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Comment Posting Services Doing Damage

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday January 26, 2011 )

Hiring someone else to post comments? Keep them on a *very* short leash; they could land you in really, really hot water.

I administer a few forums and blogs and of late; signature spam, backlink spam and self-promotional comments are becoming a real pain due to the proliferation of companies that offer these services on the cheap.

I’m not referring so much to bot generated spam, that will always be an ongoing battle, but spam posted by real, live humans.

What you pay for is often what you’ll get and in addition to being a major pain in the ass to site owners that fall victim to these marauding gangs; some of these services are also posting comments that could be illegal and land you in big trouble.

For example; there was a case in New York a couple of years back where a company that posted fake customer reviews was fined $300,000.

Usually these fake reviews/testimonials are easy to pick due to their poor English and other indicators. A forum administrator has other tools at his or her disposal to determine the origin of these postings. Hit a forum admin like me and you may get one free pass, do it again and I’ll likely file a complaint with the appropriate authorities. I know other forum administrators that take the same approach. Search engines don’t appreciate the activity either.

Online merchants really need to rethink outsourcing their marketing overseas to companies offering these cheap services – their effectiveness is questionable and they can do a lot of damage to your brand.

Sure, you can instruct the company not to engage in a certain behavior, but will they follow through? Unlike a consultant who you get to know, these companies are just spam factories – they do not care about you or your business; just your cash. Their staff care even less as they are often overworked and underpaid. They aren’t going to feel the sting of litigation as they are often thousands of miles away in another country.

Also bear in mind that even if you hire a local company, they may then subcontract that work overseas with the same sort of low quality result and legal headaches.

In many cases, it’s just not worth the risk and there are much better ways to increase traffic and improve your search engine rankings. SEO is not rocket science, it’s just a bit of work; work better performed by a real specialist or by you – after all, who will look after your business better than you?


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