Commenting Controversy: Are Tribes Smart or Sleazy?

Commenting Tribe Debate ImageI’ve got a great debate for you today centered around the value of participating in a blog commenting tribe. And since I’ve taken over the EIF Tribe and moved it to my blog, creating the Clever Marketer Mastermind Community, I can’t think of a topic more worth discussion!

First I’ll fill you in on a little background and then I’d love to have a naked discussion with you all, out in the open for everyone to see. I want to know what you think, the good, bad, and ugly around how you feel about commenting tribes, and specifically our CMMC tribe.

My goal for this commenting tribe debate:

It’s my goal to make the Clever Marketer Mastermind Community an awesome place for bloggers to connect, support each other, share ideas, and help create a buzz around each other in social media so that ultimately we can all get more traffic and achieve success.

There is no way to grow without doing something new, and this blog marketing forum has been one of those experiences for me.

My first experience with a commenting tribe:

A bit-o-history for you…I joined the EIF Tribe as a brand new blogger last August (2010) because I’d heard that tribes were the way to go, and that a commenting tribe would be one of the best ways to get traffic to my blog. I instantly saw results, yes in terrific spikes leading to steady traffic, but the biggest benefit that gave me results came from the feedback I received from the other tribe members who offered suggestions to me on how to approve my writing and marketing.

I honestly can say that it was one of the best experiences I could have ever had as a new blogger. Being a part of the tribe kept me accountable to writing frequently. It helped me to push my comfort zone and grow as both a writer and a marketer. It gave me connections with others I couldn’t have had before.  And it helped me to establish myself as a credible authority within my niche.

Was I a great blogger when I started? No. Am I better blogger for having been a part of a tribe? Absolutely! I believe that we all matured and grew as bloggers because of our masterminding and commenting.

Commenting Tribe Challenges:

Sporadic Participation & People Being Left Out:

Here’s the dilemma, commenting tribes aren’t perfect and our little EIF Tribe was no exception. I took over moderating the tribe a few months after I joined it, and began to see the challenges of moderating such a group. There were a few of us bloggers who networked together and stuck it out, but many people came and went and there was always a waiting list of people who wanted to get into the tribe.  There were some campaigns that would be so packed I didn’t think I’d ever get around to all the blogs, and others that were sparse with only a few core members participating.

Shortly after I took over the EIF Commenting Tribe, I launched the Prove It Blog Challenge, and it grew WAY bigger than I ever expected it to. My original hope was that we’d be able to comment on the blogs of the other challengers and help each other get results like the EIF Tribe had done for me and our core members.  But with the Prove It Challenge growing by leaps and bounds, it was impossible to keep up and most people fell through the cracks.

So I decided to combine the two communities into the Clever Marketer Mastermind Community which would contain a blog commenting tribe as well as resources and training to help beginner bloggers grow their skills while they grew their audience. My “in a perfect world” vision was that all of us veteran commentators from the EIF Tribe would be able to pay it forward to the next generation of up and coming bloggers, creating a win/win situation of broadening our own reach as well as helping others achieve success. Yes, I thought we would all live happily ever after.

Various Niches:

But shortly after opening the doors I was surprised by another big challenge.  Most of the bloggers who are part of the CMMC are home based business owners and network marketers, but a few are not. Our niche specific commenting tribe started to get diluted and a few of us EIF Tribers felt a little frustrated. (Yes, I’m part of the frustrated bunch.)

You see, commenting on blogs that are in the home based business industry and are centered around marketing, including the topics of blogging, lead generation, leadership, personal development, traffic generation, network marketing, internet marketing, attraction marketing, video, and working from home, etc. made sense. I always felt like I learned something and that my time was well spent reading and commenting on these other blogs.

Nothing against bloggers in different niches, but for the sake of example, commenting on a blog centered around “automotive repair” wouldn’t fit. To be honest, on a couple of the blogs within the CMMC tribe, although I wanted to be encouraging and supportive, I have struggled to come up with what to say in the comments.

