July 9, 2007

Now You, Too, Can Be a Spammer for Only US$19.99

published this at 9:43 am

Don’t Just Sit There, Make More!!

Buy Blog Comments logo

I just had a most disturbing Skype conversation with Darren about an awful new service called Buy Blog Comments (buyblogcomments.com) offered by a person calling himself Jon Waraas (Jonwaraas.com).

Yes, folks, it’s true!!! For as little as $19.99 you, too, can be a spammer to targeted blogs!!!

Buy Blog Comments.com offers
100 Blog Comments Only $19.99!
500 Blog Comments Only $99.99!
1000 Blog Comments Only $199.99!

Finally you can purchase quality blog comments without the stress of finding someone to write the comments, or buying some high priced automated program. We specialize in selling blog comments for blackhatters who are looking for good quality backlinks. We have three different types of packages, you can either buy 100 blog comments, 500 blog comments, or 1000 blog comments at a time. . . .

This concept isn’t new to us. We’ve run into astrospammers around Net Neutrality, but it’s never been advertised quite such a in-your-face, out-in-the-open, damn-the-ethics-and-the good-guys manner.

We talked about the ethics of paid commenting last October in Bloggy Question 26, Do You Wish to Comment? and we sure did.

Who Is This Guy?

As Sundance would have said to Butch Cassidy . . . “Who is this guy?” Just go to Google. He pretty much tells you himself.

Sept. 2006 . . . In an interview 10 months ago, at basementguru, Jon Waraas reported his age as 19 and said . . .

I believe in making a website for the user, not the bot. What SEO is is tweaking the bot into giving you a better ranking. I don’t believe in doing that. Make a high quality website with lots of original content and the bots will follow.

That was then.

Not sure of the date . . . On ReviewME, his profile says he’s an “unethical swearing marketeer.” US$500 per review.

Jan. 2007 . . . He joined 7 months ago. Isn’t he a lovely girl?

Last night . . . at jonwaraas.com/seo-service-launches/

Well im off to bed, I cant wait to wake up and see all the hait mail/comments (exaggeration)

This morning . . . at Buy Blog Comments. com . . .

We currently have 6 people working with me (Jon waraas) that speak english really well. We dont use people who cant even speak english. It is important to have well written blog comments so that they wont get deleted by the blogger.

How considerate!

What Can We Do?

Darren has a fine discussion and is asking the legal question . . .

I’d like to hear from those with a legal background comment on the legality of such a business. I know that of late spammers have been getting taken to court for sending unsolicited emails – I’d be interested to know what the legal standing would be of a company who so openly offers to leave spam comments on someone else’s web property.

I’d like to know too.

Even more . . . What can we do?

Some lines we can’t let bad guys cross.
One is the threshold to our house.

We can’t let folks drop trash in our kitchen
to make their property have more value.

We can’t rely on other folks to clean up
stuff bad guys bring across our doorways.

End of story.

They’re OUR blogs those comments will be landing on.

Let Mr. Waraass.com know.
–ME “Liz” Strauss

Filed under Successful Blog, Tech/Stats | 98 Comments »


C'mon. Let's talk!

98 Comments to “Now You, Too, Can Be a Spammer for Only US$19.99”

  1. July 9th, 2007 at 10:05 am
    Mark said

    Liz,

    This is one very dangerous human being. Dangerous to the welfare of all that is peaceful and serene online.

    I want to both suggest, and suggest you don’t, read through a bit of the WickedFire Forum listed on his MyBlogLog. Don’t, because the tactics these people advocate will truly make you sick. Do, so you can be forewarned.

    Then look here for his blatant promotion of the free downloads of IM’s ebooks.

    http://www.aojon.com/ebooks-hosted-by-wickedfire-now/

    One person amongst many that need to be seriously slapped!

    Mark

  2. July 9th, 2007 at 10:12 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Mark,
    I’m with you on this issue and an issue it is. This young man needs to get some serious feedback to his blatant misunderstanding of how the blogosphere in general feels about blackhat SEO.

    I’m sure Google has an eye on him as well.

  3. July 9th, 2007 at 10:39 am
    David Leggett said

    Oh wow…
    I actually know this guy. I’ve spoken with him several times on MSN, and if I remember correctly, he’s always just been about finding ways of generating traffic as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

    It won’t be easy to change his viewpoints. This guy is very young, has built huge monetary resources, and is simply interested in expanding his online empire.

    He’s been a pain in the past, and the last time I spoke with him was probably about a year ago. Can’t imagine him being a whole lot better now.

    …Just checked him on my MSN contact list. He advertises himself on there as:
    “Unethical Marketing Only at JonWaraas.Com”

  4. July 9th, 2007 at 10:43 am
    Chris Cree said

    Oh, the discussion over at Problogger is lively on this one. People floating all kinds of ideas to discourage this guy from IP blocking to Goggle bombing his site as a “spammer”.

    I wonder if, like someone who codes a virus and turns it loose, he’s just looking for some quick notoriety.

  5. July 9th, 2007 at 10:46 am
    David Leggett said

    @ Chris

    I have a feeling that all these plugs he is getting is really just the type of advertising he is looking for. You are probably right.

  6. July 9th, 2007 at 10:46 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi David,
    Thank you for sharing what you know. From what I’ve read that is the picture I got. Doesn’t surprise me. I guess people go with what works for them.

