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When 'Viagra' comments on your blog, and other spam red flags

Angela West | Feb. 9, 2012
Comment spam, also known as blogspam, has existed since the dawn of blogs. It's created for one purpose: to insert a link on your site back to the commenter’s website. Comment spammers are getting craftier at the game. Comment spam was a much larger problem for bloggers in the nascent days of blogging before improved spam blockers, when you could easily spend 10 minutes a day moderating a blog. Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, actually created a spam blocker for WordPress called Akismet in 2005, partially so his mom wouldn’t be assaulted by Viagra ads while writing her blog.

Comment spam, also known as blogspam, has existed since the dawn of blogs. It's created for one purpose: to insert a link on your site back to the commenter’s website. Comment spammers are getting craftier at the game. Comment spam was a much larger problem for bloggers in the nascent days of blogging before improved spam blockers, when you could easily spend 10 minutes a day moderating a blog. Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, actually created a spam blocker for WordPress called Akismet in 2005, partially so his mom wouldn’t be assaulted by Viagra ads while writing her blog.

Today, spam blockers do a good job of nabbing most spam, but link builders still employ underhanded tricks to get their comments onto your blog, usually hiring people to do the deed since bots are usually stopped by the spam blockers. Many business owners and employees are unfamiliar with comment spam; they happily approve spam all the time, and who can blame them? They just don’t know. Here are a few ways to tell if that comment is spam or from a real person, and eight tips for reducing it on your website.

1. Spam Can Outnumber Legit Comments

First, keep in mind that many of the comments on your blog are going to be spam. Humans will get around your spam blocker and try to leave comments that include the website addresses they are promoting. If you approach editing comments with this in mind, you’ll catch a lot more spam. All comments should be considered guilty until proven innocent.

2. Delete Comments With Unrelated Links Unless a comment requires a posted link to a valid website to make a point, delete any links in the comment or just delete the comment entirely. This will thwart the spammer’s goal: getting a link back to their site.

3. Read the Comment

Sure, you don’t have time to read over every single comment in your queue word for word. But you can eliminate comments that have nothing to do with the blog topic, that contain tons of links, or are extremely vague.

4. Look at the Internet Address There is usually a field for the commenter’s URL in the comment queue. Look at it. If it's a link to a commercial site rather than a personal blog, unless it obviously belongs to the blogger, delete it but leave the comment if it is relevant.

5. Look at the Commenter’s Name If the commenter’s name is gibberish, such as in the example above where the commenter’s name is listed as a website, delete the comment.

6. Real People Write Comment Spam

 

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