Dealing with an unhappy customer online

Is it better to deal with an unhappy customer online or should you try to take it offline?

When an unhappy customer blows off steam online, you’ve got a problem. Their comment is increasingly likely to appear somewhere near the top of Google – and that means its going to be read by your prospects and existing customers.

So if you come across someone raging about the service that your company provides in a forum or on a blog, what should you do?

Should you ignore it? Or put together a response? Should you get into a long drawn out discussion with them? Or take it offline and try to deal with it away from the public view? [Read more...]

Blog comment spam: is it? isn’t it?

How to decide if comments to your blog are spam or not

First of all, expect all comments to be spam. The web exists for trash marketers, not for you and your precious content. Make sure that you have ‘moderate comments’ switched on (so that nothing goes up without your approval) and use some kind of ‘captcha’ system that sorts the humans from the robots by asking a question that only a human could answer.

Even with a ‘captcha’ system, expect plenty of human comment spammers.

These will be people who write (or paste) some quick, usually vague-sounding comment for the sole purpose of leaving a link to their trash. If the comment looks vague, it’s usually because it’s spam.

There are several things to consider when reviewing a ‘comment’. Does it actually reference anything specific in your post? Does it point to a site selling something? Does it even make sense?

I’ve got a pretty good feel for what’s spam and what isn’t but just to be sure, here are two things to help you decide.

1) Copy the comment (or the first sentence):

“Oooo! This is a point mentioned. I like when everything in place while it is understandable to mere mortals.” (Yeah, right…!)

Paste it into Google in speech marks and search. If you see it appear elsewhere, it’s 100% spam. Delete.

Of course, the fact that you can see this spam comment on those blogs at all is because they either haven’t used ‘comment moderation’ in their blog control panel or they have but they just don’t know comment spam when they see it. Doh!

2) If in doubt, remember this is your blog and always ask yourself this question: “does this comment add value to my site and a readers’ experience of it?”. If the answer is “no”, just delete.

Google HATES blogs. It’s official – at least in my case

It’s great to find things out the hard way. This week, our G2B@ podcast blog disappeared off the Google radar. Not being an expert, I’m forced to go into ‘learn’ mode (no bad thing) to get an idea of why.

It may be have to do with how generously I was using links out to people we featured in the podcast. I’m sure that with more exploration, reading and advice, I’ll find out.

I’m not bitter, though, because I really like the whole Google paradigm and the way it’s founded on relevance. It’s like being stopped and searched at the airport. While it might be an inconvenience I have to admit there’s something reassuring about it too.

Google really DOES like blogs

So, our G2B@ blog is about 3 weeks old and the tag (under its title in WordPress) is ‘The podcast for business networking in Devon and Cornwall’.

A search for ‘podcasting Devon’ or ‘podcasting cornwall’ shows the podcast on page 1 of the natural search engine results both times.

Ok, I’m not going to get hysterical about it. But, hey, it does warrant a tiny bit of excitement when you consider that the blog was free and all I do is add credible links and a bit of useful copy every few days.