A couple months ago, I followed an interesting discussion at Remarkablogger related to a new comment policy that Michael Martine posted for his blog. It seems that Michael had become frustrated with the increasing number of comments on his blog that appeared to be more interested in plugging their websites keywords than adding to the dialogue. After some very interesting and thoughtful comments from his readers on the new policy change, Michael posted a slightly modified policy.
It was fun to be an observer looking in as Michael worked to resolve this problem, but now I’m more than an observer. It seems that BloggingStartup has also entertained more than a couple comments that appear to be more about promoting someone’s website than adding valuable comments. Take, for instance, the last two comments on my April 6th post. The names given for the two commentors were “baccarat” and “Internet Advertising”. I have also had comments from individuals named POS Software, Hairstyles and EPOS in the last couple weeks. They each left comments specific to the post, so I left them alone.
So now the question is, should I continue to allow comments with these names, or should I enforce my policy of no keyword comment names. Hmmm, a real dilemma.
First, let me make a couple points. Number one is, I value each of my readers, including those that push keywords in their comment names. I don’t want to alienate anyone who takes the time to visit my little blog and read my posts. I particularly appreciate each individual that shares their thoughts through commenting. Also, I understand the desire on every bloggers part to promote their blog…and commenting on other blogs is a valuable means for doing this.
But ask Michael said on his blog (and I summarize), when you leave a keyword for your name, it means: “•It makes it difficult for me to respond…•It makes you look like a cheap spammer…•It makes me look cheap….•It simply isn’t appropriate.” So that lead me to make a decision. I decided that I can no longer allow comments to be left with a name that is mearly a keyword to promote your website. The names left on comments must somehow represent who you are. So let me share specifically what I mean and, at the same time, try to be as fair and flexible as possible.
If you use a personal name followed by a branding title, that is fine. For example, I often leave comments using the name Jim|BloggingStartup. This give my personal name and the title of the brand I want to promote. I specifically do not separate the two words in Blogging Startup because I do not want this interpreted as keyword plugging. Other acceptable examples from comments left on this blog include Gina Jackson Personal Fitness and Alex Top 10 Web Hosting Reviews. Although Alex’s name is a borderline example, at least I have a name.
If the name is the FULL name of your blog or website, that is acceptable. I know, this means that individuals will still be able to plug keywords if they are part of the blog name. But I will accept the premise that a blog or website name IS a personal identifier. Acceptable examples I’ve seen on this blog include ABlogContest, IndoContest, EWDirectory, and ExecutedToday. But adding spaces between words and .com on the end only makes it appear to be more advertising then commenting. By the way, I reserve the right to edit your name to comply with this expectation.
If your name is just keywords and not the full name of your blog, I will remove the comment or change the name. This is what I have done with comments in the past and those that I had recently allowed. I have also sent emails to each of the commentors to let them know of this action. If they send me an alternative name to use, I will repost their comment. But in the future, I can’t email everyone about this policy. Besides, any regular blogger should recognize that just using keywords for a name is not appropriate.
One final thing, I almost pulled Aaron Cook’s comments when I found out that he doesn’t even know where the kitchen is in his home. But I’ve decided to leave his comments as an act of solidarity with my blogging brother. Despite the suspect name, the blog is worth a visit.
And if you want to promote your blog (and if it’s no more than a year old) send me an email and ask for a review. There really is no need to stuffing your comment name with a bunch of keywords.