A Follower Question for Fellow Bloggers

This afternoon I decided to glance at my stats for the first time in a good while. I noticed something curious with some new followers.

In the last 10 days or so, I have a handful of new followers that piqued my curiosity. These followers all have different blog names, different user names, different Gravatar profiles, and guess what? They have the same profile photos.

I poked around a little on each one and they appear to be aggregate sort of blogs but they each share a few things in common.

  1. Each blog carries ads.
  2. Each blog has an affiliate disclosure statement (they make money off the site and off the ads if you click through them).
  3. Each blog writes on various topics unrelated to each other.
  4. Each blog was designed by the same person who happens to be an IT-type possibly from Russia.

I know a lot of my followers are not real. Many of us have fake followers. This one bugs me though. This is definitely black-hat SEO and it bugs me that they follow my blog, pepper their photos and links in my likes and follows which could lead one of my followers to inadvertently click through on their bait.

I followed this all the way through to the web designer’s LinkedIn page. I do not wish to interact with unscrupulous people so I am teetering on deleting the followers and blocking them.

How did I catch this? I show my followers Gravatar photos on my blog. It is easy to see the duplicate photos of ‘fake’ people. I even did an image search on the photos but received no hits. I am guessing these photos were taken from someone’s social media account unbeknownst to them.

It is a sad situation when people must take the low road.

What would you do?


SoCS – Growing, Growing, Grown

It is that time of the week where we just sit back and turn the wheel over to the ole’ noggin as we just think and write, throwing caution to the wind. Linda Hill gives us a new prompt every Friday.

Check out Linda’s blog if you want to join in – check out the rules and the contribution of other bloggers.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “growth.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!

I have experienced so much growth when I look back over my life. I think of my gentle youth surrounded by the hills that I called home, completely unaware of the world around me. Now I live in a time where my thoughts are bombarded by the trials and tribulations of the world 24 hours a day. It is too much.

I watched the growth of my children as they grew from babies to toddlers to adolescents and now as adults with families of their own. Their personal growth through this life has been phenomenal, but it is all happening too quickly now. S L O W down.

I remember one night in particular. We went to visit my father, back in the hills where nothing seems to change. I stepped out of the car and walked toward my dad with his arms spread wide. It was the first time I remember thinking ‘he’s getting old’. His hair white with his familiar crew cut and his belly too round stretching the fabric of the white t-shirts he favored. He had grown old. I wonder now if this is how my children might soon see me.

Another visit pops into my mind. It was midnight, we were all out back of the house lying on quilts starting into the sky as a fantastic meteor shower performed in the skies above us. That was a good night. Experiences entrenched in memories are proof of a special type of growth. The type of growth fertilized with love.

I hope this past year of the pandemic has provided growth for many of us in the way we treat our planet and each other. Our state eliminated almost all restrictions yesterday. I hope we have grown enough to handle the freedoms we have again been given.