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Are You Spamming Comments Inadvertently?

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January 24th, 2010
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Blogging Essays, Business of Blogging, Spam

In a blog post titles “6 Steps to Kill Your Community“, Matt listed “Allow Spam Through” as the second step and “Don’t Participate in Comments” as the fourth step to killing your community. We treat comments and reader participation very seriously at Weblog Tools Collection. We highlight commenters, try to identify the frequent comments who participate willingly and heuristically remove nofollow tags from the links of commenters who participate in the community. I have personally chosen and thanked frequent commenter by providing them deeper access and rights to the various portals, elevating and applauding their presence within the community and have chosen most of my co-authors based on their participation and passion within the communities that I purvey. In short, I agree with Matt in that relevant comments and passionate participation are the lifeblood of any community.

But our little blog gets a lot of attention from spammers. We are listed on web pages that pin point nofollow blogs for spamming, splogs regularly repost our content and send us trackbacks and well disguised comments are often adorned with links to completely unrelated sites. Moderating comments takes a lot of effort from all of us (we are working on making this process simpler, stay tuned) and even then, some weirdness and mistakes slip past us. We have recently started noticing a lot of comments that seem mildly relevant but link to SEO sites or completely unrelated content that keeps changing.

Do you change your commenters’ URI often when posting comments? Are you under the impression that leaving comments with different links will give those links more exposure? Do you use Short URLs to get around comment spam restrictions? More importantly, how many of you force yourself to comment to just spread your links around? Have you ever left a comment just to increase your comment count? Are you an SEO professional who regularly comments on blogs for SEO purposes? You might be doing yourself (and us) more harm than good.

While we try our best to allow any and all relevant comments to be posted, we do actively remove suspicious comments. We make spam/spammer judgment calls every day, but spam is annoying and nasty and in my opinion, spam is like a leech that sucks off the goodness and leaves the host with nothing in return. It often clogs up the conversation and reduces relevancy. Just look at the latest comments on any old(er) blog with a popular post that has not been pruned and taken care of.

We do however, actively promote, reward and encourage passionate comments. If you feel that we have missed a comment that should have been posted, please contact us. However, if you are changing your link on every comment and linking to various websites around the internet who have paid you for your SEO services, please do not send us an email asking us to approve them. Mostly, dont be evil and smug!

How do you treat suspicious comments that have not been caught by Akismet? We manually visit every comment waiting for moderation and actively remove suspicious comments and any older ones that might be related. It takes time but it is worth it.

How do you reward your commenters? We use Highlight Author Comments and hacked up versions of various plugins for heuristics.

Do you import comments from other places on the web? No. We do not import comments from anywhere. The conversation is much more focused and we concentrate on quality versus quantity. We hope that our content, subject and demeanor encourage and crystallize commenting and participation. Other conversations about our posts on apps such as Digg, StumbleUpon and Twitter add nothing but noise wherein the real conversation in live comments get drowned out. I used to think that Trackbacks belonged in the comment flow. I have since changed my opinion after dealing with some posts with hundreds of comments.

Do you turn off comments on old posts? No. Old posts are gems. Conversations can get started on old topics and need to be allowed.

What do you do?

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69
Responses

 

Comments

  1. Mark (1 comments.) says:

    I’m realtively new to blogging and I didn’t know that leaving a comment with my link there could be classified as spam because I personally don’t leave spammy comments. But as you bring up this topic Google have also recently addressed it as being a problem and they will be incoporating something into the algorythm to try and detect and penalise spam comments. However I hope this doesn’t mean that comments I leave will be penalised as with my feeling of my comments not being spammy.

    To counteract spam on my blog I have gave up on askimet and done the deed of adding a captcha. Something which I feel might deter even geniune commenters but being sick of spammy comments drove me to it. If only it weren’t the way it is.. eh?

    • Miroslav Glavic (27 comments.) says:

      dude, CAPTCHA prevents people with disabilities from commenting.

      I am removing ALL CAPTCHA from all the sites I run and own. Turn your comments to moderated comments, it’s better.

      I can’t see captcha on my BB which I use a lot when I am travelling.

      • Jeff Miller (2 comments.) says:

        Is this true of _all_ CAPTCHA? Mine has both text and audio. I was still getting a ton of spam on my little site, even after adding Akismet. CAPTHCA really helped, so I’d hate to have to remove it.

