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Several comments to my last post, “Comment Luv – Linky Love – NoNoFollow” inspired me to dig deeper into the subject of blog spam (also referred to as comment spam). I wanted to know why blogs get spammed, and what we can do to prevent it.

Today’s Lesson

Wikipedia, states spammers are on a mission to elevate their websites in the search engine rankings. By linking to blogs they obtain more links pointing to their sites. Apparently this method is working. Spammers are gaining sales/income via clicks from visitors. Spammers hit the “jackpot” with the creation of blogs.

According to Wikipedia,

In 2003, spammers began to take advantage of the open nature of comments in the blogging software like Movable Type by repeatedly placing comments to various blog posts that provided nothing more than a link to the spammer’s commercial web site

Several of the solutions listed by Wikipedia to block comment spam, include

1) Keyword blocking – blocking words such as viagra (spammers know of this practice and will intentionally misspell words)
2) Using the “rel=”nofollow” code. Wikipedia states the argument against this is:

Some weblog authors object to the use of rel=”nofollow”, arguing, for example, that

* Link spammers will continue to spam everyone to reach the sites that do not use rel=”nofollow”
* Link spammers will continue to place links for clicking (by surfers), even if those links are ignored by search engines.
* Google is advocating the use of rel=”nofollow” in order to reduce the effect of heavy inter-blog linking on page ranking.
* Google is advocating the use of rel=”nofollow” only to minimize its own filtering efforts, and to deflect that this actually had better been called rel=”nopagerank”.
* Nofollow may reduce the value of legitimate comments

3) Validation, or the use of a potential commenter to provide an “answer’, such as “is fire hot or cold”, “2+2” or to retype a series of numbers and letters (CAPTCHA)
4) Disallowing links in post comments
5) Using a spam blocker such as Akismet
6) Turning comments off.

Short of turning comments off, it appears blog spam (comment spam) is here to stay.

Today’s Assignment

How do you deal with blog spam?

Do you use a spam blocker or hand moderate each comment?

Do you have any other ideas of how spam can be eliminated?

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  1. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – It sounds like the spammers do benefit if we don’t do something about it then.

    I had my spam filter set so that anything with more than one link went in the spam folder. So anything more than the commentluv link goes in there.

    And if a regular commenter put in a link I would fish it out of the spam folder. But, moderating spam and deleting it is taking up way too much of my time now, so I’ve installed Askimet.

    Also, I’m going to stop fishing comments with links out of the spam folder. There’s rarely a geniune need for people to put links in their comments. Often they do it to say they wrote a similar post – but if we all started doing that, it would just be another form of spam itself.

    I will let you know how Askimet works out for me.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Piggyback Marketing With A Zero Budget

  2. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    You will love Akismet. I’ve used it since day one, and so far on this blog alone, it has caught over 3200 spam comments. I cannot imagine how much time I would have wasted if I had to moderate all of those manually.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Spammers Hit The Jackpot

  3. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    I wonder about this. Is it WordPress blogs that are attacked? I’ve had one on the Blogger account I use and I’ve not done anything to block spam.

    I did have word verification set-up but disabled it a few weeks ago. Since then I’ve had just one I’ve had to delete.

    I have spam filtering set-up on the company WordPress blog, I’m not sure what it is though – presumably the one you describe. And that seems to do the trick – I must admit I’ve not checked it that regularly though!

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Blog Authors – How To Get More Comments Per Visitor

  4. I use Akismet. I don’t like the name, but it certainly does a good job. I still check my spam queue just in case, and I think I’ve only had two comments mistakenly flagged as spam.

    Regarding what Catherine said about links in the post, I agree, it’s rarely necessary. If I want to draw attention to a similar post I wrote, then I’ll point the website field (in the comment form) directly to that post instead of my home page. I think I might have even pointed the website field to someone else’s blog before.

    I recently got a comment that was marked as spam, and I almost deleted it. When I took a closer look at it though, it was a legitimate comment. It’s just that English wasn’t his first language, so it sounded a bit spammy. Also, he put a link in the post, even though he left the website field blank. It was a good link, so I just moved it to the website field.

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..Learn More, Study Less: Expand Your Mind With Holistic Learning

  5. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ian,

    I don’t think it’s just WordPress, as according to Wikipedia, those using Movable Type also encounter the problem.

    Most Blogger accounts use the word verification. It will be interesting to see what happens now that you disabled it.

    Hi Hunter,

    Like you, I spot check my spam folder, but may miss some comments that end up in there by accident.

    I have my contact form in place in case someone has a problem with their comment not showing up…and I know you had to use that when, for some reason, you had a couple of comments end up in my spam folder.

    On this blog, I don’t mind if someone puts links in their comment, as I ask for nominations for the NBOTW, and some new bloggers may not know how to fill in the comment form, so they put a link to their site in the comment.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Spammers Hit The Jackpot

  6. NezNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Deleting/ignoring spam seems to simply be a part of doing everyday “business”, akin to picking off lint from our dark clothing, or brushing teeth. No one likes to do it, but it’s gotta be done.

    Over on Problogger, though, there’s a March 8 post on OpenID and blogging, which sounds interesting. Check it out if you haven’t seen it.

    @Catherine – Good for you — Askimet should work out pretty well.

    Nez’s last blog post..The Need to Belong

  7. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    HI Nez,

    I agree, spam is here to stay.

    I’m headed over to Problogger to check out the post. Thanks for sharing.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Spammers Hit The Jackpot

  8. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    @ Barbara and Nez – got it installed this morning and no spam all day. It rocks.

    @ Hunter – I’m LMAO reading about you pointing the comment at someone elses website. That is the sort of thing I would do. Sometimes, I’ve actually diverted my business phone to a complete stranger instead of my own mobile.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..8 Random Things About Me – I’m Into Plastic In Bed

  9. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Well – it’s definitely worked. Over 100 spam comments caught since yesterday. It even put a comment from Nez in the spam box because he’d posted me a link to get the API code!

    CatherineL’s last blog post..8 Random Things About Me – I’m Into Plastic In Bed

  10. Spamming is such a waste of time. I use Akismet and I haven’t had 1 spam comment get through. When I first started my blog I didnt use anything because I didnt know or even think my blog would be hit, or read, but decided to turn it on and now I’m getting spam, but nothing get through.

    How do you deal with blog spam? Use Akismet

    Do you use a spam blocker or hand moderate each comment? Spam Blocker

    Do you have any other ideas of how spam can be eliminated? No, sorry.

    Natural Woman’s last blog post..Money Monday Tip #17

  11. JodithNo Gravatar says:

    I both use a spam blocker (Akismet) and hand moderation. On my blog, your first comment must be moderated. After than, it does not. That was a wordpress setting that I particularly liked.

    With Akismet, I get maybe one comment spam a week that gets through to the moderation level, and it gets killed there. Repeat commenters don’t have to go through moderation.

    Jodith’s last blog post..Gadget Love: Keboard Organizer

  12. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    Isn’t that unbelievable? Over 100 in one day….Just think of how much time you saved by installing Akismet.

    Hi Natural Woman,

    You would think spammers have better things to do, however, it must be working for them, as they keep at it.

    Aren’t you glad you don’t have to moderate those spam comments?

    You have a 4.0 🙂

    Hi Jodith,

    I like that about WordPress too. It makes it easy to work with.

    Barbara’s last blog post..NBOTW Author Exercises By Lifting Cows