Comment Rings – are you a Lover or Hater?

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Blog comment rings

There’s nothing quite like the warm, fuzzy glow you get when you receive a comment on your blog. No matter how long you’ve been blogging, that wonderful proof that someone has not only read your blog but cared enough about it to leave a comment, is pretty hard to beat.

But what if that comment has come from taking part in a comment ring? Does it fade the glow? Or does it not matter?

For newer bloggers, a “comment ring” is where a group of people share links to their posts, all agreeing to comment on each others’ post. It’s not a new phenomenon but, for some bloggers, the subject of the comment ring can prove a controversial one.

Here, two Tots100 bloggers debate the pros and cons of comment rings.

 

“I LOVE COMMENT RINGS”

Penny Carr blogs at Being Mrs C and regularly takes part in comment rings. Here, she tells us just what she loves about them.

Penny Carr

Ah, the humble comment ring. Who would have thought people could be so split on something so simple? I personally just don’t see why everyone’s so wound up about them as I can’t see what harm they cause. Surely it’s no worse than having a Facebook thread in which people leave their Instagram IDs so they can follow each other?

Here’s what I love about comment rings:

 

  • Publicity

When you write a new blog post you set out to publicise it – it’s the natural thing to do. You put links on all your social media accounts as standard. For me I also add a regular comment ring to that list. It’s a way of driving traffic to my blog and hopefully if the people like what they see they’ll stick around and read some more. The only difference from posting links is that it’s a two way bargain in that I have to go and look at other blogs in exchange for doing so. A two way transaction that I’m entering into willingly. So, what’s the problem with that? It’s not as if you’re adding hundreds or thousands of extra page views to your stats. If you really want to increase your traffic then you’d do something else with your time.

 

  • Prompt to read blogs and discover new ones

As a busy mum of two, who has never got round to sorting out who I follow on Blog Lovin’, I mainly use comment rings as a prompt to go out and read other blogs and to discover new ones too.

I strive to make my blog and its content as good as I can so reading blogs I might not normally is a good exercise to look at what everyone else is doing. Seeing which posts are working for them and which aren’t. What are they writing about? How’s their blog design looking? How are they using video or photo content? What do I think about their writing style?

 

  • Supporting the blogging community

One of the things I love most about blogging is that sense of community. I’ve made some amazing friends through blogging and to me, part of being in that community is supporting each other in what we do. Being part of a comment ring is a natural part of that community to me and it’s something I want to do.

The thing that makes me laugh most is when people refer to “illegal” comment rings. Sorry, but what? I’m not entirely sure which bit of British or International Law they think was drafted in order to stop bloggers having a bit of fun!

I’m firmly on the pro side of the comment ring fence!

 

“I hate comment rings”

Joanne Dewberry blogs over on her website JoanneDewberry.co.uk. It’s fair to say she’s not a fan of comment rings. Here she tells us why.

joanne dewberry

 

 

  • Comment for comment

I’m guessing comment circles were designed to stop those rogues who link drop and run. The basic idea is that you leave a comment in return for a comment – a kinda blogger’s “you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” (although far more organised!).  But whichever way you look at it the comments being left are being written on the basis that you will comment back NOT because they want to leave a comment on your post in the first place.

I see it as being a bit like buying Facebook likes or Twitter followers! You’re almost cheating yourself AND you open your blog up to nonsensical comments. Those you can see have blatantly not read the post properly and done a poor man’s job of skim reading. “I’d love to go to Italy. Lucky you!” because the word Italy appeared in the title and in fact it’s an easy peasy pizza recipe for children.

 

  •  Feeling the love

Don’t you still get that butterfly feeling of excitement when you glance in your inbox and see a “waiting for moderation” email? Knowing that something you’ve written has made some small impact on a reader that they felt compelled to comment?  I always try to reply to comments and on occasion tweet a  “thanks” too.

I REALLY appreciate the time taken to read, comment and share my blog posts. I love engaging and discussing posts with individuals because I want to not because I want a comment in return. When I wrote a blog post once about sponsored posts I had so many comments and a real discussion broke out. Comments related to other comments and I thought, “Wow! I wrote something that matters! I struck a chord with other bloggers! Everything is awesome!

I’m not going to lie – a comment makes me do a little dance, my ego is suitably rewarded. And,for that small moment, I am invincible!