      • pundit (6 comments.) says:

        I am not sure about this.

        I use a very simple text-based captcha on my site (ask people to add two numbers) that has worked wonderfully for several years. Moderation stifles discussions from forming because of the delay, and Akismet wasn’t perfect when I tried it (both letting some spam slip through and worse, had some false positives).

        I love my captcha.

      • bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

        I completely agree. I am legally blind, and cannot read captcha’s, at all. The problem with most audio captcha’s, like that one from recaptcha for example that takes words from various books, the audio portion of the captcha doesn’t match the word(s) on the screen, so the input box is expecting “john joe” when the audio says “15427″ just as an example. so when a blind person types in “15427″ instead of “john doe” it thinks the captcha is wrong, and I have that problem with recaptcha and google. It wouldn’t be so bad if the input box’s “if statements” would support both the audio and video versions of the captcha, but the problem is they don’t, and nobody ever tests that to make sure that works, so it never gets done. Its sad really.

        • erisian23 (2 comments.) says:

          let alone the fact that CAPTCHA annoys nearly every USER.. the last thing a commenter wants is to have to squint at some bizarrely morphed word (in cursive, with crosshatched polka-dots) and attempt to decipher what it says.. then have to do it again because the first try was wrong. sometimes, this deters me from leaving anything at all.

          i cant imaging the three fold annoyance by someone who is visually impaired or flat out blind.

          i definitely suggest moderation with Akismet

      • Hikari (79 comments.) says:

        I’m against this captcha thing. Spammers are able to surpass most of them and it gets harder for users to comment. I’ve already given up on commenting because of captcha that always got wrong. And site owner was getting my hit visits!

        It’s better to user services like Project Honey Pot and StopForumSpam. Spammers and harvesters are captured and their IP blacklisted.

        Also, keep comments on moderation and don’t let spam get in your comments. If you are being spam flooded is because spammers saw you are letting them pass, so they come back!

  2. Miroslav Glavic (27 comments.) says:

    Comments on my own sites are moderated.
    I only put my main site, I could use others I run/own (none of them are SEO/spammy).
    I used to have a plugin that removed the url on the WEBSITE part, I removed it, then do the decision manually

  3. Matthew (4 comments.) says:

    I have been amazed at the amount of spam comments on my blogs ever since I started blogging. My wordpress.com blog that I started almost a year ago has 16 “ham” legit comments and Akismet has killed a crazy 420 spam comments! I just recently started a new site, and within 2 weeks I’ve had 2 legit comments and 10 spams. That’s why Akismet is the first plugin I activate anytime I make a new WordPress site.

    • Matthew (5 comments.) says:

      Since 2008-04:

      15,487 spams caught, 419 legitimate comments, and an overall accuracy rate of 99.755%.

      Akismet is wonderful ^_^

      • Ben (5 comments.) says:

        That’s about what I get, Akismet is so much more accurate than I expected it to be when I first started using it 2 years ago, I get one through occasionally when there’s a spike in spam comments but other than that it just works.

      • Annie (6 comments.) says:

        It’s a lifesaver, a must have for any successful blog community. Speaking of comments and spam, holy cow! 271,167 spam comments, whow!

  4. rick@rickety (10 comments.) says:

    –> What do you do?

    I do not get many comments so what gets through askimet I manually take care of. I don’t comment anywhere that I have to register so I don’t require that. I don’t like CAPTCHA so I rarely comment on blogs that use it. So I won’t use CAPTCHA either on my blog. I don’t require an email address though I don’t mind giving mine when commenting.

    I keep my blog dofollow though at the moment it is not advertised as such. Recently I added the commentLuv plugin.

    I moderate all comments but once one is approved subsequent comments are posted immediately. This only works if an email is used.

    I might think differently about comments if I ever became inundated. But at the moment they are like gold and I really enjoy receiving and responding to them.

  5. Len (24 comments.) says:

    I moderate comments and I’ve come across some rather crafty ones. They appear legit at first glance but upon further inspection you realize they are spam.

    Comments such as “nice article dude” don’t make it out of moderation. I also watch the anchor text used for the website URL given.

