When it comes to link building, driving exposure to a website, and affiliate marketing, commenting on blogs is still alive and well. One of the things I love about Internet marketing is the constant adaptation of techniques. For example, while blog comment marketing is still prevalent, the approaches used by marketers are constantly changing.
There was a technique I recently observed by a blog commenter on our Internet Marketing Blog that I wanted to highlight. It’s an example of a semi-elaborate scheme that involves posing as a real person (she might be a real person, but I’m still thinking fem bot!) and then linking to a landing page that’s disguised as a personal page, which then provides a somewhat masked affiliate link to a dating site.
Before I give you the details of this technique, I want to preface with the following:
- I’m not trying to out anyone, nor do I know who is actually behind this technique. If anything, I admire the cleverness of this approach. For that reason, I’ve obscured some of the details in the screenshots.
- I’m not endorsing this exact technique. It should be used for learning purposes and coming up with your own marketing ideas. It’s up to you to be as transparent or misleading as you want. I’m not your parent or the morality police.
The Blog Comment
The technique begins with the blog comment. This comment looked very legitimate. The comment appeared thoughtful and mildly related. The Gravatar image also looked realistic. However, the real clincher was the normal looking URL that was left (obscured for privacy). It was a domain that matched the commenter’s name, and looked like it went to their personal website: [her-name].info
The “Personal” Website
If you click on the link in the blog comment, you’ll be taken to a one-page website with a series of head shots. Coupled with the pictures, the copy on the page reads like a psychological profile of what a single guy would be interested in:
- Spontaneous – “just put it up last night. I’ve never taken pics of myself before so hope these look okay.”
- Obtainable – “I’m a waitress at a diner”
- Sensual – “going to night school for massage therapy”
- Teasing – “I have a lot more that you can’t see, maybe one day I’ll take pics of those too”
- Desirable Lifestyle – “I live near the beach…learning how to surf”
- Vulnerable – “just got out of a long relationship”
- No Strings – “looking for something casual”
All of the copy leads to the link “My Dating Profile” and the link goes to [her-name].info/images.php. Of course, it’s actually a redirect designed to hide the affiliate link that is its true destination.
The True Intent
Unsurprisingly, the link doesn’t take the user to her profile page. Instead, it takes them to an affiliate landing page, where the user is presented with access to an entire network of unrealistically hot women. All they have to do is enter their personal information into the form to reach online dating ecstasy.
I think this overall technique is interesting, because it uses a three-step process that builds upon itself. First, it starts off subtle and realistic with a simple blog comment. Second, it starts to tell a story that attempts to psychologically grab the user, assuming they fit the intended target audience. Lastly, it tries to close the deal (grab the lead) by deluging the user with an even better, albeit unrealistic result. In this case, the idea that not only will the user have a chance at meeting this girl from the blog, he will also get a chance at meeting all of these other women too!
Although you may be disgusted by everything this technique represents, it could easily be adapted for a different industry, and also be used with real-life people and stories. For example, if you were a non-profit organization, you could create individual websites that tell a story about each person. That site could then link to a landing page that’s designed to collect donations for the organization. Sounds a little less sleazy now, doesn’t it?