Saturday, December 17, 2011

Good Question: How do I know when it is SPAM?

I was reading a LinkedIn post, and I noticed that someone with a responding comment asked a very good question.

How do you know when it's SPAM?

You will not always know, for sure, when something is real or something is SPAM.  In fact, that is part of what makes SPAM really frustrating.  You don't always know what to take as truth versus something else.

There are some things that make it obvious, and these should cover the majority of the easy-to-see cases:
  1. Unrelated to Topic: People leave comments on a website (blog, social media post, forum thread) that do NOT relate to the site's topic.  A person does this (or hires someone else to do this) so that they can leave a website link on their comment to leads people to their site (a backlink).  This can also be done for "points" awarded by some social media platforms when you leave a comment.
  2. Related to Topic but Unrelated to Post: People leave a comment that relates to the topic but is not really a response to the post.  For instance, "This is a great post about real estate.  If you would like to buy real estate in France, go to (link)." within a website that sells real estate in Mississippi (USA).
  3. Keyword Stuffed Articles: Something that is not officially SPAM but looks and acts a lot like SPAM is when people write articles that are only meant to support their website.  These articles seem to only contain certain keywords while offering no real informational value about the keyword related topic.  Again, they do this to get a backlink from this "article" to the website they are promoting.

Essentially, SPAM is pollution, except that it is "junk" that interrupts "real" information that is on the Internet.  Without it, we would not really need to "filter" things that we read on the Internet; it would always be good, reliable, and match well to what we are researching.

People SPAM to try tricking search engines, like Google, into thinking that their site is more valuable (for a specific search term) than the other websites.  Therefore, their site gets listed at the top or a lot closer to the top of the list than it really deserves.

It is sort of like stuffing the ballot box at a voting booth.  You "won" because you got more votes, but many of those votes were phony.

SPAM makes the Internet a worse place, but the search engines keep awarding people who SPAM.  Otherwise, they would not spend time doing it.

People find a way to "cheat the system," until Google finds a way to catch them doing it.  At that point, these people might get "penalized" for doing it, and their website might rank a little lower.  However, until that time, they are getting rewarded--unfairly.

As marketers, we are all guilty of it, but hopefully, we do not resort to SPAM tactics too much.  The Internet is really awesome, and I hope it stays that way.  It already is "uglier" than it was even 5 years ago.

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Hey there! Thank you for taking time to read my post and share your thoughts with me and my other readers. I'm always tickled when I get a non-SPAM comment. Honestly, sometimes I'm even okay with some borderline SPAM.

Let me know if you would like for me to address a topic by sending me an email at

Thanks, again. I look forward to seeing you soon.