 

  • Inflated popularity

In any genre of blogging there is overlap. Many of us get invited to the same event with the same outcome: a lovely blog appraisal at the end. I don’t know about you but I always get a touch of the green-eyed monster when I see the same event posted about with 20+ comments on it and mine sits there all lonely, waving. To Joe Public these blogs look superior. Brands see this as being part of a larger community of avid readers and networkers. But, from what I can see, the comments are really there because the blogger posted a link to their post in a comment ring.

 

  • Time Poor

And to be brutally honest I’m time poor! I have 3 small children, school runs, swimming lessons, Beavers, Ballet, a small business and a home to run. Oh, and in my spare time I write a blog. I don’t have time to sneeze let alone comment on 20 plus blogs to inflate my comments.

Blogging is hard work. Fact.

I suppose there will always be ways in which to almost cheat the system. But, for me, the warm fuzzy feeling that I write something that matters will out-weigh the inflated appeal offered by comment circles.

 

 

Where do you stand on the comment ring debate? Are you on the love or hate side of the fence? We’d love to know your thoughts! 

 

[Photo credit: Shutterstock]

Every day of the week, Good Reads brings you the best and brightest content from Tots100, the UK parent blog network. Our community of more than 7,500 parent bloggers have a combined monthly audience of more than 10m readers, writing about everything from parenting to politics, food and fashion.

Discussion18 Comments

  1. I think Joanne has answered her own at the end there – she hasn’t time. It is about putting in a bit more time and effort to be a part of the blogging community imo. I cannot see how putting in the time to comment on other people’s blogs is like paying for likes/followers, guess we shall have to disagree there too. I personally cannot see what harm it does. A lot of bloggers seem to think you have time to reciprocate every comment on the blog too – like you saying you shout out a thanks. I don’t have time for that. On a really good post I can suddenly have 50 comments (without being in a comment ring). At least when I am in a ring I am saying look if you want me to comment add to this same one with me.

    • I just wish I had more time full stop! I think we all find what works for us as bloggers and, sometimes, have to be flexible from week to week in how we run things. For me, I really wish I had more time to comment on all the brilliant blogs I read. Time is always against me!

      • That’s it isn’t it we have to manage our time in a way that works best for us. Sorry if my original reply was a bit abrupt. I just don’t like either way to be seen as “wrong.” Annie put it much better.

  2. Nice and balanced post ladies. I think that, for me, saying things like ‘Comment rings are bad’, something I have heard a bit of lately, can only be a really negative thing. Like when people say ‘linkys are bad’ for the similar reasons. Yes, there will always be a few people who join in these things to look better for a PR on a review post but there are plenty more who do it for the variety of reading that it offers and just because it’s a bit of a russian roulette of reading – you don’t know what you are going to read form post to post. I think labelling things as ‘bad’ based on a personal opinion are damaging to those who use comment rings and linkys for genuine reasons.
    I’m a big fan of ‘if it’s not for you then don’t do it’ and a big hater of ‘it’s not for me so everyone must know how bad I think it is’.
    Ultimately people seem to be trying to drive traffic to their blogs, and with more blogs out there than ever, that’s an increasingly tough thing to do!

    • Great comment, thanks Annie. We also think the great thing about the Internet is that it’s big enough for us all. It’s really interesting to hear all the different views about this though, which is why we wanted to publish this post with two brilliant points of view so well argued!

  3. *shrugs*

    I feel the same way about comment rings as I do about every other part of blogging. If you enjoy taking part in them, go ahead. If you don’t enjoy them, don’t take part.

  4. They are not for me – I’d prefer people left comments when they had something the genuinely wanted to add to the discussion.

    That said i have no problem with anyone else doing them – each to their own and all that 🙂

  5. They’re not for me but I do understand how useful they can be, particularly for newer bloggers who are finding their feet and their readership. I’d rather people commented on my blog because they want to rather than feel compelled too …. ‘nice photo’ doesn’t exactly put a spring in my step, especially when I see the same comment has been left on a million blogs. But if people like that sort of thing, then carry on.

  6. This must be how far I’m out of the blogging loop, I’ve never even heard or been invited to a comment ring.

    Tbh it suits me, I plod along with no expectation and comment on the posts I feel I can and want to contribute to.

    As Katie said though, each to there own as in te blogosphere it changes so quick!

  7. PERSONALLY, and I emphasise that with CAPITAL LETTERS, I think comment rings are one of the worst things I can think of in terms of blogging. If I write something I want it to get commented on due to it’s merits, not because I’ve agreed to comment on ten other peoples blog posts. I might as well publish the spam comments I get for all the value they provide, and at least that would be more honest IMHO.

