The Art of Comment Spam

This is a comment sent to one of the sites I write for:

Excellent article. I am experiencing a few of these issues as well..

Would you accept this comment or moderate it (delete it/ mark as spam)?

Less experienced blog publishers would tend to accept and publish this comment. I did not. Why?

It’s generic. It helps if you know the post this was left for was about a cartoon collection called “Love Is…”. So, yes, there are issues, romantic issues, life issues and dating issues. But, the actual post was more about cartoons and collectibles than issues. Does that help you decide to keep or reject the comment (above)?

It is an art (in a way) to create a generic comment in hopes of getting it posted. The goal is to have your link accepted (the one you add to your comment with your name and email). If you get enough links accepted then they show up as published (accepted) comments and this helps sell those links as viable/ non-spam links to Google and so on.

Anyway, the part of that I find interesting at the moment is the art of writing a generic comment – appearing to sincerely comment while actually saying nothing. Have you heard of double speak?

Come up with a few truly great examples of generic comments a blogger could be fooled into accepting as real, sincere comments. Remember to keep it just generic enough that you can get away with posting the same comment everywhere, on any kind of post.

Creating a Great Online Dating Profile

coupleasciiOne thing no one fantasizes about is writing that online dating profile, over and over again. Your name, age, looks aren’t too stressful to write about. It’s trying to come up with a pleasant, attractive and informative way of saying everything else that makes profile writing a troublesome aspect of online dating.

Consider the profile worth doing, rather than an aggravation. If you change your outlook the job is easier and can actually be fun. Think of this as an investment in your future. It’s a chance to market yourself to the people you want to meet.

When choosing a user name or login for the site take the time to come up with something you won’t dislike in another month. Don’t go for something cutesy or slutty you will be sick of and stuck with. Be creative too and not another Jenny29583 or Mark4Yu.

Write your profile in complete sentences. Check your spelling, grammar, punctuation and proofread for typos. Sloppy profiles are a turn off. This is your chance to make a first impression. If you don’t proofread and fix mistakes you give the impression of being sloppy, careless or not really interested in making a good impression (not really interested in who you meet). Who would be impressed by someone who doesn’t seem interested in meeting someone special? We each like to think we are special, in some way.

Be honest. Remember, the idea is that you will eventually meet these people. You can’t hide those extra pounds or the birthdays you’ve had forever. Just admit them upfront and be done with it. People reading profiles do look at them like a catalogue: sorting them by age, weight, non-smoking, kids, etc. because those are important to them in searching for someone. Hiding things can work against you because someone looking for you, as you really are, could pass right by because everyone is not looking for perfection. Whatever you try to hide or ignore, just be honest and it becomes a non-issue rather than a road block. None of us are perfect, we all have flaws, issues and things we aren’t real proud of. We are all imperfect.

Never include your phone number or address. Those are vulnerable to being picked up by spammers or someone looking for an ID to borrow. No one should need that much detail about you in an online profile. This should be social, not business. Exchange addresses and phone numbers when you find someone you really do want to meet face to face.

Read the ads others have written, what are they looking for and what parts of their ads appeal to you? Likely, you are looking for someone like yourself with the same general background. So, what appeals and attracts you to a profile? Use that information in making your own profile. Get a friend to give you some help with a self description. Make some notes. Take time to really think about how your profile will present you to the people you want reading it. Turn your quirks and flaws into positives. Show your good attitude.

Talk about who you are, not just how you look. What are your interests, hobbies, plans for the future? What places have you seen and hope to see later? What’s great about your life, your job/ career? When you read an ad how important are the little things like eye colour, hair colour and height? Put more effort into writing about more than your physical looks. Let people get to know you, your sense of humour, your geeky, brainy side, or your passions. Tell us about your life and the life stage you are at: kids, career, retirement, college, etc. Those are the things people will remember.

Choose a few favourite things and/or hobbies and write about why you enjoy them. Don’t try to list everything. That may make you seem too busy or scattered. Pick a few that sound good, that represent you well and may perk the interest of like minded people.

Write about yourself and then write an equal amount about who you are looking for. Try to write it with a positive spin. Don’t go on about negative things, think positive. Don’t write about what you don’t want – write about what you do want. Write proactively and avoid over used phrases like “looking for…” Or the routine list “cute, funny, smart…” Write something along the lines of “On a mission to find a partner for the upcoming ballroom dancing event in town at the end of summer.” This tells about you and who you are looking for and it’s a lot more interesting to read about something real in your life than just a list of attributes. Let the facts speak for themselves.

