Are you using other people’s business blogs to advertise your own business? Realtors are getting quite the reputation for doing just that. It is called comment spam, and bloggers don’t like it.

A friend of mine recently referred to the practice as poaching someone else’s space, and I think that is a great definition.

A couple of weeks ago I left a comment on a local home seller’s blog. I rarely leave comments on blog posts, but he asked a question in his post that I had an answer for. Shortly after I left the comment I got an irate e-mail from him stating that he will not publish my advertising on his blog.

He later read my comment and looked at my blog and apologized for sending the first note. He has the same problem with his blog that I have with mine. Realtors use the comment section for blatant self-promotion. We ended up having an interesting e-mail discussion on how to handle spam comments.

You know who you are. Your name is something like: and you leave phone numbers, links and even your designations in your comments. You leave comments in blog posts so that you can have a link back to your own website or blog, or perhaps you are simply placing a free advertisement.

Trust me: You are making the wrong impression and are reviled by bloggers, who hate dealing with your comments and wish that you would go away.

You litter the Internet with your spammy comments and links. You don’t use your name and it is hard to view you as being human. You do the same thing on Twitter and on all the social networks.

You view them as a place for free advertising and you use the work of others instead of creating your own. People work hard to generate content and take a dim view of those who use it to sneak in a little advertising.

At least two-thirds of the comments that my sites receive are never posted, and most of the comments in the trash bin were left by Realtors. Some take it one step further and send e-mails complaining that I never publish their comments.

The comments are blatant advertisements. Comments that contain several links automatically get flagged as spam. They are never read and I delete them all once a week.

As I look through the comments on this site, I see spam comments. They appear to be advertisements for goods or services and it doesn’t seem like some of the commenters actually read the article.

When I read those comments I think less of the product or service being advertised, and view the person leaving the comments as dishonest, lazy and sneaky.

People are taught to leave comments on blogs, and it is a proven strategy for getting links. We all know how important links are, but comments should be left only if they can add to the conversation.

It is important to read the post or article before leaving a comment. No one is being fooled by the spam comments, and most bloggers will delete them.

Spam comments are not a sound business strategy, and I would hate to think that someone out there is teaching agents how to leave comment spam as an Internet or social media marketing strategy.

A better strategy is to read the post and leave a comment that adds value, or to write content of your own that is so compelling that others link to it and write about it.

Leaving the right type of comment is powerful. Comments can start a conversation and foster interaction among readers. That is why sites like this have a space for comments. The space isn’t provided so that readers can advertise — it’s there for conversation and interaction.

The signature block some agents use in their comments makes the comment look like an advertisement; a name with a link is sufficient, anything more is spam. When you leave your spam on someone else’s site, you make yourself look bad and you make us all look bad.

Spam comments are not fooling anyone. The people who leave them are poachers trying to use someone else’s space and work for advertising. The Internet is not just for Realtors, and it isn’t just for advertising.

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