If you have a WordPress.com blog, your followers are spammers. Not all of them, certainly. But probably some of them, perhaps even most of them.
I’ve been suspicious for a while. I saw my follower count shoot up recently, but I had no idea why. I wasn’t getting more hits. I hadn’t been featured on any big websites. There was no reason for it I could think of. But I never really looked into it.
Yesterday, I looked into it.
WordPress claims I have 259 followers. Let’s see who they are.
For starters, there’s “biggerandwaybetter,” whose icon is a well-endowed woman in a bikini. She runs the entrepreneurial blog “magnettomoney.” Then we have “lennalorette,” a women’s fashion business that’s apparently also very interested in AI and philosophy. Another of my loyal readers is an Indonesian tour company who seemingly got very inspired on April 12, as that’s the date of every single one of their posts.
I don’t have the time or inclination to sort through the whole list, separating the legit readers (you guys!) from the junk, especially when I get new “followers” daily. And even if I did make the effort, there’s nothing I could do about it. You can’t make someone unfollow you, or put them in a separate category, or really do anything at all.
So far, WordPress hardly even acknowledges there’s a problem. I still get a breathlessly excited “Congratulations” e-mail on each new chunk of spam, along with the helpful suggestion that I “might want to go see what they’re up to! Perhaps you will like their blog as much as they liked yours!”
And really, is there a problem? It’s a fair question. After all, who really cares? If spammers want to follow your blog, why worry about it? Just ignore them, right?
Well, yes and no. Yes, as problems go, it’s pretty minor. But it does prove that the follower system is broken. I can no longer browse my readers’ websites in any meaningful way. And the total number of followers, which used to be meaningful, no longer is.
Anyone else had this problem? What do you do about it?