Also, what do you want from online dating? Something temporary, a friendship or a lifetime romance? However, don’t babble about being on a quest to find true love. Maybe that is your goal but you won’t find it reading dating profiles. It takes time to find someone you really know well enough to want something that lasts.

Don’t get too wordy and long. If you can stick to one or two paragraphs, do it! Your first sentence or two have the best chance of being read so focus there. Put your personality and the most essential information up front. A long profile looks intimidating on the page, it’s just too much information to get through and it gives the impression that you are trying too hard. You can write more about yourself once you have made the initial connection with someone.

Prepare in advance and then keep a copy of your final profile handy for posting. You can even save it as a file on your desktop so you always know just where it is. Plus, it’s handy if you have a spur of the moment blast of inspiration and want to make a change. If you have a picture available keep that on your desktop too. Post it to a free website like Flickr so you can quickly add the URL link (not every site will let you upload a file) when the opportunity arises to add a picture with your profile. Use a current photo that shows you looking relaxed and happy. Ads with photos get a lot more attention.

Good luck!

Which Online Personality Quiz are you Most Like?

Why do people like those online personality quizzes? What is the fascination?

Maybe it’s just curiousity. Seeing the road not taken or finding out what your answers to random questions say about you. Or at least what some stranger (who is possibly pretty odd themself) says about you.

Whatever the draw, online quizzes are leaping and growing in popularity. Quizilla was one of the biggest quiz sites. It’s just a mess now. But, I can remember when it was starting out and then later how fun it was before it was bought out and neglected. Blogthings seems to be the one that has kept going the longest. It’s not the site it once was either.

Many quizzes are geared to online dating. “What’s your flirting style?” “What movie sex goddess are you most like?” “What kind of cocktail would you be?” “What type of Beauty are you?”

Almost another half are geared to discovering your personality. “What’s your Inner Eye Color?” “Could you be depressed?” “Are you a geek or a freak?” “Are you a Woman or still a Girl?” “Which century are you most suited to?” “Do you really like your job?”

The rest I bunch into a random category of oddness. Like a junk drawer full of movie star posters, old birthday candles and other weird things only a very select group of people could ever really understand and appreciate. Have you ever seen a quiz like: “Which of my Friends are you Most Like?” Now you get the idea. What meaning does something like that really have for you? But, do you take that quiz anyway? Are you so hooked on online quizzes that you can’t pass up any of them?

Maybe you should branch out and try writing a quiz of your own. Plan a topic that suits you. Think of questions that are interesting yet will help to narrow down a focus to the category answers you plan. I think creating a quiz is quite a bit of work, planning and thought. Make the first one something flip that doesn’t matter. Keep it simple and make sure anyone taking the quiz understands this isn’t meant to change their life. Mainly, have fun with it yourself.

Try something along the lines of “Which lip gloss are you most like?” Pick flavours and make the questions pretty leading. What would you prefer to eat? lemons, chocolate, bubble gum… etc. At the end of the quiz your flavours would be lemon, chocolate, bubble gum and so on. Give a personality profile for each flavour. Lemon lovers are tart and active. Chocolate lovers are sweet and sensual. You get the idea… give it a try, just for fun.

Online Personality Quiz Sites for Fun

  • Queendom
    Free without registration but if you want to save results you need a login.
  • Quiz Stop
    Free but quite a lot of ads.
  • All the Tests
    Free and fun. Geared to young people.
  • OkCupid: Tests
    Free dating site, lots of quizzes but you need to register to use the site.
  • Personality Lab
    More interesting than just fun.
  • Quibblo
    Quizzes for fun, created by site users. Does not require a login unless you want to save your results.
  • Similiar Minds: Personality Tests
    Interesting, but not meant to be just for fun.
  • Your Personality
    A few of them, more on the serious side.
    One quiz about personality by colour.
  • Blog Things
    Free to use, no login required.
  • Quiz Rocket
    You can take the quiz but at the end you get nothing without registering for the site and giving personal information.


From the The Brass Bed Trilogy

The Brass Bed Trilogy |

“Some men want a relationship, and they think they know about sex, and they think that should be enough for us. Really they’re desperate, ’cause they don’t have us figured out, and they don’t understand themselves, and sex is easier than love. They’re praying that sex is enough. And it never is.”

I’m surprised at how smart this is. The book itself is pretty silly, I’ve been debating whether or not to read the third book in the series and then this… It really sums up my own observations about men, sex and dating, better than if I had summed it up myself.