    So our job is to let him know that it’s not as easy as it looks. I don’t know why he shouldn’t find going against the tide painful himself.

    What would it take? Regular comments on HIS blog in a nice polite voice that were about diapers, beaded purses, trips to Tahiti, ice cream, cookies, how much we love him, candy, popcorn, . . . a nuisance. Sorry, a girl can dream, can’t she? :)

  7. July 9th, 2007 at 10:51 am
    Chris Cree said

    The trouble is the rest of us all have lives. I don’t want to waste mine leaving comments on his site, building traffic to him, or giving away links to his ilk.

    But then the idea of letting evil flourish by doing nothing rubs me wrong too…

  8. July 9th, 2007 at 10:53 am
    Twila Marie said

    @Chris and @David,
    I absolutely agree with you guys. We all know that the more hype there is about this guy, the more he’s going to run with it.

    @Me Strauss: Oh yes! Let’s! Ya wanna? LOL! (Ok, so I’m sharing the dream, but damn you made me laugh!)

  9. July 9th, 2007 at 10:56 am
    ME Strauss said

    Yeah, David and Chris,
    I’m sure that’s exactly what he’s after, but you know greed of that sort has been know to backfire when folks don’t understand the audience they are playing to. :)

    It’s not true that all publicity’s good. Ask Monica Lewinsky. :)

  10. July 9th, 2007 at 11:11 am
    David Leggett said

    Hello Liz,

    Haha, now you’re talking fighting fire with fire, and I have no doubt that doing such a thing would greatly bother him. But of course, that is just stooping to a low level ourselves, so probably not a great way of dealing with him.

    My personal opinion from (VERY) limited experience: When you’re simply interested in just the money of the game, your mind can be poisoned. That’s not to say that Jon is an evil person or anything, but simply has become addicted to the game of generating revenue. There is hardly ever an easy solution to an addiction. It usually just takes a strong will of the person to quit, and if that will is not there I have no idea what to do… Maybe counseling, just simple messages to him with our concerns?

    Spam to me is a lot like terrorism (on a much smaller scale of course, and not nearly as frightening). What I mean is that even if you find one way of actually preventing it from happening, the spammer can always find another way of bothering society. The only way to really prevent it is to simply make the spammer… well, not a spammer.

  11. July 9th, 2007 at 11:12 am
    Lewis Green said

    Liz,

    I guess I’m from another planet regarding issues such as these. A client of mine recently met a person who managed to get on the Wall Street Journal Best Seller List by manipulating sales through Amazon.com. He essentially bought the books himself. I explained to my client that I believe manipulating numbers in this way is unethical and that I would not support such behavior. He agreed, following a lengthy discussion, and he remains my client.

    Spamming blogs is also unethical and I suspect against the SPAMCan Act. When I receive this type of SPAM, I mark it as SPAM and block the sender.

    I believe most people are good and am always disappointed when I find such self-serving and unethical behavior. I guess I should come out of my cave. Maybe not. I think seeing the good has made me a better person. It certainly has helped me find such people as yourself and your readers.

  12. July 9th, 2007 at 11:14 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi David,
    What a great observation!

    Any sort of gaming the system is really gaming yourself in the end — because you always end up a slave to feeding the machine. Oh yeah.

  13. July 9th, 2007 at 11:17 am
    vaspers the grate said

    Chris Brogan twittered this link.

    I am opposed to PayPerPost and all compensated opinion and incentivized blogging.

    It breaks the Trust Web of the blogosphere, the user to user recommendation system.

    Fortunately, the self-policing nature of the blogosphere will react forcefully to this blog-whoring garbage.

  14. July 9th, 2007 at 11:32 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hey Lewis!
    One of the best things about the blogosphere is that I am no longer confused by values that are regional . . . though sometimes I get thrown by those that are part of my community only. Not for long, though, because something like this shows up. :)

  15. July 9th, 2007 at 11:38 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Vaspers!
    I think the blogosphere will have a reaction too. I know that I have had one. :)

  16. July 9th, 2007 at 11:39 am
    KevinD said

    Liz,

    Thanks for this post, I will have to keep an eye on the new bloggers registering.

    It is as bad as the kids being paid to digg things on digg.com. Is nothing real anymore?

    Kevin

  17. July 9th, 2007 at 12:24 pm
    When a Blogger's Generosity is Exploited... - eMoms at Home - Blogging and Internet Marketing for Home Based Entrepreneurs said

    [...] Anyway, many people expressed a little skepticism as I gave them an example of one of these sneaky spam comments – yet today I have proof positive that what walks like a duck and quacks like a duck is indeed a duck. [...]

  18. July 9th, 2007 at 12:33 pm
    The Happy Rock said

    I think it is funny that the cheapest pricing is for a 100 comments. It is actually more expensive to buy 500 comments than it is to buy 5 x 100 comments. To me this gives a lack of legitimacy to his already sleazy business.

  19. July 9th, 2007 at 12:35 pm
    Wendy Piersall said

    Whoa, Vaspers – putting paid endorsements in the same bucket as spammers is WAY out of line – would you call Michael Jordan a spammer because he endorses Nike and gets paid for it?

    Holding yourself to those standards is perfectly appropriate for your blog – but even the guidelines from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) states that there is nothing wrong with paid endorsements – as long as it is disclosed.

    Writing a quality review, getting paid for it, and disclosing that is light-years away from comment spam.

