The Current State of This Blog

Apparently, Facebook isn’t the only entity that thinks my blog is spam. A couple of days ago, a friend called make sure I’m okay because she hasn’t been getting my blog via email, and she worried that something had happened to me. I told her I was fine and that I was still blogging every day (even though I don’t always have something to say) and suggested she check her spam folder.

Sure enough, the last four blogs had been classified by her email provider as spam.

I think I know what the problem is — the brief bio at the bottom of every post. Even though it is just a small fraction of the post itself, apparently the spam-eating bots have been picking up on the duplication. (One message from FB mentioned that repetition was considered spam, which corroborates this surmise.)

I never used to put anything at the bottom of my posts because it seemed redundant — after all, all the information about me and my books are on sidebars and pages — but some sites illegally repost blogs without attribution, and I used to find various of my articles on those sites. (I’m sure such sites are still around, though I’ve stopped looking.) Since there’s often nothing that can be done about the theft, one suggestion I came across to counteract the attack was to make sure every blog had a bio and links so that if anyone came across the blog on other sites, it would refer back to me.

I’m glad I got in the habit — phone apps for the various blog platforms generally don’t allow for sidebars, so no one who reads my blog via their phone would see who I am and what other things I write without the bio. It’s not a problem for regular readers since they know who I am, but many new people find me via search engines (most often for questions about grief) and I want them to know about my grief book.

I could, of course, do a new bio every day if the bio really is the problem, but then I probably wouldn’t post something every day, either, because it would be too much extra work. I could also do several different bios and rotate so that the repetition comes once a week rather than every day, but my stubborn nature won’t let me be accommodating (though I did remove the link to my website, in case the links were the culprit).

And anyway, the bio itself might not be the problem. If it is, I’m grateful — it was the impetus to get me off Facebook, at least for now, and I must admit, I’m much happier living in my own little world without the contention and opinionation and strife that comes with the FB territory.

So, since I’m maintaining the current state of this blog, if you generally get my posts via email and you happen to notice that I have disappeared, please check your spam folder. I’m probably there.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

7 Responses to “The Current State of This Blog”

  1. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Sometimes accidentally clicking the Spam button instead of the Delete button can produce this effect. It’s happened to me a few times, which is why I regularly check the Spam folder in my email.

  2. Sam Sattler Says:

    Over time, the way my blog is treated by Google and other search engines has gotten really bad, especially Google. Used to be that I would get loads of “hits” via Google, and now it’s almost like I don’t exist when it come to posts from the last year or so. The older posts continue to gather hits at the usual pace, so I don’t know what is going on or how to fix the problem. I’ve just given up.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I don’t think there is a way to fix it. As with everything else in our society, money and acclaim and views seem to always flow toward those who have the most. And if by chance we do get good views for a while, they manage to correct that “mistake.”

  3. Estragon Says:

    Someone far wiser than I said “Never attribute to conspiracy that which can be reasonably attributed to incompetence”.

    In a past life, I ran an internet business, and tried really hard to be like a phone company. I provide the means, customers provide the content. If you have a problem with the content provider, argue it out with them.

    Still, some wanted to impose more of an editorial model, where I was supposed to somehow arbitrate or moderate conflicting ideas. That’s hard with a few dozen people (think town hall meeting). With thousands or millions of people, it’s impossible to do manually, so has to be done algorithically.

    There will always be false positive and false negatives with any algorithm for something like spam filtering. Writing them is hard, and it’s always a game of “whack a mole” with the spammers.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That’s what I figured — that some algorithm or other caught me by accident. It’s happened before and much worse — Google itself once banned my blog. That was fun!


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