Who cares about stopping comment spam? If you are a blogger, or the owner of a website that allows comments, reviews and posts by the general public, you should. Most notably, if your comments allow a website to be entered, you should care.
I’m going to talk about comment spam in WordPress blogs, because I run WordPress blogs and have experience with them. Here are some links for researching comment spam on other blogging platforms:
COMMENT SPAM IN WORDPRESS
Comment spam in WordPress is insidious, lets use these recent examples from this blog:
Comment spam has a purpose – for spammers. The idea is often to drive traffic to a website – theirs or someone else’s. Google’s Webmaster Central (link below under “MORE ON COMMENT SPAM”) has written a post describing why comment spam is practically useless for Google ranking for spammer’s websites. Some spammers are just stupid, and keep plodding away anyway. Or are those spammers crafty?
Although their comment spam may not drive “Google juice” – or traction from other search engines – they can sometimes get people clicking on their links. If for no other reason to see who was stupid enough to make a comment like that. Spammers don’t care why you visit, they just care that you do visit.
RECOGNIZING COMMENT SPAM
How do you recognize spam comments? Well, the Bruce Clay blog has posted some ways you can recognize comment spam like the comments about how great you are (the ego stroke) and posting comments in older posts. The example from this blog tonight, has both, and more. Look at the 3 comments in the screenshot; look at the “name” of the poster, the link to their “website” and the “comment”. Next, compare the subject of the “comment” and the link to the post. It goes like this:
Name: ranking lokat
Website: website in this case isn’t very useful (I don’t speak Polish)
Comment: the comment tells me about “hitting it on the head”
Subject of my Post: the post was about how to aim in a video game
I can’t tell if the name is real because I don’t speak Polish or know any Polish names. The same goes for the domain name, I don’t know if its a random string of letters or a Polish word. However, I can see that the comment has nothing to do with the post, and it will not add any value to visitors to my blog reading it.
HOW TO DEAL WITH COMMENT SPAM
Like Jackie Lee of Internet Marketing for Mommies said in her comment spam post, I used to feel bad deleting some comments. Now any spammy comments that make it past Akismet get marked as spam in a heartbeat. If I think a comment is from a spammer trying to do the ego stroke I’ll mark it as spam quicker than I’ll give it a second thought. If I think someone is truly saying something nice, I’ll respond by email and simply delete the comment – after all, no one visiting my blog reading about Android phones, or about using Gmail effectively really cares how nice I am. They want to read about whatever post they came to read.
Akismet is great and probably catches about 99% of my comment spam, but its not fool-proof. I also recommend logging into your blog and from the Dashboard go to Settings > Discussion and make sure both “A comment is held for moderation” and “An administrator must always approve the comment” are checked. This way if Akismet doesn’t catch the comment, you can manually mark it as spam, or in (statistically rare) the case of the truly nice person you can email them and delete the comment, thus making your blog a more valuable resource for your visitors.