    • Ben (5 comments.) says:

      If I’m ever in doubt I usually just copy and paste some of the text of it into google and if it’s spam there’s usually at least 3 or 4 blogs out there that have that same comment listed.

  6. Hikari (79 comments.) says:

    Interesting post -.-

    Just yesterday I received a very nice comment on 1 of my oldest comments, it’s ID is 8, 1 digit!!

    Well, in MY opinion, comments is the future of social network, with trackback being the way of each person talking to each other from his own site.

    But the way Post Rank and link juice is dealt today by Search Engines is killing it. Spammers try to trick them to not see their sites as junk and trick us to let their spam comments linking to thoses sites be published.

    And what makes me mad is that, for every link in our site, we lose Post Rank, and if it is linking to a spammer site, we are also penalized!

    Search Engines and Google shouldn’t put on our shoulder the responsibility to track the quality of what we are linking, it makes me feel as if each link must be very well controlled as if it was a hole in a water box, and feel as if each time I link another site I was doing something potencially wrong!

    What do I do? I comment where I feel I can contribute. And yes, I don’t use only my sites’ home page, I use internal posts and categories’ URL too, the most relevant to the subject! And I’ve noted there is/are a/some spam trackers that block my comments if I link to anything other than my sites’ home page (come on, my sites don’t have only that home page, they have hundreds of posts, why must I be limited to the home page??) and .info mails (I understand, but don’t agree).

    And in my sites’ comments, I’ve already used a bunch of plugins to deal with links. Now I’m developing a plugin that will deal with them automatically for me, making it much simpler, soon it will be finished and shared publicly :)

  7. Zhu (3 comments.) says:

    I delete spam comments right away. Most of them are caught by Akismet but I often manually delete “empty” comments, such as “nice pic”, “nice blog” etc. When the comment looks weird (and when the matching mail/ website) look spammy, I often google the comment verbatim. It will definitely who whether it’s from a spammer or not.

    I value comments otherwise, and this is precisely why I can’t stand spam!

  8. EdZee (2 comments.) says:

    I am using WP-Spamfree to filter comment, trackback and pingback spams. In the one full year of my blog’s existence, it blocked 5,000+ spams which I did not even have to review. No more than 5 spams slipped through it during the one-year period.

    For those who make honest-to-goodness comments on my blogs, I have the No Follow Free (NOFF) plugin that will make their author and CommentLuv links do-follow after so many comments made.

  9. Kai Lo says:

    If you guys think it is such a big deal, why don’t you guys just turn off dofollow altogether. Save yourself some headache instead of complaining.

    “Do you turn off comments on old posts? No. Old posts are gems. Conversations can get started on old topics and need to be allowed.” – One of my friend actually told me about this post so this is how I found out about the blog in the first place.

    You won’t even let comments that are actually RELEVANT to stay. Don’t worry, I won’t be visiting this blog again. You actually spend more time monitoring comments like FBIs than actually spending time writing quality content.

    • Mark Ghosh (386 comments.) says:

      Yes, I was referring to you when I said “Don’t be Evil and smug”. Feel free to NOT leave any more SPAM on this blog.

      • Kai Lo says:

        According to you, spam means leaving an opinion about how I feel that bloggers should close comments on old posts? I clearly stated why bloggers should close comments on old posts, but I guess you don’t like opinions from your readers.

        • Maria (4 comments.) says:

          This exchange is a great example of why comment moderation is important. We need to fight back against the trolls to keep discussions from turning into bandwidth-wasting personality clashes.

          Ah, I wish I had a dollar for every commenter who said he wouldn’t be back, yet reappeared later the same day with more childish whining.

          Good post.

  10. Steve Media (6 comments.) says:

    I leave comments on many different blogs, and I change the link that goes with the name – or add links in the comment itself, as it pertains to the post I am commenting on. I run four different blogs for myself, and when I comment on a tech article, I link in the signature link to my tech site. If I post on an article that has to do with relationships, then I post a link to my relationship blogs.

    I do not post links on the blog posts or articles that do not have relative content. There are many sites where I just leave a quick comment without a link, as I had no site to link to that went with the content of the post.

