Dear Spam Followers, This Blogger Will NOT Be Visiting Your Site

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I’ve been out of circulation for the last week. I’ve been extremely busy following through on some volunteer commitments. I was astonished to see that my readership had jumped an unbelievable 15% in a week – without having written a single thing. The WordPress bot attacks reported in the news are in relation to denial of service attacks with the WordPress.org installation, so this is a separate issue.

To the people who have legitimately read and found something here that appeals to them, I sincerely thank you. I have so many great “conversations” with you and I value the time that you have taken to read, like and/or comment on a post. I am slow to catch up on my reading, but I try to visit each and every subscribed reader’s blog. Sometimes I follow it as well, if I find a subject that resonates or the writing or story is compelling.

However, with spam followers – there is NO indication that they have read the blog – no corresponding likes or comments by them. I will not be visiting their sites without some evidence that they have read the blog.

I don’t do courtesy follows. If I follow your blog, I will eventually read, like or comment on your posts. To do otherwise, would skew your numbers and not be respectful of the work and time you put into writing and establishing your blog. I am one person and can only read so many blogs. I will occasionally review the list of blogs I follow and cull the ones that have gone into retreat, just posted on how to eat babies or skin kittens, or have decided to reblog on a regular basis. I try to follow blogs for original content, context and conversation.

To my fellow bloggers, I would encourage you to implement this policy as well. It discourages spam followers and maintains a level of integrity in the system.

Regularly scheduled programming will return to this blog tomorrow.

117 Comments on “Dear Spam Followers, This Blogger Will NOT Be Visiting Your Site

  1. My husband and I were just discussing this very issue last night. I commented to him that the diversity of subject matter of some of my new followers and likers is just so curiously unconnected with anything I write about. Thanks for this heads up and nudge to do some housecleaning.

    Karen

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    • It’s a great way to encourage NOT writing anything, when one’s readership takes a leap on a week where nothing is posted! I finally caught on when half the sites were either brand new or selling something. It just makes me irritable when I naively check out their sites!

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  2. C. S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one. …” That’s what I kept thinking as I read your post. I have had the exact same thoughts when it comes to spam followers. Thank you for posting this.

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    • I had it happen on occasion before, but this week was crazy! It just renders the numbers completely meaningless. Thanks for reading and commenting, Sarah. I love that C.S. Lewis quote!

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  3. I don’t do courtesy follows either. My numbers have also jumped despite modest amounts of “likes”. On top of that, I’ve noticed a few “Likes” coming my way before my finger is off the “publish” button. Only a bot could read that fast! I feel bad for people with wierd blog names, who might be confused with spam followers. I don’t think there’s much we can do about it, other than ignore them. Spam works on the volume principle of flooding every nook and cranny with their link in hopes that a few people click on it. They fully expect 99.5% of people to ignore them, they bank on the .5 who don’t know better. (I’m only assuming that’s how they work – as you may know, I’m still trying to figure out Twitter).

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    • I read up on this a bit and really the ONLY way to discourage them is to NOT visit their sites, but I didn’t know that and have been repeatedly pissed off wasting my time checking out sites selling something or just newbie bloggers trying to falsely build up readership. It’s only taken me a year+ to figure it out. Slight learning curve here!

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      • Like you, I like to hold onto to the credo of visiting sites which merit my attention. I’ve barely got time to visit the people I already read and follow without skating off looking for more fun clicking on some of the names which have started following me lately. I’ve got to admit I was disappointed to realize that my number of followers increasing had nothing to do with anything I’d written. For a few minutes there, I was full of myself.

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  4. I’m happy to get any new followers at this point.
    Just kidding. I would love to have a lot of legitimate followers, and love my faithfuls (hello, you). Some I’ve never heard from again but they may be reading quietly and that’s fine. I’m discerning in who I follow because, frankly, I don’t have time to read 500 blogs. If I follow, it’s because I want to commit, or think I might. If I did follow 500, I might have 500 more followers myself. It’s weird.

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    • I know some bloggers use their blog stats as a way of bolstering their book pitches, etc. For me, I use those numbers as one gauge (of several) to tell if my writing is up to snuff or if I’m posting frequently enough or writing about topics of interest. When those numbers get bloated by mercenaries, it becomes completely useless.

