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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Becoming An Overnight Spammer

Well now I've done it. I really have. This evening, I committed the mortal sin of spamming in the course of trying to promote my blog.

After reading an article by Darren over at Problogger about social bookmarking, I decided that sending my post detailing what I had done to improve the blog into one of these bookmarking networks would be useful and successful.

Boy was I wrong.

Within 30 minutes of posting the article on Digg.com, I had only one digg (my own) but two negative comments labeling my submission as spam. At first I was taken aback; I'm the sort who leads the charge against booting spammers from forums because I find them extremely annoying.

Then, I got real. Just read the description I posted with the article: "This post is the first in a series chronicling Gentry Sherrill's attempts to improve his blog on both a technical and aesthetic level. Included are descriptions of SEO, specific applications which Sherrill has added to his blog, and a general chronicle of the creative improvements to the blog."

Any way you slice it, that's spam. Why did I refer to myself in the third person? I have no idea.

After seeing the immediate damage this did to my reputation I posted the following apology:

"Allow me to apologize (sincerely) for what you consider to be spamming. Just started this blog a few days ago and I am perhaps a little too overzealous to see traffic head to it.

This is my first attempt to do a real, profitable blog. I read about social bookmarking sites (like Digg, Del.icio.us, etc.) and thought that they would be a good avenue to get some readers there.

I can tell now from the description I gave my post that it looks spammish (Referring to myself in the 3rd person was, admittedly, stupid). I do think the posts I am making / am going to make have some value to anyone who might be in the same stages as me, where you're sort of working on the blog and are trying to head in a lot of different directions to make it successful. I don't know of many other bloggers that chronicle exactly what they do with their site to improve it, at least not daily (if you're out there I would love to hear from you).

So overall I would like to apologize for any perceived misuse of Digg and to encourage anyone who is interested in following my progress to see my blog. To the first two commenters here (stylerm and AnteChronos) I would specifically like to beg forgiveness.

Thank you for (hopefully) taking the time to read this."

Even if the members of Digg take my apology seriously (which is doubtful) I've still made a first impression which can not easily be replaced. If this happens again (and I can promise that it won't) the damage will be even more severe.

In 10 minutes I damaged my blog more than I had improved it working with it for 5 to 6 hours the day before.

Hopefully anyone reading this post will think twice before submitting articles, otherwise you might become an overnight spammer - just like me.