    Regardless, I stopped by for a different reason today – to share a link on how this affects the DoFollow movement – and that if you haven’t been a ruthless comment moderator until now, you dang well should:

    http://www.emomsathome.com/blog/2007/07/09/when-a-bloggers-generosity-is-exploited/

  20. July 9th, 2007 at 12:50 pm
    Tam said

    I have to tell you something – I didn’t know about this kind of thing until this post.

    Even if I were an unethical link monger – I surely wouldn’t pay money to someone to write blog comments with my name and link to my blogs or sites when their writing of the English language is so poor.

    It’s one thing if I write that way but to pay someone to write for me and pretend to be me… I would have to teach them to write run on sentences to impersonate me.

    That is the crux of the problem – to be deceitful in order to boost your search engine rankings.

  21. July 9th, 2007 at 1:27 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Wendy,
    Whoa, I should have thought on that. Thanks for bringing that up. I was listening to Vaspers’ heart. (Vaspers, I know where you’re coming from, but Wendy is on the money.)

    As far as moderating comments go, the blogosphere needs to respond to this if only to protect “do follow.” This would make it awfully tempting to turn it off or leave it off on the next upgrade. That would be sad.

    I don’t want to blog defensively.

  22. July 9th, 2007 at 1:30 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Tam,
    I know. I know. I don’t want to hand over my identity to anyone either. The Internet has no eraser. It’s about relationships not links and clicks. It’s great having you back. :)

  23. July 9th, 2007 at 1:38 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Twila Marie!
    I did read your comment and I took you along with me when I mentally played that game of writing lovely comments on his blog. :)

  24. July 9th, 2007 at 1:41 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Yeah, The Happy Rock,
    I noticed that pricing thing too! It’s the sign of kid playing at business or getting greedy as the numbers went up. Who knows? :)

    Darren did the math and figured that it would take about 586 comments to make US$100/day at the price being charged for the 100 comments rate. :)

  25. July 9th, 2007 at 1:44 pm
    ME Strauss said

    @ #16 Kevin D.
    Don’t know why my comments are coming in so strangely. . . . hmmmm.

    Yeah I know. I’m keeping an eye too. At least, we know the folks we have in our communities are real. :)

  26. July 9th, 2007 at 1:47 pm
    Jesse Petersen said

    I may not be getting the traffic I’m targeting yet, but I’m sure as heck not going to pay someone to comment on other blogs to backlink me. That makes ME the spammer, even if it’s not my name on the comment.

    Without proof of a transaction, that activity still reeks of “get rich quick” scheming on both ends. He gets money now, and the blogger hopes to get advertising clicks.

    If the goal is Technorati ranking, that’s still crazy, because comments don’t influence rankings AND disappear after 90 days.

    I think David’s comments about this guy are the most telling character analysis one could ask for before doing business with him. I know I look for comments before doing business with people I haven’t met, and this would definitely prevent me from even considering any relationship with him.

  27. July 9th, 2007 at 1:52 pm
    Andrew Flusche said

    I love the fact that he provides his own testimonial on the front page of BuyBlogComments.com – “Blog comments are the perfect way to get valid backlinks, on this website you can purchase them with ease” – it’s a quote from him on his personal domain.

    Maybe I should try that: “This future lawyer is a great guy.” -Andy

  28. July 9th, 2007 at 1:57 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Jesse,
    You nailed the situation and the character of the people who might enter into a contract about the kind of service being offered. You’re right no matter who types, the guy paying is the spammer. Well said. :)

  29. July 9th, 2007 at 1:58 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Andy!
    Yeah! I saw that too! It was too funny. I didn’t know quite how to bring it over here. I’m delighted that you did. :)

  30. July 9th, 2007 at 3:45 pm
    vaspers the grate said

    Wendy Piersall: I disagree.

    There is a huge difference between legit marketing/advertising and the scumbag blog whoring of PayPerPost and other compensated opinion dissemination.

    For a blogger to take a bribe to blog about/against a product is wrong. Or to post comments about/against a product.

    The blogosphere is based on Trust Linking, users advising other users, in an impartial, non-incentivized manner.

    We want to hear from uncoached users, spontaneous, no hidden agenda usage reports and reviews.

    I can smell the stench of a boiler plate, commercial, compensated comment when it lines up for moderation for my blog.

    All such bribed remarks are poison to the blogosphere. I even have to state repeatedly that my remarks and reviews are Unpaid Opinions, to clarify.

    If we start distrusting the motives of blog posts and comments, we lose the whole deal.

    Disclosure helps, but is not the core issue.

  31. July 9th, 2007 at 3:48 pm
    vaspers the grate said

    People who are paid to write reviews will lose credibility in the blogosphere. Many bloggers refuse to accept a free product, which coaxes a favorable review.

    My standard is Consumer Reports.

  32. July 9th, 2007 at 4:08 pm
    Chris Cree said

    Interesting comment at Problogger explaining Google’s stance on the whole thing. Yes it’s interesting indeed.

  33. July 9th, 2007 at 4:35 pm
    Roberta said

    I unsubscribed from his feed as I feel this is a useless service. Trying to game the system only gets you blacklisted by the pros and the informed…

  34. July 9th, 2007 at 4:38 pm
    Adam Kayce : Monk At Work said

    What about plugins like Bad Behavior, and sites like Project Honey Pot?

