Sunday, August 23, 2009

Spam: The Temptress

I'm a bit allergic to certain kinds of promotion. It just seems like advertising has become the ugly wallpaper of our whole world, and I tend to fight that trend in small, essentially harmless ways such as cutting off/covering the logos on my clothing.

Right now, however, I'm feeling a bit guilty because I just did something similar to my blog, but this time, it affects another person.

I deleted a handful of comments. They were all from the same person, and relevant to the posts they were on, but they were also one-sentence affairs that ended with a link advertising the commenter's product.

On one leg o' the chicken, that was not particularly obtrusive, and at least the resourceful advertiser was taking the time to read my post and personally comment. I do appreciate that it wasn't a robot blindly spamming me.

On the other dirt-scratcher du poulet, my comment trail is for discussion. It's not anyone's billboard.

A lot of the people who visit this blog are writers, and a good part of why they're on Blogger is to network and--yes--to self-promote, but I really do buy into the idea that content is king. Promoting a weak product only makes it fail faster, so as far as I'm concerned, if you want people to check out your online presence, you accomplish that by commenting on their blog/website/forum and consistently saying intelligent or interesting things. Eventually, people will remember your name and get curious to see what else you have to say. At that point, they'll click your link.

Just putting the link in front of people's eyeballs doesn't garner much interest, because these days, we're all cynical about advertising. We don't click unless we have a reason to. Content trumps both temerity and ubiquitousness.

However! Having just made my own website, (whoops! Flagrant self-promotion; what a hypocrite) and having also learned most of what I know from The Site Wizard, I realize now there's another reason to put those adverts on the bottom of every post.

It ups your Google ranking.

Holy macaroni, that creeps me out. It had never occurred to me before that there might be another reason to advertise than--y'know--because you wanted to advertise.

Oh, self-promotion, you wily and disreputable temptress! Now that I actually understand why people slap a superfluous link at the bottom of their blog comments, I'm kinda considering doing it even though I still think this sort of thing is crass and transparent.

So please, lovely readers, tell me if this would be revolting:

Author website: JJ DeBenedictis

That's a link to my website. No text, no self-promotion; just a splash of pretty. Would this be offensive to you if you saw it on someone's blog? If you clicked it, only to find it led to a self-promoting website, would that seem skeevy? (Assume the oh-so-hypothetical blog commenter actually said something of interest and wasn't just spamming.)

Also, does that little blip look like anything embarrassing? Go on, you can tell me.

Pageloads since 01/01/2009: