Why promotional comments can harm your business

promotional comments

I certainly receive my fair share of promotional comments on my blogs. It seems there are plenty of businesses out there desperate to get more backlinks to their websites.

Unfortunately, this practice is seen as being particularly spammy. Now I'm sure these people aren't necessarily spammers, but they are emulating the processes spammers do to get links published on blogs.

Their desperation stops them from thinking about the harm promotional comments can do to their business. This is because they fail to understand the true purpose of commenting. This isn't a channel for making a noise in the hope someone will notice your plaintiff bleat in the wilderness.

10 versions of promotional comments

1. Mentioning what you can offer

Digital Harpal knows that adding links to his comment may have problems getting past the blog's moderators. So instead he lists what his business offers.

Promotional comment

This may be relevant to the post he is commenting on (a rare event), but is this really suitable for a comment? Sure, my post was about SEO and commenting, but this wasn't an invitation for Harpal to promote his SEO business like this.

This is a sneaky promotional comment in the hope it will get past me. However, I have absolutely no interest in his services, and neither will my readers. We do not know him from Adam, as he has not taken the trouble to form a social relationship with us through commenting.

Basically this is cold calling. Pushing his business under our noses without a by-your-leave. And I, like many other people, do not respond to this kind of treatment. My instant reactions are "Who the hell are you?" and "What a nerve!" and reach for the delete button.

2. Not keeping to the topic

Thank you Dhruv Chaudhary about telling me how you export lime powder. But how is this relevant to my post about writing a good comment?

Not keeping to topic

Again he has resisted in leaving a link back to his website within the comment body, as he knows how ruthless the moderators can be. At least there is a relevant link with his submission, which is much better than going to his homepage.

But how does he think I will publish a comment which talks about an entirely different subject to the post? Does he really think my readers would be interested? Not only will this confuse them, this will also affect the search engines, as they will find no connection to the subject of the post.

Really this boasts either complete stupidity, a total disregard to the topic concerned, or a need to dump as many comments on as many blogs as he can, in the hope that one will stick. Real spamming activity.

3. Off topic with links

Similar to above, Aria Addison likes to crow about her latest successes, as if this was important to me or the post in question – not!

Off topic with links

Well, it's always nice to get things off your chest, and tell the world about your best grade with an essay writing service. What I particularly find distasteful is these companies usually churn out the worst content in the world, and I wouldn't touch them with a barge-pole!

How does this relate to the importance of a name in commenting? It's totally obvious she had no intention of ever reading my post, let alone absorbing the message within it. Again this is a 'spray and pray' approach of dumping and forgetting.

One thing is for certain, even if I wanted to edit this comment by taking out the links (which I do on a regular basis if the comment contains valuable material), the rest of it is so worthless and off topic, it would be a waste of my time.

4. Blatant links to business

After telling me my post was nice and contained really useful information, Lateral Matrix immediately took the opportunity to tell me his business's name combined with a (very helpful) link.

links to business

Lovely! First things I thought of were: What is a Business Analytics Company? Why would I want to know? How is this ever going to be useful to me? All this before noticing it was based in San Francisco (really convenient for people in the UK).

Really, some people are so wrapped up in their own little bubbles, they can't see past their own navels. Matrix took the opportunity to jump on this post and tell the world about his business, when again it has no connection to the post in question.

He even managed to get the link in twice! Woo-hoo – double trouble! The opening phrase also contained very little usefulness to me, as I already know my post contains some very useful information. But it is obvious he didn't bother to read it.

5. A buried recommendation

I'm sure Eleanora had the best intentions when she mentioned her company here. It certainly relates to the subject of the post she is commenting on.


She cannily doesn't include a link, and buries the URL within her text. If I didn't carefully read every comment I receive (which I do, because I reply to each of them), it may have easily slipped through the net.

Now, if Eleanora had regularly communicated with me beforehand through her comments, and had worked on a rapport with me, I would probably have published this comment. This is what happens if you make the effort to form a relationship with the blog's author first.

Writing promotional comments in this way will have a more satisfactory conclusion if Eleanora had bothered to sign up to a gravatar, so that I could see who she was. At the moment she comes across as any other spammer out there trying their luck.