    Wouldn’t they be a line of defense that at least keeps them from crossing your own threshold (and in the ‘honey pot’ case, do something more proactive)?

  35. July 9th, 2007 at 4:41 pm
    Rick Cockrum said

    One of the standard bits of advice given out to get your blog known and attract people to read it is to comment on other blogs. If your primary purpose in commenting on a blog is this, you’ve turned it into an economic transaction. The entire purpose of the do follow movement is to encourage people to comment by giving them some link juice. It’s an economic transaction. In both cases, the person who is leaving the comment, if their primary purpose is other than talking about what is being talked about in the post or comments, is engaging in a bit of spam. They are engaging in conversation with an ulterior motive. Does this differ qualitatively from what this guy is doing? An extra level of deceit is added by this guy’s scheme, but might it not be a quantitative difference rather than a qualitative one?

  36. July 9th, 2007 at 4:44 pm
    Phil Wolff said

    My first thoughts were:

    “why would I pay for 100 more comments on my blog?” and

    “what would strangers who don’t know anything about me or my subject matter have to add to the conversation?” and

    “how would I tell these 100 comments from all the bot-generated spam?”

  37. July 9th, 2007 at 4:47 pm
    Jan said

    I don’t think you can do anything, but let thing die by its own hand and I think it will. There are dozens of services being launched every day to some how undermine the good old fashioned values most of us represent when it comes to blog promotion etc. and I may be terribly naive, but I do not think they survive long on average.

    When we open our blogs for comments do we encourage people to comment and thus it cannot be illegal to do so I reckon. If it was spamming in the sense of mass commenting on a single blog would it be another matter entirely.

    You cannot fool people for long. If this service actually would deliver quality comments on the websites where it comments then there would in fact be no problem would there? Since it probably won’t the comments will either be of such nature that they can be deleted on sight or that everybody automatically ignores them.

    So if we assume that they would actually be legal and stay up on the websites what good do they do the one paying? I am no SEO expert, but what do you gain from having comments on dozens of blogs unless your comments are insightful enough to attract people to click your name and check your blog?

    A delightfully lame idea just entered my mind as I was typing. Why don’t we all order 1000 comments and then sue him when he cannot deliver the goods :-)

  38. July 9th, 2007 at 5:40 pm
    Phil Wolff said

    Jan – Can we tell his commenters to take a particular point of view? Which sites to write on? Like, oh, maybe buyblogcomments.com?

  39. July 9th, 2007 at 6:50 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Vaspers!
    Behave! America is still land of freedom of choice.

    You know that the rule here is be nice. I see nothing wrong with a paid review in the hands of a good blogger. Some folks need the money and can do it without candor. Actually I see more strength in a paid review than I some strongly pulled political blogs (either side) or a blog for another deeply felt cause. At least a paid review discloses the fact. Cause-driven blogs, of which HandsOfftheInternet is a great example, that sit on one side of an argument sometimes do not. They claim to be one thing when, in fact they are something else.

    Generalizations are never good. You know that. End of story.

  40. July 9th, 2007 at 7:06 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi All,
    It’s heartening that you bring back the idea that what the comment box is about is conversation not a business transation that results in traffic.

    If you come here for a link in my comment box, you’re only here for one thing . . . like a guy on a date. How shallow is that? As shallow as the guy who’s selling this service. He’s greedy and 20 years old or maybe his ego makes him want to think he’s smarter than the rest of us.

    Thank you, Rick, for pulling us back to that point of perspective. :)

    As for a response, the young man needs watching, and I hope for a response. . . . Not to see him dumped on by a mob, but to see him held accountable for the fact that he so arrogantly has thought himself above the “laws of nature and man.” And I learned in English literature class that such thinking is a tragic flaw. :)

    I’d like to believe that’s still true.

  41. July 9th, 2007 at 7:09 pm
    ME Strauss said

    The lameness of the business idea . . . would make a great freshman Business 101 analysis project — Write this guy’s business plan and then tear it apart. :)

  42. July 9th, 2007 at 7:16 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Phil,
    Welcome!
    I was thinking that, if we’re going to imagine ideas, I’ll go you one better. Everyone buy the 100 comments for $25.00 offered by his competitor, a company we set up only for a single sercice — spamming buyblogcomments and the associated personal blog.

    100 comments to one blog $25.00
    100 comments to each blog $40.00
    500 comments to one blog $100.00
    500 comments to each blog $175.00

    All comments would nice things in different languages, such words of wisdom.

  43. July 9th, 2007 at 7:30 pm
    PSST - Want to buy Some Blog Comments | Dipping into the Blogpond said

    [...] This concern has to be amplified on the most popular blogs. Indeed Darren Rowse has an interesting discussion at Problogger, which is where I first read about this new (dis) service. If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to follow his discussion about buying blog comments. So too Liz Strauss has a bit of background on this disgraced blogger in her discussion about blog spamming. [...]

  44. July 9th, 2007 at 7:41 pm
    Rick Cockrum said

    Playing devil’s advocate – Since disclosure seems to be a meeting point for what is ethical/not ethical in blogging (eg – paid links listed as sponsors, paid links in posts either noted as an affiliate or double-underlined, paid posts written with a disclaimer) would these be acceptable if they started with a disclaimer?

    THIS IS A PAID COMMENT

    Of course, they would be deleted right away.

