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Those Thinly Disguised Guest Posts & Comments – A Rant

postsSometimes I wonder if some of my readers aren’t stupid… oh, not you guys and gals, but the ones who send guest posts that are obvious advertisements for sites and stuff and those who post comments that are poorly written and are linked to something that is nothing but a sales pitch for products that have noting to do with writing or reading.

Over at AllFreelanceWriting Jennifer Mattern posted What Does it Mean for a Freelance Writer to Sell Out? While it doesn’t cover bogus guest posts and bogus comments by name my hunch is if anyone working as a writer would pay attention to the article they’d use their talents more wisely. Maybe I’ll just start responding with links to that article and some here and elsewhere.

Of course, many of these folks give themselves away with writing that is less than stellar. Recently I got a so-called guest post submission and it appeared that the end of the article had been written by someone with an entirely different style than the one who began the article. What had been a fairly decent, straight forward approach suddenly, in last couple of ‘graphs, turned into academic stiffness.

Another had only one link and that was to a website that offered a paid service. 

The poor language that sometimes shows up in comments makes me wonder if there isn’t some software that posts poorly written comments automatically. I’m afraid, however, that they’re people who are just now learning English and somehow think posting with a link to who knows what makes them a writer. I don’t know, really, quite what to make of some of them.

Geeze would these people stop please!

I used to treat them with some grace, but I’m getting really tired of it.

Yes, there are ads on this blog, but they’re in your face. They’re in your face so the reader doesn’t mistake them for anything else but an ad. I’m not opposed to advertising, I’m opposed to advertising that tries to hide as something else.

As a reader I often fine advertisements interesting and full of information I want. But when I’m fooled, thinking an ad is something else, I’m furious when I discover the truth. I usually manage to live my life without ever buying the product or service that use hidden ads.

I suspect I’m not alone in this and wonder when, if every, the attempt at this sort of scam will ever end.


Your turn: Have you ever written for these types of scams? I did, once, before I understood what was going on. How do you feel when you read a guest post or common that’s really an ad? What do you do about it? Tell us about it in comments, and don’t forget, please, to share this article widely.


Image: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Nomadic Lass


{ 26 comments… add one }
  • I get those spam comments all the time. I think many of them are translated from a foreign language, as evidenced by the one I got recently about pizza with “inexperience peppers” on it. They make me laugh and aren’t too much of a nuisance because Blogger is pretty good about filtering them out. I can see them but the public can’t.

    • lol, I haven’t gotten any that bad… inexperience peppers on pizza indeed!

  • Matthew Ross

    Hey, all, I just wanted to chime in and mention that those “links” Ellen was talking about are definitely some sort of malware, often associated with a browser extension or toolbar. I just started having this issue on my work computer, and it drives me absolutely insane.

    As for people trying to place guest posts with backlinkso a client’s site, it seems to be something of a cottage industry. I have seen countless ads calling for “writers” to do this–usually to dozens of sites at a time. Yeah, excellent way to build that “pro” reputation!

    • A cottage industry that’s driving some of us nuts.

  • John,
    If you don’t see it I know it’s on my end. I’ll find it somewhere. Thanks.

    Anne, I guess one way to solve this would be to having a page spelling out what is acceptable and not acceptable in the comments. I guess it depends on your ethics and tolerance level.
    Ellen Wilson recently posted..M-22 Trademark…Anyone?My Profile

  • Excellent post, Anne. One thing that I used to have a problem with was comments that were posted for the sole reason of promoting a business from another website, usually totally unrelated.

    The grammar was horrendous, the comment was so general that you weren’t even sure that they even read the article (Much good thing i receive from the reading of your excellent post. Surely will be coming back regularly for you good infromative content). Know what I mean?

    The solution for this is installing Akismet or some other spam database program, particularly in WordPress blogs. It lassos potential spam and places it under guard until you can review it.

    I also use a database optimizer that removes spam from the spam folder when run. Remember, spam comments are not only annoying, but space hoarders (Hmm, sounds like a good title for a SciFi book or movie!).

    As the spammers would say, “Much good information I find in your words. Definitely will I be coming back to your excellent site for more good training!”

    Steve Maurer

    • lol, I use Askismet and it gets many of bogus comments, Steve, but not all of them. Fortunately my delete key works… and I have no hesitation to mark a comment spam. I have noticed that the first week of every month Askismet lets more through… suspect that has to do with Askismet updating their database, although I’ve never asked.