If you were writing your best men, dating and sex advice, what would it be?

A Simple Thing I Learned Today from BrandYourself

Have you put your name on your site? Simple, right?

I have my name on my About page. I don’t have it on the main, landing, front page. Not anywhere. I hadn’t even thought about adding it in there. Now it is. Stuck at the bottom, but it exists.

I will work on adding it elsewhere.

Part of the problem is my use of ThatGrrl instead of my name, Laura Brown. When I started online (doing the early form of social media which was more like a dating zoo than anything social) women did not want to broadcast their name, age or location. Men were forever posting “asl?” Well, lets not label all men, it was the horny net geeks who were disguised as men, trolling for women desperately lonely enough to grab their worm… I mean bait. (Yes, that kind of humour was popular then – and it was kind of fun).

Anyway, that is how my name never became my Internet profile name. Instead I used ThatGrrl, most recently. I’ve started using my name, Laura Brown. But, I admit I still feel funny about having it out there.

I do see the sense of it now that I’ve had it pointed out to me. What about you?

Dating for Joy

Each year there is a Valentine’s Day boost for online dating. Then it slacks off awhile. People might have met someone, then been disappointed and take a break from the dating thing until the official end of Winter hibernation. Or, they met someone and it actually worked out. Most likely, in my experience, they met men who were married, or too young and then they lost interest in the male species for awhile. That’s where I am with the dating phenomena.

People tend to have all kind of rules for who they will date. Most of  the rules seem a bit too tightly wound. Like only dating someone who dresses the “right ” way. I’d be happy with a guy who can dress himself (grooming and clothes that don’t fall off/ reveal his boxer shorts) and not be a Momma’s boy. Just Single Parents, just people who want kids, just gay, just straight, just local (dating singles in London, Toronto, Singapore, where ever you are), just dog lovers, these kind of things are important and make a difference to the chances of success right from the start.

It would be fun to create a character who would not work out at all as a date for yourself. Someone no decent dating agency would suggest to you. Not someone too opposite but someone you know would not work out.

Deadward Buffledon

Single Father of 8 teenagers. Deadward likes to unwind with a good book and a lot of country music. He works a farm and keeps a dog kennel on the side. Deadward would love to find a woman to tame his pack of dogs and teenagers so he could travel more.

Bradley Krackford

Looking for a woman he can take home to Mother. Bradley spends more of his time running errands for his Mother. But he does have a part time job working in a video store. Bradley is an old fashioned romantic who reads and writes poetry. He loves to hug and cuddle.

Derk Mackoy

World traveler with a career that keeps him on the go all year round. Would like to find a travel buddy. Derk has a love for the exotic, high fashion and weird science. His future plans include getting two extra arms either biological arms or mechanical, attached to his body.

Blackie Blackthorn

A reformed ladies man, looking to be a one woman type of guy. Owns a successful business, likes fine dining and spending weekends with someone special. Hobbies include adding to his full body tattoo and finding new body parts to pierce.

Lily’s Friday Prediction

Lily’s Friday Prediction – The rules are: 100 words max flash fiction or poetry using all of the words above. New word list each week. Submissions must be linked to the comments in the blog by the following Thursday. (If you’re later than that you may as well start wtih the new Friday Prediction). On Twitter use the #fridayflash hashtag.

Monday notch speed – The words for this week.

They call him Mister Manic Monday. He picked up the office new hires on their first day. Put a notch in his bedpost and came to work on Tuesday without knowing so much as her name. I guess that was his idea of speed dating.

The police came to the office, asking questions. Apparently one of the new hires was slightly psychotic and didn’t take well to being dumped. Mister Manic Monday was never going to see Tuesday, that week or any other week.

How sad and ironic; that was the day I actually learned his real name.

Enjoy Dating When you Don’t Have To

There are a lot of dating sites around now. Most of them seem to be spin offs from a few major chains. If you scroll down to the end you can see which one it really is versus the niche domain it’s trying to cover. Large Friends, Christian Friends, Furry Friends, they all end up being part of the same main network. It’s disappointing because they all have the same kind of scam going. They say they are free. Free to join. Free to post your profile. But, they stop being free at the crucial moment. If you use their free search and find someone you want to contact… you’re off the free zone.

I’d really like to find a Dating Agency that worked for me. There are some which are still completely free. You can find them just by searching for that sentence. I’ve written about them before myself.

