What Every Blogger Should Know About Spam

intrepid female sherlock investigating spamSpam protection and Anti Spam Comment plugins are always hot topics among bloggers and website owners. We know we need to look out for spam, and that we need to filter out spam.  In fact. we need an anti spam mindset, but who are these spammers? Why do they do it?  And what are their motives?  It doesn’t seem to make any sense to most people. In case you don’t understand why these spammers and spam bots are spending their time writing meaningless Comments on our blogs, I have good news!

I’ve just emerged from one of my Sherlock Holmes style, in-depth investigations, into all things spam – yes, again!  See my first post about spam: ‘Is It Spam & How Do I Check?’

How do I Know What is Spam & What is a Genuine Comment?

Every blogger wants to attract readers who are so impressed with our blog posts, that the reader takes the trouble to say so, by posting a nice Comment.  But! Some Commenters are not the happy little Vegemites we think they are!  They flatter us with meaningless, takes-no-time-to-write comments such as ‘I love your blog!’ or ‘Nice post’ etc – but they are probably Evil Spammers masquerading as our fans, for their own personal financial advantage!

Website Comment Spam is Not the Same As Email Spam

Email Spammers are people (or automated machines called Spam-bots – a form of spam software) who try to fill our Email Account Inbox with lots of email ads for little blue pills.  They are trying to grab our attention – and our cash.  They are selling or promoting something, or a website, and they want you to open the email and click on a link to their product or website.  We know that is their motive, because email spam is easily spotted, and most people can recognize these spam emails for what they are.

Comment Spammers are the opposite. They do not want to get our attention at all.  In fact, they are trying to sneak their website link into our blog’s Comments, disguised as a Comment from a genuine reader. They know we won’t authorize a Spam comment, so their objective is to make us think they are not spammers.   They post really short and meaningless Comments such as ‘Love your blog!’ or ‘Nice Post’ that take no time to write, and they don’t even have to read your post before they comment.

They want us to think that they really do ‘love your website’, so we will authorize their Comment for publication (including their live link to their site, which is embeded in their name or post title) and it would then be live and visible to the readers of our blog.

Why are they doing this? If we understand their motives, objectives, and tactics, we are more likely to spot a Comment spammer when they try their devious tactics to gain a sneaky online presence on our blog.

Why Do People & Spam-bots Try to Spam Our Comments?

Their ‘marketing model’ is to get their live link uploaded, and visible on our blog via a Comment.  But these spammers are not legitimate blog owners who are just trying to promote their blog by writing brilliant comments that are useful, or interesting, or helpful – see ‘How To Write Brilliant Comments & Increase Traffic’.

The Spammer’s aim is

  1. Get their link embedded in our blog.
  2. Sell that link to anyone prepared to pay a few cents in order to use that link (that’s now embedded and live in our Comments), to sell or promote their own products, and poach our readers and turn them into their own customers.
  3. The first guy wants to sell that link to someone else, and make a profit, and the buyer will use that link, to link to their own products and get free advertising on the back of our blog’s traffic (readers).
  4. If you run a blog with lots of traffic, that could mean a lot of free advertising for the buyer of that link.  And after you did all the hard work!

Comment Spammers Are Not Always Non-Human Spam-bots

These days there’s a growing industry that’s exploiting low income people by enticing them to sit in an Internet café or library, or at work, and send out these spam comments for tiny commissions.  These human spammers are harder to detect, and block from commenting, than the automated spam bot machines.

Do I Need An Anti Spam Comment Plugin?

Yes! No question. Even though humans can be posting spam comments these days, an effective anti spam filtering plugin, will at least block the automated spam bots from being able to pollute your Post’s comments with self promoting spam.  See Is it Spam & How Do I Check? If you use the Spam Free WordPress plugin by Josh Lahman like I do, the non human spam comments will never even be seen by you.  They are blocked at the front door, and they can’t even get in.

How Do I Block the Human Spammers?

In your WordPress Dashboard, go to Settings and then Discussions:

  • Uncheck: Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)
  • Do Check: Comment author must fill out name and email
  • Do Check: Email me whenever anyone posts a comment
  • Do Check: Email me whenever a comment is held for moderation
  • Do Check: before a Comment appears, an Administrator must always approve a comment

This will not prevent a human spammer from actually posting a spam comment in your Comments box at the end of your blog post, because a human will be able to jump over the simple anti-spam hurdle that your Plugin filter adds to your Comment form (see the example of my Comment box at the end of this article).

But, with the above settings, every human comment that gets past your anti spam plugin, is held by your WordPress dashboard. so you can review and decide if this is a spam Comment or not – before you allow it to be visible to your readers, and the world. It’s your second line of anti spam defense.

With these settings as above, and an understanding of the motives and tactics that human spammers use, we can review and assess each comment very quickly – because now we understand what the evil spammers are up to! And they shall not pass!

It should take only a couple of minutes to assess each individual Comment, and if we think it’s spam, we can assign it to our WordPress spam folder where it belongs.  You can delete it if you are sure it’s spam, and if you think you won’t need to check this particular spammer’s IP address against the IP address of any future comments that you think might be spam.   I personally keep mine in my Spam Folder for future reference…you have been warned! Smile

       ……Cue Motto!

Plan Well Start Small Think BIG!

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What Every Blogger Should Know About Spam — 6 Comments

  1. This article will assist the internet viewers for setting up new blog or
    even a blog from start to end.

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  4. Thanks for the article, it corresponds with what I’ve pieced together on my own. I had a tough time figuring out which comments were spam. What I would do is just copy the text and Google it. I would find these rather “organic”, genuine-sounding comments, with not a single letter changed, on other websites! I mean, that settles it, right? Then I could spam-trash it with impunity.

    • Hi Miguel, I think it gets easier as we spend more time reading Comments posted on our blogs. And also how new our blogs are – I remember how I used to Approve almost every Comment when I first started, because each Comment was a big deal and I fell for the ‘nice blog’ types of Comments.

      These days, if the Comment does not relate directly to my article in some way, but could apply to any Article anywhere, I consider it to be spam.

      Why anyone would waste their time posting meaningless Spam Comments is still a mystery to me, but they still do it, so I delete them if my Spam plugins haven’t already sent them to my WP Spam Folder.

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