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New Comment Spammer on the Loose – Pay Attention

Comment spammers are on the loose again, coming up with more inventive ways to distract us from their spamming comments, while they think they are increasing their page rank in search engines by forcing you to link to their websites with their comment spam links.

I need to make this really clear, to you and all comment spammers. If you are targeting WordPress blogs, your tricks will not work. Even if the comment spam gets through, it still won’t work.

WordPress uses the NOFOLLOW tag in all links found in comments. A link would automatically look like this:

<a href="http://blah.com/sellingsomething.html" rel="nofollow">casino gambling</a>

Instantly, the link has no meaning. Search engines won’t follow it, in fact, they don’t pay attention to it because they’ve been instructed to ignore it. Comment spamming in WordPress doesn’t work. So stop it.

Comment spammers aren’t listening, but you are. So pay close attention.

Beating New Comment Spam

WordPress has a variety of tools to stop comment spam in its tracks, and I’ve talked about these a lot (see links below). Still, part of the job of maintaining a blog and website is to monitor your comments for those criminal comment spams that manage to slip through.

Lately, comment spammers have turned to storytelling and comments that sound like they may apply. I’ve seen comments like these:

  • I really like your blog. I’ve bookmarked it as a favorite.
  • This is really helpful information. Thank you for sharing it.
  • This really helped me with my problem on my computer. Thank you.
  • Your advice solved my problem.
  • Sally told me that Fred might know more about casino gambling, but he didn’t so I thought I’d check your site.

Now, a new group of comment spam has come in that, again, sounds “right” but isn’t.

  • Hi, is there a way to receive your blog feed in my daily email? Sarah in Raleigh.
  • Do you provide a blog feed subscription for this blog so I can get it via email?
  • Hi. Images are not loading.
  • Hi, super blog. I am trying to start my own blog on avian business continuity flu.What type of software do you use? Is there a ton of maintenance that goes along with it?. Thanks again, ISSAC
  • Hello, very cool posts here. I am trying to start my own blog on hard disk data recovery.How long has your blog been up? Do you have to make many changes to it ongoing?. A New Starter, OSVALDO
  • Tell, and here at you always so?
  • Your site is the best. I love your humour, layout, design and everything!
  • You have an excellent site easy on the eye and very easy to navigate, keep up the good work. Best Wishes.
  • Thank you for being generous with your resources… I hope that you will receive more than you need for your time and
    energy. Keep at work!
  • Excellent point of view. I wish there were more comments like this. I must say this is one of the betters sites I have come across –Regard, Nick
  • This is perfect template blog. I am have a built a url and need to theme it based on business continuity industry plan theater. Are blogs hard to install? If I want to add one to my site is it free?. Much appreciated, WHITNEY
  • Hi, nice blog how long has it been up? I never installed blog software and need to for my theme on disaster recovery storage cost.Can I add a link on my website that goes to sub page that has my blog installed on it? Then this link will be on web page navi panel?. Thanks for your time, MATTHEW
  • Hello, I am creating a website based on data processing services disaster recovery.Can you tell me where to get the blog software you have? Is is a ton of money?. Just starting out, JULES
  • Hi! And what became with others?
  • Wow, cool site.. I am creating a website based on backup tape.Should I add a blog too or just keep my website? Do you have both?. Thanks for response, SAMUEL
  • Great site! I do agree with the majority of these statements too :0) I have been visiting tons of blogs to get some ideas for myself. Again great job, Mick
  • hi! I am Theresa, from Spain, and for my school I am doing a research on blogging on the internet. May I show this to my teacher and class on thursday? Thanks, Theresa, 16 years, Barcelona.
  • This is perfect template blog. I am have a built a url and need to theme it based on tape backup media. I tried install a blog and it went bad. Do you have any tips on installing?. A New Starter, DEVON
  • Nice work, your blog is excellent. I was searching the internet for some info about learning management systems and I somehow ended up on your blog. Although your site is not exactly related to my search, I am certainly glad I stopped by. Oh well, back to surfing and I am sure I will find what I am looking for, and should you ever need information in this area, then stop by for a look. Thanks for the post.
  • Hi, my name is Molly and I wanted to say thank you! Your article here helped me in my homework and wanted you to know it. I was searching for info about royalty free stock photography and I somehow ended up on your blog. Tomorrow my teacher is going to get a very good homework done! I wish we can keep in touch, thank you again.
  • Hi, I think you are totally right. Great! – :) Susan.

