Follow Me?

At some point, I started to take it for granted that people would follow me.

For the first few years of this blog’s existence, I had a very low number of followers. But as I ventured further out into the blogosphere, that total began to rise. After having a post Freshly Pressed, it began to rise dramatically. I estimate that since my “Pressing,” I have gained about ten new followers each day.

Almost all of those new followers can be placed into one of three categories:

  1. People who came across my site, liked what they saw here, and decided that they’d be interested in reading future posts.
  2. People who wanted to boost their own follower count, so they go around WordPress following every blog they come across.
  3. Spambots.

Spambot is a slang term for an automated account that searches the web, and follows blogs in hopes that they’ll get clicks to their home websites. Here’s an example of a web site whose “owner” recently followed me: http://andreinicola.wordpress.com (Note: You don’t have to actually click that link. There’s very little of actual value there.)

Obviously, it would be great if most of those followers were of category one. Unfortunately, I believe that 95% of them actually fall into category three. (Although I may be underestimating the number of “twos.”)

Even though I know that they’re likely not real human beings, part of me can’t help but get a little excited every time I get a notification that I have a new follower. After all, you never know when that new follower will actually be an actual person who will appreciate my writing, and maybe even interact with a like or a comment.

For some reason, that steady flow of new followers stopped last week. I’m not talking about a gradual decline in new follows; it was almost as if a switch had been shut off. I went an entire week without gaining one new follow.

I was all like W.T.F? Where did everyone go? Why doesn’t anyone love me anymore? WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME SPAMBOTS???

And then yesterday, they returned as if nothing had happened.

Did any other bloggers experience this? Did WordPress make some sort of change to their filters last week? Was there a major spambot convention being held somewhere that left them unable to fulfill their duties? Are the computers becoming sentient and this was the first step in their plans for world domination?

I have a feeling that I’ll never know the truth. Anyway, to all you non-computers out there who might come across this post, don’t feel shy about clicking the “Follow” button. I could use some more real people around here, and chances are, you might enjoy the experience.

But you don’t have to take my word for it; Just listen to the advice of Uncle Kracker:

Actually, you probably shouldn’t do that, since the song is about committing adultery. But it’s still kind of catchy.

About The Cutter

I am the Cutter. I write some stuff. You might like it, you might not. Please decide for yourself.
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43 Responses to Follow Me?

  1. La La says:

    Yes, actually. I experience this regularly. It happens for me in waves, though.

  2. I used to click on the profile every time I got a new follower. I wanted to check out the other person’s blog, maybe like a post or leave a comment. But these fake followers make me leery of doing that anymore. I feel bad that I neglect the real people.

    • The Cutter says:

      My working theory is that if the real people want to make themselves known, they can do so. I guess this hurts the passive readers, but hey, that’s the price you pay for passivity.

  3. TT&NB says:

    I like the spambots, I would be very lonely without them on my blog, offering me deals on viagra and what not. At least they care to write ;)

  4. djmatticus says:

    Yeah, they do seem to come in waves. With weeks of high spambot following traffic, and then weeks of slow to no traffic. It is probably a sign of the rise of the machines. (I’m with you future computer overlords!)

  5. I’ve got the same thing going here…FP’d a few weeks back, getting a lot of new followers, but I stopped looking at their profiles because half of the blogs turn out to be in Arabic or something.

  6. i get a lot of people telling me they are beautiful girls & that i want to see them & a lot of pyramid schemes who want to make money for YOU.lol

  7. I used to get a steady stream, then recently it fell off. It’s back up now. I usually open the email to see if the follower has written anything. More of them have actual blogs now, so it might actually be a filter thing.

  8. zeudytigre says:

    Think I must be too small to warrant such attention, but I am real. Now you’ve got me worried about the legitimacy of the followers I do manage to pick up though…

  9. goldfish says:

    I used to like to check out each of my followers, but after I hit the 3-4000 followers mark, I kind of stopped paying attention since most followers are category 3 spambots. Now I only check people out when they comment. I’m probably missing a lot of good blogs because of spam. Oh well.

  10. maurnas says:

    I guess I am not popular enough for spambots. Yet. Unless they are a new highly sophisticated form of spambot that is so lifelike I cant tell the difference. In which case, I’d rather not know. Just let me believe they are all real.

  11. i can’t figure any of it out. who’s real, who’s not. why so few people actually read stuff.. i just stopped thinking about it.

  12. I’m here by choice, promise I’m not a robot! Meg.

  13. I remember the dark times when spambots used to swarm my li’l virtual cottage in droves and tried to convince me they were literate. (Ha. I knew better!) Lately they’ve been in hiding or something. I was surprised to see a couple show up this week for the first time in ages, but they seemed malnourished and lonely. Maybe WordPress has tightened up the blog registration process and made it harder for an honest spambot to earn a living by hiding among our crowd. Or maybe they were all downsized by their overseas masters due to budget cuts at Big Spam corporate HQ. Who knows?

  14. JackieP says:

    I don’t think I’m big enough yet to apeal to the bots. lol Maybe that’s a good thing as when someone follows me they are actual people.

  15. Yep… while I have a much lower follower inflow, I also just came out of a weeklong dearth to all of a sudden get a handful the last few days… for no apparent reason. Not sure what;s going on…

  16. 6operator says:

    Im kinda new to blogging and such, started producing music about 3 months ago, got a steady stream of new followers on soundcloud but the bots are starting to piss me of! Well written!

  17. CeeLee says:

    I’ve tried to find the pattern for months.
    I studied my stats, fussed as I cleared away the spam (clearly delusional, they think I’m obsessed with Nike, Coach, and other…stuff) and my traffic, keywords, everything. No patterns are visible.

    I’ve just had to accept that my follows will be as unpredictable as my creative processes and ideas. They’ll come when they’re ready. And will remain that way until I can learn more about blogging. It does work fairly well as an incentive to hone my writing

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