This week, my homeschool co-op blogging class will be talking about comments and comment spam. WordPress.com uses the Akismet comment spam filter, which usually does an excellent job identifying and screening out spam comments. Sometimes it mistakenly captures a good comment from a “real” person, and then you have to rescue that from your spam list.
But be careful! Spammers are tricky, and inexperienced bloggers can be easy to fool.
Sure Signs of Spam
Some spam is easy to identify. The comment will include a long list of links, or it will have words related to prescription drugs, gambling, pornography, or online stock trading. Akismet will always catch those, so you don’t have to worry about finding them. The trickier type of spam is the vague, general comment that doesn’t advertise anything. Instead, the advertisement is in the website that the commenter’s “name” links to. (And of course, it’s not a real name, even if it looks like one.)
Here are a few examples of comments I’ve received. Would you trust these people?
- “Lots of folks blog about this matter but you said some true words.”
- “Thank you so much, there aren’t enough posts on this… or at least i cant find them. I am turning into such a blog nut, I just cant get enough and this is such an important topic… i’ll be sure to write something about your site.”
- “Good Morning I’m new here and I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Peter. There is a colossal number of interesting categories here and i’ve already read a lot of useful news.”
- “Good Morning I’m new here and I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Frank. There is a great number of awsome categories here and i’ve already found a ton of useful hints.”
- “Thank you for an awe inspiring read. I really enjoyed this article. I look forward to reading more of your works. If this had a rating I would have to say 10 stars.”
Don’t let the spammers sweet-talk you into publishing their links.
Check the Website Links
Some spammers are crafty. They write something a little more specific that sounds like it could be from a real person, even though it may not exactly fit the article they are commenting on. Perhaps they ask a question, knowing that we bloggers love to think people want our advice. Or they tell a little story about how the information on your blog really helped them out.
Don’t be flattered! If you think the comment is real, then check the website link. Does it go to an actual blog, or just to an advertising site?
Here are some more comments Akismet blocked from my blogs, along with the website that sent them:
- Roulette System wrote, “Hey, ok, I get it, I guess – but does this really work?”
- Paid Online Surveys said, “Found your site today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later ..”
- Mafia Downloads was especially enthusiastic: “Wow! what an idea! What a concept! Beautiful .. Amazing 🙂 “
- Super Payday Loans remarked, “I am also new in this forum and I am hoping to get resources and learn different things. Maybe I can share some of my knowledge too.”
- And just today, Growth Hormone Side Effects chimed in with, “Your post has been more than helpful. I just started a blog and I’m not getting any traffic at all. Can you help me out?”
No, I won’t help you, Spammer, and I hope that none of my students get fooled by you either.
Check the comments section below for a deviously creative twist on spam. No doubt this sort of thing will be coming soon to your blog, too!
When You Write a Comment
I’ve said it before: Blogging is a social game. Join in the give and take by leaving comments on other blogs. This can be a great way to build traffic for your own blog, because the blogger you comment on will surely come to check your blog out, and so will others who see your comment.
BUT you have to comment the right way. Don’t write vague generalities that can be mistaken for comment spam. Say something specific about the post you are commenting on. A blog post and the comments that follow it make a conversation between the blogger and the readers — so make sure that your comment adds something worth saying!