Increasing Blog Traffic: Trolls and Drive By Readers

attracing blog readersThere’s a new “increasing blog traffic” tactic being touted (I wish I could remember where I read this now) where leaving troll like comments is being encouraged as a way to increase blog traffic.

When I use the word “troll“, I’m not talking about a fictitious, mythological creature who is obnoxious, hideous and dedicated to achieving evil ends.

Instead, I’m talking about someone who fits this description of a troll at Wikipedia

An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial and usually irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of baiting other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.

In essence, an internet troll does share the mythical creatures bent for evil, but it’s important to remember that a troll is not offering his/her authentic opinions, which may or may not offend someone. Instead of commenting to share an opinion, the troll offers comments with one intention – to stir the emotions of other readers.

While troll like behavior is being touted as a great way to increase blog traffic, I’d have to guess that instead, this kind of post just merely creates Toxic Conversation.

The quality of readers you attract with troll like comments are what I call “Drive By Readers”.  They may subscribe to your RSS, but they provide little value to your blog other than boosting your RSS subscriber count.  If they came as the result of your troll comment, they’re seeking emotional juice.  They’re at your blog to see more of what you delivered via the comment section they just read.  They’re at your blog with the purpose of seeing who you shredding now.

If your goal is to be a Blog Shock Jock, then leaving troll like comments will be a great investment of your time.

trollHowever, the other side of that coin is the blog owner where you’re making those disruptive comments.  As a blog owner, it’s hard to know what to do about Trolls. Defining troll like activity is the first step and sometimes that’s the hardest step of all.   Wikipedia has an explicit DNFTT (Do Not Fee The Trolls) policy.

Trolling is a deliberate, bad faith attempt to disrupt the editing of Wikipedia. Ignorance is not trolling. Genuine dissent is not trolling. … They are only trolling when they are motivated by a program of malice rather than ignorance or bias. This requires a judgment of the personal motivation for another’s action.

And that my friend is the problem with defining a troll.  A troll is defined by his/her INTENTIONS and usually it’s hard to determine those intentions with a single comment.    Is the person leaving frequent comments really a troll, or just someone who needs educated?

The advice I frequently share with clients is this: your blog is YOUR playground.  You provide the playground so you can make the rules.  If you think someone’s comments are troll like, then it’s your right and privilege to enforce a strict DNFTT policy.  In other  words, if you think it’s a troll, then it’s a troll.

Have you had problems with trolls on your blog yet?   If so, how have you handled it?

Comments

  1. says

    I love the troll description of what are simply called idiots on the Internet in my eyes. LOL. I know this is rather strong built also fitting, don’t you think?

    Personally I haven’t had a problem with trolls on my blogs, neither would I let it become one. They’d simply be made to disappear.

    I also think these trolls are bullies who need to make others feel bad so they in response can feel good about themselves. I feel sorry for them in a sense, maybe they were deprived love, or put down themselves as children. Who knows.

    Thanks for a great post and your link love. 🙂

    Monika Mundell’s last blog post..Your Opinions Could Offend Someone

  2. Kathy says

    I have had a couple of trolls who’ve tried to stir the copious piles of dung distributed here, however I’ve been fortunate enough that the trolls who visited here weren’t man or woman enough to leave a legitimate email address. No email address… no comments. My sandbox, my rules!

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