Yesterday, Ryan posted a an article entitled “Show You Moderate Your Comments?” in which he concludes that one should not moderate comments, if avoidable, or delete negative ones.
Though I agree with Ryan’s take about commenting, it is worth noting that there are some dangers that come with allowing comments on your site. Though often discussed are annoyances that come with opening up comments, flame wars, spam, etc., there are also legal, ethical and personal issues to consider.
With that in mind, here are four types of comments you definitely do not want on your site and should draw a firm line against. Most of these are just common sense, but they bear repeating regardless.
4. The Libelous Comment
There is a difference between expressing your opinion and saying something that is outright false. A commenter can call someone a jerk or idiot with relative immunity, at least legally, but when a commenter says something that is provably false and damaging to someone’s reputation, it becomes libel. As such, it is important to recognize that this is a serious legal issue.
The good news is that U.S. law protects webmasters and hosts from libelous comments made by others on their service, not requiring them to remove said comments even after a claim has been filed. However, such comments can still make a blog’s comment area a very hostile place for others to join the conversation. Furthermore, repeating libel or taking sides in a discussion where libelous statements are being used could open you up to claims of your own.
How to Avoid It: The simplest solution is to keep the comments on track. People can talk about the topic at hand all they want, but talking about each other, especially in a hostile manner, should probably be forbidden. In short, disagree all you want, just don’t make it personal.
3. The Private Comment
Though we all have a choice as to how much personal information we reveal online, some people, even in comments, sometimes make those decisions for others. If someone in your comments posts private information about someone, that person could be held liable and so could you if you repeat it. There is an exception for private facts that are deemed “newsworthy”, at least in some locales but it can be difficult to know what meets that standard.
The problem with privacy law is that it varies wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, as with libel, you seem to be largely protected against invasion of privacy lawsuits should a commenter post something invasive to your site. However, the law is not clearly defined on what happens if you edit the comment and repeating it could put you in the same boat as the commenter.
This also applies if anyone visits your site impersonating another person.
How to Avoid It: The same rule applies here. You can easily avoid this if you keep your conversation from getting personal. Keep personal attacks off your site and you should be fine.
2. The Copyright Infringing Comment
Though most comments don’t involve copyrighted materials in any way and, most of those that do, do so in a way that is consistent with the principles of fair use, there are some commenters that do take it a bit too far at times.
If someone posts a song lyric to your site, link to an MP3 or some other item that is likely a copyright infringement, it could mean serious trouble. Though the DMCA protects qualifying hosts and “information location tools” (IE: search engines) from liability for copyrighted material on their service (so long as you expeditiously remove it after notification), you may lose that protection if you are aware of the infringement and do nothing or are seen to somehow be encouraging it.
But even if the DMCA does protect you, should the copyright holder speak with your host first, it could result in your site being shut down. It may seem drastic, but many hosts, especially shared hosts, just turn off a domain until a copyright infringement claim can be resolved.
If you want to avoid these legal and technical nightmares, its best to do what you can to keep these conflicts off of your site.
How to Avoid It: The solution is simple, if you see something that you suspect is copyright infringing, delete it and offer the submitter a chance to repost without the infringing work. A little bit of research should determine if the person likely has a license to post it and, if not, it is better to be safe than sorry, within reason.
1. The Spam Comment
This one goes without saying. No one wants spam comments. We already use comment filtering systems that are designed to prevent spam comments from going live and we run them religiously. However, if you look at what is actually being posted as spam to your site, it is easy to see how some of it could cause problems.
Between the scams, the gambling, the pornography and more, there’s a lot of content there with a lot of thorny legal issues too convoluted and complex to go over here. Though it is unlikely you could be held directly liable legally for anything posted without your permission or knowledge, allowing this kind of content on your site can have dire consequences to your search engine ranking (by making you appear to be a spam farm) and your readers (who will not want to have a conversation with so much garbage around).
Spam is somethingyou get a great deal of everyday, but it only takes a few to greatly impact your site.
How to Avoid It: Most sites can simply keep doing what they are doing. The spammers, for the most part, are looking for low-hanging fruit. Still, keep up with your anti-spam tools and remain vigilant about what spam does get through.
We all love comments on our sites, but there are some that we can’t afford to have around. Even though most of the comments we try to keep at bay are spam comments that don’t add anything to the conversation, even those who do can sometimes cross lines that bloggers can’t afford.
Keep your comments clean, avoid legal issues and keep the personal strife on your blog to a minimum, you can have a robust conversation without the worries or perils that often come with it.
So be smart about your blog comments and you’ll be rewarded with a rich, vibrant and safe dialog that will keep your visitors coming back.
Stop Complaining and Turn it into a Blog Post
I spent the prior 10 seconds scrolling through my Instagram comments.