    I started to be concerned with akismet and hashcash last week when I went through a dozen blogs that I read regularly through my netvibes feedreader and made some comments on interesting articles – I noticed on some sites it said hashcash value 0 for my comment. This is trange, I use firefox could that cause the issue? Maybe there is something wrong with their server? Anyhow, because I will link to my relationship blog on posts that have to do with dating and such, I wonder if people who see so much spam (don’t all of WP users!) – would they just scan through my comment and mark it as spam – not even reading it, or considering that it is relative content – and mark as spam, perhaps with the whole row of awaiting comments? Would this info be passed to akisment? Would lazy bloggers who are so inundated with spam not even see my comment as real?

    I guess it’s a chance I take when I comment on relationship articles, know that people get a lot of spam, they could easily confuse my comment as such if they don’t really read it, it sucks that akismet might zap my comments on the tech blogs though, I often write so much content for other people’s sites – I could of written my own book by now!

    This is what I do now -
    Now, I copy and keep my comments in a notetab file, along with the link to the article that I commented on – if they do not post it, then I post it as an entry to my own blog – my original content gets used now, not just looked over.

    When people post on my blogs, I consider these things – Did the commenter ADD to the conversation? Or just say “Great Post!”? Did they link to a relative site? Nothing wrong with giving some link love to a tech site from one of my tech posts. If they are linking to an SEO site (or other site) that does not have relative content of my post, then I may just take out their link, and keep the original content.

    When I look at a comment suspiciously, I will sometimes copy a line from the comment, and do a google search for it to see if it’s the same paragraph that has been posted on 100 other web sites – if that’s the case, I delete it – even if it’s good – my sites need original, content, not copy pasted stuff.

    I wish all blog owners followed these methods, and I wish I could find a way to find out if akismet is killing my comments (and why) – or is most of the bloggers that I comment to just delete everything because they see so much spam, they can hardly tell what a real comment of original content really is these days.

  11. Les (1 comments.) says:

    I have to admit to leaving in comments that are half way reasonable and on topic. I do edit the comment to take any links that I don’t like – it effectively becomes an anonymous comment I guess. To reward regular commentators, I refer to them in posts with a link back to whatever post is relevant to mine. Those links provide more value in a number of ways. Obviously the link value itself, but it also provides some PR for the commentator. A link in a post is a referral, it says “go here and read what this person says”.

    The big problem that has grown over the last two or so years, is that most blogger no longer talk about other bloggers and their posts (with links). I don’t know if there is a little self service going on – I don’t want my visitor to leave my pages. A little education for bloggers on how to open a link in new page may be in order.

    So a follow up question is – do you link to other bloggers in your posts – particularly those that are regular commentators? We all hate spam but we don’t reward our regular viewers enough.

    Just my 20cents worth

    Les

  12. Chicago Web Guy (2 comments.) says:

    Moderating comments and using Akismet can really help cut down on blog spam. We allow all comments immediately that pass the spam filter, every day we have cull out the obvious spam, but we are trying to build community and foster discussion, so we want the comments to appear right away.

  13. Andrew@BloggingGuide (63 comments.) says:

    I basically use akismet. It works effectively! I do not import comments from other places on the web. What happens there, remains there. And I do not turn off comments on old posts because they can still be useful today and can possibly ignite new conversations and thus new ideas.

  14. Rob (1 comments.) says:

    Most Spam that comes my way can be easily fooled by a null form field, all you have to do is block the message when the field is filled in. It’s been used successfully on many of the contact forms I’ve created over the years with no major issues (that I’m aware of). I’m currently trialling NoSpamNX at present but since the Blog has only just launched I don’t have enough data to see if it’s working or not. Between Akismet and NoSpamNX I will probably stop the vast majority of Spam. Like others I won’t close comments at a set time frame, mainly due to the fact my blog is open ended. I will monitor comments and review URLs, and when I’m away from the PC for an extended period I’ll probably enable moderation to avoid the risk of Spam sneaking through.

  15. Fred Hart (3 comments.) says:

    I used to us WP-SpamFree on my website, but it blocked some legit. comments (for some reason, staff at the British Broadcasting Corporation get blocked by it), and of course there’s no way of recovering comments it blocks! So I switched to Askimet and haven’t had any problems since.

    I manually moderate all of my comments as well – there are some comments not marked as spam which get through, but if Askimet has caught something it stays marked as spam. I also don’t let my blog publish anything that has not been moderated.