    Regarding the business plan – Think of the people who hired on to write the comments. Assume they get half the money. That’s $10.00/100 comments. To make $5.00/hour, they have to write 50 comments an hour. 50,000 comments a year makes you $5000 for 1000 hours work. How many people can do that? Supposedly they are relevant to the post, and not differentiated from other comments. Either the paid commenter will end up getting the shaft by working for basically nothing, or the purchaser of the surface will end up getting the shaft by being pegged as a spammer.

  45. July 9th, 2007 at 7:45 pm
    Daily Links for 07/09/07 said

    [...] Now You, Too, Can Be a Spammer for Only US$19.99 (tags: spam blogging blogs comments) [...]

  46. July 9th, 2007 at 7:52 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Rick,
    I love you best when you go to that place there. My first thought was

    Shaft happens. :)

  47. July 9th, 2007 at 8:07 pm
    HART (1-800-HART) said

    Well, I’m almost in agreement with most everybody’s opinion about the morality of such a service but I will have to say .. Successful-Blog and ProBlogger are going way too overboard with this and now I’m cheering for the little guy – the spammers. These type of posts are worst than spammers .. it’s spamming as an artform.

    Yes. I disagree wholeHARTedly. Sorry. That’s my view.

  48. July 9th, 2007 at 8:19 pm
    ME Strauss said

    HART,
    I’ve had a “friend,” someone I knew for years, come to my comment box for a few weeks under an assumed name pretending to be not who she was. That was a violation.

    I’ve had folks blatantly use this commeent box as a billboard while they talked to me. I treated them with respect, like I treat you. I think you deserve better, but I can’t give you more.

    Every morning I wake up to hundreds of spam comments. Every hour I clear hundreds more. Every hour there two or three that are false comments meant to sound relevant . . . I care about the conversation here. You know I always have. So yeah, I’m sensitive about this.

    How often do I rant? Spammers and Technorati. That ain’t so bad. :)

  49. July 9th, 2007 at 8:32 pm
    HART (1-800-HART) said

    You’re entitled to rant just like the rest of us! I think I would say that I think “Uncle Ben”‘s advice is sometimes better than a rant (with great responsibility etc etc). According to the comment buying blog, only blogs with “no-follow” disabled seems to be targeted, so if bloggers are worried about who is providing comments on their blogs – don’t follow.

    And, its unfortunate that a friend of yours had to hide her identity and blog anonymously under a different name .. but, surely that is less of an offense than … well, fake comments ?

  50. July 9th, 2007 at 8:40 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Well, HART, I didn’t think was less of an offense. I felt betrayed and tricked. She knew who I was and I didn’t know she was. She came to my house dressed as someone else.

    The idea of fake comments never crossed my mind ever . . . ever! Who would I be talking to? I would always know they were there. That would be me selling myself out. The two crimes can’t be compared.

    In the end, my comment box is for conversation, not for sale. :) You, sir, have always been welcome agree or disagree. Have a beer. :)

  51. July 9th, 2007 at 8:41 pm
    HART (1-800-HART) said

    btw .. I’m not HART .. I’m HART’s evil Twin on vacation :) // I think the HART’s sunburn and the mosquito bites are starting to get to HART //

  52. July 9th, 2007 at 8:54 pm
    Tam said

    Those evil twins come in handy sometimes – I’m gonna ask my mom for one :-) Aloe for the sunburn and alcohol for the mosquito bites – the beer will help too.

    As for the discussion – I’ve been reading the comments as they come through and each time, I come back to the same thought.

    For real bloggers – those that want to connect, will be shaken to their core if there is a possibility that someone posting on their blog is actually deceiving them.

    I remember a super affiliate type of marketer that opened up an intern program. I volunteered but lasted only two days because one of the criteria to be an intern required us to take on an assumed name that we would use on forums and communities to network with a “fake” resource box so he could track how effective the program was.

    I couldn’t go to blogs and forums, networking sites and pretend to be someone else. In the end some of the forum owners black balled him and his interns.

    The bottom line in that instance was that integrity and honesty still prevails. These were internet marketers, not neccessarily bloggers but they didn’t want people coming and pretending to be anything other than who they were.

    It rattled them and this rattles me just because I don’t want to ever be questioned – Are you who you say you are?

    That’s the part that grates on me. I’m not going to lose sleep over it but others have been ruined because they were caught deceiving others. Often times they take others down with them.

    Now – stepping down from my soapbox.

    I’ve rather enjoyed the lively discussion!

  53. July 9th, 2007 at 9:03 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Tam!
    Yeah, I could do with an evil twin . . . or two, myself, when your mom gets you one, could you ask her to pick me up a couple as well? I’ll buy the beer. :)

    I think I would have the same problem you had with trying to comment as someone who wasn’t me. I just can’t. It’s not who I am, literally or figuratively. I want people to know when I say something they can trust it always. That means living up to that. That means being able to look in the mirror.

    My mother always said, “Give a theif before a liar. At least I’ll know what he took.” I understand what that means.

    Yeah, Tam, I’ve enjoyed listening to the discussion too.

  54. July 10th, 2007 at 12:50 am
    Buying Blog Comments said

    [...] and I’m happy to report that the reaction is mostly negative. You can find examples here, here, and here. Of course, John Chow thinks it’s a good idea but the pricing is too high… [...]