I have also received a message from a very good friend and one of the original EIF Commenting Tribe members that the comments on their blog were lacking in value and if it wasn’t from a tribe member they would have deleted it. To me, this is evidence that others feel the same way.

I have spoken with many of the EIF Tribers over the last couple of months, sharing that my intention was to wait until we had enough CMMC members that we could break down into blog commenting tribe niches and only comment on tribes within our specific focus. I think that time is here.

I received a very thoughtful and thought provoking email from Danny Iny from Firepole Marketing giving me a head’s up about a guest post he was writing.  You see, after a round in the CMMC commenting tribe, Danny felt the same way many of us EIF Tribers have felt about commenting on blogs that aren’t specific to his niche.

Various Skill Levels:

Danny also felt that some of the blogs “stunk” after his round in the blog commenting tribe.  I’m curious, are you talking about beginner bloggers or bad bloggers Danny?  I know we’ve some beginner bloggers in our group and I don’t know who starts off as an A-list blogger.

I’m absolutely blown away by the progress some of the newer bloggers are making as a result of being a part of the CMMC blog commenting tribe.   They are action takers, and solution seekers!  I see them posting questions in the forum on how to do things, writing posts that ask for blog critiques and feedback on how to improve from their peers. And they are implementing the suggestions given to them.

I’m loving it because it’s exactly where I was less than 9 months ago!  I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for a couple of hard critiques. (MLM Blog Code bonus webinar with Ty Tribble & Ann Sieg, Blog Audit Friday with Ana Hoffman, and asking for feedback from my readers)

The benefit I see from this aspect of the blog commenting tribe is that experienced bloggers get an opportunity to display their leadership, and new bloggers get the help they need.

The disadvantage is that experienced bloggers end up commenting on a few blogs that hardly get any traffic and aren’t going to teach them something.

How to Improve the Clever Marketer Mastermind Community & Blog Commenting Tribe:

1. Break Down into Niche Specific Tribes for Blog Commenting.

So far I believe we’ve got active commentators with blogs focused in:

  • The majority of us are in: Home Based Businesses/Network Marketing/Direct Sales/MLM
    • Our blogs are focused on: Marketing, Blogging, Social Media, Video, Lead Generation, Personal Development, Leadership
  • We also have members who are in:
    • Real Estate Marketing
    • Health & Wellness
    • Beauty & Fashion

I believe that if we break the commenting tribes down into a few smaller niches we will see better results and we’ll all be happier!

If you’re part of a smaller niche, then you are welcome to invite other bloggers in your niche to the CMMC so that they can participate in a blog commenting tribe with you. I’d start by focusing on finding 2 or 3 other people to start with and then growing your tribe from there, leverage your efforts.  Another suggestion would be to open up a forum for your own niche…which I can help you do if you wish.

2. Neighborhood Watch, Blog Tribe Style

As with any community, we need to take personal responsibility for our asset.  If you feel that a blog is not high enough quality to participate in the community you need to speak up.   You are welcome to bring it to my attention if you’re not comfortable addressing the blog owner yourself, but I suggest that you speak with the blog owner, let them know why you feel their blog isn’t worthy of your comment.  Many times we don’t know what we don’t know and we should be grateful for information that helps us improve.  (Just like I’m so very grateful to Danny for bringing this topic up for discussion!)

If you’re going to play in the CMMC commenting tribe you have to understand that you’re going to be under the watchful eye of the community.  If you’re not comfortable receiving honest feedback and valuable suggestions that can help you improve your business, then this isn’t the right place for you.  I don’t want to play with whiners and no one else does either.  If you’re not taking actions to improve, then your account will be deleted.

Now it’s your turn to weigh in on the commenting tribe debate!

So I’d love to know what you all think. (Danny you too!)

I did not create the Clever Marketer Mastermind Community for me.  The community and blog commenting tribe is for the benefit of everyone involved and I feel that we’re growing a fantastic group of bloggers in our forum who have the best of intentions. I want to know your thoughts, feelings and suggestions.

