In the second in my series of articles about spam comments on blogs, I’m going to help you to learn how to decide whether a comment is spam (so should be deleted) or legitimate. I started this series by writing about what spam comments are and why you should stop them, and if you’re new to the topic, you might want to go back and look at that post first.
So, let’s have a look at some spam. I’m gong to start with the easy-to-spot ones and then move on to some more ambiguous ones.
In each example, I’ve included a screen shot of the comment, with its origin on the left, the “comment” in the middle and the title of the bog post it refers to on the right. Some details have been blurred out.
Obvious spam that has no place in your comments
This first category shouldn’t even get through to your comments to review if you’ve set up or got any sort of spam protection. There’s no way could mistake these for legitimate comments:
A sales word repeated over and over again and also a particularly common spam term:
… and one with some random information on buying sports gear on a post about small businesses.
Here’s another one which is talking about factory shops and comes from a URL about running shoes (remember how those spammers want to get the URLs of the companies they’re working for all over the Internet? Nothing to do with Word documents!
So those are quite easy, and they’re also the ones you won’t see so often, as spam filters will catch them.
Spam comments pretending to be praise
This is a kind of post that often sneaks through. Be wary of over-the-top praise with no proper mention of what it’s praising. And look at where it comes from and the links:
So, this one is extremely vague and general – why would anyone legitimate post this? Also look at the commenter “Name” – “online shopping”. It looks like praise but that’s just to fool the spam filters (notice there is no URL placed within the comment, again to skip past the spam filter):
what about this one? How nice – they found my post on Word documents to be wonderful. But again, no detail about what they found wonderful, and look at the commenter’s “Name” on the left. Enough said.
I get this one ALL the time, mentioning they have bookmarked it. But from someone with a kind of name whose website is called that? (I’m not even typing the word here; who knows what that will attract!
This last one is a clever one but I get the “famous” comment all the time; also the not knowing how they got there. The URL was VERY dodgy on this one, too.
Note that quite often these comments have a spelling mistake or weird phrase. From having accidentally let these through in the past, I’m fairly convinced that they act as a kind of highlight to let other spammers know this particular blog is not well protected and they can get their spam onto it. It’s so easy to set up an automated search and comment!
Spam comments asking questions
This kind of comment is even more difficult to work out – because we all like to interact with our readers and answer their questions! Well, I get these sort of comments all the time, and again, check the URLs and commenter “Names” and you’ll get a good idea of what you’re looking at.
OK, this might nearly catch me out. Except no one has ever asked me legitimately how to find my email subscription or my RSS feed. If you know what those are, you will find them on the site. So this is a real red flag … but the URL should be, anyway. All sorts of people do comment, but this looks like a sales site or a lure to something worse to me:
And the classic “off topic” – this again shrieks spam to me after years of seeing them – plus it’s our spacey friend again from above!
By all means, answer legitimate, specific questions in comments – ones that relate to the post they’re commenting on, for example. But these two examples are absolute classics and should go straight into spam.
Semi-legitimate comments with a spammy purpose
This last category I usually give the benefit of the doubt and mark as Trash rather than Spam. After all, it’s common knowledge that a good way to get blog followers for our own sites is to comment on other people’s blog posts, and of course we will then include our own.
It’s worth noting here, too, that I’m all about cooperation and coopetition with colleagues in the editing, transcription and localisation business, however, I’m not particularly keen (that’s an understatement) on people commenting about how their service is cheaper and better than mine!
Thanks, but no thanks, and into the Trash it goes!
This article has given you some examples of spam, ranging from the obvious to the not-so-obvious, and has hopefully helped you to distinguish spam comments from legitimate ones (for examples of legitimate comments, just take a look at the ones on my previous article, or, in time, this one!). I hope you feel more equipped to tell if a blog comment is spam now!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Do post any questions or comments below; your comments may affect the content of my next article!
Other relevant posts on this blog
How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 1: Why do people spam my blog and why should I stop them?
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
Resh Susan @ The Book Satchel
June 30, 2017 at 6:35 am
This is useful. I get spam comments on my site too. It has increased after I disabled a plugin that filters such comments. I tend mark them as spam. But I think I might have fallen for the ‘your blog is good’ phrase. I need to pay more attention to the name of the person who comments.
June 30, 2017 at 6:52 am
Thank you for your comment and I’m glad you’ve found it useful. I would enable the spam filter again if I were you, or find a different one if that didn’t work well. Looking at the name and URL will usually give you a good idea. In WordPress.com I can hover over the URL and see a preview of the website (I try not to click through, just in case) which also helps.
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June 30, 2017 at 6:47 pm
dear Liz, thank you for this necessary information! It’s important to fight with spam if you’re a blogger!
Have a nice week-end!
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July 3, 2017 at 8:26 am
Yes, you’re right, and I’m glad you’ve found this useful!
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