These are from the comment spam caught by Spam Karma on my main site, though similar ones have slipped through Akismet’s comment spam fighting skills with this WordPress.com blog.

They sound official. They sound right. They sound legit. I really love the 16 year old from Barcelona. Makes me feel so proud until I see 17 duplicates from the little 16 year old student covering 17 different posts all offering porn, computers, rentals, and time waster links. They are scum-sucking comment spammers.

Here is the method to verify if your comments are scum-sucking comment spammers or legitimate fans.

  1. Read the Comment: It may sound odd, but really read it. Is it proper English? Grammatically near to correct? What is it really saying? If they write the comment in upper and lower case letters, and the signature in upper case letters, it’s comment spam. Delete it. Does the comment match the content of the post? I’ve found comments about databases, backup tapes, host servers, and computer related topics on a joke I posted about the airline travel industry – totally unrelated comments to the post content. No match? Delete.
  2. Is the Comment Duplicated? If you see the same comment, as friendly as it seems, on more than one post, then it’s comment spam. Delete it. Comment spammers are getting smarter, so it may be almost the same, with a word or two changed, but definitely close enough to the same comment. Delete it.
  3. Is One Post Hit Many Times with Comments? Some comment spam bots will post many different but similar comments only on one post. They will hammer that post hoping something will get through. Delete them all.
  4. Does the Contact Information Match? In the WordPress Manage > Comments panel, check the comment against the email and website information. The comment may say “I like what you’ve done here” but the email and website will be apartments-for-rent.com, which just looks like comment spam websites. Still, compare the information to see if it looks legit. Even if the email address looks legit, and the website might look odd, if they don’t match or are suspicious, delete it.
  5. Visit the Website: When in doubt, check it out. Visit the linked website and if it ain’t porn or casino gambling or mortgage companies, then maybe its legit. You can usually tell really quick if the linked site is from a legitimate blogger or some spam outfit.
  6. Lookup the IP for Reported Abuse: You can always look up the IP address of the link to check if it has been reported for abuse and marked as a spammer. IP look up services can be found in my post on Domain Lookup Links.
  7. When in Doubt, Delete: Honestly, while comments are great fun, if you are in doubt, delete the comment. I’d rather run the risk of losing a nice comment than hosting a link that might invite someone to click and visit a comment spammer’s site. If it looks suspicious, then delete it. If someone comes back and says “Hey, where is my comment”, then apologize and explain that in this day and age, it is better to be careful than sorry later. And ask them to be more specific when posting a comment to let you, and the comment spammer catching tools, know that this isn’t comment spam.

Which brings me to my next point. Are you still paying attention?

Avoiding Capture by the Comment Spam Police

If you comment on a blog, make your comment look like a comment and not comment spam. Don’t just say “thanks, this helped”. Say something more specific.

Lorelle, thank you for the help with putting Technorati and site search tags on my WordPress.com blog. This really helped.

Now, that is a legitimate comment. I know you are talking to me. I know that you have read the post and you are talking about the post’s content. While some comment spammers have been grabbing content from posts and slapping it in their comment spams, you can tell the difference between your content and a legitimate comment.

But remember, if you are commenting to attract incoming links to your blog, forget it. The NOFOLLOW tag may still be in use and the only way you will get credit for such comment links is from people who physically click the link to check you out. So write a great comment and people will probably check you out just to see how brilliant you are.