Please let me know what you think and then head over to read Danny’s post!  Building an Audience with Commenting Communities Smart or Sleazy? I’d love our blog commenting tribe to shower him with value adding comments as a thank you for asking the tough questions that will help us to grow and improve!

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  1. Hi Heather,

    Well, this should stir the pot a bit, hey? 🙂

    Here’s my take on it….

    I agree that there are times when I struggle to find relevant and meaningful comments on blogs from a totally unrelated niche than my own. It’s not that these posts aren’t well written (they are) or valuable to their readers with similar interests (they are!), but it’s just not my cup of tea. So it’s hard to put my heart and soul into a meaningful comment.

    I feel badly sometimes because I feel like I’m doing the blogger a disservice by commenting.

    I think the niche idea is perfect, but that may leave some people out. The key is to get enough people in certain niches to make it worth their while. Not sure what the answer is here, except maybe people in underrepresented niches can “bring a friend or two” — go in search for other bloggers in their niche and let them know that these blog commenting tribes exist. I’m sure some do not know.

    As far as having issues with the quality of certain blogs, this is a tough one for me because, like you I started out as a pretty poor blogger. I am a scientist and wrote my blog as if it were a scientific paper, and I’m sure I bored my initial readers to tears.

    If someone in a tribe had read those original posts they would have surely wanted to boot me out. But I learned how to write for my readers and it was with the help of repetition and the feedback from other bloggers that helped me turn the corner.

    If we boot out people who we consider poor writers or bloggers, we are not giving them this opportunity to grow and improve.

    If, on the other hand someone is not following the rules of the tribe or promoting material that is clearly outside the guidelines of the group, than certainly these are reasons for exclusion.

    I hope this feedback has helped. It felt good to write it (hope it was not too scientific! 🙂

    • Hi Dr. Bob,

      I feel the same as you about people who have a little (or a lot) of room for improvement in the blogging department. I also realize that not all posts will float my boat and that if I don’t like what someone’s written for one campaign, I may love what they write for the next one.

      I think being able to send each other messages for feedback with suggestions on how to improve if the post is not worthy of a comment, will help with the quality quandary.

      I’m not sure to how to handle the niche issue. I think that people in niches outside of marketing have tons of opportunity to introduce people to the tribe concept and I hope that possibly that can be a solution. I’m hopeful to get more feedback from others on what we should do with that part of the situation.

      Thanks for your comment! I really appreciate your feedback!


  2. Hey Heather, thank you for this awesome response to my guest post!

    You raised an important point: “Danny also felt that some of the blogs “stunk” after his round in the blog commenting tribe. I’m curious, are you talking about beginner bloggers or bad bloggers Danny? I know we’ve some beginner bloggers in our group and I don’t know who starts off as an A-list blogger.”

    And to answer, there were both, but I’m fine with beginner bloggers; I used to be one (ok, let’s be honest, I still *am* one!), and there’s nothing wrong with a learning curve. On the contrary – I try to make an effort to interact with beginning bloggers, encourage them to keep on going, and maybe give them a pointer or two when I can.

    I’m talking more about one or two blogs that seemed (to me at least) to have been hastily assembled and filled with generic content of poor quality because the blogger was under the impression that it might be a way to make a buck. That I object to – and I’m sure most of the community does, too!

    I really like your idea at the end of the post: “If you feel that a blog is not high enough quality to participate in the community you need to speak up. You are welcome to bring it to my attention if you’re not comfortable addressing the blog owner yourself, but I suggest that you speak with the blog owner, let them know why you feel their blog isn’t worthy of your comment.”

    I think that it would be really great to have the option to send a constructive email explaining why someone wasn’t comfortable leaving a comment – in many cases, the email would probably be more valuable than the comment otherwise would have been!

    Heather, I want to commend you on being such a leader, and such a class act. Thank you so much for this post!

    • Hi Danny,

      Loved your posts! Thank you so much for starting the discussion.

      I’m not sure that the one or two blogs you mentioned are still part of the tribe. I can think of quite a few people who started off in the beginning and fizzled out.

      It seems to me that like with most things shiny and new, we started off with a lot of buzz that has settled into a nice group of nice, value adding, teamwork loving bloggers.

