We love the art community and wouldn’t want to think badly of any artist who has an online presence. But, yes it’s true – we uncovered a few (not-to-be-named) artists doing shady things out there to get web traffic and attention.
Do you have a blog? If so, you’re familiar with the plethora of spam comments which can come flooding in. Adjusting your blog settings to “moderate all comments” and using a spam filter like Akismet gets rid of most of these.
But have you ever rummaged through the spam that was caught in your filters? And where does it come from anyway? Check out this article on The Kernel for details on “spam blaster” programs. They send out thousands of spam comments to blogs based on chosen keywords, in order to game the system and get backlinks, thus increasing web ranking for the spammer.
Usually spammers are selling Viagra, porn or fake Louis Vuitton bags, but we found a few artists actually operating in this slimy underworld of the internet, seeking traffic through spam comments on related blogs . . .
If you want more traffic to your site, do it through legitimately posting useful comments on blogs, not through buying automated spam programs.
Link exchange demands
A series of recent emails from the “webmaster” for a New Zealand artist notified us that they had given us a link on their website – and that they expected us to link to them, too. In fact, if we didn’t cough up the link, their link to us would promptly be removed. So there!
A quick check on their art website found a page with hundreds of links to the websites of all types of businesses, including building contractors, drugstores, and more.
What could this artist be thinking?
Self-serving guest article requests
The Arts Business Institute does not solicit or accept submitted articles, but we do get offers. Some random people email us asking to write guest articles about dentistry or automobile parts, which just get deleted. But we have received email from an artist asking to guest write for us – who sent a promotional article on themselves which included affiliate links for them to earn money from their post. Yikes! Sometimes there is no shame …
Social media has a dark side, too. We checked out one artist who followed us on Twitter, to find that he had over twenty thousand followers himself. Wow! Who were they? Turns out that the vast majority of them were fake accounts. No profile, image or tweets. This artist had purchased them to look like a very popular guy. How sad.
Despite these anomalies, we are pleased to say that 99.999% of artists are, in our opinion, absolutely wonderful people. We love to network with them, and get to know them, in person and virtually. Not that we are biased, of course!
Have you run across any strange cases of artist spam? What’s your experience?