      I love getting new readers as well for a couple of reasons – someone new to “meet” and they may potentially write a blog that would be of interest to me. The system gets corrupted by blog nepotism if “courtesy following” is expected. It’s a minor complaint in the scheme of things, but the increase in activity this week took me off guard.

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  5. Michelle, I have noticed this little tactic too. Grrr. I like to flatter myself that people are following my blog because they are interested, but… not so much! A better measure is the number of visitors per day, which is… alas… much more modest.

    Like

    • I find that the Comments, in combination with Likes is a much better indicator than the numbers of a post’s reception. I am happier with good conversation than with the stats, but that, I think, is something that emerges after blogging a bit. In the world of blogging, you’re a mature blogger if you can get past the 2 year mark. I’m still an adolescent in this world, so still learning what is substantive.

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  6. Michelle,
    I click back on every new follower’s link. My first stop is usually the About section. If there’s none, I’m out. If it’s spam, I’m out. Unfortunately, the spam sites are multiplying like roaches lately… It bothers me. Spammer, you bother me.
    Le Clown

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    • They’ve been bothering me this week. I’m a bit naive, even translating foreign language pages, only to have purse and watch products pitched to me. Good point about the About page. I am surprised at the number of legitimate bloggers who don’t have one, because that’s the first place I stop as well.

      Like

      • I tend to go straight to the About page too. If that looks interesting I may have a look around, but lately I barely have time to read the folks I’ve been reading for a while and as for writing, I’m afraid I’ve been looking like I’m on a retreat. My creative energy has been seriously lagging since the car accident so I hope you’ll give me another chance. ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously, only stop by if you have the time and interest. I’ll keep coming by your place regardless.

        Like

        • Hi Elizabeth – I’m in the same boat. I feel badly that I have not been able to read and comment more frequently on the blogs I like to read. I’ve been a ghost liker for the last couple of months, if I get to reading online at all. I’m hoping to be more diligent about it as some commitments are off my plate in next few weeks. I’ll be back to visit, I promise!

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  7. I noticed the same thing: bunch of new followers, which I found odd in the context of how little I’ve been posting and what I’ve been posting. Had a feeling it was more internet hookers. Thanks for confirming!

    Pity one can’t unfollow followers.

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  8. I am a zealot about it. I have only had 2 spammers slip through the WordPress spam filter but their comments were so bizarre they were easy to spot. But for the last few months the amount of spam the filter IS catching has risen dramatically. There are days there’s ten and fifteen spam comments in there.

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    • The spam filter at WordPress has done an awesome job for me and I have noticed a definite rise in spam comments. It’s the follows that have risen uncontrollably with no way to filter them except to go to their site and see you’ve just wasted another 30 seconds of your life that you’ll never get back!

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  9. I haven’t had too many spam followers on my blog. When I see that someone has followed me, I check out their site, if I find it entertaining, I follow back. If I can tell they’re just trying to promote their business or site, I never go back again.

    What I do get is people who follow me on Twitter, and if I don’t follow them back in a couple of days they unfollow me. I don’t follow Twitter peeps who post nothing but retweets and links. I like to follow those who actually post their own thoughts or statements.

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    • I think this is a benefit to my delayed reading of other people’s blogs – if they’re mercenary followers, they drop off the radar once they realize that I’m not going to do an automatic follow back. I have wasted so much time checking out blogs lately that are spamming, that I’m upping my standards for even checking out their blogs. If it’s a follow with no corresponding indicators, I won’t go.

      And Twitter, well, I can’t speak to that, but I’m guessing the mentalities are pretty much the same for spammers everywhere, regardless of the vehicle.

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  10. Some of the spam comments caught in the filter are quite entertaining. But I’m with you on those who blindly follow. I do check out the About page and the latest blog post of new followers or likers, just to see if their blog might be interesting to me. If it isn’t, I don’t follow or like their post. I might comment on a post I find interesting but not follow their blog. And I weigh following more blogs very carefully as I don’t have time to read everything.

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    • I was a little reckless in the beginning, so grateful to have followers at all that I followed more indiscriminately. Now I feel like it does a disservice to the blogger to follow and then never have time to read their posts, so I’m trying to remedy that.

      I enjoy the spam comments. I got one last week that said my information wasn’t very good. I hate it when they cater to my low self-esteem, but admire their inventiveness. Most appeal to our egos and our “information is very good”, especially if we want to “teach their son very important things” or “get more freedom to distribute your very good information”.

