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Am I helping a spammer? Yes!

First off, I should say that I didn’t mean to. But it has given me some pause to see what happened. It’s not a big thing, but it is a little embarrassing because I try to be squeaky-clean, which means looking squeaky-clean to others, too. The best way to look ethical is to be ethical, but sometimes you can be careless and look bad even when you’re not. Let me tell you what happened to me.


I’d like to start by explaining why this is so important to me. I’ve written at length with Bill Hunt in our book on search marketing, and even more deeply in my second book and in this blog, about being an ethical marketer. It’s a big part of what I stand for. So, I don’t want any association with spam and any other kind of unethical marketing. I‘ve been wrongly accused of being a spammer in the past, which I scream bloody murder about (maybe a bit too loudly, in retrospect), and it has sensitized me to avoiding anything that might look wrong.
So, I was a bit taken aback when I was scanning my Google Alert and saw this story on how I have been attacked by spam links on my blog. At first, I thought, “no way,” but upon further review, Scott Allen’s story is totally correct.
Scott never accuses me of being part of any spam scheme because he knows that I had nothing to do with it, so I am not concerned that anyone would get the wrong idea about me. (OK, in my paranoid mind, I am a little concerned.) But it sure does make me look careless, probably because I was careless.
I am very careful in some ways. I have a human detector on my blog to stop all robot spam comments and I manually approve each and every comment that goes there. So, I must have approved the three identical comments on that blog entry that Scott pointed out. I just approved them far enough apart in time that I didn’t remember seeing them before.
That’s where the carelessness comes in. I though that I could just look at each comment individually and decide whether it was spam or not, but I clearly can’t do that. I forget what I have seen before and approve it again if it seems to be on subject, which this one was. I actually try to post comments that seem a bit odd to me because I don’t want to censor folks unless I am rather sure they are up to no good.
But it certainly looks embarrassing to see three identical spam comments in the same entry. At first, I thought I should just delete them as quickly as possible, but then I thought that it would mess up Scott’s perfectly good story, because people would link to my blog and the spam would be gone. It would look like Scott was inaccurate when he is right on.
But then I thought that leaving the stuff out there just makes me look clueless in front of more and more people, and it in fact rewards the spammer every day it is out there. So that doesn’t seem great either. I thought about it over the weekend and decide to post this piece and then link to it from that same blog post with a comment of my own.
I think it’s instructive to write about all of this, however, because it shows the kind of problems you can have when you run a blog, which I urge many of you to do. Even if you do your best, you might sometimes be attacked by spammers, and they’ll win.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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