I got a notice to my inbox the other day saying I had gotten a comment on one of my blog posts. The comment read, “Nice Blog, thanks for sharing this kind of information.”
Wow, how nice, I thought for someone to take the time to compliment me. I’ve been working really hard on my site and it’s nice that it’s getting noticed.
Then I realized, hmmm, wait a second, that’s a pretty generic comment. They just called my site a “blog” and they didn’t say anything about tutorials or WordPress, or anything specific to the post. Then I realized I had been caught – this is comment spam.
I work with customers all the time warning them about spam and how to avoid it and even I let the flattery almost get the best of me. I was just about to click the “approve” link when I realized, darn, that compliment isn’t genuine. It’s an easy trap to fall into. We all work hard on the content we provide, and who doesn’t like to get a compliment now and then? But DO NOT APPROVE generic comments. Once the spammer gets one small, unobtrusive comment approved, that leaves the door open to bombard your site with serious spam. Many WordPress sites are set to automatically approve comments by authors who already have one comment approved. And a little spam attracts a lot more spam.
According to KISSmetrics, here are some main ways to tell if that comment in your inbox is spam or not:
- Would I want my blog readers to click on the comment author’s link? If the answer is no, don’t approve the comment. Or strip the link, although you might get a less than positive response from the comment author if they note you approved their comment but got rid of their link.
- Is the comment author using a real name or keywords? The use of keywords in the name field of a comment without the use of a real first and/or last name is almost always the sign of an SEO spammer.
- Is the comment specific or could apply to any post? I have actually copy and pasted comments I’ve received into Google search and found them being used, word for word, on dozens if not hundreds of other blogs.
- Has the same comment author been using several different email addresses or website addresses? If “Jane Smith” comments one day linking to a fishing site, the next to a clothing store, and the following to a pet supply company, they just might be an SEO spammer.
- Does the comment author use a legit email address? Chances are, you don’t have time to email all of your comment authors. But if you see someone commenting with the email address of email@example.com, then chances are, it’s not a legit email address. Personally, I like to know if the comment author is a real person – I don’t approve comments from people using obviously fake identities.
If you want to control most spam automatically, take a look at this post I did for MarkNet:
Have you been having problems with spam? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below. (Legitimate commentors only please!)