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  11. Hi Michelle,
    Thanks for the new article. Do you know of anything else we can do to stop these bogus comments. Mine has gone up substantially in the last month. Why does negative always have to find some way to wrap around positive. Really wish there was better app to filter out these parasites. Appreciate the heads up. Keep up the good work Michelle!
    Rob

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    • My spam activity on comments has risen as well, but the WordPress filter seems to be catching most, if not all of them. If some are getting through, just continue to mark them as spam. As for the followers, from what I’ve read, there is little to do about that scenario except to not make their attempts successful – no checking out their sites without corresponding likes or comments and no courtesy follows. Some of the proposals to rid blogs of these issues would be too stringent and weed out legitimate readers, so I’m just doing what I can do to make spam following unproductive.

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  12. I have gotten a bunch of new followers recently too. Most seem legit but many of them are so unusual that I don’t even know what to think. Actually I think that there are a lot of fundamentalist Christians that want to save me. Damn them.

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        • True – and I know there are people who quietly read in the corner. And I may lose a few due to my new policy, but it’s the only way I can save time and not screen through mercenary followers. After looking at 20 different websites that were selling something or as someone pointed out, had an About page with little information, but a lot of comments thanking them for the follows, I got very frustrated.

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  13. It seems to be a common theme among the ones of us who have a purpose other than SKUNKING up the joint. Make the world a better place, spay or neuter scam scum skunks!

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    • I am puzzled that this, like door-to-door sales, is even an effective approach. Are they still netting people? It seems like this problem has been around long enough that it would have diminishing returns and it’s not like they’re particularly good at it in terms of wording.

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      • Simple economics. The investment is miniscule (far less than bulk mail, let alone human sales people) and the audience enormous. The tiniest ROI still makes them money.

        The bad wording is actually part of their tactic. It weeds out those with enough brain cells to not respond anyway. They’re only interested in those capable (ironic word, that) of believing a former Nigerian Prince wants to share a large bank account.

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        • Based on the similar structure with minor word variations, I’m quite certain they are. How automated the system might be, I don’t know. I do think they trigger, at least in part, off content and tags. For example, articles where I’ve mentioned cigars often get cigar-seller spam.

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  14. Pingback: Givers, Talkers & Lurkers | Logos con carne

  15. I’ve been noticing a similar trend – followers that I wouldn’t think share anything in common with what I write about. I still don’t really understand what it is that they gain..

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    • Mostly I notice the obvious marketing sites or sites where they are a relatively new blogger. I’ll give the new blogger the benefit of the doubt and assume they think blogging works like Twitter and Facebook.

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  16. Pingback: Dear Spam Followers, « Mama Bear Musings

  17. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with spam follower issues. (I just wrote a piece about it a few days ago, in fact. I’d link to it here, but that would look, y’know, spammy.) When I first noticed that my Followers total was accelerating, I was really excited. Then I noticed many of them technically don’t exist. Now it’s depressing to watch that number keep rolling like a busy odometer, when it should be encouraging.

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    • I just read your post and you are certainly kinder and more charitable than I have been feeling lately. I have so many blogs that I truly want to read, that I find it frustrating to waste time sifting through spam wreckage.
      My odometer continues to climb, but I know better than to get very excited about it now. Must once again focus on the writing and ignore the stats. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  18. I was wondering what was up – I had an increase after I was FP’d, but there are so many in the last week or so that are just gravatars – for me if there is not about page, I’m not likely to look further. I do have several followers who do not post in English, but they still interact with my blog, I do sometimes follow them if it they are photographers, language is less important if I’m looking at photos.

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    • I enjoy a few blogs in other languages as well, but the hallmarks of the spammer or new blogs looking to pump up readership through mass following are frequently there, regardless of language. Well, enough whining about it – time to do what really helps readership – writing (since I leave the photography to the experts!).

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      • You know, no matter how they try to game the system, none of it really works if you don’t build content that someone wants to read. I’m off to click publish, I’ll bet I have a few of those spam likes before I can view my own post ๐Ÿ™‚

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  19. Well said, an expression of what many of us feel. What we actually need is a feature to remove the spammers who become followers; is there some way to do that? Cheers.

