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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.

Don’t approve that comment just because it looks like it was written by a human, or even if they’ve confirmed their humanity through a step in your spam blocker. The best link builders will employ real people who will look for related sites to leave comments on. How do I know? I’ve been one, and that’s exactly what I did. Would I do it again? No way. I still feel dirty from it.

7. Comment Spam Is More Likely on Popular Websites

PageRank is a key Google technology that defines the importance of a website by the pages that link to it as well as other criteria. While the relevance of PageRank has been debated in the search engine optimization (SEO) community, Google still uses it, as do spammers. If you have a Google PageRank of 3 or higher, you’re going to get comment spam. Anything under this PageRank is less attractive to a spammer, as it is not given as much weight in Google’s results as pages with a higher ranking. To check your page rank for free, go here and type in the address of your website.

8. Shortened URLs Are Suspect

A shortened URL is an internet address that’s been shortened using a shortening service, such as LinkedIn, Google, Bit.ly, or TinyURL. If a shortened URL doesn’t look like it comes from such a legitimate source, delete it. Spammers are setting up their own URL shortening services to get around having internet addresses deleted in posts.

Solution: Get a Serious Spam Blocker

You’ll spend a lot more time moderating comments if you don’t have a decent comment spam blocker installed on your blog. The better comment spam blockers for business cost money, but if you’ve spent any amount of time trying to moderate comments, you’ll understand how much time and money one of these tools can save you. If you have your blog on a free service like Blogger or TypePad, you are probably already enjoying a free spam blocking service.

If you are offered a different level of spam blocking with any spam blocking service, it’s best to choose the maximum with a commitment to go in once a week to rescue legitimate comments. This will save you the most time and at the worst tie up some good comments for a couple of days.

Akismet is not free for commercial use, but it is cheap. A Pro subscription for a small commercial website or blog will only set you back $5.00 a month. An Enterprise subscription is for mulitiple sites, and it’s $50.00 a month. While Akismet is one of the better tools on the market, you will still need to go into the spam queue once in a while to fish out legitimate comments.

 

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