    • Dave Doolin (25 comments.) says:

      I won’t comment on WP-SpamFree blogs for a couple reasons:

      1. I almost always get nailed as “Hrmm a little spammy don’t you think?” Which infuriates me. No, I don’t think. And I don’t leave spammy comments. I’ve fairly long 150 word+ comments flagged like that.

      2. The plugin author is vigilant about disputing claims. I won’t even post about that plugin on my websites because I don’t want to get into a pissing contest with the author. I just no longer comment on such sites.

      With respect to OP:

      This is great article, I’ll be referring back to it. It’s very cool that they are taking the time to recognize people making a sincere effort to contribute. I do that as well, but I can afford to, being just a little guy without a lot of traffic.

  16. manga (24 comments.) says:

    If I find the topic interesting and I feel that I have something to add or comment on then I will leave a comment. Otherwise I have a really hard time finding the right words for a comment then I don´t post one.

    Yes, I do close my old posts after 120 days of inactivity, 60 days after a last comment and for the topics that get a lot of attention(which rarely happends) I have the comments open for a whole year.

    No, I do not just go to blogs to write comments to get traffic back. It would hurt my blog if I just went around spamming comments with a short comment and a url back to my blog.

    If I find that a comment is weird looking I often mark it as unapproved untill I decide what to do with it. If it is such a comment that only wants people to click on it then I most likely delete it.

    I have two blogs, one is in English and the other is in Swedish. If I visit a Swedish blog I use my Swedish blog and so on.

    The only time I import comments is if I had a breakdown in my blog and had to restart from scratch, then I import everything into the blog again. Otherwise I do not import comments.

    I try to act the way I want other people to act.

    For trackbacks I had to close them down. Almost each and every time I posted a new post I got a trackback/pingback to it. I can´t be sitting each and every day and contacting the owner or the hosts of the blog that makes pingback/trackbacks to my blog all the time. I don´t have that amount of time. Usually I just go to their blog, make a comment where I ask them to stop. If that doesn´t work, a e-mail is sent to them.

    If no contact is made or if the trackbacks don´t stop I try to use the contact form for their hosts and will ask their host to contact the site.

    So having a blog that has many visitors for some odd reason make the amount of bad comments go up. One would think it should be the other way around and the more visitors you have the better comments you would get.

    But it is a wave, sometimes it´s good and sometimes it´s bad.

    Thanks for writing these posts. I enjoy reading them and it shows of how much I still have to learn about wordpress.

  17. Dan Taylor (1 comments.) says:

    Sadly, at their inception, trackbacks were a great way for both content providers to benefit. As noted above the splogs have made this practice practically irrelevant. I’m a big fan of letting someone else know that I appreciated their info/opinion, it’s just sad that most of today’s trackback are heading directly to the trash.

    Thanks for the good info herein. (and hopefully that’s not going to be marked as a ‘great post dude’). :)

  18. Scott (1 comments.) says:

    What about anti social grumphs like me who do leave comments if there is something worthwhile to add or argue with. But I hate the idea of all my comments being tracked and often use different methods of indentification. For that reason I refuse to sign up for a gravatar or open ID or anything like that.

    I suspect users like me are eventually likely to get tagged as spammers as we will be regarded as having no fixed abode. Treated just like the homeless and beggars on the street. Too much simple categorisation goes on nowadays. And we’re we’re probably constantly tracked by IP anyway

    • Mark Ghosh (386 comments.) says:

      But your comments would ring really true and your link does not point to a spammy site. I would have no problem identifying your comment as valuable.

    • Fred Hart (3 comments.) says:

      Scott,

      Not having a Gravatar is not something that I think of when I decide whether a comment is spam or not. I run a WordPress website for someone else, its not aimed at bloggers themselves so many won’t have Gravatar.

      Its the names, e-mail addresses and the links I look at… If the name is nonsence then its probably spam. I have noticed how all the spam messages come from “people” with free e-mail addresses – Gmail is one I get a lot from. But of course not everyone with Gmail is a spammer!

      Another way I can tell if someone is spam is if it it clear they have not actually read the message – If its about the subject of the blog post then the chances are its legit.

