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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?

22 thoughts on “A Follower Question for Fellow Bloggers”

  1. I’m not sure if there is anything you can do. Unless there is a way to block followers that you think are fake, and with the absence of a “friend” categorization, I suppose you just have to trust that your legit followers won’t be lured under false pretenses.

    I focus on a bloggers comments, rather than hovering over the likes. And I can see how many followers you have but I can’t see who, so I don’t know what benefit they are gaining unless they become more visible through the comments.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am beginning to hate everything about Russia and also Bit Coins and Crypto currency. I hate that the DarkSide ransomware terrorists got paid $5 million to allow the Colonial Pipeline to get back online and now we have to pay more for gas. We should all boycott everything from Russia until they can become responsible enough to police their own citizens.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You CAN remove a follower. Put the URL of your blog at the end of this:

        https://wordpress.com/people/followers/

        So, in your case, it would be:

        https://wordpress.com/people/followers/fromcavewalls.wordpress.com

        Then go through the list of followers until you come to the one you want to block and click the ‘remove’ button beside their name. Of course, the spam follower can always refollow your blog using a different URL.

        I hope this helps.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is not new, Maggie. I first noticed it more than six years ago, when two different followers had the same photo of a distinctive smart young ‘businessman type’, with fair hair. But both blogs were about things happening in Nigeria, offering business opportunities in that country.
    Since then, I have found blogs of followers originating in Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, and many African countries, all appearing to be genuine, but having the same photo of a pleasant young lady.
    I also tried searching the photos via ‘image search’, and only ever got one hit, to an Alamy Stock Photo titled ‘Businesswoman”. The watermark had been removed by the blogger. I don’t bother to trawl through unfollowing them, but I do Spam any comments they try to leave.
    Noticing the same new followers on some of the bloggers who follow me suggests that they use comment links to follow the same people. Definitely scammers of some kind, though not sure what they are hoping to achieve.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not sure if this is your case, Maggie. But in your settings, there should be one to place any comments with more than “X” number of URL or links to have to be approved before they show. That will at least slow down the ones that post multiple links.

    As far as blocking them, that is a bit more complicated, and you’d have to pay WP or be self-hosted to block IP ranges from other countries. It winds up being more like a game of whack-a-mole.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. WordPress has an API (application programming interface). It also allows users to have multiple blogs each. This means marketing organisations can build robots to game the social graph – filling thousands of blogs with fake material, then spidering subject areas through search and liking, following, etc. It’s a nightmare, and there is no easy way to stop it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hmmm, interesting… that seems like a lot of work…I think I’d get a job that paid more for less work…ugh

    Sorry on the hoe to catch them question as I am no help on that..good luck

    Liked by 2 people

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