320 – On A 2022 First Quarter Update, Part 3: Tweaks And Thoughts

To begin the last part of my first quarter update for 2022, here are some updates with regards to the blog.

First, allow me to welcome the newest member of The Monching’s Partners: Candy Keane of Sew Geek Mama! Candy is a woman of many hats – or wigs, so to speak. She has been a cosplayer, seamstress, author, entrepreneur, and now a mother. Candy is still a geek deep down despite these roles, and you can find more stories about her geeky life at the Sunshine State over at her blog Geek Mamas.

Second, I included a button on the lower part of the website that directs to The Monching’s Guide on Wix. This move stemmed from Gravatar screwing up the link to the blog; any clicks from there were directed to a 404 page. You can find most of my old entries on the Wix site, from my first reviews in 2013 onward.

Migration is at a snail’s pace as of writing as I’m still checking the 2015 entries. That year served as the most productive period for me as a blogger, with a huge chunk of output hailing from that time. While I was unfortunately unable to replicate that success in later years, it nevertheless taught me that slow and steady wins the race.

Third, you might have noticed the lack of tags with the first two posts in this series. If you didn’t, it’s alright. If you noticed it, kudos to having sharp eyes and let me assure you that it wasn’t accidental. See, I conducted that experiment to determine if I’ll attract random weirdos lurking on WordPress.

Things are looking great so far, with the random views dwindling to a minimum. Almost all of the engagement comes from my follower list, with only a handful deliberately seeking out my blog just to get my attention.

Now, onto the second half. Let me warn you in advance that this section will be rated TV-MA-L, meaning it contains language for mature audiences.

I’ve been blogging since 2013, hitting my eighth year on WordPress in September 2021. I’ve had encounters with several bloggers who use deplorable practices such as abusing the Like and Follow functions to get people to notice them. I initially did not give them any mind, given that my audience back then was limited to Southeast Asia.

But over the years, these commercial bloggers from all over the world have now become more brazen in abusing the loopholes in the system to gain those sweet, sweet view counts. Maybe it’s the fact that more and more people are becoming aware of their tricks? Either way, these marketers disguised as bloggers have become more desperate for people’s attention.

I had an encounter with one such blogger who kept on abusing the Follow function. This commercial spam blogger from the American state of Tennessee (he’s a male, by the way) has persistently followed my blog since 2020. I won’t name him publicly so as not to give him more attention. Bad publicity is still publicity, as they say.

I initially paid him no mind, but things came to a head after he followed me for five straight days despite removing him. At this point, I put my foot down and called him out. The idiot doubled down on his insistence, escalating by following me repeatedly – despite me telling him to buzz off.

The brazen audacity of these commercial bloggers astounds me.

I admit to a blunder on my end, namely engaging him first using the contact form. I’ve read somewhere that this only provides him my contact information at no cost. Nevertheless, I’m charging it to experience.

As of writing, he’s buried among the countless followers here, but has not engaged. I’ve actually gathered information about him enough for a full dossier, but I’ll keep those with me for now. In the meantime, I’m reporting him on an everyday basis for abusing the Follow function – something I should have done on the onset.

Is this what commercial blogs have come to, encouraging the worst marketing practices? I worked in digital marketing before, but things like this make me ashamed of having immersed myself in the craft. I guess he uses a bot for this, but that’s water under the bridge now.

Another concern is the fact that I still receive spam likes from bloggers who barely understand what I write. I don’t really mind one or two, but twenty likes under a minute from this Egyptian blogger who writes in Arabic? I don’t know about you, but that clearly points to abusing the Like function.

It all boils down to this: If a third-worlder like me who is critical of commercial spam bloggers is “hateful”, then I’m more than glad to join the ranks of other bloggers who put a premium on protecting their respective spaces from these deplorable actors who ruin the fun of blogging for the majority.

Thankfully, I’m not alone in this predicament. Here is an informative article from 2012 that talks about how these commercial bloggers abuse the follow and like functions, and how WordPress actually condones the practice.

Hat tip to The Old Wolf for providing the piece, and expressing the same sentiment towards these inauthentic commercial bloggers. I’ve asked him for sage advice, and his words can be summed up in one word, albeit difficult to apply: PATIENCE. So, I pray: Lord, grant me patience right now.

With all those said, I rest my case and end my first quarter update for 2022 here. I’ll close off with this one from the late Difang and Igay Duana, who hail from the indigenous Amis people of Taiwan. This was sampled by German musical tandem Enigma for their 1994 hit “Return to Innocence.”

Until the next post.

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: The featured image for this entry is from Andrea Davis on the free stock image site Pexels.)


25 thoughts on “320 – On A 2022 First Quarter Update, Part 3: Tweaks And Thoughts

    • Welcome. I guess that’s the price to pay for blogging on an easy-to-use platform, but from what I’ve read — the problem is worse on other sites. WP is the least evil, it seems.