    I’m not sure I buy into the “it’s not my thing but it’s all right if you do it” argument either (and that’s not because I’m trying to offend EVERYONE) because when I read a blog post and the comments under it, I want to know whether they comments are natural or paid for.

    “Paid for?” I hear you cry, “comment rings don’t involve payment.” Yes they do, payment in kind. Payment doesn’t have to involve cash, it can involve a consideration for a service provided and in terms of a blog ring, the payment is a reciprocal comment on the blog of the commentor.

    Comment rings were basically the reason the tots 100 dropped comments as a metric waaaaaaaaay back as people were artificially manipulating that metric. Of course other ranking systems, including Cision, still use comments as a metric for engagement, which means being a member of a comment ring is still worthwhile in this respect but that’s hardly a glowing endorsement is it?

    Anyway, to paraphrase the Christian phrase, love the blogger, hate the blog ring 🙂

    *scurries off to read the initial post*

  8. All my comments are genuine heart felt comments so you can guess it is not something I would join in with! But everyone is different. It is the same as pressure with linky’s etc of having to comment (or feeling you have too!) on at least 50% who else has added a link.

    Hence probably why I don’t get masses of comments, I often get non-bloggers email me their comments which I value a lot!

    I totally love blogging but just want to be me, so if I read something I like and I have time (always an issue) I comment.

    I am running in my first competition at the moment and actually feel like a cheater for likes, follows and comments! Perhaps I am just too honest!!!

    But as with all of life everyone to their own 🙂

  9. Never even knew about comment ring after reading this. When I join Linkys I have this feeling that I need to comment on almost all of them because I feel that its a responsibility for joining & commenting on people I only want would be unfair to the others. And I feel that people should at least comment back on the people who comments on them just to say thank you. But I seldom get a comment back. And I really value and thankful for the people who went out of their way to comment back. Do i have the whole comment ring character in me? I dont really know but I am thinking its a personal linky etiquette for me to comment on everyone whether they comment back or not. I need a drink =P

    • It’s all a bit confusing isn’t it Merlinda and very much down to personal choice! As a blogger I know I struggle to comment back on every single person who leaves a comment on my blog, as much as I would love to. Time is always against me, and there never seems to be enough of it. But I agree, commenting is a very big part of blogging and it’s a lovely way to embrace being part of the community – whether that be through comment rings, linkys or just reading and commenting on brilliant posts you’ve enjoyed.

  10. I can see how they might be considered artificial and so on, but one of the nicest blogging experiences I had a while back (and on a different blog) was doing NaBloPoMo and being in a comment ring. Although I think we saw it as more of a commitment to read ring, really.

    What I liked about it, and what I like about (relevant) linkys now was that in a world where there are So Many Blogs and So Many Posts each day, it was a way of finding a group of blogging friends and building up a relationship with other bloggers.

    So I’d be willing to have a go at comment rings. How does one find them?

  11. Interesting post!

    I was blissfully unaware they even existed until I saw someone blog about how they had been busy commenting on 40 posts that day as part of their comment ring! (Like whaaaaat?!)

    I have to say I was a little surprised by them and then quite relieved as I’d often thought ‘blimey – they have 40 comments on every post!’ Thinking they were popular, but now it makes sense!

    I’m very much live and let live, if you have time and want to do that kind of blogging then go for it! For me – I like a comment that’s not forced ‘because you have to ‘like for like’ or ‘comment for comment’ I don’t see the point in it for the blogging, interactive experience of yesteryear – instead I see it’s just as a way of getting more hits and better stats which to me, is a dreadful bore.

    Blogging has changed so much since I started 14 years ago. I think you take what you want from it. You don’t have to join groups or links or rings or even share your posts.

    Do what makes you happy, not competitive. Blog for you not for popularity. It’s not worth the headache lovely people x

  12. I had never heard of “comment rings” until reading this, but then again I am only blogging 5 months. I’m a “whatever works for you” kind of person. I personally wouldn’t have the time to leave so many comments! I love responding to comments on my blog and try to reply to most. I love linkys of similar type blogs to mine but I really hate the pressure to “have to” comment on other links, although I really love reading other posts and getting to know other blogs! I like to comment when something strikes a chord with me or I can relate to it or I think it’s really great, I think I would find it hard to write a comment just for the sake of it. Anyway, horses for course etc, thanks for teaching me something new about the blogging world! And btw, Merlinda (@pixiedusk) is unbelievably good at commenting on blogs and leaves such lovely thoughts – thanks Merlinda for all the lovely comments over the past few months, I hope I managed to reply to most 🙂

So You Know...

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