      I think that by adding the rule that someone can let the author know why they’re not commenting if they feel a post was lacking quality will help eliminate those feelings.

      Any other suggestions you have, Danny, are welcomed! Thank you again for your leadership and willingness to bring this topic to the table! I hope you’ll be joining us again.


  3. Hi Heather,

    I am blown away by the leadership this entire post is saturated with. Congratulations. Also to taking advice from Danny.

    I felt the same way with the EIF tribe. In some campaigns, it was really stressful to get around, in others I was yawning…So I wasn’t able to count on a reliable amount of traffic and comments.

    The best decision you could make was in fact to move it to another platform, your blog. Well, a side effect of that is that we are a bit more independent from Facebook.

    That doesn’t mean that our community isn’t observing the behaviour of each member, the watchful eye of the community, as you note. A critical eye in either direction. Always fair and to the topic, never personal.

    A tribe without rules or rules nobody really follows is dead. Basically, it’s the most important asset a tribe has, if not the only one that people can trust each other on the foundation of the rules.

    It saddens me when individual persons request comments and get them (!) and then refuse to keep their part of the deal because they don’t like the industry or the specific niche. In fact, it tells a lot about this “refuser” and nothing about the other person. How you do anything is how you do everything.

    That doesn’t mean we have to be perfect and I hardly check if I get the comments I am supposed to get. Only when it becomes obvious to me that something stinks, I raise my hand. And if I make a mistake, please let me know, dear friends, I will apologize without justifications and eventually fix it.

    99 % of the people in our community are serious and honest marketers and bloggers who would do everything to keep their part of their deal. They even give feedback when something is wrong with the comment form or the site is down. And they get back later to leave their comment. That’s why I love to be part of this community.

    Of course, I am open to break it down into more specific niches when we get enough quality-quantity, so to speak. The downside is that we don’t learn from people in other niches.

    Well, let me conclude this comment by thanking you again for your leadership and what you’re putting together here !

    Take care


    • Hi Oliver,

      I think the rules and the structure are what makes this type of community effective. And like with any community, the rules may have to evolve over time as new situations arise.

      I am so glad to have the eyes of others helping me to keep watch. There are going to be growing pains here and there, but I know we’ll all work through them and come out on the other side with a great solution, and having learned a bit about each other in the process.

      I’m glad, that because our community is filled with so many respectful, considerate, and helpful marketers that the “issues” are few and far between.

      Thank you as well, Oliver, for your leadership and help! I really appreciate you!


  4. Wow Heather!

    An awesome action packed post!

    I agree with the break down of groups and grouping by niche.

    The funny thing is my new blog that I’ve been promoting is a health/wellness topic yet if you read the post it does relate to network marketing.

    Some may not agree but the reason why I started it was because of a post I read from Ana about creating your own product.

    I took something from my MLM company and my experience within network & Internet marketing and went after an untapped niche.

    So I am able to leverage network marketing side and an area of my MLM company.

    And still create content on my social networking blog.

    That is the way I see it as someone from both sides of the track.

    I do agree with you about EIF. One of the reasons I was not participating because I could not get through the content and let alone leave a comment.

    You’ve done an incredible job here and I am loving it!!

    Have an awesome day.

    Talk soon,
    Tommy D.

    • Hi Tommy,

      I have a health/wellness blog I just started posting to recently as well for my network marketing business. I think being able to post links specific to the post we’re writing in niche specific campaigns might really be effective and helpful.

      I see how your weight loss challenge blog post would fit multiple campaign niches. 🙂

      I’m so glad that the new platform for the tribe is working better for you. I always welcome your feedback if you have other suggestions for making it better.

      Thanks for your comment!

  5. Hi Heather! Great leadership on your part in creating this post and responding to Danny’s.

    I hate to think that my blog might be one of the ones causing people frustration but after reading your post, I am wondering if it is. I am definitely a serious marketer, but my blog is not about marketing. Or building a business.