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    • So far, there’s nothing on offer from WordPress. I think the concern would be that legitimate readers would be blocked or discouraged from following. The last couple of weeks have shown an exponential increase of these kind of followers. I’m not sure why that is or how productive it is for spammers. I do know that new bloggers should be encouraged not to do mass following to encourage readership, but to focus on content and interacting with other blogs. It takes more time, but the quality of readership of one’s blog depends on it.

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      • Roger that. We should at least be given a ‘Folders Option.’ That would work; would save a lot of time. Thanks for the Response. I’ll be back. Cheers.
        p.s. I think I’ll recommend that Option to Max at WP.

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  20. What is a spam follower? And how can you tell who is reading your blog? People tell me about something they read that I wrote and I didn’t know they read it because they didn’t like or comment. In many, but not all cases, they are not bloggers.

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    • The example is that in the last 2 weeks I’ve gained 100 new followers. I’ve written little and while I take pride in my writing, it’s not stellar enough to gain that many new readers in a short amount of time. Normally, when I get notification of a new follower, I go to their website or I do it when I have time. As I went through the newest followers, I went to one site after another of people selling things. In their About sections, comment after comment was thanking them for following the commenter’s blog. These are pretty good indicators that they are following blogs only to raise their own numbers. It’s frustrating to me to waste so much time – time which takes away from reading blogs I like. I’ve gotten some push back about this, but without a WordPress follower spam filter, I had to come up with a policy going forward that doesn’t waste so much time.

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      • Oh, I see. They are real bloggers, but just follow you for no reason? Without even reading? If I start getting lots of people stampeding my blog I’ll remember this. (hahaha, as if)

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        • They’re marketers, trying to sell something through a blog. They follow in hopes that you’ll go to their blog, either to raise their stats or to actually buy something, I guess. I’m not sure I really understand it.

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  21. Happened to me too, as I finally took some time off from blogging – and got new followers this past week. Thanks for putting this out there, quite educational. In any case, I’m glad you found my blog and we met! There’s a nice thing – I had your mug in my drying rack this morning. No bots there. Peace out – Bill

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    • I felt a little petty writing this piece, but it’s frustrating to waste time attempting to be courteous by checking out new subscribers only to find most of them aren’t readers, just sellers.
      It’s been a rough week and I might be taking some time off blogging to get some offline writing done and feel the joy of that.
      Nothing beats a good cup of coffee and writing to my heart’s content.

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      • I get the pettiness. Sorry you’ve had a rough week. Take some time and feed your soul mama!

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  22. I have the same problem with my site though its more people liking my posts without reading a single sentence. I like how you’ve written an entry to address the spammers. I may have to do something similar.

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    • I felt a bit snarky writing this post. I don’t get too bothered by the Likes because it would be really hard to sort out the legitimate ones from actual readers. I generally don’t follow up on Likes, so no harm, no foul. I feel compelled, though, as a courtesy, to look at new followers’ blogs. Spammers are relying on that courtesy and I resent it a great deal. I have ways of filtering spam emails and screening unwanted calls, but no way to tell legit readers from spammers unless I make the time and effort to do so.

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      • FWIW, I don’t feel any obligation to go check out someone who mutely Followed me (let alone tendered a Like). I’ll eventually go check them out when I have tons of time for that, but otherwise, nope. You want my interest? Then comment; speak up or be ignored.

        But that’s just me. What I wanted to mention is that, I don’t know how you follow your Followers back, but if you use the email notices, I’ve found that they’re very helpful in a first cut. Those “X is now following” emails list up to three of that blogger’s most popular posts. One can often tell from the names of those posts how legit the blogger is.

        And I’ve noticed that the spammers often have NO popular posts listed, which means they either just started or aren’t playing fair. If you’re not using those emails as a trigger, you might try them and see if that extra bit of info helps.

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        • It can be very effective. My Like email notices go in one email folder, my Follow email notices go in another. That queues them up in the order received for when I want to go exploring new blogs.

          And ones that catch my eye somehow are exceptions that I’ll jump on immediately.

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  23. OK, I just followed your blog. Like the conversation. I’m not a bot, lol. I just started my personal blog, and I’ve just re-followed everyone who comes to visit. Now I’m getting more picky. I’m going through and un-following any spammers and I try and visit all the people who legitimately follow me. Look forward to some more good reading.

