Asshat SEO – AdCard Ltd

, posted: 21-Mar-2010 13:54

I appreciate comments on my blog and it annoys me that I can't make it as easy as possible for everyone to have their say in an easy fashion, without CAPTCHA and registration/confirmation.

The reason for that is of course the comment spammers that infest the blogosphere. Usually, the spammers hawk porn, prescription drugs or some other rubbish by pointing to a URL for a throwaway site, but some hop onto your blog with URL drops to boost search engine rankings.

This is what happened here recently when two comments appeared on a blog entry, one from "Bianca" and another one from "Pat". I thought they looked strange, because "Bianca" said "And what other research projects do you intend to put the money?" while pointing to a URL -

"Pat" left a similarly nonsensical comment and another URL, The sites are hosted on and use the same Thesis Wordpress theme.

Both comments came via which is assigned to a residential block in the Philippines. Strange choice of host for someone in Christchurch, isn't it? Maybe that person was hired to post comments on NZ blogs, or the computer in question compromised to act as a conduit but either way, it's a subterfuge.

It didn't take too much effort to find out that this is the work of Adcards or Nic Dale in Christchurch. He does it to bump up websites in Google's index. I emailed Nic to ask him what he's hoping to achieve with this kind of spam, but he didn't respond.

He did however reply to Idealog earlier this year, when they complained about similar style comments being posted on their site:


From: "Nic Dale"

Date: 3 February 2010 1:01:04 PM

To: <redacted>

Subject: RE: Request for removal of domain from your database

Hi <redacted>

Thank you for your email. Idealog is the NZ magazine I buy most often.

I have reviewed the list of domains in your email and have removed from the list of NZ blogs. We were not aware of any of the other sites you mentioned.

Like you I abhor spam. Since speaking to Brett this morning I have read the comment that he tagged as spam in his blog (I saw it on the thread on the NZ Web Dev Google Group which I'm guessing is where you found it too.) If that comment had been placed on my site I would have deleted it as spam too.

My staff are instructed to place relevant comments on blogs that add value to the conversation. The comment Brett read did not comply with that policy and frankly deleting it as spam was the right thing to do because it did not provide value to the conversation and improve the thread nor did it reflect well on us. The staff member concerned will receive coaching.

Our purpose in placing comments on blogs is to add value to the conversation because only in doing that will the comments be approved and value to our clients by directing traffic to our site.


Nic Dale | AdCard Director | AdCard Limited | PO Box 29-029, Fendalton, Christchurch

Phone 03 351 2959 | Mobile 027 5577 000 | Email | |


Uh, no, Nic. That kind of "comment placing" doesn't add value to the conversation. In fact, such comments are not part of the conversation and most certainly won't be approved.

This thread on NZ Web Dev has more examples of Nic's work. As it is, I'm not sure the DIA takes a dim view of this type of comment spamming, but I'm certainly going to find out.

As for SEO, when people ask me about it I usually tell them to make sure their site is interesting, unique and as easily accessible as possible. I like what Stuart on NZ Web Dev wrote:

SEO is the result of a pessimistic view of the world. It says that good service, good design, great content and a compelling product aren't enough. It says that even with all of those things, you need to have an arsenal of underhand tactics with which to prosper.

Indeed. I'd suggest NZ bloggers keep an eye out for comments from "Pat", "Bianca" and friends. Throng for instance has a member called racheldunst whose webpage is given as and Spareroom has been hit by a "relevant comment" too.

Update Nic Dale responded to me on Monday morning, and here's his reply, posted with his permission:


Hi Juha

Thanks for your email.  I was disappointed to see your post on Sunday.  Forgive me for not replying over the weekend.  I hope replying to your email within 1 business hour is a satisfactory response.

You're right those comments were placed by my team. Members of my team are based in the Philippines as well as Christchurch and Melbourne.

Having read the comments placed on your blog I apologise for any offence caused.  I'm disappointed that the comments were placed too because neither comment was on a thread relevant to our client.  In fact I can't imagine your blog is relevant to any of our client's businesses, other than the fact you're both NZ based. 

My expectation is that every comment placed on a blog is read and approved by a real person.  On that basis my team are required to place comments on blogs that are relevant.  More importantly the comment placed must add value to the thread to warrant being published.  The 2 comments you highlighted did not.

Again sorry for the inconvenience caused.


Nic Dale  |  AdCard Director  |  AdCard Limited  |  PO Box 29-029, Fendalton, Christchurch

Phone 03 351 2959  |  Mobile 027 5577 000  |  Email  |  Skype adcard_canterbury  |


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