Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Advertising In Blog Comments = Brand Damage

I tend to avoid writing negatively worded articles, but after encountering yet another poor attempt at marketing, I think it's time to address a marketing tactic that will ultimately do more damage to your brand: Advertising in Blog Comments. Whoever thought that posting advertisements in the comments of blogs clearly is not a blogger or familiar with the whole "social" aspect of social media.

"Thanks for posting such a nuice articles....you can hire lenses from our company for photo shoots..." (company name omitted)

I'm sad to say that this was an actual comment posted to our blog, and it's just one of many that has annoyed me and made me run for the "delete" button. First off, it's misspelled, which comes across online as stupidity. Secondly, a compliment followed by an advertisement basically reveals the insincerity of the compliment. Thirdly, the comment was made on a blog post that had low relevance to the brand of the company. What the company actually accomplished in their blog comment was that I now associate stupidity, insincerity, and annoyance with the company brand that was attached to the blog comment. I do feel bad that there's probably an actual person behind that comment, but I also think they need to learn that this isn't an acceptable form of marketing.

There is a "right way" to utilize blog comments as a form of marketing, but it requires genuine interest in the content being shared by the blogger. It requires you to actually read and post a question or idea that's relevant to the article's topic. If your comment is interesting or engaging, people will naturally want to know more about the person or company posting the comment, which will result in a higher click-through rate and greater brand recognition. By genuinely engaging in relevant topics with people who care about things that affect your target market, you create a stronger brand. It takes more time and energy, but the results are much more positive and long-lasting.

Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years practicing marketing & management in corporate and non-profit businesses before pursuing her passion for photography as an independent small business. She loves helping others find creative and low-cost solutions to business problems. Follow her on Twitter to see her daily adventures and thoughts.


  1. I use comment marketing a lot to promote my blog and my photography. I hold myself to the watermark of - Am I adding value to the conversation? Before leaving a comment as a way to backlink your site - ask yourself how am I contributing.

    I get a lot of spam comments and my page.ly wordpress service is amazing at picking them out - but if it passes and it even smells like spam it's deleted.

    Read, Engage & Contribute by adding VALUE.

    Thanks for your post.

  2. See... now that's value. ;-)

  3. I especially think it's annoying when I get things like this when it is obvious that I am moderating my comments. Do they really think I am dumb enough to publish their thoughtless sales mumbo-jumbo?

    Also annoying-- things written in a foreign language or really bad english because 9/10 times the links take you to pornography (like I'm going to publish that?). I don't even bother to investigate those anymore, which is sad, because of course there are some nice people who speak another language!

  4. It bothers me when someone comments as the company instead of using their own name. If they comment with their own name (and a link to the company) and leave a comment that adds to conversation, I'll let it through. If it was obviously just an attempt to get some traffic and no contribution otherwise, they don't get through.

    Also annoying? When someone comments as "Sue - Some City Wedding Photographer" -- thanks to WordPress, I just change it to just their name. I don't let the whole city & type of photographer part pass!

  5. don't you LOVE hwo you can edit comments in Wordpress?? I do that a lot too Christine!

  6. If you are using WP for your blog get Akismet plugin it gets 99.9% of this stuff before it ever goes live.

  7. You've summed up my thoughts perfectly! I've even shared it with my bosses at work.

    & for ethic's sake I'm commenting from my personal account and not my job-related one.

    Keep on knocking out more of this good stuff <3

  8. Great post! I agree completely.
    Now for some Photoshop training, visit my site..... jk ;)

    Seriously, I get those comments a lot too and it's definitely annoying

  9. Ditto to everything you said. And what's up with photographers these days writing a simple comment and then putting their entire URL in their comment as text? Do they not know their name is clickable? And yes, you've gotta love those wordpress spam catchers :-)

  10. *sigh* Agreed. I delete about five for every new blog post. Nothing to be done about it though. I suspect that it mostly distributes from third world countries where people are poor and not socioeconomically sophisticated and need a real economy not another scam.

    Just came across your blog btw. Good work.

  11. Anne, a lot of it is understandable, as stupid as it is to us. Because that's what happens when you outsource to take a short cut on building your brand online. Those who choose this short cut are, of course, hurting themselves in the long run, and I often tell this to clients when I'm helping to build them a presence online.

    The most interesting thing to me, however, is when marketers make the same mistake. I don't mean commenting with a link -- I mean obviously not caring about the topic or their spelling or generally how they come across. Because what could be worse as a marketer than showing the world what a bad reputation you can create? :)

    Oh ... my one other comment: it surprises me when I see quality websites somehow allowing obvious spam comments.

  12. I'm new to blogging and was excited tonight to get my first comment from someone I didn't personally know. Well, the commenter had something nice to say about the post, but followed it with a lie about how she came upon my site searching for "grass fed meat" (I have a paleo recipe blog), and those words were a link to a an online meat company. While relevant I suppose, it just put a bad taste in my mouth. I deleted it, maybe hastily. After I deleted it, I thought I could have commented after her saying I didn't endorse the company she was slyly plugging.

    I would have no issue if the commenter put in a link to a product to ask me what I thought of whatever it was or put it in as a suggestion for improving a recipe, but this seemed like a comment with the only real purpose of getting her link out there.

    I guess I need to think more about a plan when this happens. I wish blogger would let you just block out the link/hyperlink from the comment.

  13. Blogs with more number of comments may be top-ranked indexed in search engines although some of them absurd or no related with blog content.

    Thanks for sharing.


    Kulak Zari Ameliyati

  14. The ability to moderate comments gives you control over the kind of messages people leave on your blog, thank you.

  15. Keep your blog commenting activities organized from month to month and keep a record of every blog that you commented on. This can help for a few reasons. First, after a few months you will have a great resource of industry blogs that you can revisit again and again. Second, you can go back and check to see if your comments went through and if anyone responded to them.

    Not every blog comment is going to go through. You have no control over other people’s web properties. Don’t take it personally.

  16. I really appreciate this article. Sometime, often times the person just doesn't know and is mimicking what they have seen others do. Thanks for educating folks on how it should be done. :)


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