Thursday, October 13, 2011

For one brief shining moment....

When I started Second Effort, I dedicated one of my email accounts to blog comments. Over the years I've accumulated a hefty pile of comments -- but recently the numbers of comments have dropped precipitously. Over the years, I've found that the best way to get comments is to leave comments on other people's blogs.

I did that for awhile. I spent far too much of my work days in this pursuit. And only some of the people I visited would reciprocate with comments here. So now I read what I want to read. Sometimes I comment. Most times I don't.

And, I've found, a lot of folks blog for awhile -- and lose interest. A few of my regulars have died. Others have found real jobs. Or other hobbies. It takes a peculiar stubbornness to keep blogging, as I have, for nearly seven years now. (This blog will soon turn six. But there was a blog before this one. It was long ago deleted.)

Even though my comments are down, I still get lots of "hits." Because I have nearly 1,500 posts (I'll probably reach that milestone next week) and such a wide variety of topics (or lack of focus, depending on your point of view) this blog apparently pops up in a lot of searches.

It's that lack of focus that has really helped to keep readership (and comments) down. I'll write about legal topics for awhile and maybe attract some interest from persons interested in the law. But then I'll start in on family topics again. Or whining about money. I'll try and position myself as a humorist. But, then, if I start getting people dropping in looking for a chuckle, I'll go on a political rant and offend conservatives and liberals alike. Then, just in case anyone has stayed with me anyway, I'll stop posting for a week. Or two. Once people realize that they can start their day without a dose of the Curmudgeon, they forget all about me and start looking for kitten videos on You Tube.

But I posted yesterday morning and, yesterday afternoon, from sheer force of habit, or forlorn hope, I thought I'd check my comment email.

I had over 40 new emails. New comments! I was over the moon. I was on Cloud Nine. I was irrationally exuberant.

Obviously (I thought) one of my many, many posts here had finally resonated in the Blogosphere. I'd gone viral, baby! That book contract was as good as sewn up.

I started looking at the list of unopened emails. Almost all comments, yes, but not all on the same post. Bad sign.

I looked at the first email. It was from "hair care products." My balloon began deflating. Sure enough, the "name" of the commenter was linked to a website.

I opened the next. This one, at least, was from an actual human name. If, that is, you accept "Mervyn" as a human name. It at least resembles the human name "Merwyn." "Mervyn" was moved to comment on my baseball playoff predictions. Not the wildly inaccurate ones I recently posted, mind you, but the equally inaccurate predictions I'd made in 2007.

And what did "Mervyn" have to say about my lack of prognosticating skills four years after the fact? "This will not actually have effect, I think so." And "Mervyn" thoughtfully provided three links to other sites, allegedly for video game stuff.

Others in this barrage of comments were from indisputably human names -- but every blessed one of them was along the lines of, "Quite worthwhile piece of writing, lots of thanks for the article," or "It's all erroneous the thing you are saying." And nearly every one of these "comments" had three links for game sites, pharmaceuticals, phone apps, antibiotics.... The ones that didn't have three links had four.

I started deleting frantically. Despite the precaution of requiring word verification on comments, I'd been massively infected with spam links. The Blogger spam filter caught less than a quarter of them, too. The vast majority had been published -- and I spent a good chunk of time yesterday afternoon unpublishing them.

For one brief shining moment, though, I thought my obsessive blogging had finally turned me into an overnight sensation. For one brief shining moment, I thought I saw a glistening castle on a hill. Then my vision cleared, and the "castle" turned out to be a pyramid made of spam.


Jeni said...

Well, my dear, here's a for real comment for your comment box today! I follow you via my reader so every time you post, I do read your blog. I'm guilty as sin of not commenting though, as I've kind of gotten out of the habit of remembering to do that or sometimes, I'm really at a loss of words to post in a comment too. (My regular readers as well as some bloggers I follow will shake their heads at that statement of being at a loss for words since all to often when I do comment, it is virtually like I'm writing a post of my own there, in that person's space! So I'm trying to get away from doing that but today, I figured "what the hey!" You deserve a comment today and trust me, I'm trying really hard not to make it too long-winded! Just to let you know I do read your blog, regularly, and I do enjoy it very much, and I appreciate that you keep coming back and entertaining your readers! (Also, I have a similar problem with one particular individual who, as soon as I lift the comment moderation off my blog, swoops down and leaves some nonsensical post which is usually linked to sunglasses or one of two other products this person is apparently affiliated with! Very Annoying, especially since the comments are obviously written by one who has little to no understanding of the English language either!)

Steve Skinner said...

I have heard that in Hawaii, spam is considered a delicacy.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

aw buggers curmy! that sucks...

smiles, bee

katherine. said...

I'd been out of both reading and writing in the weblog world...but I've always kept you in my Reader, and looked through your posts.