Commenting on Other Blogs: Is it ethical? Useful?

Have you felt like posting a comment on someone’s blog because you liked what the blogger was saying (or may be you disagreed)? Or you had a relevant point to make? Comments are what make the blogs truly interactive and much more powerful than a one-way dialog that web sites restrict you to.

You may even be trying to comment to get a link back or to get some visitors. Here are some relevant facts (and feel FREE to comment on this post):

  • If you make a useful comment on someone’s blog, readers may be tempted to visit your website to check you out. Including a relevant site can help you get a few valuable visitors from every comment you make. Well worth the 10 minutes you need to make a thoughtful comment.
  • If your comment is not relevant to the point the blogger is trying to make, it is considered a spamment (OK – that is not a proper English word but why can’t I join the league of those smart fellows who twist regular words to create such funny variations?).
  • You should respect that it is his/her blog and therefore be polite even if you disagree.
  • You should not try to hijack the discussion by posting a comment that takes the discussion in an entirely  different direction.
  • You should put your name in the commenter’s name box and not your keywords. An exception can be allowed in case you are more famous with your nickname but you must not call yourself cheap pills or texas holdem because you are looking for a keyword rich link back.
  • Most of the blog software (specially Wordpress) have a feature called "Nofollow" activated that does not pass any link value to your site from the comment. However some bloggers want to reward the commenters (I do, Michel Fortin does, several other prominent bloggers do) with some link juice and therefor disable the Nofollow feature.
  • Because comments can get some link back benefit (not all search engines discount the nofollow links), there is a huge spam comment industry that uses robotic software to post comments on the blogs. These comments look like "You are correct. I agree" or some such rubbish.This creates a lot of nuisance for the bloggers and I know people who have been so turned off that they have disabled the comments feature on their blogs, killing the whole interaction aspect of the blogs.
  • Bloggers can use plugins like Akismet, Simple Trackback Validator and Hashcash to cut down heavily on the spam comments. However some spam comments will still need to be deleted manually. I prefer to manually approve the comments but if you have heavy commenting, you may like to use "auto-approve and delete the junk later" concept.
  • Your comments may not appear on the live blog immediately if the owner is using comment moderation. Please do not lose patience and post multiple copies of your comment.
  • Some blogs allow the commenter to subscribe to the comments thereby sending them an alert whenever a follow-up comment is posted. You may visit the blog again and see if you have something more to say in response to the new comments.

Overall meaningful comments can make you a welcome visitor to the blog and who knows, you may end up getting so close to the blogger that a Joint Venture may be just around the corner.

Happy commenting!
Arun Agrawal