  19. Tschai (1 comments.) says:

    On-topic comments on blogs are always a good thing, when you’re sincere; it can get you traffic from really interested visitors and they could even come back.

    Moderating can be very irritating though…as your blog grows…and it still is your spare-time hobby.
    ;)

  20. Andrew Edmonds (9 comments.) says:

    If you remove “dofollow” it’s likely that a large majority of posters here would disappear, that’s fact. However, does that mean they were all spammers? No, of course not! We all live to make ourselves a little better and if we have a choice to post on one of two different blogs whose subjects are similar, it makes sense to post on the DOFOLLOW blog. Why? Simply because, as well as enjoying the wealth of information and contributing with relevant posts, we also get that little bit of extra link juice to our homepage. For spammers, this is the ONLY reason they post, for the rest of us it’s just a little bonus. I also started a blog a year ago and get approx 3 to 4 spam messages daily. I moderate my comments so it’s a quick task to remove them but for a site this large it must be a mammoth job to maintain and sort the spammers from the genuine posters. Good luck.

  21. Rob (1 comments.) says:

    I find that the fields that demand that a user calculate the answer (red+blue=Purple) work best. The number calculations are too easy.

    also worth looking at banning users with 3 random numbers after their names. -These are more often than not spam robots.

  22. Mark says:

    Your cynicism knows no limits. This blog is forced into everybody’s face through WP admin interface yet you only retain comments that contain ass kissing. Anything that points out the obvious, showing where you’re lacking is deleted or marked as spam, cause you can’t stand criticism. At least be a man and have the balls to look in the mirror.

    • Kai Lo says:

      I absolutely agree with Mark on this person. It is exactly how I feel about the blog owner. Mark Ghosh requires you to write college term paper quality comments and must side on his opinion in order to pass.

    • Jeff Chandler (171 comments.) says:

      Considering your comment was approved, your comment rings false. I can also point to numerous examples of harsh criticism being published in comments on this site.

      • Dave Doolin (25 comments.) says:

        I have to agree, I’ve seen the authors tooled here more than once. It didn’t seem unnatural, which is why I can’t point to any examples.

        In any case, it’s their venue, the authors can do whatever they want. And it ain’t that hard to edit your feeds to exclude this one.

  23. Jeff Chandler (171 comments.) says:

    Since I’m a co-author on this site and have access to approve/disapprove comments, I thought I’d share my process of going through the queue.

    I take a look at the Pending comments list first.

    I look at the author name. If no product or service is used as the name, I’ll move on to the URL. I’ll click the URL if I’m not sure about it. If it’s a TinyURL used as the URL, I’ll edit the comment and remove it if the comment context is related to the article. Determining which URLs to allow and which to remove is entirely up to my discretion and I generally remove any URL that links to a commercial product or service.

    I then look at the email address just to see what it is. If it has SEO or some other stuff in it, that is just another indicator that the comment may be spam.

    The most important part of the comment, the comment itself usually is a night and day process of deciding whether it’s spam or night. However, I’ve been running into more and more comments which seem relevant but I just can’t tell when I put the other factors into play. When I am undecided, I put the comment in the trash instead of marking it as spam so that person does not become marked by Akismet, just in case it was legit. These types of comments are taking up more man power in terms of going through the moderation queue.

    I’m pretty sure that once you have one approved comment here on WLTC, your chances of being flagged as a spammer go way down. It’s the first time through that you have to worry about.

    By the way, both criticism and praise is approved on this site. Censoring out one part of the conversation is immoral and not needed. Everyone has a voice and it is not appropriate to silence one over the other.

  24. bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

    I don’t get any comments on my blog, at all, except maybe 1 person will make 1 comment every 6 months, thats about it. That’s why I don’t mess with moderation, as few as I get I probably could just manually approve or deny every comment that comes in, but the thing is, after 6 months of not hearing from anyone at all, you forget to check it, so I put all these spam tactics in place so that when I do forget about my blog, which I have done many times, people don’t see all this spam and not want to comment at all.

    I’ve tried to think of ways for my friends to comment. Since everyone I know has a facebook account, my first thought was to add the facebook login plugin, but that tactic hasn’t worked for increasing comments to my site yet, so I don’t know.

