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Should I Add Fake Comments to My Blog?

reader-questionsPreston asks – “I started a new blog about a month ago. I got about 40 topics written. But only 2 comments. I’m thinking of faking comments, making a few users and get a nice sample of comments on some of the blog posts I’ve made.

Is this not a good use of my extra time, and i should do something else related to my blog? or spending some time doing this, is a good idea.”

Thanks Preston. Let me share a few thoughts.

Congratulations on your new blog and the 40 posts that you’ve written. 40 posts in two months is a great effort and if you can keep up that level of posting you’ll have a great foundation of content for your blog.

Don’t be too discouraged by the lack of comments to this point. For a month old blog I don’t think it’s too bad an achievement to have 2 comments. While I know you’d want more I’d encourage you to stick with it and be patient. Many month old blogs would probably not even have 2!

Fake comments. Hmmm – I think this one will cause some debate and I’d love to hear how many ProBlogger readers have written them in the starting of their blogs.

I’ll be honest and say that on my first blog I did do a few fake comments in the very very early days. I used them in the same way that you’re suggesting here – to get conversations going and to make the blog look a little more active.

So I understand the temptation to use them – however I can say from my experience of them that they didn’t work very well for me and the conversations that I had on my blogs in the early days that had a more lasting impact were natural ones with real readers. Instead of going with fake comments I’d really recommend that you work on the content on your blog and writing in a way that is engaging (Read more on the topic of generating comments).

A Word of Warning – while I can see why people go with fake comments (my suspicion is that if bloggers were honest that a majority of them probably have done it) there is of course some danger in it if you’re caught. Blogging is built upon transparency and honesty. I’ve seen a handful of bloggers exposed for fake comments and it probably set their blogs back a little.

What else could you do with the time you might put into fake comments?

  • write an extra post a week
  • email another blogger in an attempt to get to know them
  • email a friend or family member to ask their opinion of a post you’ve written
  • leave a comment on someone else’s blog
  • think of a question to ask your readers

I’d suspect that all of these things have the potential to generate comments on your blog and build a sustainable readership for it.

Have you left fake comments on your blog? Why or Why Not? Are there times when they are OK?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. tharsos says:

    It might depend on the topic of blog as well. Also bloggers who encourage their readers to post comments will naturally have more comments.

  2. I started my blog almost 3 months ago, and was never tempted to write fake comments. I was more interested in writing and getting readers to leave there comments.

    I still don’t have too many comments, and every comment I receive gives me a buzz of excitement to think somebody actually has read my post and taken time to comment.

    It’s well worth striving for those comments and that great feeling.

    I’ve just started a second blog, and so far no comments, but i’ll keep striving and they will come.

    http://www.sportzview.com/blog/

  3. I think that everyone who treats his blog seriously and binds his future with it will not fake any comments on his/her blog. It is too risky.

  4. I think it would be big mistake to start posting fake comments on your blog as i see it as a form of being dishonest. I would say just let your blog develop naturally and encourage comments toward the end of each post and then once you start getting a decent amount of traffic you’ll increase the amount of comments you’ll get…

    John

  5. Wendy says:

    I can see why the temptation is there to fake it, but honestly I usually only comment on smaller blogs. If there are dozens of comments before me I’m less likely to say anything at all, either because I don’t think my comment will be noticed or because multiple people have already said what I would have.

    Be patient and work on promoting your blog in other ways.

  6. S. Weasel says:

    I would feel pretty…tacky faking comments, but I do comment on my own posts using my own name. Usually, it’s like a p.s. to the main post — adding a bit of interesting information that would’ve messed up the flow of the post. I never thought of it before, but it does seem to ‘seed’ additional comments. I rarely have a post with zero comments any more (even when I’m not a commenter).

    I wouldn’t have the courage to ask for comments though. What if nobody responded? Woooo. The Cheese Stands Alone.

  7. MHO :: Nope, don’t do it.. One less thing, the fear of exposure, to worry about in today’s fraught-fraught World.. :wink:

  8. Never even thought about it. Kinda goes against the whole point of a reader comment doesn’t it?

  9. And you know, after this discussion, a whole lot of people are going to be keeping a sharp eye out on comment threads, trying to catch the desperate comment-fakers!

    No, there’s no need to talk to yourself. Address your comments to others, and they will comment back to you in time.

  10. Fake comments are a waste of time; if you want audience interaction then be sure to write with that goal in mind. No use trying to get someone to talk if you aren’t interested.

