sometimes even commercial keyword 3 is a name that even the worst black hat would not name his child.

If you detect them, what should you do now? There is always the risk of a false positive and the person who added the comment(s) is not a whore and just not so knowledgeable about the subject and the name might be his weird forum handle everybody made fun off in the past and made him think about changing it more than once already. There is also the problem with the love that is shared not only with you, but other contributors as well. They might don’t know about the other discussions where the whore was seeding her traitorous messages.

You can’t just delete them, right?

What you could do is to add a link-condom to just those links that were used by the whore, as website/blog URL or sneaked into the comment directly. Is there a WordPress and/or MovableType plug-in out there where you can add link-condoms to selected domains in your comments and website URLS of the comment authors? There is one for Wikipedia as far as I know. Wikipedia, the hopeless love that did not return any love to us and worse, started using link-condoms for everybody. Some revengeful bloggers created plug-ins to nofollow links to the ungrateful Wikipedia automatically, posts, comments etc., something like this, but with the option to add any domain to a list of sites that will not receive any love from us anymore.

Does such tool already exist? If you know about such useful weapon, speak up and don’t let your fellow bloggers alone in the struggle against those greedy whores who deserve nothing better than a link-condom, as a warning and sign that they were uncloaked and exposed as what they really are.

Conclusion and Final Notes 

Okay, this post was written to sound funny, but the problem is real. I am sure that other bloggers noticed the increase of this kind of “comment spam”, which appears to be normal comments at the first glance and to the un-expecting visitor. A link from a PR7 or PR8 site sells for couple hundred dollars on the (now black) market for link buyers and sellers. Getting the link without paying a dime and just spending one or two minutes on a blog post comment makes this practice more worthwhile than ever. It will only increase over time.

To isolate those abuses and single them out publically for the abuser to see is important IMO. Blog plug-ins will be needed to provide the necessary type of control to the blog owner. Is there anybody up to the task?

Link-Whores beware to comment on this post! I see you and know who you are! hehe

Cheers!

Carsten Cumbrowski

Carsten is an internet marketer and entrepreneur as well as the owner and operator of the internet marketing resources portal at cumbrowski.com.

 It is Time for Putting on Some Link Condoms!
Carsten Cumbrowski has years of experience in Affiliate Marketing and knows both sides of the business as the Affiliate and Affiliate Manager. Carsten has over 10 years experience in Web Development and 20 years in programming and computers in general. He has a personal Internet Marketing Resources site at Cumbrowski.com.To learn more about Carsten, check out the "About Page" at his web site. For additional contact options see this page.

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27 thoughts on “It is Time for Putting on Some Link-Condoms!

  1. This is a long term problem that will not be solved in the near future. Blog spamming is a lousy and 100% no-reputation way of obtaining a link. If a comment adds value to a post, the blog owner will be more than happy to leave the comment intact with a link back. Any way nice article, thought it is a bit ” under 18 do not view”. Cheerz

  2. It could be as simple as adding plugin that requires a user to have “x” number of comments before their links have the nofollow removed..

    For now I don’t have enough traffic to worry about a plugin.. I just go in and delete the link and leave the post that loves me..

  3. I have always (almost) included my name in the sig, like above. I have no bias one way or the other on the practice as I know that my name is my most popular keyword and nofollow or not, I can be found that way all day long.

  4. You think you have it bad with ringtone posts… I get links from spammers promoting animal fun.

    People who run blogs on less popular (than wordpress) CMS platforms have serious issues with spam due to no spamkarma or anything helping them out….some private-label blog platforms have no kapchka either (sp?) and that makes for a filthy time in the comments admin.

  5. Joost, I sent you an email

    Terry, nobody has something against that. As I said in the post, those types of spam are hard to detect and its a human judgement that has to determine if it is okay or not. Keyword rich name that matches the URL is only one of several signals that have to be considered.

    Carson: It’s a shame. It should be known by now that spam is a problem and that being naive to believe that the world is peachy and everybody is nice belongs into the world of unrealistic Hollywood movies.

    A CMS that is build for public conversations should at least have some basic measures (optional) against spam. Captcha at least or anything else that does the same trick.

    A CMS solution that fails to provide what their users need will probably lose users (webmasters) instead of getting new ones.

    Everybody gets hit with spam one day, its not the question if, but when and how much.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming you. I am blaming the CMS developers :).

  6. Feydakin, this is not the right approach to the problem IMO. I have posted comments at many blogs and I am not a frequent reader and commenter at all of them. Why should a link in my one or two comments that are long and insightful be punished with a nofollow attribute, while the guy who posted 5-10 (or whatever the minimum is) comments only added “me too!” kind of comments to get the nofollow removed.

    No, that would send negative signals. I prefer to consider people to be innocent until proven guilty and punish the ones that do wrong, without making others who have nothing to do with it suffer for something they didn’t do.

  7. Most of people decide to host forum and blog on separate domain/subdomain because they do not want to harm their site rankings with spammers that add links to everything:
    – signature
    – profile
    – every post where possible

    Blackhat techniques are pain, I had not only to disable links, not only nofollow because spammers used comments to draw traffic to their sites brute-force probably searching for terms my sites rank then posting links or even other kind of referrals like “Search on google ????????? you will find it” types of posts. I had to filter “http” “www” “search” “google” totally if this post would be sent to my site it would not show up.
    SEJ is the other kind of site you probably do not rank for “merchandise queries” so you do not feel the pain we have on our sites.

