Are You a Spammer?

There is a hazy line between getting the word of your products and services out there in a helpful way and just shoving and screaming it in people’s faces.

A friend last night told me of a guy who had used 40 different email addresses to repeatedly sign up for because he kept getting banned for advertising his goods. Eventually they had to ban his IP address. Now this site is primarily to help foreigners in Taiwan by giving helpful information and offering discussion. It’s about information for a specific community.

So when does a promotional message become spam?

It is spam when the sole purpose is to push your goods without adding any value to the community, especially when there has not been any consent to you sending those messages, or you haven’t built up enough authority within the community.

These messages were obviously not adding anything to the current conversations and were not part of a larger plan to build authority and then promote his goods in general.

There are two main types of spam I can identify along these lines (there are more).

Blog spam. Leaving comments that are very generic and oftentimes unrelated to the blog they are put on. This also includes pingbacks/trackbacks. These are often automated, and sometimes have messages like “Hey, cool site!” and are just there for the link that is made to the authors site from their username. These are easier to track down if there are multiple links to external sites in the comment itself. If there is a conversation, a link to your offer might be appropriate if left with a helpful comment that does keep the conversation going.

Forum spam. Forums are for discussion, they are for users to help each other and to contribute their thoughts and information to a topic. What the guy above was doing was not adding anything. Take, take, take. Building up your reputation is much harder, but much more beneficial in the long run than hit and run promotional lines.

You might not think you’re a spammer, but if you

  • leave meaningless comments just to leave a link to your stuff
  • don’t read the post before commenting
  • use generic posts everywhere
  • don’t add anything to the community before posting stuff for sale

then you might be a spammer.

Don’t be.

Spam them, and they’ll hunt you down. Build your reputation, and the crowd will beg for more good stuff from you.

Which kind of crowd woul you prefer?

I Wanna See The Real You

So I’ve been getting into Twitter a lot more these past few weeks. Along with that I get to see the new faces “Avatars” of those who follow me or I follow. This is Twitter-centric, but applies to Facebook, blogs and any site for that matter.

I want to see pictures of real people.

I can’t remember where I read it before, but someone said something about using pictures of yourself versus a cute cartoon or something else as an Avatar.

And I agree.

When I’m following someone I feel more at ease, a little more like I “know” them when they have a decent picture of themselves. I don’t want to see a cartoon, or picture of a landscape, or anything clever, I just want to see you.


Probably because in the end I’m talking with a person, even if they’re representing a company, I would still prefer to see a personal picture or headshot, because I’m still talking to a human.

At the very least like a picture on the twitter background, or on the site linked to from there.

Price Ain’t Everything

Today I read a response to a post on altering your message, product, brand on mpdailyfix.

It got me thinking a bit more about price is often considered the determining factor when making purchasing decisions. That is a very easy tact to take, because it requires less analysis of customers and what they need, but it’s much harder in that you seem to compete in a battle of economies of scale more than anything else.

Ava was talking to me on the phone tonight and told me our original zuoyuezi center (a semi-hotel where Taiwanese ladies go to recover after giving birth) had called her.

When Ava had called them a few months back, while arranging to find a place, they never had a room ready for us to see and finally the third time, the lady suggested we go and check out another center.

So we did, and made the deposit at the other one.

Today the first place called Ava back and were a little disappointed that she’d gone to the other place. She was more shocked when she found out that they had been recommended to us, we had tried to go a few times already and had then been told to look elsewhere.

They offered a big discount to try and tempt us back, but as Ava told me, “They have already destroyed any trust. If I have to spend a month there, and leave my baby in their care, I have to trust them. If it’s so easy to tell me to move on to somewhere else, it feels like they don’t care, and I don’t want someone like that taking care of my child.”

I agree. Money ain’t everything.

Who do I follow on Twitter and Why

I only have a semi-formalized technique for doing this.

Firstly, I followed some of the big Internet marketers, because I am interested in their stuff and they happen to be on Twitter.

Next, I followed a few people who have sales and marketing related blogs. Their blogs were good, so I followed those authors who have Twitter accounts, and most of them do. I often follow Twitter accounts mentioned by these same marketers.

I also followed a range of Chinese Twitterers after going to a Twitter meetup a while back. Much less of the follow madness with this crowd.

Almost all of the deliberate follows I’ve made recently are from blogs and links to other related blogs, mostly English blogs on Taiwan.

Then, for the constant stream of followers that build up. I check out their Twitter page. No avatar, no follow. Backgrounds with big $$$, or make money scheme, no follow. Only very old tweets, older than 1 month, no follow. Otherwise I decide on if the most recent tweets are interesting.

You can follow me too: @pumpkinslayer