What you MUST know about Comment Spam

You’re used to seeing email spam and you can recognise it instantly, but comment spam is a different kettle of fish. And a very smelly kettle too.

Look at the URL. Don’t click on the URL, just look at it. If you can’t see it, hover your mouse over it. Commercial company? Selling something?

Comment spam is different from email spam

Email spammers want you to buy their product. You are the target of the ad contained in each email spam you receive. Comment spammers want your readers to buy their product. You aren’t the target.

Web spammers are social engineers

Email spammers write messages to get your attention. Comment spammers write messages to escape your attention.

Comment spammers want you to believe that they’re real people, writing real comments, so that you’ll approve the comment and publish it on your site. They use flattery, appeal to your good nature, and lie through their teeth in order to convince you to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Web spammers are advertising on your site

Right now someone is offering to sell links from your site to anyone willing to pay a few dollars (or a few cents).

They sell these links from your site to game the search engines and trick your readers into visiting dubious web sites. Their clients are sometimes seemingly harmless, but are most often peddling fake pills, porn, scams and malware. Sometimes they’ll use “buffer sites” – that is, innocent looking web pages intended to disguise the fact that they’re really advertising something more sinister.

They keep all of the profits of their advertising and don’t even ask your permission!

Spammers employ humans

Spambots are automated software programs set up specifically to send comments to your site. However, not all spam is delivered by spambots.

Spammers are increasingly using humans to write and post comments by hand. Typically they exploit low-paid workers in internet cafes, schools and factories. Sometimes they’re viral marketers paid to promote a new product. Either way they exploit your site for their profit – and try to do it without you noticing.

Check all comments

Sometimes Akismet can’t be sure if a comment is spam. So check every comment that appears in your ‘Pending’ folder.

Obvious and not so obvious spam

  • The Gibberish comment.
    Chinese characters (or similar) are span. If your site is in English and the comment is in another language, get rid of it
  • The link-filled comment
    This one is obvious and Akismet should spot it at once
  • The .ru comment
    I’m sure there must be legitimate Web sites with the .ru extension, but I haven’t seen one yet
  • The helpful comment’ which starts .. “I realized while I was on your website that you have a WordPress website”. Or how you can improve your SEO, how you can improve ranking. These are a common spam messages
  • The Platform Question
    Asking “what platform do you use to blog”
  • The ‘guest post’ comment.
    You’re asked if you will accept a guest post
  • The ‘Good Info’ Comment
    Comments that say, “good info,” “great blog,” and similarly useless information are 99% guaranteed to be spam
  • The Overly Complimentary Comment
    If you get a brief comment that says something incredibly complimentary but adds little additional value to the conversation on the post (particularly if the grammar is poor), it’s spam. This is a common spam technique. Everyone likes to publish compliments on their sites. Spammers know this and play into your ego

Every time you login to your site – empty your spam folder