    In some ways, though it’s focus is personal style, it also is a personal development blog, but I can understand why people might not think so. And I am open to breaking it into niches, especially if my blog got included in that niche. I have loved reading the personal development blogs in our community.

    Actually, I’ve loved reading almost all of them! And I hate to miss out on some of them.

    But I will follow your leadership here. I am so grateful for this community! My business has grown because of it and I think if I keep participating, I will be able to stay in profit!!!

    • Hi Jeanine,

      I’m sorry if even for a second you thought I meant your blog. I hope that by me being a subscriber on your blog and commenting frequently you’d know how much I enjoy your content!

      I do see your blog as more personal development with a fun twist of fashion. That’s great in my opinion.

      However, Jeanine, I could see how some of the guys may not see it in the same light as we girls do, (unless they were looking at it through the filter of personal development.)

      I’m open to whatever groups the members feel are best and I’m excited to get the feedback from everyone on what they think would be the best solution. I’m sure that more heads are better than one and together we’ll all come up with a fantastic solution that works for the benefit of all.

      I absolutely want you to keep participating in the forum…you add tons of value, Jeanine!


  6. Oh Heather, I’m glad to hear you weren’t frustrated by my blog!

    And I totally understand that guys might not have the slightest interest in reading about personal style, LOL. Though sometimes their comments are very cute!

    Thanks, Heather!

    • They do have some cute comments don’t they! 🙂 I’ve enjoyed them on your blog and gotten a chuckle now and again. 🙂

      Hugs back!

  7. Heather, I totally understand the intent of this post… and frankly although I do agree that sometimes it is a little more difficult to leave a comment in an area I am not as familiar with … or perhaps interested in… spending a few minutes reading a post in most cases educates me to the point that I have something to respond to.

    I love being involved in the Clever Marketing community… and this far, although I am not certain I always get the number of comments back… as I leave, in general I have no complaints.

    I have not seen anyone this far being spammy or behaving badly!

    As you may know the Prove It Challenge was something that had a profound effect on me. Not only the relationships and friendships I developed… but it truly was/is a place I call home. The people were and are first class. We truly have a lovely group.

    Breaking it down into niches is a ‘good’ idea… although there are a few sides to this coin. ie: Some of the forums may not fill up. ie: the Real Estate Blogs… and while I have no problem reading these blogs, even though outside my niche, I still enjoy encouraging those in it to continue on the right track.

    We have to remember that helping these people get traffic and comments will help them with their ranking to be found better by organic traffic. Taking this away and leaving them with empty comment space is not going to give the greatest impression to their organic readers. I feel by helping them along until they can attract enough traffic within their niche helps them.

    We sometimes have to remember that not only are we writing for our fellow tribers, but we are “mostly” writing for our potential customers and by having a few comments, it adds credibility to those who are merely searching for information.

    On the other hand if we could attract enough participants in the various niches, it helps expose one and other to our unique readers. ie: if I found more people in the personal development/entrepreneurial niche and we all commented on eachothers work, we would likely meet new readers from their blogs, and vice versa.

    (am I rambling.. cause just tell me if I am)…

    With that said, although I love, love, love my personal development ramblings… as well as exposing my business side occasionally, I still enjoy reading about SEO and traffic generation as well…

    I guess I still could… but… it would mean going outside my forum… which I still could… but… (I think you know what I mean)… it just wouldn’t be as automatic I guess.

    I sure hope I’m not boring everyone to death and stinking.. I think we all do the best we can… and though I was not part of the EIF… (the original one)… I have yet to find anyone who stinks myself.

    I think we have a pretty good bunch but I am willing to conform to whatever you feel is the right move and would be willing to do whatever I can to help improve things for everyone.

    Lovely to see you sunshine… I have missed you.


  8. Hi…Heather :
    Thank You so much for creating the Clever Marketer Mastermind Community and having opportunities help each other. Thank You all leaders on this community too.

    I am new to here. I am afraid not appropriate to ask. I do like to leave a quality comment.Sometimes, it’s hard to leave a valued comment.
    Just a thought if there are tips on forum for the rule about leaving valuable comments,especially for newbies.
    That would be great. I’d love to interact with people with quality comments and have the willing to improve it.

