A few days ago I changed my comment policy and it caused a bit of a stir, to say the least:
Iâ€™m getting annoyed.
I donâ€™t like it when people put keywords where their name goes in the comments.
I know the tone of the post was, well, kinda bitchy, and the truth is that’s how I felt when I wrote it. A little raw emotion on a blog isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, and it’s one of the aspects of blogging I dearly love. In this case, a little distance might have been a good thing. But that’s not the real reason I’m writing this post now. I just wanted to acknowledge that I was in a high state of being miffed (miffededness? miffification?).
The reason I’m writing about this now is because I want to update and clarify the most controversial aspect of the policy: that commentators should just use their name only. As James Chartrand pointed out in the comments, there truly is a difference between spamming the name field with keywords or blog names and engaging in legitimate branding & identification. We’ve had a great discussion about it (if you haven’t read the post and the comments, you should, it’s now the second-most highly commented post ever on Remarkablogger).
I think James has made an excellent point, so I’m amending the policy to allow for branding/identification in the comment name field. So something like this is acceptable: “James Chartrand – Men with Pens” or this: “Alister Cameron // Blogologist.” But not this: “South America Vacations” or this: “Personal Injury Lawyer.”
But wait! there’s more… (I always wanted to say that!)
As an experiment, I’m going to begin signing all comments I leave elsewhere as “Michael Martine, Blog Consultant.” I’ll do this until the end of March and then report on if I’ve seen any benefits (or problems) from doing it. If I can report clear benefits from doing it, then I will recommend this as a strategy for others. But if not, or if it causes issues, then I will come out against it. For blogs which have “no-follow” enabled (which is like 99% of them) I should see no SEO benefits from doing this. But there are a few blogs that have removed “no-follow,” which means I could potentially see some SEO benefits from doing this. I’m very curious to see what happens!