Anyone who has a blog knows that comments are magnets for spam. Many bloggers have struggled with ways to deal with spam and I can imagine it becomes harder as your blog becomes more popular, not easier. But lets take a closer look at these comments.
Comment Spam Types
There are several different types of comment spam. Some of it is easy to identify, but spammers are becoming more creative.
1. Blatant Spam — This is obvious spam. It usually has nothing to do with the topic of the post (unless there is a lucky coincidence). It will usually have a couple of links to the websites that the spammer wants to promote. There are even times where the comment is not even in the same language as your post (or even the same character set).
2. Link-o-Rama Spam — This is probably a sub-type of the Blatant spam. But you’ll find that these comments are very long and consist mostly of keyword/link combinations. What is often amazing about these comments is the variety of links.
3. Sneaky Spam — Here we get to the type of spam that is more troublesome. These comments will often be vague (things like ‘Nice post.’ or ‘You write good blogs.’) and flattering (although I’ve seen some that tell me I’m wrong about what I wrote). These are the kind of comments that when we first see them, we think “They love me. They really love me!”. However, over time we begin to realize that these comments are just backlink attempts.
The spammer can get even more sneaky. Rather than just sending generic comments to thousands of blog posts, they scan for keywords and submit comments that fit. It becomes obvious when you have comments about Volkswagen Golf on your golf blog, but these can often be hard to detect.
Some spammers are actually using quotes from the post or other comments to sneak their way in. You do have to give the spammers credit for creativity.
Comment Spam Techniques
Most spam in your blog comes from three different routes.
1. Other Bloggers — These comments are usually the Sneaky Spam types. They come from a blogger who is trying to build backlinks to their site by commenting on as many blogs as possible. However, these comments don’t add anything to the conversation and they often make you wonder whether the poster has even read the article.
2. Outsourced Backlinkers: You can hire people in third world countries who, for a fee, will spend hours commenting on blogs in your name, or at least with your url. These comments are often Sneaky Spam comments but can be Blatant Spam as well.
3. Spambots: The most insidious spam comments come from bots. These bots simply call the appropriate url to submit a comment without even going to your blog page. I know that this happens because my blogs get less traffic than comments on a regular basis. And the comments are often found on posts or pages that Google Analytics shows have received 0 visits.
These are where the Link-o-Rama Spam come from (no one is going to type in that many keywords and links), but a lot of the Blatant and Sneaky types are submitted this way too. On Cookie Crumbles I have some cartoon posts that have received comments like “You write really well …”. There is no way a live person would put that comment there (I hope 8=)
Spambots are getting more clever and will often use keyword searches to determine what comment to put on your blog. You may even find that the comments contain quotes from your article or other comments.
How do we fight back? Comments are a valuable part of blogging and the social web. They are vital for building community. But it takes time to moderate comments. What ways can help us handle the load?
Well, that’s what the next two articles are all about.
In the mean time, tell us all what bothers you most about spam.