  8. And what the hell is the point of leaving your name as “SEO Services” or “Atlanta Web Design” … why not just leave you name? Joe Bob or how about Clint Westwood or Bill Dylan or whatever your REAL name is.

    Why do people have such a problem about leaving their real name? Seriously, stop trying to leave legit comments with spammy names as the anchor text, it’s annoying as $%!*, you don’t deserve the right to comment. Just leave your lame%!%# comments to yourself, PLEASE.

  9. “And what the hell is the point of leaving your name as “SEO Services” or “Atlanta Web Design” … why not just leave you name?”

    I can’t speak for others, but my name does not tell people what I do. Sure they can see my name and click the link and find out what I do but that is not as likely and dropping a hint about my business.

    I have several clients and many more sitting on the fence because of the signatures I leave on the many blogs I read and comment on.

  10. Jonathan, while some people would agree with you, do you also have to remember that many people who read this blog and comment on it are SEO professionals.

    It is hard for SEOs not to do SEO :), they just do and look for certain things that others don’t, just like an other professional and his niche.

    A carpenter looks at stuff like your wood table or your window frames and can tell right away, if the wood is of good quality and if the carpenter who did it was doing a good job.. or he would complain about the fact that it was factory produced by robots, quick and cheap etc.

    Normal people don’t look for that stuff either. “You can’t get out of you own skin” is a German saying that fits this analogy very nicely.

  11. Carsten,

    I completely agree, I’m always looking to do SEO too, but there are times where you need to look for opportunity and other times you need to look for professionalism.

    If I’m reading a blog, I frankly don’t care what other people “do” as their profession. If I care enough, I’ll go to their site and find out.

    I’ve just gotten fed up with all the SEO spam of people trying to get the link love out of commenting on a site.

    If people honestly think they are going to rank higher for their keywords just because they leave “Atlanta Web Design” as their name, they’ve got bigger issues to take care of in their “Web design” practice.

    I’m personally more likely to click on someone’s link and find out what they do if they write a note-worthy comment or something intelligent. Heck, if they write something really smart, I’m even likely to subscribe to their site.

    If I see “Atlanta Web Design” as their name, I’m more likely to completely ignore their comment because I know they’re trying to get SEO benefits out of leaving the comment. Those users will almost always have an alternative motive out of leaving a comment, other than to leave something insightful.

    This is purely my opinion, so please take it at face value.

  12. Using a name and a small title clarifies for people what you do… so if you leave a comment that says “Joe Blow – SEO Atlanta” you know that the commenter is an seo professional, and from Atlanta. Which already gives you context before clicking the link to “find out”. Hey, if you were also from atlanta you may click to read more about the commenter.

    And for pure SEO reasons, it makes sense. The very fact that this post has a title with the word “condom” in it makes me hesitate to put my full name here at all. For all I know this post could go to the top of the serps for my name.

    Why not take advantage of the name field AND give other readers an idea of who you are and what you do. If I was a carpenter, it would make sense to sign as John Smith – Houston Home Repair LLC.

  13. Carson,

    Something like that, I would be almost completely alright with.

    But a lot of people, all they will put is “Atlanta Web Design” or “Houston Home Repair” … and it’s it, nothing else.

    So what Terry is doing I don’t have nearly as big of issue with as I do with the latter of what I’m talking about above.

  14. Those who use “keyword” as their name in comments are obviously not aware that “keyword” – My Name offers a better solution. You get “credit” for the anchor text of the keyword and their name as well and you generally do not irritate nearly as many bloggers by doing so.

    Some people just do not know their SEO. Also, I want people to know my name and what it ties to.

  15. Terry,

    A lot of people don’t know that nofollow is used on most blogs for comment URLs so they won’t get any juice any way.

    Sure, you might get some Yahoo! love, but honestly, who uses Yahoo! anymore? :)

    My main point is: if you want to be taken seriously or your business be taken seriously, please show some professionalism when you comment. (yeah, I’m aware, looking back at my first post, I stand by it. I have passion when it comes to professionalism and I get really fed up when people show a lack there of)

  16. I have recently read two other posts about this same subject and all three of these posts, on this topic, are the most active posts I follow.

    There are definitely strong opinions about the practice. I would say that Google will eventually be able to discount links from blog comments that follow.

  17. Carson said: ” The very fact that this post has a title with the word “condom” in it makes me hesitate to put my full name here at all. For all I know this post could go to the top of the serps for my name.”

    So you consider it a problem to be associated with safe sex, prevention of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, birth control and family planning and general sexual education?

    Interesting, I always thought those were good things… ;) I am just teasing you.

  18. Terry,

    I honestly don’t feel Google will need to discount links at all from Blog unless there is some other reason. They wouldn’t just put a huge blanket over what they think are “blogs” and then discount them.

    On my site, I follow links, but I do so in an editorial way.

    If you post a comment with a spammy anchor text like Houston Home Repair, I’m going to remove the link and leave the comment.

    If you leave something that has value, I will be happy to follow it and share the link love.

    If you’re going to spend the time to write something of worth and value, I feel you deserve every bit of link love in return. It’s the least I can do.