Is It Spam? How to Check

Have you been keeping up?  I hope so…

A couple of days ago I allowed a Comment to be visible on the blog page ‘So You Want to Set Up a Blog’, which I had my doubts about.  Why?  He (or she) listed a long list of their site’s categories as their link for their comments, instead of a website URL (www. etc), which is not what you are supposed to do.  It’s still visible as a comment, with my reply, on that post.

 But naturintrepid female sherlock investigating spamally, before deciding if I should publish this comment 2 days ago, I donned my Sherlock Holmes hat and went investigating.

1. I visited their site and took a look around.  It’s an article-publishing hub.  That is a website where writers, bloggers, or anyone else, can publish articles that they have written. Usually this is done by website or blog owners, who are trying to increase traffic to their own website.

2.  How does that work?  When you publish your article there, you dazzle readers with your incredible knowledge, wit and skill (of course) about whatever subject you choose to write about.

3. These mesmerized readers will then want to know much more about you – right? So off they toddle in search of more of your highly desirable information – by clicking on the link to your site that you have helpfully given them there.  Then (you hope), you get lots of lovely new traffic, and wait for the cash to roll in.  Easy!
So the website looked ok, but I still wasn’t sure. Why?  Because they had used a bit of a trick in their Comment link. So….

Looking Up an IP Address on the Whois database

1.  I looked up their IP number (the identifying number of a website or blog) of this article posting hub, in the Whois database – there are many Whois websites that provide search links to this service.  I already knew their IP address because WordPress websites provide this information next to every comment that’s submitted.

2.  The Whois database information belonging to that IP address, looked ok too, so I decided to allow that comment to be seen at the foot of that post.

3.  But I was still unsure….so I posted a reply under their comment, which you can read by going to that blog post How to Set Up a Blog or Website.  Basically I asked him (or her) to please follow the accepted protocol for linking comments, and added that if I got evidence of spam from his site (it’s got to be a ‘he’ hasn’t it?) I would delete his comment and block his site’s access from being able to comment on my blog.

I thought that by doing that, I would cover all options, and also let you, my readers, see an example of what not to do when posting Comments. I could have then sat back and waited to see what, if anything happened, but….I started to think – always a good idea.

I decided that I needed to install an anti- spam plugin to protect my blog’s Comments from spammers. I haven’t had any spam on this site, but my Trainer-Wheels website Addiction Rehab Now had received a few in the last 2 days.

Intrepid female sherlock investigating spamSo… I donned my Sherlock Holmes hat, again – I must have taken it off while struggling to decide what to do – and went in search of a Comment Anti-spam plugin.

        Anti Comment Spam Plugins

1.  First I did a general ‘Anti Comment Spam plugin’ search.  There I spotted a few possible plugins, and also a ‘Review of The Best 5 Anti Comment Spam plugins’.  This Review was really useful and convincing.  Why?

2.  The review was written by an experienced blogger who had personally tried all of the plugins he was reviewing.

4. He gave details of how each one worked, and his experience with using it.

5. There were lots of comments by others who had used the different plugins who also gave their opinions.

So I tried to install the plugin that he rated most highly…..and it no longer existed.  Oops – he should have known this.  His credibility was not looking so good.  But…this small setback was in fact….can you guess?…..an Opportunity! Yes.

I added a comment on his blog page, with all it’s many readers, and informed him (and others) that this plugin no longer existed. And I added a link to this blog, My Second Million, as you are usually allowed to do.

Why is this an Opportunity?

I’ve given a large readership (his), valuable and useful information, and with any luck some of his readers will be so impressed with my value as a blogger 🙂 that they will follow my link, and arrive here at my blog to check me out.   Even if they aren’t impressed, and need to check me out to see if I’m an idiot or not, they will still come to my website where they will see that I am not an idiot – hopefully.

I decided to install his other big recommendation: ‘Spam Free WordPress’ and it’s working well.

Update: Sadly, this Spam Free WordPress Plugin has now also hit the dust, and is no longer available. But….never fear trusty readers!  You can get Akismet for free – yes free! You do not have to pay in order to get the Akismet API Key – see how to do that here: How to Get Akismet for Free.

          What Type of Anti Spam Software Should You Choose?

Anti Spam software is designed to block the automated (non-human) spam bots from spamming your Comments. They do this by reasoning that because spamming software will not be able to copy/paste a line of code when spamming my Comments, no non-human spammers will get through. Apparently this is true according to people who know about these technologies.  But humans can copy/paste a line or code.  So how to block human spammers?  Hmm…difficult, but one way is to increase the difficulty of posting Comments so that only genuine Commenters will be bothered to take the extra step.