  55. July 10th, 2007 at 1:58 am
    HART (1-800-HART) said

    You know, I was doing fine this summer .. the black flies and mosquitos are awful.. and so far it’s been hot and sunny. Then .. some CANADIAN scientist had to come up with some conclusion that the Oxybenzone ingredient in that new Coppertone Sunscreen spray is hazardous to my health when mixed with Off Deep-Woods spray with Deet! Got my wife all scared, while I slowly burn in the sun, getting eaten alive! What it meant to me? Nothing. What it meant to my wife? Hide and seek with the Coppertone and/or the Off.

    Yes Tam – thanks for the aloe tip and FYI alcohol works well for BOTH sunburn and mosquito bites :)

    Back to the discussion, I’ve been online since spring-1995 and quite familiar with forums, chat boards, ICQ, PowWow, etc .. and I always used my own name HART .. instead of SuperHUNK or SuperGENIOUS or SuperNICEGuy, etc etc. It’s just easier to remember the truth and one’s own personality, than trying to remember more than one. I agree it’s the same with blogging. I think Rick Cockrum’s post #44 gets it right and it will be more than a moral issue if that ‘commenting’ service succeeds. If blog owners don’t catch on and just delete the fake comments, or Akismet recognizes the IP and automatically deletes the fake comments, or if advertisers figure out that comments are appearing useless and inactive blogs … then, I also believe that in the long-term it will be the people commenting for money, trying to earn a living, will be this company’s biggest obstacle.

    I am interested in seeing how they proceed and hope they succeed or fail because of a good or bad business plan – not from a public outcry and all the publicity. Imagine if public outcrys started to be more popular, and not for moral reason – but for competitive reasons – to out the competition! Okay. Enough said :)

  56. July 10th, 2007 at 3:02 am
    Jonathan-C. Phillips said

    OMG! I’m speechless……… I just can’t beleive it!

    no “wow” for Jon Waraas…..

  57. July 10th, 2007 at 5:26 am
    This Doesn’t Make Any Sense At All - BuyBlogComments.com | Smart Wealthy Rich said

    [...] just read a post from Liz at Successful-Blog about a new service, called BuyBlogComments.com. At first I thought it was a joke, but [...]

  58. July 10th, 2007 at 5:42 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi HART!
    In the book, “Illusions,” by Richard Bach, you’ll find this quote:

    Meet with your friends at the core of the matter where you agree, not on the fringes where you differ.

    I don’t put it here to teach you anything, because I know you already know what it means, or because I want you to know that I do. I put it here in recognition that at the end of the day we really are at the same place.

    Those two paragraphs are so powerful, concise, and well-written. You know me well enough to know I couldn’t stand for mob rule in any form.

    This situation has been a good one for me to explore because it has put me between my respect for the truth and the responsibilities of an individual to respect others and how fiercely I guard the rights of individual to make choices.

    Thank you for always being who you are.

  59. July 10th, 2007 at 5:44 am
    ME Strauss said

    Yeah, Jonathan,
    I know. Now I just feel sad about it. No, “wow,” for sure.

  60. July 10th, 2007 at 6:45 am
    Kathy said

    Actually, my fury is directed towards the CUSTOMERS of this guy and not this guy himself. After all, he’s chasing a buck and if no one signs up for his service, he’ll slink back into the hole from which he crawled.

    However, he openly admits his tactics are “black hat” and people STILL sign up seeking the softer, easier way!

    All we blog owners can do is screen our comments thoroughly! No more “mass approvals”…. sigh.

  61. July 10th, 2007 at 6:52 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Kathy,
    I am affronted by his customers for sure. I’m right with you there. :)

    But I don’t let off the hook either. No way. By outright advertising the service as something available to blackhat SEO, he’s saying he believes supports those folks. It’s not like he built to do good things and people are misuing it. Nope. He’s chasing a buck at the expense of my time cleaning up spam.

  62. July 10th, 2007 at 7:23 am
    Jen / domestika said

    Just thinking about the implications of Rick’s math… 50 blog comments an hour? There’s no way that can be done without cut-and-paste or at least some serious duplication. Hopefully this will mean that we’ll all soon be able to spot them in a heartbeat. You know, in a way I’m almost looking forward to detecting any such comments that come in on my blogs, and making sure that the linked site gets a much less pleasant kind of attention than they seek!

    And speaking of attention-seeking, does anyone else detect a touch of that in the odious young Mr. W., on top of the obvious unethical money-grabbing?

    Methinks we have here a sharp but adolescent mind, revelling in seeing his name online the way a bovver boy struts his juvenile record. He knows, “bad press” notwithstanding, that P.T. Barnum was right. There’s a customer for his spam comment service born every minute.

  63. July 10th, 2007 at 7:36 am
    Jen / domestika said

    I just had another thought (wow!) – well, more of a question for someone who knows much more than I do:

    What about the people he’s hiring to post these comments? Wouldn’t they be contract workers, working at home on their own computers? Can’t see him setting up a big barn of a sweatshop somewhere, investing in hardware etc…

    So, when Askimet starts “learning” the IPs of the comment spammers – which it most certainly will – won’t those “employees” find themselves unable to leave their own “real” comments anywhere, surfing in their leisure time?

    Oh. Wait. They’ll use proxies, won’t they?

    So what effect would that have on Askimet’s ability to learn what IPs to frown upon?

  64. July 10th, 2007 at 7:54 am
    David Airey :: Creative Design :: said

    “We don’t use people who can’t even speak English.”