Today I’m thinking about the fun of reading dating sites, when you know you aren’t really looking for anyone. The best way to do this is to pick a location far from your own. Read about dating in Alaska, dating in Hong Kong, dating in Birmingham, or some place you actually would like to travel to. You might pick up some interesting local culture. Maybe find great places to get a coffee or eat out.

When you’re feeling a bit down about dating in general, that is a great time to read dating sites too. It costs nothing to pick on someone’s profile when you’re not sending them a note or caring about meeting any of them. Find the worst one, the one full of the most nonsense and just be glad that’s not someone you’re ever likely to end up on a blind date with!

Take that dating profile and write a future for him or her. Write as if they do meet someone and things work out for awhile…. and then… Give them a scenario. A love story gone wrong.

  • Man found in Tibet with amnesia, wearing only longjohns and a gap-tooth grin.
  • Dating couple ignite long time family feud due to stubbed toe.
  • Soap actress puts love on hold after birthing triplets with her faithless online lover.
  • Newlyweds split due to irreconcilable differences after alien abduction.
  • Dating lawyers end up duelling in Chinese food restaurant.

Afterwards for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is over for another year. How did you score? Isn’t that a bad way to think of it!

What could be all romance, cuddles and affection has become about retail, shopping and spending. No, I’m not going on a retail rant. I’ve worked retail enough to live and let live. People need to change, if they want to.

But, what did you really want for Valentine’s Day this year? Was it the traditional chocolate and flowers. Did you think about something pretty like jewels or something slinky like erotic lingerie? Maybe you’re more practical and what you really would have liked was a book of poetry? Or a dinner out, a time you can enjoy the meal without the cooking or the clean up.

I would have liked a dinner out. Nothing flashy or fancy. Just a nice meal, conversation and maybe a small surprise gift. I admit I look at the advertising sent out by the jewelry stores at this time of year. I do oogle the pretty, sparkly things. Now and then you see just the ‘right’ brooch. Why doesn’t he just know what you want? Does he need that ESP antennae adjusted again? Is it unfair to men to expect them to know what we want? I don’t really think so. If they listened they would hear us saying we want or need this and that. I don’t mean ordinary things like cooking gadgets or hair dryers or toasters. No, something nice, something that says “You really are my Valentine”.

Helping men shop for Valentine’s Day gift ideas

Of course, it goes both ways. What did you get him for Valentine’s Day? A tie you wish he would wear but know he won’t? A fresh new pair of socks? Undies? It is hard to know what to get a man for something kind of romantic. They pretend they aren’t romantic at all. But, ignore that. The smart woman has paid attention and knows what he needs and would really like to see wrapped up with a red bow….

No, not anything slutty (though we won’t try to pretend that isn’t on his list).

I’ve seen a grown man crack the biggest happy smile when his girlfriend sent him flowers, delivered to his office. Now, if she had asked him if he would like flowers… I’m sure he would have said no, in some nice way. But, actually having them made his day in a big way.

Each guy is different though. Just like we tell them, you have to listen, pay attention. It will come up in conversation, at one time or another.

It helps if you already know what he likes. My husband liked Batman and sort of dark horror like zombies, even before they became popular. So, if I noticed something that would stroke his Batman or zombie fetish, I knew I had something he would like. But, is it romantic to give your husband a T-shirt about brain eating zombies for Valentine’s Day? Well, romance is in the eye of the beholder.

Nowadays, as a single, divorced woman I have a new appreciation for slinky things. Just for myself. I like to look on sites like Ann Summers and window shop. It doesn’t cost me anything. If I were not single I might get the catalogue sent so I could suggestively leave my favourite selections for him to find on his computer keyboard and other places I know he won’t miss them.

I’d really be impressed if a man I was dating bought me a locket or a charm bracelet though. For him to know how much I like traditional, romantic, pretty things – that would be a great Valentine’s Day.

Think about a Valentine gift for a character you have written of the opposite gender. What would your character love for Valentine’s Day, something they would never actually admit for fear of sounding overly mushy, sappy and sensitive?

Can You Write This Profile?

Mindful Meandering has Profile Stress: 

Putting together our adoption profile was very intense and extremely stressful. How on earth do you adequately capture on paper the essence of why a woman should choose you to raise her child?? How do you come across as likable?

There is a hard profile to write, this makes writing a profile for yourself on a dating site look simple. What would you write about yourself in an adoption profile? (Assuming you were in that situation, of course). It would be really hard just to start, to feel safe in being sincere about your wishes to adopt versus sounding like you were a selling yourself like a used car salesperson.