One of the best ways to get blog traffic (at least in the short-term and on a small scale) is to comment on other people’s blogs. Some people do follow the link (on the commenter’s name) back to the blog of the commenter, if the comment is sufficiently interesting, and there is some chance that the link helps with search-engine attention. This is something that I have myself done to a great extent—partially to get traffic, but mostly because I read a lot of blogs and often find something that I actually want to comment upon.
This is all fine and dandy; however, unfortunately, there is another breed of commenters—the comment spammers. Akismet catches a lot of these; in particular, those who have a message of “Please buy my stuff at http://www.xxx.com”. Many others fly below the radar, and can be hard to differ from legitimate (but useless) comments, having a body of e.g.
Just want to say what a great blog you got here! I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!
Thumbs up, and keep it going!
This comment (associated with one ondiluss/http://www.turkeyphototour.com/) is one that I have seen on a very great number of blogs recently. (Typically, as a result of my having subscribed to comments on a post that I have myself commented upon).
Other negative examples of a similar character can easily be found by going to the WordPress homepagee and having a look at the comments of the featured blogs—which obviously are targeted by spammers to a higher degree than the average blog.
I strongly suggest to my fellow bloggers to mark these comments as spam. There is one obvious problem: How should an individual blogger differ between merely useless comments and spam comments? There is no reliable and fool-proof way to do this, but looking at the name or contents of the linked to blog/website can help. As an alternative, I would consider deleting/unapproving (but not necessarily marking as spam) any comment that does not have at least some value to someone. Common to these spam comments is usually that they are given out en masse with little thought, presumably often without reading the post that they are attached to, and correspondingly they tend to lack any value outside of flattery. The use of a foreign language is a particular warning sign.
Conversely, I urge my fellow commenters to only comment when they have something (even be it something small) in terms of content, reasoning, constructive feedback, corrections, whatnot, to contribute—or, obviously, if they wish to ask questions, communicate with the blogger, or similar. The wish to gain links or just to spread flattery, however, is not enough.
In response to these observations, I have revised my comment policy and retro-actively thrown out a number of comments.