New followers: Some advice

As a blogger, it is always a pleasure to welcome new followers to my blog(s). They might become active members of the wider blogging community, as well as commenting on my posts. I might choose to follow their blog, to read what they have to say, or look at their photos. As bloggers, this is the way to become noticed, perhaps to create a circle, or to become part of one.

Just lately, I have been lucky to receive lots of notifications from WordPress, informing me that someone new is following my blog. As is my habit, I will usually head straight over to their blog, have a look at what they are doing, and leave a comment thanking them for their appreciated follow. In many cases, this is easily done, and more than a few times, it has also resulted in them getting a new follower too, namely me.

However, I have started to notice a confusing trend. Around 50% of the time when I get a new follower, their own blog doesn’t actually exist. These are not ’email only’ followers, I hasten to add. They have blog names, and WordPress accounts. But click on the profile, and you will often find nothing at all. No redirect to a blog, no recent posts to read, not even a Home page or About page to peruse. A few of these new followers do have an actual blog, but it is ’empty’. It has a name and a theme, but that’s all. The rest is just WordPress filler, such as ‘This is a widget’, or ‘This is an About page’.

It is a fair assumption that they have started the blog so recently, that they haven’t had time to get it organised, or add any posts. If this is the case, then why start following other blogs so soon? I have checked back on some of these new followers, and their blogs remain blank. Yet they keep coming in; two already today, to add to half a dozen this week. Not much point having followers who have no blogs, unless they prefer to follow by email only of course. But these are not those type of followers, as they have blog names for ’empty’ blogs.

I cannot see the point of doing this. They gain nothing by following my blog, if their own blog cannot even be read, let alone followed back. And they provide nothing to the community of blogging, just by randomly following blogs for no reason.

So ‘new followers’, here is my advice.

If you follow a blog, comment on a post, or leave a like. If nothing else, it proves that you exist.
If you don’t want to have your own blog, then follow by email. It’s much easier.
If you have started a blog, then left it like a literary ghost town, just delete it.

If you do not want to be part of the overall blogging experience, that’s fine. But please don’t bother to confuse bloggers like me by ‘following’, when to all intents and purposes, you don’t exist.

**(Update. Just after posting this, I got another one! Click on it, and nothing…)**

 

Best wishes to you all, anyway. Pete.

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61 thoughts on “New followers: Some advice

  1. Add me to your list Pete. I’ve had a couple and never given it any real thought. Just assumed it was someone setting up an account & playing around with how things work.
    I’m sure if you contacted WordPress with links they would tell most likely give you a reason for The Ghost Follower Phenomenon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The world of blogging has undergone some drastic changes in the past few years.

    First of all the other social media are not out permorning traditional blogging by a vast degree and traditional blogging is falling behind trends fast. Today it’s all instagram and facebook and those kind of places. That’s what’s “In” now.

    Your problem might be link spammers or it might just be people who thought they wanted to blog and tired of it soon after beginning and got out of the blogging business.

    It might be that you are attempting to connect with blogs that have been removed because of censorship (I would assume most of the ones you can’t find are Conservative) or because the might have violated the terms of service of the platform on which they appeared.

    Some of them might be virus designed to look like legitimate blogs so that if you click onto them you might acquire some nasty stuff you would rather avoid. Run a security scan once in awhile to see if anything is lurking on your computer that you do not want to be there.

    Some of them might be “Ghost” commenters … just like people who call 911 emergency services as a prank and then hang up when the operator answers.

    Whatever it is I do not think the old habit of bloggers exchanging links works so well anymore.

    It used to be that if you added a link from somebody else to your blog roll they would return the favor.

    They are not doing that so much anymore.

    Besides which I understand it is not necessarily good think to have too many incoming or outgoing links these days because the “Bots” and “Algorhythms” might consider them as spam and downgrade the rating of your own blog in the indexing pages.

    I wouldn’t be too concerned about followers because they come and they go. They come to see what you are all about and the first time you say something that they get offended by they are gone. Very fickle!

