On Tuesday, this little ol’ blog hit a pretty big milestone:
One thousand followers. Damn.
Now, as has been previously discussed, a notable chunk of these are likely spam accounts. Why do I say that? Here is the short version:
If a new follower has their own WordPress blog, the New Follower email notification I receive lists three of their most popular posts. The idea is that if you follow me, I should take the time to read your work and possibly follow you back. Through this method, I have found multiple blogs that I enjoy and now follow.
But over this past year, I’ve noticed that I have gained a large international audience. The posts listed on the notification emails are often in a foreign language (including, but not limited to: Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, and one or more Asian languages). I’m going to go out on a limb and say these folks are not following me because of my work, but because they think I’m going to blindly click on any link I receive in my email.
How bad has the spam follower phenomenon become? A year ago, I had a little over 150 followers. Certainly, I’ve had a good year on this site (including being Freshly Pressed in May), but when my little site is adding four followers a day (and my page views are increasing at the same rate) I call BS.
All of this said, I know that I am still adding human, English-speaking followers who arguably read some of what I post. Follower 998 was my friend and former co-worker Nick Maestas. Nick has a beautifully written blog that covers several topics that I’m too chicken___ to write about. I’d much rather be followed by somebody like Nick than somebody like, say, Jenia568. While I’m sure Jenia568’s post entitled “Трудный день”* would stick with me (and my virus scan) for years to come, I don’t trust that Jenia568 is a real person, and is definitely not a regular reader of my site.
*Yes, that is one of my “followers” and one of their top posts. See why I think many of my 1,000 followers are spam?
There is a part of me that wishes my follower numbers were a little more indicative of the number of people who actually read my work on a regular basis instead of the number of spam bots who want me to click on their site. But for those of you who do follow me, know that I am very thankful for you. The number of true readers may be less than 1,000, but in my heart it feels like a million.
Spam Comment of the Day
Feit Can Write · September 25, 2014 · This, That, & the Other · Advertising, Blogging, Comments, Email spam, Junk, Marketing, Spam, Spam Comments, WordPress · No Comments
For whatever reason, this blog has been receiving a lot of spam comments of late. WordPress has a pretty decent filter that deflects a lot of junk into a Spam folder, but more have been sneaking through lately.
For the most part, the spam comments I get are generic, poorly worded statements telling me that they love my blog (duh, who doesn’t?) and complementing the layout of the site (which is a stock WordPress template). Oddly, very few seem to be trying to sell me anything*, which is probably why they make it past the filter. I skim them to make sure they’re not legitimate, then I punt them to the trash.
*Seriously, has anybody ever purchased something advertised in a spam email, blog comment, or pop-up ad? How many people see emails for ED meds, website comments offering designer purses, or a pop-up offering discount insurance if you “know this one little trick” and think “I really need these things. Instead of finding a reputable vendor, I’m going to click on this random link”?
Do companies have media buyers who are telling their bosses “TV is too expensive, print is dead, and it is impossible to have a good radio ad. Therefore, I propose that we spend our entire Q4 advertising budget on spam emails and flashing webpage ads. The click rate is going to be ridiculous!”
Spamming people seems like a ton of work (and a lot of legal risk) for very little return.
Yet, today’s comment is worth sharing. It is such a garbled mess of broken English, bizarrely off-topic messages, and weirdness that I absolutely love it.
I’m not sure who “Charlie” is, but he sounds like a dude I’d like to have a beer with – so he can enlighten me about contractors, Democratic lawmakers and UV rays ending at my kids.