    Another, Denny says an email to tell why is hard to leave a comment and how to the improvement. That is really great idea. It would help someone to develop blog. I’d absolutely grateful if there is someone teaching me by sending sort of emails. 😀

    Have a great day !

  9. Hey Heather,

    Thanks for the heads up. Before I comment on the topic, I must say that you are an awesome leader for the tribe and you have got so much responsibility on your shoulders. You simply manage, be nice to people and make the forum a success to everyone, in short, you rock 🙂

    About breaking it into multiple niches, that is a good idea. But I am concerned about our members who are really the minority group and their campaigns may not be filled up. I am sure I am resonating with many commenters here!

    However, it is a great idea to get more people to the tribe. For instance our friends in weight loss or real estate niche could invite more people from their niche to join the community and they can soon become big groups. The community also will become big.

    Even though we talk about splitting into different niches, I am sure that we will, once in a while, check out the neighborhood niches and participate in those campaigns as well, because honestly I will miss them if we decide to split up totally. I truly enjoyed some of the off niches including real estate and beauty/fitness blogs.

    About Oliver’s comment, I strongly support him even though I don’t know who did that – when one puts his/her links on a campaign as a request, that is a commitment and later on refusing to comment for any reason is not fair!

    On to you Heather 🙂 We will always help you with suggestions and support, if you need them.


  10. Hey Heather,

    Wow! I’m completely blown away by your amazing leadership and action-packed post! You ROCK, my friend! I’ll keep telling you this – it’s the truth!

    I must admit, I do feel the frustration at times not knowing exactly what to say in the comment section, due to my lack of knowledge or experience in a particular niche.

    Splitting into different niches is a good idea, provided there are enough bloggers to participate in those. That might be a challenge for now.

    So glad you brought this up. Every community/tribe needs rules to play by.

    All the best,

  11. Thanks to Danny linking to this post I found my way here and just added a link and recommendation to read it to the post I wrote yesterday in reply to his commenting controversy post.

    It is always good to find another clear leader in where we all need to be going. I believe you will find my post interesting because it has a view of where blogging communities can go to create a better world. I’d love to hear what you think about that.

  12. Hi Heather,

    Fantastic post and so many awesome idea. Loved it.. !!

    I think splitting into different niches is awesome idea.. ! Can’t wait to see you implementing it.. !

    Thanks for sharing this useful post.. !


  13. Heather,

    You and Danny have covered a lot of ground on this topic. I wrote a lengthy comment over at Danny’s site and I’ll summarize here.

    First off, I enjoy the tribe. The people who I interact with and consistently deliver and join campaigns are quality people. I’ve enjoyed reading their posts and several of us chat by email aside from the forum.

    It has also given me likes and tweets that I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise (or as fast).

    Not every post I read is going to be my flavor. Not everything I write will make all the other campaigners’ day. But that’s the way it goes.

    That said, if we break up into sub-groups that may work well. It’s worth trying. I’m glad you’re allowing the smaller groups to recruit more people to fill out their niche. I hope it works out well for us all; I’m certain it will.

    It’s been great being a part of what you’ve built here. I know that the criticism and advice I’ve received (though I’m guilty of not acting quickly on some of it) has been quite helpful. Thanks for giving us an opportunity to help you improve the community.

    You certainly don’t have to do it all on your own. 🙂


  14. Hi Heather,

    I want to say that you are an amazing leader with such a big heart! I admire your courage to put this out there and I am glad you did.

    I also want to thank you for sharing the background to our blog forum. I had no idea how it evolved and to think that you started blogging only in August 2010, you really have gone far 🙂

    One more thing, thanks for the mention. I am really touched!

    Yesterday, I was just thinking maybe tribes need to be broken down into niches because it can sometimes be very difficult to comment on a blog which you don’t have a lot of interest in. I have always been honest in my post and will openly share my thoughts here too.