After reading a “This looks good” comment in response to a grainy video – obvious spam, intended for an eye-popping image – I chose to create a video and write this post. 2 pieces of blog content. Versus minutes of silly complaining.
Being human, I may feel slightly annoyed after reading my 5th spam comment in a row, this morning. But after a quick vent, I create helpful content, to teach bloggers what not to do, in order to succeed online.
Check out this eBook:
I wrote the eBook to address a pressing problem among bloggers. We all have a right to vent for a bit but sustained complaining:
- wastes your creative energies
- sullies your brand image
- damages your online reputation
I wrote the eBook to help you turn your complaints, sometimes in the form of rough blogging criticism, into blogging profits. Converting a complaint into content is 1 easy way to prosper in such fashion.
Help yourself. Help your readers.
Watch this short Instagram video:
I gained a few quick views on Instagram. Benefits me. I promoted my eBook at the end of the video, offering myself eBook exposure. I help my readers by showing them what works on Instagram; being genuine, being honest and being authentic. I also explain what not to do, to help folks avoid wasting their time with spammy, low quality, non genuine comments.
I turned a potential complaint into a creation. I converted a low energy situation into a high energy situation. I likely gained blog traffic and maybe boost my blogging profits, too.
I also align with grateful, high energy bloggers like Sue-Ann Bubacz Mapping Megan and Mike Allton by raising my energy. Complaining routinely moves you lower in blogging circles. Being grateful, creative and helpful moves you higher in blogging circles.
The next time you feel an urge to complain about something, turn the complaint into a creation.
- write a blog post
- write a guest post
- record a podcast
- record a video
- broadcast live on Facebook
- write a bite-sized eBook
Your readers will thank you. Plus, you will thank yourself.
We know complaints can sprout from all corners of the web. Here are common occurrences which tend to trigger complaints:
- spam comments on your blog
- spam comments on social media
- spam emails
- spam social media messages
- bloggers pitching you their products and services without building relationships first
- cheapie bloggers or business owners who want to place sponsored posts on your blog for 5 or 10 USD
- unhappy, unclear folks who post terrible reviews on your eBooks based on their misery
I recall the last bullet point experience goaded me to write my eBook. A few listeners of my audio books and eBook readers posted sarcastic, biting reviews of both audio books and eBooks I self-published. Rather than complain or whine about the feedback I saw the criticism for what it was; the projection of an unhappy person who spoke 100% about self and 0% about me. All of my creations are clearly me, and what I did to co-create this life of island hopping through smart blogging. If anybody is insane enough to post a negative review on my clear, genuine creations, it is like saying:
“Hey Ryan, I was there every step of the way, watching you in paradise, stalking you behind your laptop, and you did a terrible job sharing your real experience!”
The only person on earth who could post a somewhat honest review is my wife Kelli; even she was not in my head or watching every one of my steps as I co-created this life with my readers. She was too busy building her own thriving business. No human was there to record everything, save me, and since I share it all in a genuine, clear way, any negative reviewer is deluded, and somewhat insane.
Few bloggers have this clarity or authenticity in what they do because they either are filled with fear and doubt, or hold back what they know. I have no such problems.
These are a few potential triggers, guys. I share to alert you to potential rants or sustained complaints before the negative energy seems to run away with your attention for a few minutes, hours or days.
Vent wholly, quickly and completely. Then convert the complaint into blog content. Everybody wins. Even the spammer.
What Is the Mushroom Service Effect and How Does it Increases Profits?
Service leads to sales.
Every eBook I sell is the effect of a service cause. Many of my eBook customers received my direct help. Maybe I commented genuinely on their blog. Perhaps I mentioned them on my blog or on Blogging Tips. Maybe I retweeted their post. Or maybe I helped these people for weeks or months without asking for anything in return.
Some of these bloggers purchase my eBooks. I see increased blogging profits. Some promote my eBooks to their readers, leading to increased blogging profits. Some of those readers promote the eBook to their readers; can you see the mushroom service effect in action? I keep helping people in various ways, expect nothing, and my generous service reverberates, mushrooming into increased sales.
What happens as I help more folks by creating content and by promoting fellow bloggers? More bloggers promote me, link to me, boost my backlink juice, and Blogging From Paradise becomes more prominent on Google. Search engine traffic increases my blogging profits. More mushrooming.
You never go wrong helping people generously because every creative act prospers you and others, now, next week or 3 years down the road.
My friend Alonzo Pichardo helps people generously and gives little thought to content once he publishes posts, videos and podcasts. He lets the content do what it does. His profits keep increasing but even more than that, he keeps moving higher and higher in networking circles as his generosity increases his influence. More mushrooming.
Imagine a still pond. Now imagine dropping a tiny pebble into a still pond. Waves reverberate as far as the water reaches. 10 inches, or 10,000 miles, literally, nothing can stop the waves from traveling outward, even if the waves are faint, or are barely detectable, after traveling for a while.
