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:
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