    I know people don’t like to register to comment, I don’t either, so I’ve been thinking about taking off facebook and twitter and supporting openID instead that would support all the social networking ID’s, but I never did get the openID plugins to install and work correctly, so I don’t know. I’m still having issues getting gravatars to work with the i2theme from mangoOrange. I hard coded it in, but its still not working very well, so I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but i’m blind and unemployed so I can’t afford to pay someone to work on it for me either. and I don’t want just anyone to work on it for me due to trust issues.

  25. Carol says:

    I manually approve all comments. I do use Akismet and it’s done an excellent job of trapping those spam comments. I have 1218 comments approved (I do delete one liners) and Akismet caught 26,713 spams. Of all those, only 2 were actually proper comments. I do verify everything that Akismet caught.

    I almost never post a URL when commenting on someone’s Blog, unless my site is directly related to the post in question.

    • Andrew Edmonds (9 comments.) says:

      Adding a URL is free branding whether it’s related or not. You may actually benefit in the long run from increased traffic and, possibly, pagerank (since this is a dofollow blog). No one will think less of someone for including their website. I often visit people’s site simply because their URI looks interesting.

      • erisian23 (2 comments.) says:

        same here, it saddens me when i see a great comment with no link. some of my favorite daily stops are directly sourced via a comment link (not a freeform href, but one associated with the poster)

  26. Alfandi (1 comments.) says:

    I do not turn of commenting on any part of my blog. and I turned it into the “do follow” blog to encourage commenting. However still I moderate the comments because caphtcha was meant to make sure that humans only can fill the form and actually they do not prevent spam they only make the commenting difficult. For this reason I am thinking to remove it from the blog.

    Akismet although is effective there some spam can pass it and some non-spam comment can be labeled as as spam. I would not disable Akismet but I found the most suitable way is to personal moderation. My interference here is not to make commenting difficult and not only to filter spam but also to encourage useful dialogue and build a community around my blog.

  27. vinaction (1 comments.) says:

    I have a do follow blog. And this is pretty delecios for spammers.
    So I mannualy check the comments and websites of commentators but I don’t know what I’ll do if where is no working Akismet on my blog. It stops almost 2k of spam messages.

  28. Lars Tong Strömberg (14 comments.) says:

    It´s a tricky issue.

    What surprises me most is that I have found very few plugins that deal with commenting and “fair link juice” than are out there. There is definitely a market here.

    I have written before about my “dream come true” plugin which would be a plugin that checks whether the commenter him/herself DoFollow as a prerequisite for DoFollow back. That would encourage DoFollow even more as a practice.

    However, plugins that take comment rewarding further than simply “set a number of comments as threshold, then DoFollow” would be useful. This could be developed so much more with several parameters to fulfil to provide link juice in several steps such as:

    1. Number of comments

    >= x comments, then DoFollow, else NoFollow
    >= y comments, then DoFollow plus Blogroll (1st page, higher PR)
    >= posted but removed comments: Downgrade the above in some form e.g. one removed comment, then 10 points drop or even “always NoFollow”.

    etc. etc.

    I am not a good programmer myself, but I guess one who knows what could be done here from a pure algoritm pov could really produce a great, useful plugin just looking at how commenters behave and automatically reward or punish based on that behavior.

  29. Jeff Miller (2 comments.) says:

    Could someone point me in the direction of a spot where I could learn about NoFollow/DoFollow? Is the choice of NoFollow vs DoFollow something that can be set inside of WordPress? Sorry, but this is all new to me.

    Thanks.

  30. Lisa (1 comments.) says:

    Akismet isn’t perfect, but no solution is – even ourselves. It’s true that filtering comments takes time, but I find it’s a necessary evil. I don’t get too much spam these days, could be because my site is so niche it’s not worth spamming.

    Like this post, I just wish that people would be honest and not abuse the systems. It would make life so much easier.

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  32. Joe Pritchard (1 comments.) says:

    I use Akismet and it’s a God-send. However, I still give the spam that Akismet traps a ‘once over’ (easy for me as my blog is a tiny thing, with only 7 and a half thousand spam messages trapped so far) before I tell Akismet to delete them.

    As for comments that are legitimate, I still have to approve them and so that gives me the chance to catch any last spam. Again, being a small blog helps enormously.

    I also tend to get rid of the ‘empty’ posts.