Various Captcha plugins are popular. Those are the one where you have to decipher a difficult to see set of numbers or letters and enter them correctly before you can post.  Personally, I find these a pain in the neck, and often have to retry several times before I get it right. What? Doesn’t everyone?  And I wouldn’t want my lovely readers to get cross with me when posting comments, so I chose a relatively simple to complete Captcha plugin called SI CAPTCHA anti-spam plugin.  When combined with Akismet, hundreds of human spam Comments get blocked.  However, I still get some spam comments, but that is probably a fact of a blogger’s life these days, unfortunately.

There is another method where you have to supply the answer to a question such as “What is 2 +2?”  Now I accept that I’ve always been hopeless at math, but really!  I feel insulted…. and by a machine! – I wasn’t going to put my readers through that sort of trauma, thank you very much.

Of course none of these plugins will block an individual poster who still wants to spam my site by publishing rubbish Comments, with random meaningless messages, or the advantages of certain personal enhancement products.

That’s why I have checked the box in my WordPress Settings for ‘Discussions’, which is found on all WordPress Dashboards, which withholds all Comments made, and they have to be moderated by me, before I decide to ‘allow’ and publish them, or not

The latest development

Today I got a Comment from someone who runs a so-called adult website, complaining that ever since they made a comment and ticked the ‘Notify Me check box’, they’ve been receiving lots of email notifications for all the comments posted on my site.

What?  I checked, and I have no record of a comment being made from this website. And even if I had, I would have deleted and blocked them from access to my site because of the type of website they are.

However, there is no reason to assume that just because they run a site with questionable content, they aren’t also interested in learning how to set up a blog.

But more to the point, I had to check out their claim that they really were getting many email notifications coming from my site – if they were really getting them, maybe my other readers are getting them too.  Or is this person’s comment itself, spam?

I looked up their IP address at Whois and it seemed ok, but was part of a big American so called, adult hub. Hmm, is this person a spammer?

However, the only recent comment posted to this blog post was the questionable article-publishing hub I referred to above. Which made me wonder about that Comment again too.

What Have I Done About All This?

I’m still withholding today’s comment about many Notifications from this site, so they can’t put their link to adult content on my site.

I replied to this person in a reply box under my ‘So You Want to Set up a Blog’ article to answer their comment where they can see it.

I will wait one day for them to send me a reply via a Comment, which I will see, but will not be seen on the site unless I approve it.

Then I will block this person’s IP address from uploading Comments on my site.  That should block any fictitious email notifications, if they are really receiving them, but also prevent them posting more comments on my site themselves – I can’t really do one, without the other.

The problem that I need to sort out is to know if they really are getting many fictitious email notifications from my site, and why this might be happening.

So depending on what this person says in reply to my comment, if it looks like that first questionable comment, which I allowed, might be the cause of this problem, I will delete and block that other article-publishing hub.  If there really is a problem, and that article-hub site is the cause of that problem, blocking them should also block any spam Comments they might be sending to others via my own site.

So, friends, is anyone else getting these so-called Comment Notifications?  If so, please let me know.

This report is brought to you by your intrepid investigator, delving into the depths of Spammer’s World, where others fear to go….

Note to self: maybe they just know more than I do?….time will tell.

…..Cue my alternative Motto!

 I make the stupid mistakes so you don’t have to!

That’s what this blog does…Watch this space.

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Comments

Is It Spam? How to Check — 4 Comments

  1. Excellent site. Lots of helpful information here. I’m sending it to a few pals ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you to your effort!

    • Thank, funny jokes, glad you find it useful. And thanks for introducing me to Squidoo!

      I’ve already posted over there and have already learned a lot about getting your blog seen by others using websites like Squidoo. Once I’ve gained some experience over at Squidoo, I’ll tell my readers here, all about it, and how to use it to keep those millions rolling in. I do the hard work so you don’t have to!

      Carol

    • Hi Marnie! Sorry I’m a bit late in publishing your comment – no excuses, but..:)…your comment was buried 80 deep in my inbox – I’ve been very busy sprinkling articles and comments all over the internet like a serial pest….and then you get replies which all have to be answered. It’s called marketing, but it takes all of your day. Glad you like the article! More posts today, with any luck.

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