Harvesting followers and leads is when a blogger or individual visits another blog and uses their comments or interaction as a mailing list. People often do this when they are trying to grow a project, gain new subscribers, or looking for worthy bloggers to network with. When a blogger uses a post meant for socialization or networking, such as my Meet and Greet thread found HERE, it is considered OK. Those posts, threads, or boards are meant to be a forum for interaction and meeting other bloggers. The issue rises though when people harvest followers from smaller blogs. Mainly they are looking to “gain” the interaction you have already garnered. By pickpocketing your small circle, and the “small circles” of hundreds of other bloggers, one blogger can essential create their own “larger circle” of contacts.
Why do bloggers do this? It is simple really. For those of us into promotion and marketing we are constantly looking for where the activity is happening. Activity is the realtime interaction many of us seek online and is why a lot of online users create social groups. Harvesting the followers, the active followers, of other blogs leads to new levels of socialization and a growth in numbers. This is the primary reason many bloggers will browse lists of blogs and will network within their own network. This is also why some people will notice the extra “click outs” from their stat page because their blog has just become an outlet for someone to use. You have been harvested.
That is why you see the numbers that you do.