How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 1: Why do people spam my blog and why should I stop them?

07 Jun
How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 1: Why do people spam my blog and why should I stop them?

After writing about keeping people engaged with our blogs last week, I started thinking about those people we DON’T want to engage with – spammers. In the first part of this series I’ll talk about why people might spam comment on a blog and why we shouldn’t allow them to. I’ll move on to discuss how to identify a spam comment, and then how to deal with them.

What is a spam comment on a blog?

A spam comment is a comment that isn’t relevant to the blog post it’s commenting on and is placed simply to encourage people to click through to the website the spammer is promoting. At its “best”, this is used to promote a website, usually by a third party, but at worst, it could link to a dodgy site that could contain malware or viruses.

Why do people submit spam comments to blogs?

Like those spammers who send out emails to millions of people asking them for their bank account details, knowing that a very small proportion will fall for the trick, spammers (in person or using software) try to place their website URL on people’s blogs assuming that a) a certain proportion of blog owners will let these through, and b) a certain proportion of those blogs’ readers will click on the link and go through to the website they are promoting.

In addition, search engines such as Google reward a website having links on other, reputable websites, and this includes accepted comments on blog posts. This is why people like me recommend that you engage with other RELEVANT blogs to get your URL out there. However, this is not the same as spamming blogs just to get your URL mentioned on them.

There’s a sort of continuum here, going from well-meaning and unintentional to malevolent

  • Someone trying to get their own URL out there by commenting fairly randomly on other people’s blog posts. They have typically read the post and are an individual trying to apply advice but getting it a bit wrong (“I loved this piece on how to cook spaghetti. I write about car insurance, do follow me back”)
  • Someone trying to get their own URL out there by commenting on a rival’s blog post to try to attract their custom away (note: I’m big on cooperation and coopetition, not so keen on, “This post on plagiarism is great. We can write people’s essays for them at [URL]”)
  • Someone working on their client’s SEO who has promised them “x back-links on reputable websites” (This post is great I will subscribe to your blog [URL for real estate in Texas]”)
  • Someone doing the above but using software to blitz hundreds of websites with the same message
  • Someone trying to tempt readers into clicking on a link which will allow them to download malware / viruses into the reader’s computer

Why should I exclude spam comments from my blog posts?

At best, allowing spam comments on your blog posts just looks bad. If I see a blog post that has some legitimate comments and a lot of spammy stuff from companies that have nothing to do with the blog, I will think the blog owner doesn’t take much notice or their blog or curate it carefully.

At medium, you are helping companies to promote themselves and their clients by using your blog inappropriately, so encouraging not-ideal business practices. Yes, this will happen anyway, but why should we help them?

At worst, you could be exposing your blog readers to malevolent and dangerous websites: by allowing a comment to go live, you’re condoning its existence in the eyes of some of your readers, so they may feel safe to click on that URL and end up viewing a porn site or finding themselves with a virus problem.

What can I do to stop spam comments on my blog?

I’m going to write about this in detail another time (and I’ll make sure to link to it here). In summary:

Be vigilant.

This means …

  • Setting up alerts so you see and check each and every comment that is posted on your blog
  • Using blogging software with good spam filters
  • Moderating all or first-by-this-person comments personally
  • Checking for and suppressing spam comments

I hope you’ve enjoyed this introductory article. Do post any questions or comments below; your comments may affect the content of my next article!

Other relevant posts on this blog

Reciprocity and Social Media – how to negotiate social media kindly and politely

How to maintain a good online reputation – my hints and tips

10 reasons to start a blog – why you should do it now!

10 reasons NOT to write a blog – and why you should stop and think, at least!

Top 10 blogging sins – avoid these if you can!

Scheduling blog posts and keeping going – scheduling the posts and the writing of them

How do I keep people engaged with my blog? – comments and reciprocity


Posted by on June 7, 2017 in Blogging, Business


Tags: , , ,

30 responses to “How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 1: Why do people spam my blog and why should I stop them?

  1. Colline

    June 7, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    This is something that I check for. Before I used to visit the website but now, with more experience, I am able to spot spammers more easily.


    • Liz Dexter

      June 7, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      Yes, that’s something that comes with time, isn’t it. I have been collecting some examples from my own websites to use in my next post on how to spot a spam comment.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Colline

        June 7, 2017 at 12:28 pm

        I look forward to reading it.


