I have a love-hate relationship with commenting systems on my websites. I love the interaction with readers but I absolutely abhor the spammers who decide to add their crappy links. And it’s not only recognized spammers but quite often “normal” business owners who make a legitimate comment and then add their business address/url as part of a signature file or identify. They’ve apparently been told using social media sites as a business will help them get inbound links/traffic by some social media guru.
Businesses have also been told to interact on social media sites as their business rather than as themselves as individuals. My comment to that is that if you want to raise the profile of your business, go do it on somebody else’ site and social media presence and not mine.
On mine, I want to talk to gardeners and readers, not the businesses that supply them. I’m more than willing to chat and talk to the businesses on *their* sites and social media activities (as a writer) but not on mine.
We all have a problem with spammers but I also have a problem being the promotional arm of some misguided social media activity. And before I go much further, this happens on my websites and on my author social media pages with “companies” acting as people and making comments. An author friends promotes her book by making comments as her book. Hmm, never talked to a book before – I just read them.
I’ve made a very simple rule that helps with this. No business comments and no links in posts. Simple and effective at giving me guidelines for removing posts.
But this catches the normal (if there is such a thing) person who wants to share a great info link or resource as well as the spammers and business people. And I’d like to avoid that if possible.
But that leads me down the road of having to click on every link to evaluate it. Is this a good one or a bad one? (Remember link cloaking and redirects mask the url you see to the actual destination.)
Do you know how many links people like to share? Check your Facebook newsfeed for a sense of this; it’s a cacophony of online voices being shared. I don’t have the time to visit every damn link somebody thinks is valuable. For the record, I did try this link-checking for a very short time and it took me to some sites I’d rather not visit again. Those “gardeners” were going to get a very bad case of sunburn!
My options then are to 1) allow all links. 2) Visit and make a decision about each link or 3) ban all links no matter how good they may be.
The larger your site and traffic, the worse the problem becomes. It’s like a lot of things; social media commenting simply doesn’t scale well from a small blog to a large site system. It’s easy to handle a few hundred visitors a day and a different thing to handle tens of thousands. It’s even worse for the really big sites. Commenting is the bane of webmaster existence.
For now, all I can do is regret the inevitable annoyance when I delete a great comment containing a link but life is too short to angst over this. And the delete button is so convenient.