We all get spammy new followers, but what exactly is the point? In this post, I thought we could chat about that.
First, what do I mean by spammy followers? I’m talking about people who are following your blog for reasons other than having any intention of reading it. I would consider a good 90% of my new followers to be spammy, and I will never see them again after that new follow shows up in my notifications.
So if the intention isn’t to read a blog, what’s the point of following it? I see two main reasons why people might do that. One is that they’re hoping that you play the follow-for-follow game (or are simply nice) and will follow them back. Another is that some bloggers have a widget displaying their followers, and the spammy person is hoping to show up there. Aside from that, though, I’m not really seeing other potential benefits that could be motivating them.
Oh, and if you get a new follower and clicking on their Gravatar in your notifications takes you to a page that says the site no longer exists, that’s probably not a spammy follower. More likely, it’s because the blogger changed their site’s URL at some point, but their Gravatar is still pointing to the old URL. WordPress doesn’t let people know when this is happening, so the blogger is probably blissfully unaware that it’s an issue. This blogging toolbox post goes into how to check and fix that.
You can remove someone as a follower if you want. Go to “My Sites” > “Stats”, and click on “Followers” near the top right corner of the page. That’ll take you to a list of your followers, and there’s a “Remove” button next to each one. I’ve found that some people are fairly persistent, either because they’ve built themselves a bot or because they’re blindly going through the Reader following any blog they find that they’re not currently following. Rather than getting into an unfollow/refollow war with these people, it can avoid much frustration to just let them be and ignore them.
If the follower’s gravatar is an obscene image (like a dick pic), you can report that to WordPress and they would probably remove it as a violation of the terms of service. Back in my earlier days of blogging, there was a dick pick gravatar that would repeatedly refollow me even though I kept deleting him. Once I reported him to WP, that stopped.
I used to get mildly annoyed by the masses of spammy followers, but now I just don’t care. Part of that is because I’ve stopped caring at all about my follower number because it’s so meaningless, so I’m not sufficiently motivated to make the effort to remove the spammy types. I know for some people, though, getting that follower number to be more reflective of reality can be very satisfying.
Do you get a lot of spammy followers? Does their presence annoy you?