  • Amandahblackwell

    Hi Anne,

    I receive inquiries from people who want to guest post on my writer website (freelance writing business), and there’s always a stipulation that the person has to link back to a website, usually for a client. Those aren’t the types of guest posts I would want. To me this says that the person is just looking for back links.

    *Links are okay if they’re helpful and pertain to the blog post’s content and are not spammy.

    • Agreed, Amandah, and a link in the bio to the writer is okay with me too. But the others? No thank you.

  • What really frosts me, Anne, is when they hound you – even after you politely said no. If I get one more email that starts out how they have been following my blog a long time and love it, then offer a post idea that has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with my theme, I am going to SCREAM. Oops, I think I just did. 😉

    I have gotten to the point that if I don’t know you, I don’t accept guest posts. All it takes is taking the time to really get to know my blog, my readers, and to participate in comments and social media.

    Ah, rant done. 😉
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Has Social Media Forgotten Its Manners?My Profile

    • Yeah, and if you ignore them they ask again… it’s truly awful. I’m screaming with you, Cathy.

  • Hi Anne,
    What really bugs me at this point in time are the underlined ads which lead you to believe are a link to some sort of valid information, like in this blog post you’ve written. I’m not berating you for putting them there, if you did. I just don’t like it because it seems sneaky as far as this type of advertising goes. So far I disabled a plugin in firefox which enables the infoatom ads, but they still show up all over the place!
    What I’ve experienced with comments in the past is not only people trying to sell products, but insert malware, which is also another way to sell a product albeit illegally.

    • Ellen, I don’t see any such links in Anne’s post. I think you’re on the right track in thinking it’s a plugin of some sort.

      I also suspect it could even be some form of malware.
      John Soares recently posted..50 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block and Procrastination: A Free Special ReportMy Profile

      • John, glad you’re not seeing text links… I don’t use them at all. Have asked Ellen to send me a screenshot… could there be something on her computer?

    • Wait, Ellen… I don’t have text ads in my blog… where are you seeing them? I hate them too… if you’re really seeing them send me a screen shot and I’ll try to find out what’s going on.

  • Talk about serendipity! I just finished reading an email from someone wanting to guest post on my blog and when I clicked back to my emails yours on that very topic popped up. They actually showed up within minutes of each other.

    I don’t and never have had guest posts on my blog, but that doesn’t stop them. I’m sure they send hundreds of them out by bulk and only change the name of the website before sending.

    A clue about what I would be getting into if I agreed lies in this little paragraph: “Furthermore, these articles will be available to Ramona’s Voices at no cost whatsoever as long as I am able to place a mention to a partner of mine within the text. This link would always be on topic and as subtle as possible. How you use this content is entirely up to you. ”

    I’ve often wondered who would take them up on that? How many bloggers are so desperate for content they’re willing to take that junk, even for free? When they get to that point they might as well quit blogging. (I read the other day that there are 71 million blogs out there. A hu8ge number of them would be doing the rest of us a favor if they admitted they really have nothing to say and just shut their doors.)

    My rant for the day. Now I’ll get back to work.

    Ramona Grigg recently posted..Gabby Giffords Spoke and Some of Us ListenedMy Profile

  • I don’t mind links to paid services in guest posts, as long as they’re introduced honestly without trying to conceal them in aberrant ways; for example, if a guest writer has a link to an essay writing service but he clearly says he works for that site, then I’m OK with it. However, if he just uses a phrase like “my writing tips blog” as an anchor text when the site he links really isn’t about blogging tips, but it’s about essay writing services… sorry, I won’t accept it.

    Also the content must provide value or insight for my readership. If it doesn’t I’ll do either of three things:

    1. offer the writer another blog of mine to publish on (related to the topic)
    2. suggest a rewrite that suits my audience
    3. decline the post completely.
    Luana Spinetti @ Writer’s Mind recently posted..Can I Really Make Money Blogging? – Jane Sheeba Tells You HOW In 5 Ways (In Her New E-Book!)My Profile

    • Well put, Luana… and I find I’m declining more and more offers.

      • I’m getting so many of them (is my blog on a list somewhere?) that I am not even replying to all of them any more (which goes against the grain but sheesh – if you send me a guest post pitch for something unrelated in text speak and then want to link to a dodgy site, forget it!)
        Sharon Hurley Hall recently posted..3 Steps To The Perfect Writing PitchMy Profile

        • Amen, I say from the choir… and when I don’t respond some of them email again… arghhhhh

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