I am a MckLinky subscriber and an amateur blogger. I have a question for you- the professional!  I have a blog ( that I am attempting to have some advertising and make a little money at. On my sidebar I have included a section with all the information a privately-owned business site would need in order to advertise with me.   I charge a small fee for a button or text link on my sidebar.

How do you deal with people who leave comments and enter their business, blog or ad link into the comment. I don’t mind if people put their blog links in that box, but I am trying to make some money off of my blog and when people continually “advertise” their business in the comments section of my blog I can’t make money. I can manually remove that link, but I didn’t know if you had some advice for me first.
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Brent’s Answer:

First, why can’t you make money if people leave appropriate links in comments? If your website has the traffic, content or value necessary to attract advertisers, then links in your comments will make no difference.

Next, it is common etiquette to allow a link or very short tagline to a blog or product with each sincere, relevant comment.

Spammers and Robots

However, it’s common today for spammers, automated software or very low paid foreign companies to leave thousands of comments with spam links. Most of them will say something generic like “great post!” or “love your blog!”.  You’ll recognize these techniques because the comments are very general and repeated over and over again. It won’t take a new blogger very long to get the experience needed to spot these types of comments.

If a comment is not sincere,
relevant to the post, and substantive,
I delete it*.

*Of course that only applies to comments with links in them. If a general reader leaves a comment and says “Great post! I loved it!” and leaves no link, then it’s not spam (usually; sometimes it’s just creatively disguised spam). If the comment comes from a reader who frequently comments and you know them by “name”, then a short “loved the post” is not spam. If one of my loyal readers say “thanks Brent, cool post!” AND left a link, I would leave comment that because they’ve earned it by their repeated commenting and loyalty to my blog UNTIL…. they started abusing the privilege and just spammed me all the time.

It’s a Balancing Act

In the end, it’s your blog and you can do whatever you want. However, if you want readers to invest in leaving good comments, you should allow them a link a back to their blog or product, as long as it is tasteful, short, and part of a comment that is an obvious response to your post.

It’s a balancing act. Good bloggers allow other good bloggers the courtesy of linking in their comments unless they just get really “spammy”. How that is defined, is up to you. You should at least allow the same standard that you use yourself when you leave comments (The Comment Golden Rule). So if you put you a blog link and little tagline with your signature when you comment, you should allow the same lest thee be labeledeth “thou hypocrite”.

Even if you do NOT put a link with your comments, you should think about letting your sincere readers leave a link. It is common blog etiquette and accepted practice. Links are the “veins” of blogging.  Think of it like this: if I’m going to be loyal to your blog and read your posts, then I should be rewarded by having my link included with my relevant, appropriate comments if I so choose.

It Is Very Easy to Run Off Readers

Remember, there are a gagillion blogs out there, and if you become too strict, people will go somewhere else. I know one lady with very stringent rules about posting a link to her blog! That’s blog suicide. People aren’t going to jump through hoops just to post a link TO YOUR BLOG! They are doing you a favor and you are imposing inconveniences on them.  Saying “no links in your comments!” is the same sort of strictness that will run people off.

But… you don’t have to allow SPAM either. It’s your blog. Here’s my thought process when I look at a comment:

  1. Is it obvious by their comment they read the whole post?
  2. Is the comment relevant to the post and will other readers appreciate it?
  3. Is it obvious the comment is just an excuse to leave a link or ad?

After you’ve blogged for a while, it becomes pretty easy to spot the spammers. Summarizing, it is my advice that bloggers should allow appropriate links in comments which would include a blog link with their signature, a link to relevant referenced blog post, or a link to another blog or website that is relevant to your post or their comment.

Delete obvious spam without hesitation but err on the generous side when in doubt. Pretty soon, you’ll spot the spam, no problem.

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. Want to book me for training, speaking or business consulting? Go here. If you benefitted from this post, would you be so kind to share this post with others by clicking one of the SHARE buttons?

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