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    • When I started my blog, I did the same thing with courtesy follows and that reading list can grow pretty quickly. Sometimes I feel badly that I simply can’t do that anymore, but as a blogger, I like to know that the people who follow are genuine readers and not just using the “Follow” option as a shortcut to beefing up their own stats. I also want to be able to be a genuine reader of the blogs I follow, so that number has to stay manageable. It sounds petty, but as I’ve mentioned before, I try to, at some point, check out the blogs of new followers and it does take time and effort. I will check out yours as well! Thanks so much for joining the crowd here – we do have some very enjoyable conversations!

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      • I think you just have to really be ‘into’ blogging and take some time to read. Most of us have a “life” so sitting in front of a computer and reading blogs all day is probably a waste of time. I think it’s nice to have a few blogs to follow. I usually follow the blogs that have good content. I’m still trying to balance it all!

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  24. I’m an Asian who reads and visits blogs with substance. When I came across your blog and did some browsing of your posts I thought I was fortunate to encounter wisdom in writing. It’s good you don’t do ” courtesy follows” which I believe every blogger should practice. Though I get much insights in what you write, I must admit I’m a silent lurker.

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    • Thanks for coming out of the shadows and commenting. I’ve unintentionally offended a few silent lurkers, but my intent was not to scare them off – just asking people to send up a flare so I can sort you out from the barrage of spammers, which lately have multiplied many times over. Thanks for stopping by – I appreciate it!

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      • Nice try Michelle for making me feel guilty, not because I’m one of those selling products online, but for simply being content reading your entries. I do love your straightforward blogs and it’s very cultivating exchanging thoughts and ideas with others. Since I’m a newbie in your blog, I have to spare some time to browse over your older posts.

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        • I wasn’t trying to make anyone feel guilty. I am trying to find a way to be courteous while managing my time well. Obviously, there’s no way to do that without upsetting or irritating someone, as I’ve found by posting this particular rant. I’m glad to have any readers and I know that many people prefer to read quietly without the interaction part. Maybe what I should say is, that if you run a blog where you’d like me to visit, you might have to give a shout out now and then. If you don’t have a blog and are just a reader, then there’s no issue. I appreciate your visit and comments, regardless!

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  25. Michelle, up above I sort of laughed at the idea of getting a stampede to my blog. Well, one of my other blogs–it’s about adoption and I write it with my daughter–now has a stampede going on. Who took their finger out of the dyke or opened the dam? What’s going on all of a sudden?
    Luanne

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    • I’m not sure, but it is still happening. My post did nothing but rile up a few bloggers who like to follow without liking or commenting. It’s a weird little culture unto itself and even after a year plus of blogging, I’m still learning the ins and outs!

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      • I know that there are lots of readers who don’t like or comment, but this sudden onslaught of new “followers” who do not like or comment and who don’t seem to have regular blogs is strange. I feel like asking WP who let the dogs out.

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        • I know – I’m getting some flack from people who think I’m targeting their silent reading practices, but I should have been more clear, as I was with the last commenter. IF you want me to look at your blog, send up a flare – a Like or a Comment so that I have a hint that checking out your site would be a good way to spend some time.

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  26. Couldn’t’ve said it better myself. Lurkers and spam followers are the virtual equivalent of my acting out a play in a light-less closet and then applauding myself in lieu of actual company. Possibly good exercise, but not communal in the least. I’m glad you’re here and real!

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    • That’s what I mentioned to someone about blogging today. If there is room for likes and comments, the writer’s intent includes interaction. I’m sometimes guilty of the “read, like and run” just due to time constraints and some readers may have gotten the idea that I was calling them out about silent reading, which wasn’t my intent at all.
      The spam following has continued throughout the week, adding another 100 followers, so this is something separate from the interaction issue – a problem that could be resolved if the ability to follow and like a blog could only be done once the blog was opened. As it is now, the reader allows likes and follows en masse. I think it’s a logistics issue that is in need of a solution.
      Regardless, it has rendered the stats page meaningless.

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  27. Hi Michelle, thanks for visiting Brown Road Chronicles. The thing that makes me angry about this, not just that our subscriber numbers, that we work so hard to build, are now meaningless, but that this didn’t build over a long period of time. It started basically overnight, seemingly in early to mid-April. I don’t know if it was a change that WP Gods made to the platform, or a hole that the spammers suddenly figured out, or what. But seems like the response to fixing it has been sorely inadequate. (If WP is even planning on fixing it!)

