The Honorable Congressman Spammer — the story continues

Here’s the latest update to the discussion regarding blog comment spam, as posted over at Digital Pivot:

us-capitol1As you’ll recall from Chapter 2, I reached out to the staff member of the congressman who I felt was leaving blog spam by posting comments unrelated to the blog but fishing for supporters. I offered to enter into a discussion about the merits or detriment of taking such a tack and wondered whether the response had been positive or negative.

I’m going to let the staffer’s response speak for itself, but I’d also like to get a discussion started on whether blog comments need to be kept strictly to the topic at hand or if that section should be used for outreach. I think it’s pretty clear how I feel about it — that blog comments should be related to the blog post and not just some random method to conduct outreach. After all, bloggers generally offer at least one way to reach them other than posting a comment.

I have calmed down enough that I’m going to honor the staffer’s request not to identify which congressman this is involving because it’s not about calling someone out anymore — it’s about using it as a learning tool for all of us. In addition, I think the staffer is sincere in his desire to learn from this, too. Here’s the response I received:

Thanks for replying to my (spam) blog post.   It is good to get feedback on what methods we are using to reach out to new media and hear what annoys or pleases people.  I had no idea this was an issue with bloggers so it’s good you pointed this out.  I figured the only way to actually contact bloggers such as yourself is through the comments section as most (smartly) do not post their e-mail addresses on their blogs and so ways of connecting are limited.  That being said, no one wants to receive spam, either through e-mail or blog comments.  We get plenty of that from MUCH less reputable sources on our YouTube pages, as an example, and must constantly be checking the comments sections for such spam. I did not mean to provoke outrage by any means.  This is virtually the only method to reach out to new media right now.  As for your question as to whether or not I receive positive responses, yours is the first which could be termed negative.  Either the posts are ignored or the bloggers do e-mail me back asking to be sent regular updates and videos from our office, and many do post these as well!  It is not all in vain that I use this method, though your e-mail is of course making me rethink this.

So, what do you think? Should they rethink their method of outreach or should I just learn to relax and be happy that anyone posts any kind of comment on my blogs?  🙂

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