  11. James Taylor says:

    Definitely not. You can post comments as yourself, of course. You could post a comment containing something someone said to you, something someone emailed to you or just something that occurred to you after the post was written.
    But please, don’t fake it.
    JT

  12. Gary says:

    I dont see the need in it. You shouldnt rely on comments for your blog. Whatever the blog is about you should be that interested in it to be able to write and voice your opinions on that subject. Most viewers dont go and read the comments anyway.

  13. Michelle says:

    No way. I have, however, thought about simply disabling the comments altogether. I suspect the more that people read feeds, the fewer instances of commenting there will be. That said, stop on by!

  14. joseph says:

    I never thought about fake comments, it made me laugh. What is the point? it is like adding yourself in your contacts on facebook, just puting a different mask and creating 20 different accounts. So what?

    maybe you can even troll yourself. mental institution will see soon some new pathologies….

  15. Sharkyx says:

    I have a 3 week blog, music related. I have 44 posts and 25 comments till now. I don’t fake comment because i don’t see the point, it won’t encourage any comments as long as the topic doesn’t encourage it. I try to write my posts with a more liberal style, more personal, often leaving room for debates ( not arguments ).

  16. Jay Wilson says:

    You know, the thought of leaving a bogus comment has never crossed my mind. While i would love to get more, I dont think bogus ones are the answer – engaging content and marketing the blog are far more important.

  17. I haven’t left fake comments on my blogs – I just tried to encourage my readers to leave comments and it didn’t take long for the comments to come in…

  18. Sterling says:

    I hadn’t even through about fake comments, but I certainly can understand wanting to add them!

    It’s kind of like eBay auctions; it usually takes one to get the process going.

    I think ending a post with a question or writing a post in a way that makes readers want to comment is certainly more effective then leaving your own fake comment.

  19. Gee, why not just start up a conversation? Reach out to other bloggers whose work you find useful, and ask them to talk about their experiences starting up. Especially reach out to bloggers with related subjects.

    Also be sure that you are using trackbacks and links to get traffic to your site. The comments will eventually come, give it time…

  20. AJ says:

    My goodness! Am I the only one who occasionally leaves fake comments on my blog?

    I have done it and it has helped to generate more comments. People visiting my blog are generally not bloggers and as a result are not likely to be the first person to comment. Therefore, I’ll leave one or two comments to get people to feel comfortable with commenting.

    People are less likely to comment if there are no comments. It is simply a psychological response. People come to your blog, they dont see comments and as a result they dont comment themselves. People judge your site by the number of comments. Even if you have a really good post many people will refrain from commenting if there are no comments. They tend to question the quality of your post and begin to think that maybe your post isnt so good. Or worse, they tend to think “Am I the only one here reading this blog?” There have been many studies in the social arena to prove this in fact happens.

    Havent you ever heard of the phrase “If you want to feel important then you should dress important”?

    Its the same thing with faking comments on your blog. You are simply fighting the negative social labeling your blog gets because it doesnt have any comments.

    Try it out. Add a few comments to a post you think is really good and you know people are reading and see if people start leaving comments.

  21. Pear says:

    I’ve been going two months – never faked a comment, never even thought of it. I’ve had about 160 comments.
    My biggest suggestion would be to make sure you are letting your friends know about your blog and to encourage them to a) subscribe, via RSS or else email if their eyes glaze over at the mention of syndication and b) leave comments.
    I think if you explain why you would like some comments (stimulate other potential comments; give you self-confidence that someone is reading your stuff), most good friends would be happy to help out. Mine have been.

  22. Dan says:

    alright, I confess that I’ve done it before on some of my other blogs. But I would never do it consistently. Spend time doing other things to bring people in. Its true that sometimes people don’t want to be the first commenter, but enough people don’t care and so if you can get the traffic you’ll have less to worry about in this area.

  23. Sunlust says:

    In my own experience writing a controversial posts helped, I was blogging on my first blog for over a month without any comments, and then after submitting one controversial post to reddit I got 6 comments on it.

  24. Dana says:

    I think time would be better spent commenting on some other sites. And when someone comments, answer their comment and visit their blog and leave a comment there, as well. After awhile, people realize that you do this and will come back just to see what your response was and you can get quite a conversation going.

    At one time when I had more free time on my hands, I would visit sites I liked, visit their commenters’ sites and comment on them. People who already leave comments on sites are more likely to comment on yours, should they visit.

    Some blogs I read do occasionally update in their comment box rather than in the post itself…like by adding links to other blogs, or including some other point they thought of. I never thought of it as “faking comments” but some do seem to frequently add a comment to the end of a post. Since they identify themselves, I never thought about it as faking or manipulative or anything. Of course, I did consider striking up conversations with myself in the early, very quiet days of blogging! Me talking to myself probably would have turned away anyone stumbling across my blog, however, and I resisted the urge.