6. Recommendation with a link

Ilija launches straight into his recommendation, bristling with a link, without even blinking! It does bear a connection with the post's subject, which is good, but this is an obvious attempt at a promotional comment without any preliminaries.

recommendation with a link

This is brazenly spam. I don't think Ilija had any intentions of writing a good comment. He just searched with the keyword "social media" and pasted his message on as many blogs he could find.

If he did have any motive for communicating with me because of the post, it isn't obvious. All he mentions is his product. There is no reference to anything mentioned within the post, which is further evidence he hasn't read it.

The fact that the first thing mentioned is his tool suggests to me "spam". There is no attempt at showing appreciation or recognition of my post, and the language used is specifically for promotional comments.

7. Conversational mention

This is a clever trick by Allen Jhon. At first glance you think you have a decent comment to approve, but on closer inspection you soon find out its true purpose.

Sneaky mention

Again, just like with Eleanora, if he had made himself known to me through previous comments, I would have more than likely welcomed his comment. But the tone in his delivery is still very much promotional, in spite of its disguise in trying to be conversational.

If you want to entice people to click on your name (as that is where the link is housed), you need to be cleverer than Allen here. The first thing you need to do is to offer your readers something valuable and tangible which could help them.

Altruism is the first port of call. Provide useful tips which can be implemented immediately, to gain trust in you as an expert. Only when this is achieved will people be more willing to click on your name to find out more.

8. Link with good intentions

I like Aliana Sharma's comment. You could call this another recommendation, except it's her own company. She has carefully picked my post to comment on in which to divulge the details of her product.

Good intentions - acceptable promotional comments

There are some promotional comments which are balanced between good and bad. Aliana has tried hard to make an effort in her comment to write in a conversational style in which to make her introduction.

In an ideal world, she would have placed the link behind her name (used when submitting her comment), and provided more details about this tool to make it sound more interesting and enticing, with a call to action to click on her name to find out more.

There is always going to be an occasion when you want to suggest something which would be helpful to others. Placing the direct link within the comment body isn't acceptable, so you will have to rely on your powers of persuasion within your prose.

9. Link to another post

This is similar to above, but in this case Rodney Laws wants to direct his comment's readers to a post he had written on the same subject. In some instances this is quite acceptable, and since he has a suitable gravatar I am willing to do the same.

Another post

There may be plenty of occasions when you think of one of your own posts which would suitably explain what you are trying to say in a better way. It would be obvious to refer to it within your response.

However, some commenting moderators, like Disqus, will not allow links in the comment body. This is because it makes the comment look like spam. Even though the link may be real and valuable, its presence may be ignored, disapproved of or even unappreciated.

You will have to explain what your post is about within your comment, combined with a compelling call to action to click on your name to read it. The URL will be placed behind your name as part of the submission process.

10. Sign off with company details

Kavya Publication is in a hurry. I wonder how many other promotional comments he has submitted at the same time. He obviously has a set phrase he trots out on every occasion, and then thinks it's perfectly acceptable to describe his business at the end.

Sign off with company

Unfortunately, this very act has demoted his comment from useless to spam. None of us care about him being the "best self-publishing company in India". And he has added nothing to show for it, except proving he is lousy at writing comments.

This is definitely an example of a useless comment. A lot of hot air, saying nothing, empty appreciation and obviously rushed out, with no reference at all towards the post it is placed with, combined with a displaced sense of importance.

This is something I dredged out of my spam folder. I will definitely not be applying any brain power towards it, except to put it straight back in again.

Try not to fall foul of writing promotional comments

It is so important to set the scene when writing a comment, promotional or otherwise. In fact I suggest you don't contribute something which is obviously promoting your business. You need to be much more discrete in telling the world about what you know or what you have to offer.

Commenting is not a vehicle for self-promotion. Very rarely do promotional comments escape the moderators and spam blockers. And blog authors, readers and other comments do not tolerate the audacity of businesses using these practices.

Commenting is a great method of telling the world about what you do, providing added value to a post, and helping people by answering their questions or solving their problems. Make a good impression and win the approval from your readers before allowing them to find out more about you.

Let me know what you think about this post in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.

Alice Elliott
Check out these awesome related posts...
And let me know your thoughts about this post below...
  • I loved the examples of what NOT to do, cracked me up even before my first cup of coffee!! The comments combined with your commentary provide very clear reasons to avoid those ways of adding comments. The dose of humor will help me remember them.

    They are also a quick, clear way to teach.

    I read the comments on your backlink article and found examples of helpful, useful, or conversational comments.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}