    There are times when I am hesitant to join a campaign precisely because I am a beginner blogger. I am trying to consistently participate in the campaigns but I don’t because my post is so basic and feel it won’t bring value to most of the other bloggers.

    Majority of the bloggers in our community are people who I really look up too and thank them for being so patient with me! However, I just feel it would be unfair to share every post that I write without taking into consideration this aspect.

    For me, writing a comment for the sake of writing one is as bad as writing a post for the sake of posting daily. It just doesn’t feel good at all and I don’t want other bloggers to have to feel that way.

    More recently, I have found myself shying away from campaigns when I see who’s in there. I am sorry to even bring this up but there are posts where it’s really difficult to comment on. I do my best to write more than “Great post!” but it doesn’t feel right.

    Instead of participating in a campaign, I felt better reading the posts that I like and more than happy to comment on. If I don’t get a comment back, it’s not a big deal because blogging is about reading and learning from others. However, most blog owners do return the favor.

    I think the idea of breaking it into niches will be the solution. Even though we aren’t in a niche, it doesn’t mean we can’t pop in and personally visit those posts which we do find interesting.

    I am sure you know very well, we just have to try it out and see how it works:) We will never know unless we give it a go:)

    P.S. Heather, I am starting up a travel blog on Italy. Actually it’s my hobby blog but I need to clean it up from all that I have learned so far. It would be great if you can help me create a forum for this Italy niche. Please feel free to contact me.

  15. Wow Heather!

    there’s a whole lot going on here and I’m going to try to be concise in my comment.

    Firstly I applaud you for the work you’ve done in putting this whole project together, leading the community and addressing the less comfortable issues as you are here.

    Personally I love the comment sharing, and although it will be better when there’s enough people in sub niches to split, I don’t see that it can work now.

    In the meantime, I’m happy to write occasional comments on a Josh’s Orlando Real Estate blog, or Jeanine’s Clothes and Style Blog (were my comments some of the cute ones?). I just try to add something honest and (at least slightly) meaningful.

    No one expects a masterpiece (I hope!) and I guess that those I mentioned and others in a similar position are not expecting deep, fully engaged conversational comments from all tribe members.

    I got so much from the EIF as a beginner when my content was (to be fair) of questionable quality and value – I learned from the other blogger both by their comments and by reading and considering their posts.

    Now that I am interacting with bloggers who are newer to this game than I am, it feels good to give back, share experiences, and offer encouragement. And still I’m learning from virtually every post I read here.

    I can also see a time coming where I truly won’t have enough time available for reading and commenting on all the posts, so I’m making the most of it while i can!

    Have I said enough yet? Probably too much. I think this tribe is a very good thing for anyone who has the energy to get involved and evolve with it, and I love the way you’ve really opened it up to everyone to comment here with this post.

    Thanks Heather, you’re a STAR!

  16. Hi Heather,

    What I love about all of this is your honesty and transparency as a leader. 🙂

    To me this demonstrates maturity and responsibility which in my experience, some leaders talk about but do not put into practice.

    I think it’s true to say that no community will please everybody and trying to cater to this will cause you more stress than is necessary.

    It takes time for a like-minded community to form and settle and my observation is that this is exactly what is happening in perfect timing, right now.

    Those people who should not be a part of this community will come and go and those that are supposed to be here will stay and become stronger by committing to uplifting themselves as well as the collective.

    As I see it, what is on offer to people in minority represented niches here, is the opportunity to step up and take a leadership role.

    I am sure that they too would like to interact more with bloggers within their own interest groups.

    What you are in fact providing here is a platform for them to create their own niche specific tribes with all the benefits of belonging to a bigger branded community. All they need to do is invite a few more people to join them. Sounds ideal to me. 🙂

    Personally I enjoy the variety here at CMM and rather than focus on differences I look for that which brings us all together as bloggers.

    You have done and continue to do an awesome job Heather. Thank you.


  17. Thanks Heather,for bringing up this hot topic. Here is another, You Rock!.

    As a new blogger, blogging with top bloggers in a community can be scary place to be. Each time I take that plunge to share my post in a campaign, I feel very nervous because I know I am not the best writer. Which is okay because I challenge myself to improve on each post, by following your examples.

