Blog Commenting as an Effective Lead Generation Strategy

SEO

Blog Commenting as an Effective Lead Generation Strategy

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

Blog Comment

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.

Fake Personal Website

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.

Landing Page

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?

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Tell us what you think

  • http://www.gmail.com Arun Chauhan

    I think automation is tricky and easy to screw up, even if you know what you’re doing.Wonder if the technique is automated or if a real human logs in to post blog comments. I like the homepage and that it only has one link ……….

  • http://4sitemarketing.ca Scott

    It has gotten to the point where you can not tell spam from actual contributors. It’s very frustrating because I want to add more comments to my blog.

    “Hey just found your blog surfing” C’mon!

  • http://moderndaypeasants.com/blog Dan

    Yeah…It’s getting tougher and tougher to determine the automated comments. This approach seems a little shady and quite a bit of work involved. If it brings the traffic then I guess so be it.

  • http://www.interactone.com Thomas

    I’m constantly debating if commenting is a good efficient way to garner traffic but as an administrator for a blog I can say I will not approve anything unless it adds to the conversation. The automated comments are easy to spot; however, they are getting more sophisticated in their approach.

  • http://www.linkbuildr.com Ryan@Linkbuildr

    Great tips which should keep the commentor’s mindset out of the spam process and into commenting like a human. I recommend checking out blogs.botw.org/dmoz and any other authoritative place where you can follow the link juice trickle and comment on some great blogs. This way you know you’re getting the most value out of your time.

  • http://www.terrydean.org Parka

    I’ve heard of cross-pollination within the same general market, if comments are on topic and helpful it can be a win-win scenario, but this is taking things to a whole new level.

  • Jon Henshaw

    Secretaria, blog commenting is still a form of offsite SEO. They can, to some extent, contribute to better SERPs by generating more traffic (a factor used in the algo) and the links and anchor text in comments can still have a positive effect on the SERPS (nofollow be damned!!!). But yeah, it’s mostly just an Internet marketing strategy to get you thinking about improving your own strategies.

  • http://www.cursossecretaria.com/ Secretaria

    Very interesting post. It’s a different way to take advantage of post a comment. Far away from SEO ^_* Give me some ideas… Thanks a lot!

  • Jon Henshaw

    Pat, my guess is that she doesn’t even know she’s being used in an affiliate scheme :P

  • http://www.matterhornmarketing.com/marketing Pat Strader

    Interesting to say the least. Think she will be on a panel with Tim Ash anytime soon?

  • http://onehalfamazing.com Bob

    Beautiful (in reference to the strategy). I would agree with Michael that it does seem like a lot of work, but being able to leverage a large site with lots of comments and visits probably makes it all worth while. In that way they don’t actually have to fool search engines or drive actual traffic to their page, but in turn just leverage the comment on someone else’s site. I bet it makes a little money, especially with the affiliate payouts on ‘dating’ sites

  • http://www.googleandblog.com/ Michael Martin

    Hmmm is that a Raven Tools logo tattoo on her right shoulder?

    Was that an subtle affiliate branding image? JK

    Obviously Fling REALLY wanted the squishedtogethercleavageshots.com domain.

    ,Michael Martin

  • Jon Henshaw

    I think automation is tricky and easy to screw up, even if you know what you’re doing. At the very least, it’s the riskiest way to go about it. If you wanted to have the best quality comments and target the most relevant blogs, while also watching your overall costs, then I think the best route would be to outsource to an overseas company. And yeah, I was very impressed with how they made the home page. Great copy, pictures and focus on the affiliate link.

  • http://michaeldorausch.com/ Michael D

    Seems like a lot of work for lead generation but if the comment profile gets a lot of click thrus it could be worth the effort. Wonder if the technique is automated or if a real human logs in to post blog comments. I like the “homepage” and that it only has one link (the aff link).