“Well, hello friend. Have a seat, there by the fire. And a mug a grog to quench your thirst. I was just about to tell a tale if you’d care to listen in…
“Have you heard of good Sir Like-a-lot? Yes, that’s right — the Lost Knight himself. Favored son of a blogging clan who strayed into the Land of Spam and was swallowed up by his very own likes… Never heard from again…
“Oh, others followed in his path, but they were well-liked and lost as well. Past the last post and straight to hell…”
Now, I’m sure you recognize this passage from the ancient Book of Blog. And you’re probably also starting to wonder, “When are you going to get to the point?!”
Fair enough. Point taken. Here it is — a cautionary tale for WordPress bloggers, at least those who live by the like.
I maintain this little blog, Lore of the Underlings, to post and publicize episodes from my serialized epic adventure of the same name. Now given that mine is a niche sort of site, I don’t spend much time on stats. But I have been tracking follows and likes to monitor reader interest.
At least until April of this year…
Through mid-April, I’d been averaging about 25 to 30 likes per post and that number was steadily trending up. Okay. I was building an audience. Good.
Then suddenly sometime between April 15th and 20th, things changed. My likes per post plunged, free-fell, took a nosedive down to 8 or 10. Oh my! I worried that people were not seeing them. Especially many longtime, loyal readers.
Suspicious so many got bored all at once, I set about sleuthing to find a clue, some virtual trail or smoking gun. I’ll cut to the chase — I found one.
With the able assistance of WordPress support, which I found to be very helpful, I discovered they’d made a change that week in their server software. They had implemented a limit on likes to put a damper on spamming sites. Their goal was to block out evil machines doing insincere high-volume liking, like more than a like per minute per hour — beyond what a human would do, they explained. Well, mission accomplished, I guess.
But if, like for me, your likes dropped off big-time in the mid-spring of 2013, you’re left to wonder a couple of things… Could it be that so many of my blog friends were spammers? Or is that dis-liking filter now casting a little too wide of a net (catching those who like too much and too fast)? Of course the truth may be in between.
I’d like to make clear that WordPress has good intentions in this. Spamming is a serious threat. And they’d also like to hear about any bugs they need to fix. So, if you’ve followed the Lore before and think you’ve had trouble clicking likes (on mine or another WordPress site), let me know and we’ll pass that tidbit to them.
And now with that little mystery solved, its back to the Lore for me. Coming up, I’ll be flogging a new ebook (Episode 4) with a flurry of thrilling pre-launch posts! I hope you like them… just not too much! I don’t want you lost like Sir Like-a-lot, gone to the Land of Spam-a-lot…