More Information and Resources on Comment Spam

Here are more articles, information, and resources on comment spam to help you understand what it is, how it works, and how to catch or avoid comment spammers.


Site Search Tags: , , , , ,
Copyright Lorelle VanFossen

13 Comments

  1. Posted February 14, 2006 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Thanks lorelle, im now going to look for a spam catcher my site gets spam comments every wekk. Grrr. Can you come check out my site and see what you think.

  2. Posted September 18, 2006 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle, I am new to blogging. I wanted to use my new blog to discuss my how overwhelming it has been trying to get my online businesses traffic on the web without much money. I also wanted to log what my current google pr= for each of those sites, also keeping a daily blog/log of site optimizations, links to each site, and google pr at the end of each day. Would that be considered spam to your knowledge? Thanks.

  3. Posted September 18, 2006 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    If you are posting that information on other people’s blogs, then it is comment spam. If your blog has no original content and is nothing but an advertising collection of useless information, then it’s a spam blog or splog.

    If you want to write about your PR status and efforts, then write about it. Realize that for most people, that’s useless information. It’s “your” information and unless it can be presented in a way that helps others learn, it doesn’t help anyone else.

    If you are an expert in search engines, page rank, seo, and the business of blogging, then you have something to say and share with others. If you are, then you are familiar with your competition in the subject and know you have do better and more than they do with all their expertise.

    If not, then blog about your own personal passion, not current fascination. Reach down to your toes and find what it is you are passionate about, what you are an expert of, and what you know better than anyone else, and blog about that.

    Make your audience’s needs more important than your own and you will attract an audience without any SEO gimmicks.

  4. Posted August 4, 2007 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    thanks, i started a blog about 6months ago (not wordpress i am afraid) and it got SOOOOOOO much spam. it was kinda funny at first reading the ‘almost’ english posts, but then it got silly!

    I shut the blog down in the end… but i have been thinking of starting again – maybe using wordpress… maybe a plugin adding “this blog uses the nofollow tag, links are not followed by google” to the “post a comment” link would be a good idea?

  5. Posted September 12, 2007 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    Usually, if you disable rich text format, spam comment would not like you any more.

    And, another advice is:Do not use widely used blog/article systems, because spam love them.

  6. Posted September 12, 2007 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Not true, on both accounts. The blogging program you use, and the way you write your blog posts, has nothing to do with comment spam. Zip. Zero. Zed.

    Comment spam follows links. The more incoming links you have to your blog, the more comment spam.

    Luckily, those who can use Akismet, Bad Behavior, and Spam Karma, like WordPress and other popular blogging and forum programs, have less comment spam published on their blogs because the comment spam is caught. Those without such features – I feel sorry for them.

    There are a lot of myths going around about comment spam. Don’t fall for them or spread them. Find out the facts.

  7. Posted October 28, 2007 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    I always end here when searching blog related tips!
    These are must-advices for any blogger who wants to build a good longterm reputation.

    This time I encountered a fairly popular, bold and arrogant blogger who didn’t have any consideration about ethics nor comment spam. He seems to neither have any regards about CC licenses nor considers his comments as spam(ex: Read all about… at blog http://…)
    Listening to him gives the impression that he ignores blogging ethics but maybe he’s only pretending…

    Anyway being able to mention your posts shows him that his attitude is a real problem, -not to be taken lightly- and that many think so too. :)

    These ‘thank’ spam comments are spam but on SEO blogs they advise it! BTW, they often give horrible advice.
    I’d be very interessted if you could write about that.(SEO advice/blogging ethics?)

  8. Posted October 28, 2007 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    @3spots:

    I do write about SEO, but honestly, it’s an old subject. Just write your passion and use words people will search for your blog subject, and WordPress, and forget stats and all the rest of the fuss, including the twits that give you grief.

    But if you are following the sheep still obsessed with SEO, see Do-It-Yourself Search Engine Optimization Guide.