    Talk about being disrespectful. It’s sad to read, Liz, and I’m with you on this one.

  65. July 10th, 2007 at 8:35 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Jen!
    I want you on my team! Your analysis is thorough and well-thought. The longer I think about it. This will fail, because as others have pointed out, there’s no way to prove he actually did the work.

  66. July 10th, 2007 at 10:25 am
    Chris Cree said

    I’ve thought about it for a day, a night, and a very foggy morning now. And I just can’t agree with Wendy’s decision to turn off NoFollow.

    I get her points, especially about them potentially redirecting the links down the road.

    But I personally don’t want to punish the 99% who are legitimate participants in the conversation for the sake of the 1% (or less) who are abusing the system.

    I agree with the ruthless moderation part, certainly. But I’m not willing to punish good folks because of the wanton actions of a few miscreants by turning NoFollow back on.

    It’s a personal choice, for sure. One each of us has to make for ourselves. The world, and especially the bloggisphere, is far from a one size fits all kinda place.

  67. July 10th, 2007 at 1:09 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi David!
    Sorry I couldn’t answer your comment before I had to leave. Yeah. I don’t understand how folks get so mixed up. Well I do, but I don’t want to.

  68. July 10th, 2007 at 1:14 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Chris!
    Well, it’s a function of traffic and how much time you have to invest. I understand your feelings and hers too. When it comes to the decision the reality of time spent and invested in other value for readers has to be considered.

    Wendy also uses the link love plug-in, which is a detail you probably don’t know. That plug-in follows any commenter that has logged 10 comments or more. :) So the loss is not as large as you think.

  69. July 10th, 2007 at 10:41 pm
      Comments for Sale? by MeloVillareal.com said

    [...] stumbled upon Liz at Successful-Blog, Darren from Probloggerand Jonathan of  SmartWealthyrich.com respective blogs today and guess [...]

  70. July 10th, 2007 at 11:13 pm
    melo villareal said

    I just wish Google can read this right now… Please ban “BuyBlogComments.com” now for us to prevent this spammers to succeed.. Thank you Liz for this great post…

  71. July 11th, 2007 at 1:06 am
    Chris Cree said

    Liz, I’d read Wendy’s comment over at Problogger about the LinkLove plugin. But I missunderstood it to follow any commenter until they had logged 10 comments.

    Told you it was a foggy morning. :)

    That certainly helps. I’ll have to ponder it some more.

  72. July 11th, 2007 at 6:07 am
    Stop Human Comment Spammers : The Blog Herald said

    [...] latest uproar in the blogosphere is a new service which will pay bloggers to comment on blogs. Liz Strauss writes about it in “Now You, Too, Can Be a Spammer for Only US$19.99″ and Problogger’s Darren Rowse, calling it a “sick comment spam [...]

  73. July 11th, 2007 at 6:43 am
    Comment Spammers the End of Do-Follow Movement? @ chrisg.com said

    [...] feature of my blogs is the comment area. I get real touchy about it. Probably way too much. I think Liz will be another person who shares this trait. Many people treat the comments as a by-product, after [...]

  74. July 11th, 2007 at 6:56 pm
    Homemom3 said

    I just read about this. This sucks, I’ll definitely be watching my comments a bit closer and I will delete those that look like they are being added just for this. Thankfully with blogger you just go in and delete, not sure what else I could do. Thanks for the warning. Headed over to Darren’s now to see what he had to say, bit behind on emails today.

  75. July 11th, 2007 at 6:59 pm
    Homemom3 said

    p.s. do you have a link to the discussion on Darren’s? I’m not finding it.

  76. July 11th, 2007 at 8:25 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Welcome Homemom3!
    Gosh thanks! I didn’t realize I had linked to Darren’s homepage. I fixed the link in the post, but here it is too for you.

    http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/07/09/buy-blog-comments-a-sick-new-comment-spam-service-launches/

  77. July 12th, 2007 at 3:15 am
    Comment Craze: An Observation » msdanielle - just another ego blog site » Blog Archive said

    [...] The talk is endless when it comes to commenting and the ethics involved on the subject. Here is a great analysis by Liz Strauss of the basis for much of the talk. Please, I’ll wait until you are done reading it to [...]

  78. July 12th, 2007 at 10:29 am
    JoLynn Braley said

    Thanks for the heads up on the Liz, I found your post through Wendy. It’s really sad that we now have to watch out for this.

    I just finished reading Darren’s post, too…at first I was thinking that this guy is getting a lot of free press, however if you 3 hadn’t posted and/or linked about this topic, I wouldn’t have known about it.

    I do think it’s possible that these comments could get through, if they are intelligent and on topic, however I am glad to have the awareness that this type of service is being offered. I don’t know how I could moderate my comments with more attention that I do now, but at least I’m aware that there are paid commentors spamming blogs.

    On the topic of Google banning this site…they aren’t using adsense, so will google ban a site just because they are unethical? Aren’t there other unethical sites listed in their search results just based on free speech? Believe me, I’d like to see this guy’s site banned, but I’m just thinking about whether google would do it.

  79. July 12th, 2007 at 10:35 am
    JoLynn Braley said

    Just noticed my typo, my comment above should read “thanks for the heads up on THIS Liz”…. yeah, I’m a perfectionist! :)

  80. July 12th, 2007 at 11:32 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi JoLynn!
    Welcome . . . as they say, any friend of Wendy’s is a friend of mine!!!

