A New Trend in Unethical Promotion of New Age Books?
Okay, let’s call it what it is–unethical. But after receiving several similar blog comments over the last few days from New Age authors–whether on Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping, law of attraction, or happiness and joy–this last one just annoyed the hell out of me. So I’m calling it and I’m telling you why.
Many of you comment privately on my blog and ask me to keep it private or you email me. I honor that. Most of the comments I received are not posted here for that reason. My spam filters keep out most of the trash, but because it doesn’t keep out everything, I do personally read all blog comments that the filters don’t consider spam. I’ve made some interesting new friends that way and have reviewed and recommended material as a result. However, there are the phony comments with the sole purpose of promoting the commenter’s own website or book. They used to be easy to spot because they were excessively vague and effusive. Okay, trashed. Immediately. No value added to my blog and I refuse to provide a link to a spammer.
The new trend in book and website promotion is an equally vague blog comment that is mildly (or more) insulting. There’s always some “constructive” criticism that tends to be dead wrong, a reference to being a big fan who has read many posts, and a promise to come back and read more…and a link to the commenter’s website where a book is being sold. Here’s the most recent one I received, with the link removed to avoid aiding a spammer in upping his search engine rank with another link:
obviously like your web-site however you need to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very troublesome to tell the reality then again I will surely come back again.
(NOTE: Had I approved this comment, all the above info and more would have been visible.)
My first thought, before I saw the spammer link, was “Oh, crap! Did I have too many typos on my itty-bitty keyboard?” Then I looked at the article in question, one of my more scholarly ones and not a typo on the page. Never mind the punctuation errors in the comment–I don’t usually complain about errors or even text-speak in a comment–but they did give me another hint that this is a new trend in book promotion. Most of these sites seem to be through one of those template sites where you write a few articles that support a site of about 15 pages that sells ads and usually an info product masquerading as a book. They follow a particular formula, every one of them, and I’d bet that the forum they’re all on is buzzing with how to promote their sites this way.
In fact, if you copy part of the comment into Google, you’ll find lots and lots of blogs that have been duped into giving the spammer links that will drive traffic and improve their rank in search engines.
Could I be wrong? Am I calling out someone who is a long-time fan of my site? Uh, no. My traffic stats show that these people have never visited my site, which search engine was used to find my site, how many posts were read (just the one post VISITED because there wasn’t time to read it), and that they were on my site barely long enough for their presence to register while they hurriedly pasted the same comment on my blog as on so many others. If this were a one-time deal, I’d blow it off, but sadly, it’s becoming a regular nuisance. What I’m most annoyed about is that I’m still idealistic enough to think that people involved in spiritual teaching are or should be ethical.
It’s ironic that this book, Super Tapping, and several others that have been spammed to me recently, are all subjects that I’m very interested in and frequently promote. Would I buy or recommend Super Tapping after being lied to?
Oh, hell, no.