    Some people follow you just to see if you will follow them back. I call this type of person a “Follower Collector.” They might follow you and never comment on anything you write. I have at least 700 of that kind of follower.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for your thoughts, John. Most of these ‘ghosts’ seem to originate in India, so I am guessing that some sort of scam is most likely, rather than them being ‘Conservatives’. I am generally unconcerned about ‘no-comment’ followers, but this recent crop of daily non-existent followers seems to be a worrying trend that is on the increase.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve noticed that too. I’ve also found that people sometimes sign and leave comments using an avatar or identity not linked to their blogs. Sometimes I’ve managed to find them anyway, but others I haven’t been successful in my detective work. It’s difficult to remember to update everything, but some of the links have taken me to blogs that no longer existed…
    Thanks for the advice, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have had this happen to me or they were like an advertising page or something. My big thing is I’ve reached a number of blogs I follow that I can keep up with. I don’t mind the idea of growing my audience but I worry I won’t be able to reciprocate and I understand if people will be disappointed by that. Something I don’t understand is people like my stuff, follow me. I like them, follow them and all of a sudden they’re not liking anything I post for months.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wouldn’t get too worked up about it.
    Besides, you may just find that it is easier to create a blog for following than e-mail following because let’s face it, how often do you really go check out a notification by mail? Having notifications on WordPress is “tidier” in my opinion. I find I end up having a cluttered mailbox with loads of unread subscription notices that I never bother to open.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not really worked up about it, just my ‘tone’ I suspect. You make an interesting point about emails. I have always tended to start with opening emails, then going from those to the comments concerned, rather than the other way round.
      As for these ‘ghosts’, my main concern is that it is hiding some other purpose, like inserting a tracker or virus. I posted this to see if others experience it, and it would appear that many do. I have an uneasy feeling that there is something going on that we are unaware of.
      Maybe I need a new tin-foil hat?
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No tinfoil hat necessary, Pete – this is a strategy common with link-spammers. Many blogs have settings that allow automatic approvals on subsequent posts (i.e. once you have approved them once) – and they want to look WPress legit hoping to get a comment approved so that they can post one with a multiple affiliate links (which they then click and get paid for) — getting a bunch of links posted on a bunch of blogs before people find them and delete them. Far too few of us check before approvals, I guess – and many rarely go back to old posts to see what’s happening there.

        Are there bloggers who are so new they have not filled in About pages – sure – and I have run across the odd “This is a text widget” on the blogs of people who have been active for a year or more. But link-spammers must have had great success with ADD bloggers, because our community attracts a lot of the buggers, so a few of us are getting wise to their ways. I’m not sure why they follow first, but many seem to.

        There are always people who will try to game any system, I guess. And bloggers who set up new blogs they don’t populate until they rack up a bunch of SEO points aren’t worth my time, so if that’s their game they don’t win with me. I’m with you on the concern with the rise of the “ghosts” – but I think somebody we follow would have let us know if there were something nefarious afoot that put our systems in danger. At least it keeps me calm to believe that.
        xx,
        mgh
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
        ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
        “It takes a village to educate a world!”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for your comment Madelyn, and the useful information too. These people have not tried to comment so far. Perhaps they are just testing the water? I did get one comment that WordPress notified me was ‘Not secure’. I moved it to trash, but obviously WP are tracking some of the worst offenders.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I am not sure if I’ve had this scenario as I only ever check the blogs of people who comment, the ‘likes’ I don’t bother with. I’ve had a couple of nice comments from bloggers who when I’ve visited their blogs are actually trying to sell their wares, so haven’t followed them back, I think this is their way of sidestepping the spam filter.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I clicked on “filmdigestsite” and was directed to a Gravatar page. Then, out of curiosity, I clicked a few times on the lividemerald2013 thumbnail that appears in your list of followers, and I also got a Gravatar page. You’d think I don’t have a WordPress account either! And yet you know that I do. So what gives?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just clicked on a random selection of my follower thumbnails. Six showed only gravatars, four went straight to their site. Perhaps it is something to do with ‘settings’, or self-hosting? The main difference is that you like and comment. When I get those from you, I get a highlighted link to your site that always directs me there. The plot thickens!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t have that many followers but even I have had a few of these and I don’t get it either. I tend to be suspicious and think there must be some motive, especially since you never hear from them again. (I did once remove a suspicious follower, after I saw their comment in a spam folder.) All that being said, I appreciate every ‘real’ follower, especially the regulars who occasionally like and comment. I can’t follow every blog that follows me (not enough time in the day!), but I will always check them out. thanks as always for your advice. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Susanne. In the same way, I am naturally suspicious of anything out of the ordinary, where computers are concerned, And as much as I always love to get new followers, I am far more interested in having ‘real ones’, like you!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Pete – I’ve had a number of those “followers.” I don’t think they are bloggers. Something more sinister. I think they try to place ads for sh-t in the comments section,. Especially in older posts in the archives. Best.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think maybe at least some of them are people who don’t have the savvy to change the default webpage associated with their WordPress account. I have one follower whose description announces (not gently) that her webpage moved three years ago, but it still links to the old page.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I definitely had a few of those ghosts followers myself…

    I’m like you Pete.. I always love ❤️ to go check out any new followers blog to see what they have to offer.
    And place a like and make a comment or two.
    But as you said.. a few are non existent

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I rather suspect setting up a WordPress account and having a blog name gives them a WordPress Reader which they can treat like a daily magazine without all the email notifications. What puzzles me are the followers who “like” my post within minutes of my posting it–photos or no photos. I post an average fo 1500 words so they must be ready to read those 1500 words the split second I post and them they have to be speed readers.
    I, like you, Pete, would rather have comments and likes than ghost followers.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, RT. They are not even liking posts though, just ‘following’, then disappearing. Perhaps it is their way of keeping ‘notes’, that might be one explanation. Thanks for your thoughts.
        Best wishes, Pete.

        Like

    1. Thanks, Lori. Other bloggers are telling me the same thing too. It is very mysterious, and doesn’t even seem to have any ‘sinister’ purpose, like Spamming, or trying to Con bloggers. It just seems so pointless. Even if they are doing it to say that they are ‘following’ X-number of blogs, what’s the point of that?
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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