Now imagine dropping 100 tiny pebbles over a few weeks. Wow. You really see waves kicking at that point. Subtle, slow and controlled, but super noticeable.
The pond is your blogging niche. The stillness of the pond is your calm, peaceful, generous, detached intent, your energy, your relaxed mindset. The pebbles are pieces of content, aka, service. Plus, one pebble can represent:
- every time you promote another blogger through a blog post on your blog
- every time you promote another blogger through a guest post
- every time you retweet another blogger
- every time you share another blogger’s post on Facebook
The waves are your influence, your service, and, this is the mushrooming effect leading to greater blogging profits.
Guys; expect nothing. I promote valued blogging resources like the talented, generous and heart-centered Tanyi at Blog Tools Corner to give, not to get. The less I expect anything to happen, the more good things and awesome people flow to me.
Give freely, persistently, receive easily.
Enstine Muki provides you with generous tips to make money online, via his blog. He helps bloggers freely. Of course his blogging profits mushroom through his generous service, increasing through his friend network, through Google and through mentions on my blog, on Blogging Tips and in thousands of other spots.
Keep helping people freely. Expect nothing. Eventually, over time, if you are patient, your traffic and profits begin to mushroom exponentially.
Look at Tim Ferriss’ latest blog post. He is a multi millionaire and one of the most famous entrepreneurs on earth because he serves people generously. Note how many backlinks he gives to other bloggers and entrepreneurs through his latest post; that’s generosity! That’s an abundance mindset in action. Most bloggers feel terrified to give out a single backlink to another blogger for fear of losing profits, wrongly believing people will click on the other blogger’s link and not click on their business links. Tim links out to 20, 30 or 40 people or resources for every blog post.
Any wonder why the dude is so incredibly successful and prospering?
He employs the mushroom service effect like few entrepreneurs on earth.
4 Ways to Become More Detached from Blogging Outcomes
See that throwback featured image of me in Phuket, Thailand?
I became a globe trotting pro blogger in part through the power of detachment.
Blogging outcomes weigh you down and slow your blogging growth, if you are not careful.
Many bloggers mean well but are so obsessed with every view, Like, comment, share and dollar that they either struggle horribly or hold back stunning blogging success. How could I write over 100 eBooks if I obsessed with sales from my first eBook? How could I write 600 posts on Blogging Tips alone if I obsessed over metrics?
Eye-popping success finds largely detached, generous bloggers.
Follow these tips to become more detached from blogging outcomes.
1: Help More Ask Less
If you want blog comments, comment on other blogs.
Want blog traffic? Promote other bloggers.
Help bloggers to detach from your needs and to see greater success. Ask less and less for shares, comments and views, to detach from outcomes. Success finds generous bloggers.
2: Mention 2-5 Successful Bloggers Via All Posts
I recall focusing heavily on blogging profits early during my career. I linked to an ad or affiliate product once per post and linked to nothing else, obsessing over sales, attaching to outcomes. I gradually promoted other bloggers over years. Now I promote 2 to 5 bloggers virtually every post. I think more of helping them and less of helping me.
3: Manage Your Energy
Attachment is fear. Managing your energy helps you:
- face fear
- feel fear
- release fear
- dissolve attachments
I do 80 minutes of deep yin yoga daily. Plus I jog or walk for 45-60 minutes daily. Meditating helps too.
Managing your energy rocks because so many bloggers cling deeply to fear-attachments, to stats and money and to clients and blogging buddies, and need a daily ritual to unearth and release these attachments. I strongly suggest deep yin yoga because it helps you become comfortable. Big time quality developed by all generous, pretty darn detached, bloggers.
4: BE with Your Fear
I vividly recall sitting and BEING with my fear each time I checked my blogging inbox. I felt a general not enough energy pervade my being. Panic then ran through my body. Anger. Pain. Grief, at time lost. All fears reflected heavy attachments to:
- list subscribers
I totally believed I should have been further along at these points during my blogging career. Turns out, I was at the perfect place and time to feel deep fears, to dissolve attachments and to proceed from a generous, genuine, pretty detached, patient and persistent space.
Fighting fear only makes attachments grow. Not checking email for weeks because you feel terrified to check email makes the fear and attachment grow. But checking email hourly because you feel terrified that you:
- will miss out on clients
- are not making enough money, and need to check and see if you are making any aka enough money, yet
reflects your attachment to you. Ya know; “How am I doing-itis.” Check stats, check email, all the time, because you fear to see how you are doing.
Feel fear behind any strategy driven by fear. Let the fear go. Dissolve the attachment.
I check email here and there, never being attached to it. Email is not the source of my blogging success.
Treat blogging outcomes like mile markers on a highway, when you whiz by at 80 MPH. Note the stat for a few seconds and either move in a different direction or charge forward, based on how you feel about the stat, and what the feeling suggests to you.
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