    I have decided to keep my posting schedule the same-submitting my post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but I will only submit a post to my blog if I feel the post is of good quality.

    I agree with the idea of separating everyone into niches. This will make it easier for people to comment on their post because they are able to relate to it.

    Now, I just want to say thank you to those who has commented on my blog post. Your comments means a lot to me because it gives me the encouragement I need to do my best with my posts.

    Oh, also please don’t be so harsh towards new bloggers. We are a mastermind community, a community of wonderful bloggers who should be willing to give a helping hand to a new blogger who seems to be falling behind.


  18. Hi Heather,

    I was one of those who fell through the cracks in the Prove It challenge, but that’s okay. There were just too many members to keep up with, and I felt terrible about that.

    Unfortunately, seeing how powerful commenting tribes can be, the only one I belong to is, which is working somewhat well for me. When I put more time in, it works even better –obviously– but in my niche, the ways to build success are a little different.


  19. Hello Heather,

    I think I would be one of those who get shuffled out to the south 40 with this idea. My blog, even though I have a home based business, is not about blogging, marketing, SEO, or any of the things that we all read a lot of to make our blogs work. But I think my content is valuable to anyone. I have no idea what niche it would fall into, if any. I’ll miss the forum if I get bumped out.

    Lou Barba

  20. I have never heard of communities like this until I read Danny’s post. I can’t say it’s not a bad thing, but I agree that commenting on other blogs should be something people want to do and not because someone else commented on their post. For me, I don’t care how great the post is, but if the blog looks like crap already, I won’t even “see” their posts.

    Helping others is great when done the right way, but what is the right way? Everyone has their view or definition on how to help other bloggers, especially newbies. I read other blogs that interest me and discover new blogs all the time, but I don’t want to be forced or committed on commenting on a post or blog that I have no interest in either. Some may not like what I have to say on this, but I hate “fake comments” and people that just “ditch and run” and never come back.

  21. Hey, Heather. I’m coming to your site to read your response to Danny’s post. The purist in me wants to agree with Danny, but the realist in me knows that this is how most of the larger bloggers became so. These types of arrangements can, and do, occur naturally; however, groups like yours just accelerate the process.

    In many ways, they’re no different than offline versions like the chamber of commerce or networking groups. I can’t tell you how many ribbon cuttings I’ve attended as a chamber ambassador for businesses that I knew I would never frequent. Sounds a lot like what Danny didn’t like about his experience in your group.

    I think the suggestions you made are a great step in the right direction, but I really like the second one. It’s not fair to put all of the onus on you as the leader. The members need to be active in monitoring the quality of the group’s members.

    Anyway, I just wanted to stop and say how much I appreciate your response to Danny’s post. Good luck with the changes.

  22. Hey Heather,
    I love your site. I have a small business I’m trying to market and I’ve read you’re stuff and seen how great you are at responding and interacting with posters. Reading over some of their questions and your answers really helped me to better understand the benefits of internet marketing and get a better understanding of how to do it. Thanks and I’ll definitely be revisting!

    • Hi Sam,

      Thank you for the compliment. It means a lot to me to know that I’m helping…if there is anythign I can do to help you in the future, please speak up and let me know.

      Hope to see you back again. Have a great weekend!


  23. Get Subscribers to Your Comments: You can install “Subscribe to Comments,” which is a WordPress plugin that encourages people to subscribe to comments on any post they choose.

  24. With appreciable traffic a blog is with strength.Throughout this post you have discussed the anatomy of marketing.


  1. […] I do not believe we need to create fire-walled communities. I DO believe niche blogging communities are growing in importance. I encourage bloggers to read what people such as Heather Stephens (@StephensHeather on Twitter) who has extensive experience to share regarding commenting tribes. […]

  2. says:

    Commenting Controversy: Are Tribes Smart or Sleazy?…

    Are commenting tribes smart or sleazy? Come join this naked conversation about our blog commenting tribe and let us know what you think! 100% honesty required!…