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    • Oh… and if you are a reader here and are seriously concerned about this issue, it has nothing to do with SPAM COMMENTS as Michelle alluded to in many of her replies. SPAM comments are adequately filtered via the Askimet software. This is a rampant attack on the WordPress platform by SPAM FOLLOWERS which inflates our subscriber numbers and makes them virtually useless in getting any read of the popularity and success of your blog. In my humble opinion, WP needs to add a “block function” or an “approve follower function”. Neither of which seems to be in the works as of now… unfortunately!

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    • I thought it occurred around the same time that they started added suggested blogs on the side of the reader, but since I don’t know how spam follows are done technologically (by clicking manually or bot), I’m not sure. The reader makes it very easy to hit Like or Follow without opening the actual blog. I wonder if removing that option in the reader would make a difference. I’m sure WordPress has been getting an earful about this and I would imagine, trying to come up with a solution to help out their bloggers. For now, I’m trying to focus on the writing and hope that my latest follower, effinupyourstats, enjoys it.

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  28. I am fairly new to blogging and have to say I really loved this post. It made me laugh out loud this sleep Monday morning. Thank you for the tip and the honesty; yes, a wonderful policy!!

    Like

  29. Reblogged this on My Disorderly Life and commented:
    So I think I only relaunched my blog a week or so ago and throughout the week I have been getting a lot of follows. I appreciate the genuine follows, so a big THANK YOU to the real genuine people!

    However, unlike most people whose ego might grow from getting so many new follows so quickly, I paused and kept asking WHY??? And, really??? I’m that interesting??? I started to notice that a lot of follows are from people from this project AWOL thing, about making money by blogging. When I get a new follow I get an e-mail and it will show a few links to blog posts that that person has written in the e-mail if I want to check them out. So that’s how I started noticing all of these people linked to project AWOL liking my blog. SO TO THE PROJECT AWOL PEOPLE: I WILL NOT BE CHECKING OUT YOUR BLOG OR WHAT YOU’RE SELLING! If it’s one thing I absolutely HATE is being sold and marketed to. If I’m interested, I will come to you! That’s always been my motto! These spam followers are the same as someone standing outside a store that I’m trying to go into and selling stuff. I fucking hate that. That is NOT the way to market to me, it will have the opposite effect. It will make me want to have nothing to do with you!

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  30. I’m very new to blogging and have been happy to see more followers, but then wonder, who are these people? I’ve got a number of AWOL “followers”. I post mostly about opportunities for artists in the Midwest (mostly Northeast Ohio) and write about other art business and professional development topics, and I had to wonder why are these people following me. I think what I post would be irrelevant to them. I found your blog by googling “Why are AWOL bloggers following my blog?”. Thanks for writing about this! After reading through the comments here, the best I can do is ignore them.
    And I wonder too… I am usually a silent reader of blogs. I use Feedly to read them. Does my subscribing to blogs through Feedly reflect in a bloggers stats?

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    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I’m in my 2nd year of blogging and still don’t really understand how it all works. I suppose it sounds ungrateful to gripe about followers, but I think something specific happened on WordPress that caused a jump in the spam followers. It would be hard to sort out spam from readers like yourself, who are silent (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), so I’ve stopped paying attention to stats altogether.

      I’ve been through several cycles of getting hung up on stats, but have realized that generally focusing on your purpose for writing is really the only way forward. I wish you luck on your blogging journey!

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  31. Hi,

    Scams eh? It’s all a little dispiriting,and spooky. There’s this AWOL trash for starts. I’ve just jumped here from another blogger’s site – this poor woman receives the vilest hate posts on her blog, from ‘affiliates’ simply for stating the obvious truth.

    You can spend a day on Youtube watching the motivational videos. They try to cover so many bases, so many of our weak spots with the cod philosophy, very clever: shimmering seascape, voiceover: ‘I was once, a louse – like you. Now I am great. Join us, join us…mwoahh haha aha.’

    I also sometimes get visited by the pretty avatar ladies with the absent blogs who turn up for two days and disappear…aww, shucks etc :))…

    I like the way if you post ‘fat’ in a blog the weight loss doctor ‘follows’ you. Also I’ve had bloggers who like almost everything I write. Here I imagine that ‘I have some crazed superfan…and that this is only to be expected in my career as a “great writer,” steel yoursel, young man’ etc – turns out they ‘like’ every post on the www.