  25. Tine says:

    I’ve never even thought of fake comments till I read this. I naturally assumed that all of the comments I read on other blogs are authentic. Sometimes it’s best to give these bloggers (especially the new ones) the benefit of the doubt. I’ve been blogging for two years now, and the first year, I rarely get comments. It’s a matter of sticking around, and blogging because, above all else, you enjoy it. Don’t be too caught up in the comments and such. Do check your stats; you may have more readers than you think you do. A lot of readers I know are lurkers :)

    A good way to gain readership and comments would be to comment on your favourite blogs consistently. Show them that you return to their blogs because you enjoy their content. More of than not, they’ll reciprocate. It is, after all, a blogging community :)

  26. Matt says:

    Although i am newer to the blogg sceen, i think that fakeing comments is more of a waste of time rather than a help for you blogg. there are thousands of things that you could better spend your resources on, like better content, making more posts etc. if you would like the satisfaction of seeing people

  27. Matt says:

    (Dang computer …)
    Although I am newer to the blog scene, i think that faking comments is more of a waste of time rather than a help for you blog. There are thousands of things that you could better spend your resources on, like better content, making more posts etc. if you would like the satisfaction of seeing people read your blog try introducing your posts to Digg or any other social network.

  28. Heh, to TS- you is right!o

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  30. Niklas says:

    I’m not really tempted to do so because I write my blog for others to read it and as long as I know from page views that they’re reading it I dont mind if I have comments or not

  31. Ann L. says:

    I will write a comment back to a comment that I feel is useful to all my readers (as I was taught) but I feel that’s a method to expand on the information being given.
    Fake one, though? No.

  32. There’s no need to fake comments. You could spend your time advertising and building links to draw traffic. It’s probably wise to continue posting as often as you do. Eventually, as people stumble across your blog, they will hopefully take note of the huge amount of interesting content and maybe bookmark your site.

    Also, make sure that people don’t have to register to comment as it’s a big turn off. Another turn off for some is having to type in the word verification.

    IF you blog is brand new you may even consider turning off the comments moderation. Make it as easy as possible to leave a comment on your blog and even the lazy people will start leaving them.

  33. I’d love to know how Preston’s blog is doing almost a year later and what course he took… whether he listened to this advice or not. Whether he tried the fake comments… to ‘prime the pump”

    I have a friend who admitted to posting fake comments on his blog post. He posts comments that are opposed to his viewpoint and then he argued with the antagonist… Point Counterpoint…type dramas.

  34. rob says:

    i agree :D spend more time building links!

  35. Dirty Girl says:

    Well I started blogging a few years ago at the time it was starting pick up but it was really fresh I faked one comment on about two post and after that I was bombarded with post I was new to blogging & had to learn that it wasn’t the best thing to do I never done it since. Since then I have four successful blogs under different factious names but I have noticed that blogs went from a swimming pool to an ocean & right now readers really don’t take as much time to stop & post a comment like they use to they get the information they want & rush on the blogs with fresh new really great content will win them over but it is hard to compete in this ocean I feel

  36. nafi says:

    Aawww! I guess no-one ever practiced kissing on the back of their hands either then?

    Come on! No-one starts out as a “pro blogger”. You will (and should) be like a kid with a new toy. Create posts, try different themes, break your blog (and all the others on the shared host) with your first plugin, fake a comment when things are slow, and get accused of spamming for (manually) dropping a link to your pride and joy in a well intentioned comment on someone else’s blog.

    Try it all. And if you really “never even thought of doing that”, then you probably have a rather boring blog and SHOULD schedule doing something spontaneous, imaginative or even down-right crazy once a month!

    Just my 2c. Fake it / don’t fake it…

  37. P2P says:

    Maybe you can just concentrate on this part… Content Content Content Contents and much more contentss. You know what I mean, a qualified quality content. and that content… doesn’t mean it always need start pouring down from your own brain, because sometimes, most of the time bloggers have a very brilliant idea but they wrote it badly, or maybe the content is not so bad but still messy, or maybe the content is too short, maybe too complicated, maybe too plain, maybe too discrete… and unease… to read/understand, so use that failure from other bloggers and change it as a winner content for your own blog.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Now one of the very sneaky and dishonest techniques (in my opinion) some bloggers use when their blogs are relatively new is to fake comments. The thought of actually faking comments on my blog had never crossed my mind until i read a reply darren rowse made to a reader question that asks should i add fake comments to my blog [...]