  2. drewdog2060drewdog2060

    June 7, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    I find that the WordPress filter captures the overwhelming majority of spam comments. I work on the basis of physically approving a commenter (the first time they comment), then allowing subsequent comments (provided of course that they don’t begin to spam my site). Occasionally WordPress will spam a comment that is not junk, so I do check my spam folder from time to time to rescue such comments. Thanks for the post. Kevin


    • Liz Dexter

      June 7, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks for your comment, and yes, this is pretty well what I do (and find). To break up the article in more readable chunks, I’m going to be sharing some examples of real-life spam next, and talking about how to differentiate it from appropriate comments, and then talk about how to set up the spam filters and moderation, with worked examples from WordPress, as that’s what I use myself.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Stevie Turner

    June 7, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Reblogged this on Stevie Turner, Indie Author. and commented:
    Spam, spam, spam, wonderful spam. We all get it – now we know how to deal with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yecheilyah

    June 7, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Reblogged this on Pearls Before Swine and commented:
    Since I spoke about blog comments yesterday, it’s only appropriate that I reblog this article on Spam. Not all comments are good comments. Liz shows how to identify a Spam comment and what to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. doverwhitecliff

    June 7, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Reblogged this on Wild and Woolly Wordsmithing and commented:
    Excellent post! Must share!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jessica Bakkers

    June 8, 2017 at 2:14 am

    There’s nothing that turns me cold quite as much as someone saying, “Great post. Will you follow me?” I’m like…. er, no. Can you guess why?


    • Liz Dexter

      June 8, 2017 at 7:54 am

      Yes, an insidious kind of spam that is just about numbers from someone trying to get paid advertising on their site, I usually assume!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. jenanita01

    June 8, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Reblogged this on Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Don Massenzio

    June 8, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Here is a useful post from the Libro Editing blog on how to deal with spam comments on your blog

    Liked by 1 person

  9. John T. M. Herres

    June 8, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Reblogged this on Barbarian Writer and commented:
    Spam sucks, in more ways than one.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ellenbest24

    June 11, 2017 at 6:33 am

    I learned the hard way how to filter spam and I check once a week because sometimes genuine comments slip in your spam file and need to be rescued. Another great post Hugh.


    • Liz Dexter

      June 12, 2017 at 6:18 am

      I’m curious about what happened: did you miss a genuine work enquiry, or did you let spam through that had a negative effect on your readers? I do check my spam folder too as occasionally a legitimate comment gets through.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. ellenbest24

    June 12, 2017 at 7:24 am

    On occasion wordpress will spam an innocuous comment ( you have no idea it’s happened) unless you check and release it, you think your friendly responder just hasn’t left anything. The first time I noticed was when someone who comments often just stopped but she was liking etc on twitter. So I dm’d her to ask if a gritty flashfiction I had posted had offended as i would like her opinion. Once she said she stopped commenting because I didn’t respond I began to investigate. Three people had out of the blue been spammed for the space of four posts. I pressed accept then replied and all was well. So I check spam religiously and intermittently one is trapped. Many others it seems have found this and there is as yet no explanation. The four visitors still come but I could have lost them as the must have thought I was ignoring their responses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liz Dexter

      June 12, 2017 at 7:47 am

      That’s really interesting – and also kudos to you for taking note of your regular commenters and checking up on them!

      Liked by 1 person

      • ellenbest24

        June 12, 2017 at 7:57 am

        I had read on another blog i follow that wordpress was playing up in this way, which made me go and find my illusive spam box. Unlike many blogs with thousands of followers I notice someone who regularly comes.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. marymichaelschmidt

    June 16, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Reblogged this on When Angels Fly.


  13. jazzfeathers

    June 26, 2017 at 6:52 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I haven’t seen many posts about spamming, and I really think we should know about it a bit more.

    I’ve learned to be weary of span the hard way (by using my own blog, that is), and I think monitoring spam is really a way of taking care of our readers, even more than taking care of our blog. As you pointed out, if we allow spam on our comment section, we can really harm our readers.


    • Liz Dexter

      June 26, 2017 at 9:21 pm

      Thank you – I think it does need writing about as there’s an assumption that people know what they’re doing with it. Watch this space on Wednesday when I’ll share some spam I’ve received and talk about how to spot it!


  14. Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

    June 28, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Hah, I thought those were mostly automated spam comments. The type I “love” best is where it’s a scraped text from some other place, with a few weirdly jumbled words. Now those must be automated.


    • Liz Dexter

      June 29, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      Some of them are automated but some are clearly people chancing their luck. I got sent a giant spam comment with all the little comments they use once, I must check if I still have a copy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

        June 29, 2017 at 4:15 pm

        Haha, that’s incredible! I’ll never forget the ONE day during which I got 250 spam comments. At that time it was more than my blog had IN TOTAL. Pretty crazy, huh. I’m still wondering what caused the deluge.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Liz Dexter

          June 29, 2017 at 4:33 pm

          Interesting. I’ve been bombarded when I’ve accidentally let a comment through with a keyword or phrase placed in it which acts as an alert (presumably) to say “This blog isn’t monitored”. Grr.


          • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

            June 29, 2017 at 5:16 pm

            I suppose it must have been something like that! But that was funny, to be honest. They don’t get published until I approve them anyway, so nobody saw them, except I had a lot of cleaning to do to pick out the 2 or 3 good ones that were there (from friends and somehow went to spam incidentally)

            Liked by 1 person


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