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Interview with a link spammer

The Register has an interesting article today titled Interview with a link spammer that gives an insight into the mind and methods of one of the growing number of people that seek to use yours and my blogs for their own gain:

‘So how and why do “link spammers” – as they generically call themselves – do it? Are they the same as the email spammers? What do they think of what they do, ethically? And what can stop them? If you’re affected by this spam, say because you run a blog, or a website, or like the other 99.9 per cent of Net users just come across the stuff, Sam explain the important thing to remember is it’s nothing personal. They’re not targeting you personally. They’re just exploiting a weakness in a system which blossomed just at the time that Google cracked down on the previous method that spammers used, where huge “link farms” of their own web sites pointed circularly to each other to boost each others’ ranking.’

The Rise of Business Blogging – ‘Listening’

Steve’s got a good article on The Rise of Business Blogging which ends with three good solid pieces of advice for those wanting to get into business blogging:

Step One – Listen: The best way to become acquainted with the power of blogs is to read them and see what they’re talking about. Using tools like Google, PubSub and Feedster, you can find easily blogs that are already discussing your company/brand and its industry. Also be sure to check out sites like BusinessBlogConsulting.com and Adrants.com, which include examples of blogs done right and wrong.

Step Two – Reach Out: Once you have identified influential blogs, reach out to them by carefully posting comments on their sites. Let them know you’re listening. Some may invite you to sponsor their blog, which also can often offer a high ROI. Blogs can help your company build awareness among influencers who will talk about you to others. Marqui, a telecommunications company, recently began experimenting paying bloggers $800 per week if they mentioned their product. While the results aren’t known, blog advertising is certainly going to become a lot more prevalent in the years ahead.

Step Three – Launch Your Own Blogs: Finally, once you feel you have a firm grasp on the medium, roll your own weblogs. This can range from everything from a CEO blog to a product team site and more. Figure out first who you’re trying to reach, who will have the most time and what people in your organization are willing to be the most transparent. ‘

I really appreciate Steve’s advice – whilst a couple of posts back I advised the ‘just do it’ method of researching a new blog topic – I was writing more for the experienced blogger wanting to start new entrepreneurial blogs. There is a danger when blogging of rushing into a niche topic without really thinking ahead. I know that if I’d just spent a little more time thinking about some of the blogs that I’ve started that I would have done one or two of them quite differently. I needed to spend a bit more time in the ‘Listen’ phase. Of course there is only so much listening that one should do – there comes a time when you have to move past that and actually bite the bullet and start that blog you’ve always wondered about.