Outside the Box Technology

LinkedIn comments and auto-posting for WordPress

If you look at the bottom of this post, and all other posts on this site, you’ll notice there is no comment section.  Why is this?  Spam.  Comment spam is a constant issue when running a blog.  I’ve tried spam blockers, I’ve tried requiring logins, and nothing worked.  Eventually, I decided that since all but one comment had been spam it wasn’t worth the hassle and turned off comments sitewide.

That being said, I would actually like to receive comments.  If I had a system that actually block spam comments I would reopen the comment section.  This is what this month’s post is about, a way for this blog and other professional-focused blogs to enable comments on their WordPress blog.

The Problem

Comment spammers are the scourge of the blogging world, not only do they waste blogger’s time by forcing them to moderate their comments, but they also post links to potentially harmful websites that could cause harm to a site’s visitors.  A knock-on effect of these spammers posting harmful links is that it hurts the blog’s reputation and reduces the likelihood of returning visitors.

Forcing a login seems like a great idea, but the spammers have found a workaround for this too.  Now spammers will employ large groups of people in developing countries to create email addresses and accounts associated with these emails.  Then another group of people take these emails and account logins and use them to spam the comment section of every blog that uses the commenting systems they have accounts for.  Once they start getting blocked on that account they abandon it and move on to the next one.  It’s a never-ending game of cat and mouse.

All this has recently been ramped up with the use of automated bots.  Now spammers increasingly employ bots to perform comment spamming for them. This means even faster turnaround and cycling through emails and logins.  The sad fact is that comment spammers can afford powerful bots while commenting systems can’t.

The Idea

This is a professional-focused blog, my main focus for social media is the blog’s LinkedIn Page, yes I have Twitter (X) and a few others but the main focus is on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft, and as such has powerful computing power behind it, the kind of computing power necessary to fight comment spamming.  LinkedIn requires registration to use the site and employs powerful spam-fighting technology.  Why not harness what they already have to provide a new service to its users?

What I’m proposing is a WordPress plugin that links to the blogger’s profile or site’s page and takes over the comment section.  Not only would it act as a spam-fighting comment section, but it would auto-post new content to the profile or page it’s linked to and link those comments between the blog’s comment section and the post on LinkedIn.  This could be achieved through the simple use of I-Frames.  First, the plugin would post the content to LinkedIn then it would embed an I-Frame of just the comment section from the LinkedIn post onto the blog below the content and that was users would have to be logged into LinkedIn to comment.

Let me be clear, I’m not a coder and this may not be the best way to achieve the desired outcome.  But it’s the best way I can think of at the time of writing.  If you know of a better way to implement this idea please let me know by commenting on the LinkedIn comment section for this post, Linked HERE.

So assuming the plugin uses I-Frames the process would go as follows:

  • The blogger publishes new content.
  • The LinkedIn plugin automatically posts the content to the linked profile or page.
  • The plugin captures the comment section of the LinkedIn post and embeds it below the blog post as a comment section.
  • Readers log in with their LinkedIn account and comment on the post.

To further aid in comment spamming blog owners could have the ability to require that commenters have a minimum amount of their profile completed.  Since just creating an account is easy, having a requirement that the commenter’s account be at least 70% completed would aid in fighting spam.  For blogs with dedicated LinkedIn pages, the blog owner would also require that commenters follow the page to comment.  The “Follow Page” button could be embedded next to the Like and Repost buttons and only allow for following, requiring the commenter to go to LinkedIn to unfollow.

What’s in it for LinkedIn?

So why would LinkedIn want to take this on?  Yes it would cause more overhead for them and they would have to commit to ongoing support for the plugin, but there are advantages.  First, this causes lock-in for creators, by linking their comments with their blogs they will focus more on LinkedIn than other social networks.  Second, this will drive more traffic and engagement to LinkedIn because commenters will have to have LinkedIn accounts.  Remember traffic and engagement lead to more ad sales, and ad sales are what drive the business, you didn’t think LinkedIn offered its service to you for free out of charity did you?

Why not just use the built-in LinkedIn blog?

When I set up this blog I considered several alternatives, a LinkedIn blog, Substack, Medium, etc. But I decided that I wanted to own my content so I opted for a self-hosted solution using WordPress.  Digital sovereignty is on the rise in the wake of Edward Snowden and other revelations of breaches of privacy, as such more and more people are opting to maintain control over their digital lives.  At the time of writing WordPress runs 43.1% of all websites with an estimated 810 million sites running on WordPress.

By offering this plugin to creators’ LinkedIn can hedge against users dropping off the platform by encouraging more use cases for their accounts. LinkedIn can harness the power and reach of WordPress to boost its user engagement, and thereby drive ad sales and boosting profitability.

Conclusion

By offering a WordPress comment and auto-posting plugin, LinkedIn can not only increase user lock-in and engagement but can hedge against loss of revenue.  Not every WordPress site will opt to use this plugin but the core audience, the professional bloggers, most likely will embrace and use the plugin.  The key will be to develop an easy-to-set-up and use plugin and then market it to their users.  Nothing kills a plugin faster than publishing it and then failing to market it hoping the users will find it.

Plugins are not a “build it and they will come” type of thing, you have to build it and tell them to come.

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