It looked innocent enough – a comment, albeit one with grammatical mistakes, telling me in glowing terms how great my site was and asking for my advice about how to set up a blog.
It turned out to be poison.
Like most bloggers, I’m pathetically grateful for any encouragement, though it seemed odd that the sender picked my post on growing organic potatoes on the reclaimed Dutch province Flevoland to express their admiration.
I politely replied to ‘Natalie’s’ query about whether technical know-how was needed to set up a blog (it’s not). My message bounced back as ‘undeliverable’. Natalie had vanished from my life forever and I don’t miss her one bit. A closer inspection of her comment revealed that it was linked to a ‘vegas gambling’ URL.
A few days later, WordPress itself contacted me to advise that they’d found a suspicious comment on my blog. They warned that unless I removed it the blog would be punished by search engines and was in danger of being closed down altogether. I took their advice immediately.
But for some unknown reason daily hits on my blog suddenly dropped by 50% in early February and have never recovered. I suspect that Natalie or one of her friends may be responsible, though I’m grateful to her for curing me of my hits obsession. It saves a lot of time and makes my day longer.
Natalie has never returned to Flevoland’s organic potatoes, but other unwelcome spam visitors have.
‘Sebastian’, aka ‘cheapthirdpartycarinsurance’, wrote: It’s a relief that I was able to come across richardtullochwriter.com: it has the resources I was definitely searching for. You’ve created a very good site and it’s clear you possess a thorough understanding of the topic. You have opened up my eyes to numerous ideas concerning this sort of subject applying interesting and strong material.
Suspiciously generic, Sebastian. Try harder next time and make sure you mention potatoes!
Do other people out there have this problem? What should I do about it?