Comment spam is a fact of life for blogs and sites with an open door policy for comments and interaction. Comment spam arrives on your website in two main ways. Occasionally by hand posting of time-wasting idiots who post nonsense for fun or try to get links to their site by posting links to their site everywhere, but more often by robots, little Internet programs that crawl around looking for websites with comments and posting links to online gambling and medications for improving your sex life or extending your life.
Here are some examples.
- Pitiful Time Wasters
- The pitiful time wasters are the people, often kids, who have nothing better to do but search the Internet for random subjects and then post comments like “Your site sucks”, “f**k you”, “This is such a stupid waste of time”, “Why don’t you have pictures of naked women?”, and my personal favorite, “You don’t have what I’m looking for. I hate you.” You cannot easily control these, but for the most part, WordPress and most blogging and CMS tools tend to spot these using sophisticated filtering and stop them or hold them for moderation, especially if it the comment spam includes swear words.
- Link Needers
- The web is built on links. Search engines increase page ranking dependent upon who you link to but mostly who links to you. People try all kinds of tricks to get their website to the top of the search engine rankings, and link needers are coming after you. By posting a link to their site on your site’s comments, they have bypassed the traditional kind request for a link to their site and forced one upon you. Sometimes they are tricky and try to make the comment match the content, but you can usually tell the difference.
- Comment Spam Robots
- Comment spam robots are the worst of the comment spam criminals. These are software robots that crawl around the Internet looking for open comments. When they find them, they hook in and start leaving comments all over your site about whatever they are dishing out, usually drugs, medicines, male enhancements, vitamins, gambling, and porn. Their comment spam rarely arrives alone but hits multiple posts throughout your site with the same comment, or a slight variation on a theme. WordPress and other blogging and CMS developers work hard to fight comment spam robots off, protecting their users. It gets harder and harder as people keep designing smarter detection avoiding programs, but the developers usually keep a step ahead of these criminal time wasters.
- Sneaky Comment Spammers
- The sneaky comment spammers are the ones you really have to look for. They require more work to determine if they are legitimate. These are the nice comment spammers. They say things like:
- “I really like your site, keep up the good work.”
- “This is a beautiful site.”
- “It looks like you worked hard to create this site. Good work.”
- “I like what you have to say. I’m going to tell my friends.”
- “This is really good information. I’m going to mark it as a favorite.”
When these first started showing up, I preened. I even pointed them out to my husband with pride. Then I learned that these were NOT legitimate but creepy comment spam robots that were lying and creating links to their sites. Some investigation found that some of these links were indeed hooking up with pharmacy and gambling sites. DAMN! These are the sneaky comment spammers! More and more comment spam prevention tools help to eliminate these, but if you get a lot of “nice comments” within a day or two across many posts – you’ve been hit by a sneaky comment spammer.
Stay tuned for A Day in the Life of a Paranoid Website Administrator, where I talk about what it’s like being not only a paranoid website administrator, but a comment watcher. We’ll also talk about what you can do to tackle and fight back against comment spam.