Would You Pay People To Comment On Your Blog?


Had a long discussion with someone about paying for Facebook likes and buying followers. We went back and forth about the ethics of doing so and spent a good bit of time batting around different ideas for gaming the system.

Is it worth cheating your way to Social Media Superstardom? If you gain enough traction you can put yourself in a place where your words have more value and influence.

I agree with what Ken said about Seth Godin.

I mean, he’s incredibly smart. He’s good at what he does. But have you read his blog? He’s the master of writing extremely short blog posts with pithy statements, and half the time, I’m not really sure he’s saying anything all that profound. And yet, he gets gazillions of likes and shares. Because he’s Seth Godin. If I wrote those same words, people would dismiss them as silly, and write me off.

It is interesting to me how two people can say the same thing but receive very different reactions.

Sometimes I read old posts like How A Dad Blogger Uses Amazon To Make Money From Writing to see what sort of promises I made and to figure out if I followed through upon them. You can call that my holding myself accountable.

Or you can call that the moments where I smack myself in the head, stare in the mirror and excoriate myself for not following through. Did I mention that I am my own worst critic.

Sometimes it is where I fall into the trap of comparing myself to other people. Sometimes it is where I find myself wondering why blogger XYZ gets so many accolades or what Seth Godin did to make himself into the figure he is today.

What Am I Doing Here?

It has been a very long week and I am tired. Been filled with multiple challenges on the blogging front and you can say that is a bit part of why I am being so introspective here.

Sometimes I look at my About page and ask myself if the current iteration is what I want to represent me. Is it accurate? Is it beneficial? Does it paint the kind of picture I want you to have about me and most importantly, have I linked to my best posts?

Ask me to identify my best posts and I’ll tell you that I am not entirely sure what to show you. Obviously I have a bunch I think are strong and provide a good representation of my work but I still wonder if I have picked the best out of my portfolio.

I suppose part of the answer lies in identifying my goals for the blog and what I hope to accomplish. If you don’t know what you want to do it becomes a lot harder to do it. 😉

Would You Pay People To Comment On Your Blog?

If we circle back to our headline and initial discussion about whether it is ethical and or beneficial to pay for comments I would pose a question.

Let’s say you can buy 50,000 Facebook fans, 50,000 Twitter followers and 50,000 guaranteed comments on your blog posts for $5,000.

Would you do so if you knew that would guarantee speaking engagements and a book deal?

What would happen if there were no guarantees other than the followers and comments?

Does it make a difference to you?

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  1. Mark W Schaefer January 18, 2014 at 6:03 am

    Here is another spin on this question.

    It is kind of high and mighty to say “no. I would not do that.” But what if this was what you had to do to feed your family?

    I don’t buy stuff like comments or followers. I abhor the idea. But I also try to withhold judgment about others because I don’t know their whole story. Kind of the Jean Valjean scenario.

    • Danny Brown January 18, 2014 at 9:31 am

      It’s not high and mighty to have an opinion – by that mindset, you saying “I don’t judge” is high and mighty, since you’re judging Jack (or anyone) for saying they wouldn’t do that.

      With regards doing something to feed your family, there are plenty of jobs around and ways to make money without being unethical. What parent would want to show their kids a lack of ethics as an example to look up to?

      • Mark W Schaefer January 20, 2014 at 5:36 am

        Obviously I don’t condone unethical behavior but I’m saying that I try my best not to judge people before knowing the facts. I guess Danny you are saying that you do judge people before knowing the facts, if you are taking the counter position. Just a difference of style, not necessarily core values.

    • Jack January 18, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Mark,

      I have thought about that. Went through a couple rough periods during my blogging tenure and mulled over how to use this to make more money.

      The web is a funny place and you never know what might set off the hordes and what might not.

      I have always thought if I made this joint into more of a niche site it would provide more financial opportunities than it does now but I haven’t because it would take the fun and the challenge out of things.

      The organic growth to me is much more interesting, but I won’t lie and say I haven’t thought about using some of the artificial tools to accelerate it.

      Ultimately it comes down to doing things in a way that lets me sleep at night which I think is how most of us make our choices.

  2. Stan Faryna January 17, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Danny’s comment begins to speak to an ontological need in the person – a need to be sincere and good.

    There is also the problematic that if you have paid for your success as a social media or blogging expert, your so-called expertise remains undemonstrated and theoretical (at the risk of being mistaken and damaging if practiced). In fact, be wary those that chant about the merit of failure! 10,000 hours of lies can never convert to 10,000 hours of wisdom.

    On the other hand, social was designed to be manipulated, gamed and bought. And skin-in-the-game or time-in-the-game (experience) does not necessarily mean a participant can produce valuable results for anyone- themself included.

    Alas, Romans do as Romans do.

    If I remember it right, it was written in an ancient book, a wisdom that may illuminate your question and curiosity.

    “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.”

  3. Danny Brown January 17, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    It comes down to what you want your legacy to be like, mate.

    For example, there are three people that are pretty big names in the social space. All three are bloggers; all three have books; all three speak professionally. They’ve built their audiences around the mantra of trust, being awesome, having a great community, etc, and – in general – just being great people to “look up to”.

    However, I know for a fact that two are bullies, using private communications to harass people that don’t praise them publicly; one lied on a TEDx talk; and one bought his book onto the NYT Bestseller List, as opposed to letting sales dictate success.

    I will never look at these three in the same light again. And I’m not the only person who knows their “secrets”.

    I’d rather be honest and have less, than be deceitful and have “more”. Because, at the end of the day, that more isn’t worth the toilet paper I flush down the loo.

    • Jack January 18, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Hi Danny,

      I am not a big fan of social proof and have never seen it as being proof of influence. I understand why some people chase it and what they hope to accomplish but I am skeptical about whether it works for most.

      It is always easier to be transparent and not have to worry or wonder if people will “catch” you doing something they don’t approve of. There are consequences and you have to consider what is acceptable to you.

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