    And thanks for your kind words. I’m always glad to help.

  9. Carl
    Posted November 3, 2007 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Ha! I’ve seen a few of these spams as well.

    I recently started using the “Did you pass math” plugin and that has significantly cut down on my spam. Though I am a bit concerned that some people might not realize they need to do the math first, but I figure if they can’t figure it out then I probably wouldn’t want them commenting anyway!

  10. Posted November 3, 2007 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    @Carl:

    The math tests, and other comment torture tests, do not work. They may appear to work, but they stop many from commenting as they hate it, and spammers know how to break through these.

    Why bother.

    This article was written almost two years ago. Since then, Akismet has come out and improved things greatly, using a community effort to fight comment spam. It’s much better and works in the background so you don’t have to insult the intelligence of your readers.

  11. noblevine
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,
    Thanks for you info on evil spammers. I have a question. I am sort of newish to blogging, am getting good traffic so far, but my blog has a Christian theme and so there are those who hate it because of that.

    The question is what can I do if someone from a porno site has an imcoming link on my blog? How can I get rid of it? And what does it mean?

    Thanks!

  12. Posted August 26, 2008 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    @ noblevine:

    Your religion has nothing to do with the issue of porn sites linking to it. They do that to everyone. Don’t feel special. :D

    If they link to your blog, there is nothing you can do about it. If they rip off your content and use it on their sites, make sure your copyright says that they can’t (be specific) and advise them to remove your content as it violates your copyright.

    If they send a trackback, delete it. Porn comment spam is to be treated no differently than any comment spam. Mark it as comment spam with Akismet or whatever you are using to filter out comment spam, and be done with it.

    I get many every day and that’s how I deal with it. It’s the way everyone deals with it. Good luck and sorry we have to deal with these types of uglies.

  13. Mia
    Posted August 28, 2009 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    Thank you for wonderful list of spam messages that i can use-Lorelle you are the greatest!


9 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Lorelle has a hugely informative post about new tricks in comment spam swine are using, and how to defeat them. Check it out. [...]

  2. [...] In a great article Lorelle on WordPress » New Comment Spammer on the Loose – Pay Attention Lorelle strikes at comment spammers and gives some advice on how to fight these ever lasting creatures. She tells us the sad story of the new and inventive ways spammers use to sneak through spam filters, such as Aksimet and Spam Karma. One method is to steel content from the blog post and try to give the impression of giving a real comment to it. The method is usually easy to detect, as it results in very strange wording. Another new method is to impersonate some humble blogger seeking advice from this excellent blogger, and Lorelle gives examples of such spam creeping through. Here is one: hi! I am Theresa, from Spain, and for my school I am doing a research on blogging on the internet. May I show this to my teacher and class on thursday? Thanks, Theresa, 16 years, Barcelona. [...]

  3. [...] Just when you think the comment spammers can’t get any more inventive, they try to fool you using comment spam with Hebrew. [...]

  4. [...] By the way, that failed search for complaints did turn up a couple of interesting things. One is pretty much the original Aksimet-popularizing blog post. The other contains a long list of "social engineering" comments appearing to be real, an all-too-high fraction of which are quite familiar to me already. [...]

  5. [...] En el NetNewsWire encontré algunas cosas, algunas archivadas, sobre spam, como Lorelle on WordPress sobre el spam en los comentarios, y otro donde explica el fenómeno, como detectarlo y evitarlo, así como el spam de palabras clave y tags. [...]

  6. [...] remember Lorelle had articles about the new comment spammers and human versus human in spamming. Particularly, in the earlier post, she mentioned the “new [...]

  7. [...] please. Give me a break. It’s really cute to send this kind of nice spam message right after a massive comment spam attack. Do they really think we are that stupid as to allow this [...]

  8. [...] New Comment Spammer on the Loose – Pay Attention [...]

  9. […] New Comment Spammer on the Loose – Pay Attention […]

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