One blog, spam on the side, please

With four months of Midlife Bat Mitzvah under my belt (under my mousepad?), I continue to feel like a naive newcomer to the world of blogging.

Things surprise me. Like blog-comment spam.

We’re all used to email spam — those non-stop notes offering us Viagra, Nigerian riches, and preternaturally large male sexual organs. But did you know there is also a whole genre of blog-comment spam?

I’m not talking about nasty comments, the kind of bilious rants that people tend to post anonymously in the Comments sections of newspaper web sites.

These are NICE comments!  

Take this one:

Well said. I never thought I would agree with this opinion, but I’m beginning to view things differently. I have to research more on this as it seems very interesting. One thing that is unclear to me though is how everything is related together.

Or this one:

Excellent! If I could write like this I would be well chuffed. The more I read articles of such quality as this (which is rare), the more I think there might be a future for the Web. Keep it up, as it were.

Or this, short but sweet:

This blog is great. How did you come up with the idea?

Now, I love a compliment as much as the next writer, but it quickly became apparent to me that these commenters hadn’t ever read my blog. These were generic comments that were being sent to hundreds — thousands? — of blogs, apparently in an effort to attract visitors to the authors’ own web sites. When I clicked to see the source of the “this blog is great” comment, for instance, I ended up on a web page with a sketchy-sounding offer of free cell phones.

Now, as the writer/editor/publisher of Midlife Bat Mitzvah, I review all comments before they get posted on the page. So these spammy ones never see the light of day. None of you readers are hurt or even inconvenienced by them.

But I alternate between sadness and wonder at the lengths people go to, to promote dubious products to folks who don’t have the slightest interest in them. Can you imagine if all the effort that goes into spam were redirected into things that were genuinely useful and positive?

Meanwhile, I continue to have a frisson of excitement each time I get one of these nice complimentary comments. My initial reaction is: “Ooh! I have a fan!”

Followed by a little deflation.

No fan, just spam.

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6 Responses to “One blog, spam on the side, please”

  1. crisismaven Says:

    Hey, here is another one I keep getting once a week though I always trash it while moderating: “I should have known that last month, it would made my job much easier”. And flattered as I was you know why I noticed? The blog was up for only two days! After a month, when that ruse would have probably hoodwinked me enough, another wrote: “Thank you for all the good posts last year … [followed by more shmooze]” – again I noticed because my blog only went public on Jan. 21st. (the first guy sold office supplies, the second “roulette systems”.) Let’s see what’s next? Figure, hair-colour, biceps?

  2. SusieMiller Says:

    Yuck! Hope they don’t come find my blog!

  3. molly Says:

    Illana, how are these different from advertisements, into which so much time, effort and, yes, great talent, are poured
    How wasteful are most of them?
    Or travel by treadmill? Think of how usefully that energy might otherwise be spent?by, for instance, cleaning up the streets in your home or work neighborhood-bending as well as legging it? Good for the heart — and the soul, too.

    • Ilana DeBare Says:

      Re: treadmill. I’ve always wanted to figure out how to power a TV by walking on a treadmill. Save power, burn calories!

      More seriously, how is spam different from advertising? Yes, they are both selling us products we may not need/want — but spam seems more invasive and objectionable. Maybe because it pretends to be a personal communication, while it is clear that a magazine or TV ad is speaking to millions of people.

  4. rachel Says:

    Been there and still get that – the spam and the frisson you describe… one of life’s wonders – does anybody actually fall for these things…?

  5. Barry Says:

    But, this Blog IS great…

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