    Yeah it is sad that the energy spent on doing this can’t be spent in a more productive venture. On that didn’t have deceit at its center.

    As far as Google banning the site, I think that might be the wrong terminology. What could happen is that Google sees that someone is gaming their algorithm and they look for the loopholes that take advatage of how page rank and Search Engine Page Ranks for individual posts are assigned.

    Google encourages people to report such flagrant abuses. However, I don’t support such a system, because the system itself is so easily abused by someone who might have an unrelated grudge.

    Google’s ways are mysterious beyond that . . . :)

  81. July 12th, 2007 at 11:54 am
    JoLynn Braley said

    Hi Liz, what you wrote now has me wondering if the people who would pay for comments could have their site banned? Especially if there is such a huge increase in links to a site in a short amount of time…

  82. July 12th, 2007 at 12:41 pm
    To Each Their Own? Depends… said

    [...] many have already discussed it. I think it might be the topic that will be kicked around for many more years to come. [...]

  83. July 12th, 2007 at 2:19 pm
    Buy Blog Comments - The Changing Face of Comment Spam - WordPress SEO and Blog Marketing said

    [...] things considered, I must agree with Darren, Liz, Ian, and others that this service only facilitates human submitted spam and over time, as [...]

  84. July 12th, 2007 at 2:54 pm
    Teli said

    Out of curiosity, why not have everyone exploit the new Google “report paid links” feature to report Buy Blog Comments as a link seller? Because, technically, that’s what he’s doing. He’s selling links on our blogs.

    Gah, I can’t even think clearly about this anymore. I have to weed through enough spam in a day (Akismet tally as I type? 65,932), I really don’t need any more to deal with. Ugh.

  85. July 12th, 2007 at 3:06 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Teli,
    I don’t like that Google reporting system, as much as I don’t like what he’s doing it. I don’t think I would ever use it. Though, I can’t say until I was directly challenged by him. He’s been loud enough that anyone should be able to find him — especially the premier search engine :)

  86. July 12th, 2007 at 6:56 pm
    A favorite book - Illusions by Richard Bach said

    [...] Successful & Outstanding Bloggers site (because, you know, I aspire to be one!) about a dangerous new form of comment spam, when one of Liz’s remarks in the comments caught my attention. Turns out, she is a fan (a [...]

  87. July 12th, 2007 at 11:11 pm
    Bloggrrl said

    Does anyone find this part especially disturbing?

    “We currently have 6 people working with me (Jon waraas) that speak english really well. We dont use people who cant even speak english.”

    I think he needs a remedial English course.

  88. July 13th, 2007 at 4:28 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Bloggrrl,
    Welcome!
    Yeah! We do, for the folks purchasing the comments and for the folks who are asked to write them. Neither one is getting a fair deal. But then, that’s the nature of the “make money online” kinds of businesses. :)

  89. July 13th, 2007 at 6:49 am
    Picture Perfect Paranoia»Blog Archive » The Human Comment Spam Dilemma said

    [...] trailing from BlogHerald writer Lorelle VanFossen and Liz Strauss of Successful (and Outstanding) Blog(gers)… [...]

  90. July 14th, 2007 at 3:13 am
    Comments For Sale? » SELaplana said

    [...] bloggers like Darren, Strauss, etc are all against on this kind of business. John Chow favored it as a way of getting backlinks, [...]

  91. July 17th, 2007 at 12:00 am
    The James Bond Tactic For Dealing With Paid Comments | The Gospel According To Rhys said

    [...] Now You, Too, Can Be a Spammer for $19.99 [...]

  92. July 26th, 2007 at 8:55 pm
    Disturbing But True | Susan Suarez said

    [...] what I’ve read on Liz Manifesto’s blog is that the creator is Jon Waraas. Who also happens to pose as a girl on [...]

  93. July 31st, 2007 at 9:44 am
    Blogging News » Stop Human Comment Spammers said

    [...] latest uproar in the blogosphere is a new service which will pay bloggers to comment on blogs. Liz Strauss writes about it in “Now You, Too, Can Be a Spammer for Only US$19.99″ and Problogger’s Darren Rowse, calling it a “sick comment spam [...]

  94. August 21st, 2007 at 6:41 am
    Clarks said

    wow, I’m more excited to check this site to see how he posts comments on hundreds of blogs.
    What if he posts legit comments ?
    But I think its not possible to post 1,000 comments for just $199 .

  95. August 21st, 2007 at 7:12 am
    ME Strauss said

    That’s just it! The metrics don’t work anyway you look at them. :)

  96. August 15th, 2008 at 5:29 am
    Adi said

    Yes it is, I don’t think I would ever use it. Though, I can’t say until I was directly challenged by him. He’s been loud enough that anyone should be able to find him

  97. September 7th, 2008 at 2:07 am
    Sports said

    What could happen is that Google sees that someone is gaming their algorithm and they look for the loopholes that take advatage of how page rank and Search Engine Page Ranks for individual posts are assigned, I don’t know how I could moderate my comments with more attention that I do now, but at least I’m aware that there are paid commentors spamming blogs

  98. September 7th, 2008 at 11:03 am
    ME Liz Strauss said

    Hi Sports,
    From what I hear, this guy has got a new gig going. Human spammers are still a problem, nonetheless.

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