Beware Of The Comments You Are Approving Some May Bite
I was having a conversation with one of my readers the other day, via comments and replies, and we were discussing spotting spam comments on our blogs. This discussion got me thinking and I realised that some people are putting to much value on receiving comments and being grateful for any they receive.
Whilst most are valuable comments, that we’d like more of, some are nothing more than spam that are going to cause you grief.
Allow me to explain….
In my early days of blogging when I got a comment I went all “woopy do” and would approved it thinking “yeah at last someone’s interested in what I’m saying” and I’d reply to Mr Fridge Repairs, Mr Printer shop, Ms Nursing School and such like. Only for later to discover that they were causing me and my blog problems with track back spam. I started having issues with my CPU usage and was advised by my hosting service to look for, and remove, any spam comments. So I spent a weekend going through my earlier posts and removing any suspicious comments.
I then tightened my belt, introduced some comment rules and published a post, with a video demonstration, showing people how to add comment rules to their blogs and where to display them…. I now think that was the wrong thing to do.
You see the trouble is that we’re then displaying what we’ll accept the crafty spammers can work around our rules to make themselves appear to be a legitimate commenter. Which more often than not leads to their comments being approved and replied to….. Bingo! They’ve got a back link and will come again and again quite often using the same name and email address but a different URL. Building back links for more and more sites at our expense.
You need to be aware that a lot of these spam comments come from spambots and unethical SEO companies that are trying to build back links for their clients. They’ll try to disguise themselves as legitimate commenter’s and sometimes leave proper comments relating to the posts in the hope of getting approved. This is not an attack on SEO companies, I know some that work by the book and deserve our respect but as with everything there are good and bad in them all.
I still have comment rules but I now keep them in my head so people don’t know what they are, which makes it harder for spammers to work around and easier for me to spot them
My Blog My Rules….
That’s right, it’s my blog and my rules apply (as it should be on your blogs), so when I receive a comment from someone I don’t know I will check a few things before making a decision on whether to approve it or not.
The first thing I check is the URL field and if its empty yet they have a commentluv link I mark it as spam and delete it without a second thought.
If they leave a URL I will visit the site, have a look around and see what it’s about. If it’s a blog I look for who’s left comments there, how many posts there are, whether its an automated blog and when it was last updated. If I’m happy with what I find I’ll approve the comment, if not I’ll mark it as spam and eventually delete it.
If the URL field and commentluv link don’t match I’ll first check for spelling mistakes in the URL, if I find one I’ll correct it in the browser, visit the site and make my mind up from there. If I’m happy I’ll correct the spelling mistake in the URL field and approve it, if not I mark it as spam and delete it.
If the URL field and commentluv link are totally different I’ll trash the comment.
If the URL takes me to Mr Print Shop, Mr Fridge Repair or Ms Nursing School I mark it as spam and delete the comment.
I recently had my blog scanned by SiteLock who informed me of some Malware issues and pointed out where they were….. in some of the comments I had approved from Ms Nursing School, Mr Fridge Repair and Mr Print Shop in the woopy do moments of my earlier comments.
There are times when the comments are really good and add value to the post but still link to unsavoury sites. For me it’s a simple decision; if they link to unsavoury sites I mark them as spam and delete them.
I know that some people approve this type of comment but change the URL to their own and remove the commentluv link. Each to their own, however I think that by approving the comments you’re approving their email addresses so the next time they leave a comment it may not be held for moderation.
Note: If you have a view on this please share it, as I could be wrong
We Were All Newbies Once….
We were all newbies once and unsure of how to leave a decent comment so bear in mind the difference between a spam comment and a poor one.
Newbies can be unsure of what commenting is all about and some quite often leave poor ones like “nice blog I’ll be back” or “loved the post keep up the good work” and things like that. I don’t approve any comment that could relate to any post on any blog but as I said above I check the URL’s of the comments being left and if I find it’s a newbie I will try to point them in the right direction by leaving them a real comment of encouragement. If they have a contact form I will, on occasion, get in touch and explain why their comment hasn’t been approved.
Whilst on the newbies blog I’ll look at the comments being left and if/when I see spam comments I’ll point them out them out to the blog owner.
No doubt some of you reading this have had such emails from me. Its not me giving it “the big I am”, I’m simply trying to save you the aggravation that I have had to go through to remove spam and malware from my blog.
Hit and Run Merchants….
These are the ones that think it’s ok to leave poor comments that could relate to any post on any blog. Nine times out of Ten they don’t even read the post and leave the same crap comments everywhere they go “I found your post really interesting and think it will really help me. Thanks for writing on this subject” which again could relate to any post on any blog. These get marked as spam and deleted.
Real Bloggers and Real Comments….
Real bloggers know how to leave real comments and don’t need to be told any rules, they know what isn’t acceptable. You’ll see these people commenting on loads of blogs that you visit and come to recognise them through their Gravatars. You’ll notice that their comments add value to the post, ask questions or express their experience with the subject of the post.
These are the people to value and appreciate, reply to their comments and return the visit to their blogs, where you should also leave them a decent comment. If there’s something you didn’t quite understand in the post ask them about it in your comment, they’ll reply and try to explain it for you.
If you enjoy their content share it on the Social Media Networks and tell your friends and followers what you enjoyed about the post, how it helped you or how it could help them.
Plugins That Help….
To help protect you from spam there are certain plugins that you should have on your blog.
Akismet is totally free and filters your comments for track back spam making life easier for you. There are occasions however when it places good people in the spam folder so be sure to check the comments there on a regular basis.
GASP Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin is again a free plugin that will place a check-box beneath your comment submission area that must be checked before a comment can be submitted. Spambots can’t check the box as they’re automated so this will cut down on your spam and make a huge difference.
CommentLuv Premium is not free but it does contain GASP as well as other anti spam features like being able to set a minimum time that someone has to be on your post before being able to leave a comment. This also stops the spambots as well as some hit and run merchants. Personally I wouldn’t be without it.
Share Your Views….
I know that most bloggers have their own set of rules for the comments they allow. So tell me, do you agree with the ones I have detailed?
How do you deal with the comments that appear to add value but link to unsavoury sites? Do you change the URL or delete the comment altogether?
Do you display your rules on your blogs?
Have you had similar issues with track back spam and malware?
If you didn’t have any comment rules has this post changed your mind?
Sharing Is Caring….
If you’ve enjoyed this post and think it will help your friends and followers please use the Social Sharing tools available to tell them about it. You never know what aggravations you could be saving them from and I really would appreciate it, thanks
Until next time, stay safe
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