    But then the web is a very strange place. Check out some of the megablogs with 10 billion followers and the posts are kind of inane and folksy. Maybe it is comfort food?

    Ahhh, such fun! :/

    All the best

    Like

    • I think “comfort food” is a very good way to put it! In my two+ years here, I’ve begun to notice that the blogs that garner the most followers are those that reveal human vulnerability, deal in “inspirational” posts or pictures of flowers, or just don’t much challenge the reader. Blogs that truly challenge or seek to educate tend to languish.

      If the web is a strange place, it’s only because it reflects the world.

      Like

  32. I hate it when people do this… It’s annoying when although your follower count goes up, your views don’t increase. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Still, there’ll always be spam followers as long as there will be blogs.

    Like

    • It is annoying and you’re right – it’s not going away or at least they haven’t come up with filters for it. I’m pretty sure 40% of subscribers to this blog are spammers, but since my focus should be on the writing, I just have to put blinders on!

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  33. So annoying, yes. On the upside, it has made me EXTRA excited when an actual human with an actual blog that has actual good content follows me. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  34. Ahhh! Thank you so much for voicing this! I am a new blogger (less than a month) and it annoys me that WP is constantly pushing following other people as a way to get more views. I will follow blogs interesting to me period, extra views be damned!

    I only follow exactly 4 blogs. These are blogs I actually followed before I ever started my own, and I take my following seriously. Like for realz seriously. On my Fantastic Four I’ve read ALL the archives and I read new posts almost immediately.

    Oh but congrats because you are lucky #5! The Green Study got addictive super fast.

    Super hugs and rainbow kittens,
    JoJo

    Like

    • Thanks for making me lucky #5! You are a wiser new blogger than I was, as I got sucked into thinking that courtesy follows were expected. My reader grew exponentially and I soon realized my folly – one person can only read so many blogs. WordPress is a great platform, but some of their changes have triggered massive amounts of spam followers over the last few months. It actually serves a purpose in a way, if you get compulsive about statistics (it happens to everyone at least once) – when the numbers get rendered meaningless, you are reminded of why you’re blogging in the first place. For me, it was writing.

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  35. I read it, honest! Seriously though, this really bugs me, so many likes that come from “commercial blogs” clearly only left to generate traffic to their blogs.

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  36. Thanks for writing this, even though I’m just now coming to it. My blog subscribers blew up this past week even though I haven’t written anything and my page views are otherwise fairly flat. Weird stuff. Glad to know that you’ve experienced this as well.

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    • When it first happened, I was baffled. Now, since nothing has improved at WordPress in regards to bot followers, it has simply become another part of the cluttered virtual landscape, so I no longer pay attention to new follows. It’s rather unfortunate, since there are likely legitimate bloggers that fail to gain new readers due to this problem. Ah well, if you stay in the game long enough, you have to have better reasons for blogging than the numbers. I wish you the best!

      Like

  37. To me spam followers are Splenda. They have a vaguely strange aftertaste in that they are robots but also conserve calories of my time and effort and make me feel reasonably adequate when I bake them in pies.

    Like

  38. Reblogged this on Hemmingplay and commented:
    I’ve been getting some from people promising to drive my stats and show me how to do this blog thing. I never return the ‘follow’. If I follow your blog, it’s because I want to hear what you have to say. To do otherwise, and Michelle does below, would be disrespectful of you and the effort you put into this.

    Like

  39. Hi,
    I reflagged this and just started following you. And reblogged this post.

    And like you, I don’t follow people I don’t read and appreciate, so you can take that as a compliment on your writing. Sorry I’m late. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • Thanks for the reblog and for the follow! Every time I return to this post, I remember just how irritable I was feeling when I wrote it! I don’t think anything has been resolved in terms of the spammers, but it has been a great way to completely unhook from the numbers and to focus on writing. And you’re only fashionably late.

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  40. I’ve had a sudden influx of followers from India. Most of them are spam sites. I’ve been using the ‘Report this Content’ menu item that appears when you hover over the name of the site.

    Like

    • Ah – a possible solution! Or at least a sense that we might be able to do something. I’d rather given up, since the spam followers continue to rise, but I’ll take your suggestion and do the same. Thanks!

      Like

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