Do you know who you are linking to?

I don’t know about you but it’s always exciting when someone new visits my blog and joins the conversation by leaving a comment on one of my posts. It is a tangible way of knowing someone out there actually thought enough of the post to add their own. Of course, not all blog comments are made to simply join in on the conversation.

Sure, we all do it; leave comments in hope of gaining links for our sites and to get that blog’s author and readers to visit our sites. When those comments are laced with X-rated filth or simply a laundry list of links, most blog owners simply delete them. Some comments are clearly a one-sized fits all bit of meaninglessness that usually adds no value to the conversation. For example, the genius who left a comment on a post about link building like “link building is always a good strategy.” Those inspired comments also get the boot.

But, I recently came across a much more savvy spammer – the one who leaves a fairly decent to great comment but drops a link to a site that is far from being family friendly and is probably illegal in some parts of the world. It was a clever ruse that I almost fell for. (Hmm, upon reflection, I guess I did actually fall for it. I just realized my mistake and took corrective action.)

Usually with those types of sites, the email address or site URL/name gives away the nature of the site. With many arts and crafts websites, the names are things like “Michele’s Place”, “At Home with Michele” or “My Corner of the Net”. The problem is that those names are very similar to ones quite frequently used for sites that would never confuse hooking with crochet.

Yeah I know, some might be saying, “Duh”, everybody knows spammers do things like that. To which I respond, “Do you really visit the site of every comment made on your blog?”

I admit that I didn’t. In one case, the comment was good, the URL looked safe and it was a post that had done well on Digg and the comments were coming in hard and fast. A few days ago, when I was revisiting that post I thought about one of the comments and decided to visit the site. The link redirected to a porn site!

My “family friendly” blog had a link going to a hard-core XXX website? Yep, sure did. All because I didn’t take a moment and look at the site listed with a visitor’s insightful comment. The comment has since been deleted. I learned the lesson that I’m now sharing with you – don’t accept comments without at least a quick look-see at the site listed.

So, I’ll ask the question again, “Do you know who you are really linking to?”

A few suggestions for further reading...

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