  1. Thanks for the warning! I’m glad I haven’t encountered anyone like that, but I did have someone who liked 10 of my posts in less than 5 seconds once, and I found that awfully fishy– who reads that quickly? 🤣

  2. It’s pretty clear that these spammy accounts use bots in the hopes that they ‘catch’ your attention and get a click (and hopefully a ‘follow’). This is also a problem with platforms like Instagram, where some accounts spam the follow and unfollow button (or they follow you for some time and then unfollow — I fricking hate those because sometimes they look interesting and when I follow back, they unfollow me 😀 Like yeah, go eff yourself, I’m not just a number on your follower count).

    I guess these spammy blogs are the same as well—but at the end of the day, they can spam other blogs and buy followers, but if the content is bad, they’re not going to get genuine followers/drive engagement anyway. But I understand it can be super annoying — good on you for calling out these bad practices.

    • Thank you, Eris. Interestingly, that exact practice is what led me to make my IG account private five years ago. Much as I want to be patient, even my patience has its limits.

      The spam liker I posted comes from Egypt (based on the backend stats), but from my experience in IG, most hail from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.) They apparently find you when you use certain hashtags, and it applies here. On WP, they utilize the tag function to latch on your blog.

      While some random users still find my blog, I chalk it up to them deliberately seeking my attention — to no avail. Heck, I get random views from Nigeria despite avoiding blogs based there!

  3. I’m learning so much from your post! I don’t think I’ve heard or encountered commercial blogs before, although I’ve experienced something similar on Instagram where they’d follow my account and flood/spam like my posts but then they’d disappear from my followers list. What’s weird is I’ve been inactive on IG for years with my last post being from 2018 yet those “influencers” or bots (I’m guessing) still follow/like lol.

    Anyway, thanks for the heads up and kudos for not mentioning their name/blog coz that’ll cause curiousity and bring views to their page which is exactly what they want. Also, WordPress should add a block/report link (unless there is one already – I’m not too familiar with workarounds in WP tbh).

    • Welcome! Truth be told, those kinds of IG spammers are cut from the same cloth as them. I guess their sudden disappearance can be credited to IG admins dropping the banhammer on them. But as soon as they get banned, they make a new account again.

      Thing is, I overlooked several details in the email exchange — so I had to reupload it to ensure no pertinent information can be seen. I know deep down that those bloggers do that to put food on the table. But when they start inconveniencing and annoying others in the course of doing business, that’s where I draw the line.

      Unfortunately, the Block function on the WP Reader is good as useless since spam bloggers can still find your posts and follow your blog. The next best option you have is reporting both the erring blog and the Gravatar account behind it.

  4. A very interesting and informative post. I have no time for ‘people’ who obviously follow/like my blog just because they hope I will follow them back but then I’m not interested in the numbers game, either 😉

    • Thank you, June! While I’m trying to be patient with those kinds (patience is a virtue, as they say) — the repeated behavior does push me over the edge at times. And they have the audacity not to take “no” for an answer!

      But looking at it now, I think I’m that elusive white whale for these spam bloggers due to the fact that I attract other bloggers of quality and my engagement is oftentimes authentic.

      Anyone can focus on quality, but it requires elbow grease. Relying on automated bots, however, will only make things more difficult!

  5. I also recognize this problem with unwanted followers. My general rule now is to strictly adhere to a policy whereby I pay attention only with those who react like you do in some way to my blogs.

    I also think topics matter. If I don’t like the topic, like politics for example, there’s no reason to carry any interaction further.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Sometime after I wrote this entry, I got several spam likes from French and Italian bloggers. Checked out their sites, and nary a word of English. I’m chalking that up to attention-seeking.

      I also agree with you on topics, especially when it comes to politics. Even I’m hands-off when it comes to that. There’s also personal health issues and deaths; I tread a careful line when it comes to those two.

  6. I like that you are talking about this, Monch. I think some bloggers shy away as any views are welcome and some engagement is better than none. But I like to think most bloggers- hobby bloggers or business bloggers with integrity- would rather have authentic interactions and not dilute the blogging community.

    • Thank you! You know, I’ve kept my mouth shut on this matter for several years now — but sometimes, you eventually reach a point where the line has to be drawn in the sand.

      I’m happy that I’m not alone in this. If anything, I hope that more and more people put their foot down. Again, thank you for stopping by and understanding where I’m coming from.

  7. I’d like to think that I’m a pretty chill person, and am not bothered by these practices. Then I log on to WordPress and can’t read my notifications because someone has spam-liked all my comments (yes, not the post) as well as everyone else’s. And that’s when I started hating spam-likes, lol. Is this how they’re hijacking your site? Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    • Yes! What’s worse is they’ve now shifted to the comments section where I can’t catch them. I don’t engage them anymore, but instead report them for abusing TOS by spam practices.

      Not surprised why they still persist despite the reports — WP likes them because they patronize the paid plans.

  8. Pingback: 364 – On Recapping 2022, Part 1: Posts | The Monching's Guide

  9. Pingback: 365 – On Recapping 2022, Part 2: Stats | The Monching's Guide

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