    The textual payload of a lot of spam now is getting smarter and sometimes does make me think hard as to whether I’m dealing with a spammer or just someone murdering the English language!

  33. Paulo Martirez (1 comments.) says:

    I personally recommend using Akismet. It identifies 99% of the comment spams my blog receive everyday.

    Occasionally, I also notice some spammers are using the names of other bloggers to make their comments more realistic but when you check out their URL, you’ll see that they are not the same person.

  34. Niclas Marie (1 comments.) says:

    I find it difficult to comment on random blogs by just typing “Hey, that’s a great post!” and a link to my website. It feels stupid and clearly shows that you haven’t read the post, and is an insult to the blog owner.

    I’d rather share my wisdom if I have any in the subject, otherwise I don’t post, since my comment probably would get erased if it was so stupid.

    About spam filtering, we use Akismet on our blog, and it works very well. Not sure how it works on a larger scale, but I’ve only heard good things about it.

    Interesting path you have chosen to really interact with the visitors. I wonder how long you can keep it up.. good luck anyhow! :)

  35. Maria (4 comments.) says:

    One more thing…after reading this and commenting briefly above, I found an old (2007) post on my own blog that discussed the concept of courtesy in comments. I know this post was mostly about spammy comments, but I think my post helps explain why I moderate all comments on my blog, despite the drawbacks of the delays. I simply can’t tolerate rudeness, like the comment I replied to above.

    For those interested:
    http://www.marialanger.com/200.....-courtesy/

    Comments can add value to a blog — as they have here — but they can also destroy a blog. It’s the blogger’s responsibility to keep things in check.

  36. Forrest (2 comments.) says:

    I’m curious what you were hinting at about automatic spam detection, and what sorts of heuristics you’re using? I’ve always thought that a pretty good spam comment filter could be written – Akismet is pretty good, although it lets more spam than I’d like through, usually when somebody “new” goes on the attack. It seems to take a while for them to be marked as a spammer by the community, which makes sense, but also implies that Akismet is mostly a URL and/or IP address blacklist. It seems like the content and metadata should be enough to identify a spam comment, in isolation.

    For example, is the person “signing” their comment with a name ( which you’d expect could be found in the list of baby names ), or with some keywords? Leaving comments with “South Florida plumber” as a name is a pretty big red flag, but not quite enough to be 100 % certain. And it seems like from here, the options get a little dicier, and harder to implement. I’d be very curious about term-to-type ratios for the text, since most spam seems to be written in an ungrammatial way, but you don’t want to prevent people who’s native language is not English from posting. Ultimately, I think the world’s best (non-human) spam detector would evaluate a number of potential indicators and weigh all of the evidence … but I’m curious what you’re using as heuristics?

  37. Peter Bird (4 comments.) says:

    I admin 6 forums (and have a number of wordpress sites). … I get out of bed in the morning … get the coffee … turn on the computer (or probably left it on from the night before) … then start banning and deleting the spammers….its such an unproductive part of the day. I wish there was some legal recourse against there people.

    The problem is largely that the spammers see what they are doing as a legitimate thing to do.

  38. naqueen says:

    I’m just a little confused about this post. Why does it matter if someone is leaving a comment for the purpose of SEO if the comment is a legitimate and productive comment that is relevant to the post?

    You say these people are taking and not giving anything back but in fact they are. If the comment is relevant, they are allowing google to see your site as important and active which increases YOUR pagerank to YOUR website. The more words the better.

    If you do not allow the link within their name, are you not the one that is taking and not giving back?

    Why not allow their website link within their name as long as it is not in the post?

  39. Patrick (2 comments.) says:

    Hey Mark,

    I stumbled across your post after doing some searches on spam with Google. I use akismet on my blog, but for some reason it only seems to catch on to things that are clearly spam (as in strings of random letters and numbers spam). It’s unfortunate that we haven’t been able to teach computers to fully comprehend human language. That would be the ultimate spam buster.

  40. Nurul Azis (16 comments.) says:

    So far I do not get a serious problem with spams since using Akismet is pretty much help, although sometimes manual removal of suspicious comment are still done, may be I consider closing comments for old post just like what Darren Rowse does on his Problogger.net blog.

  41. Sandro (4 comments.) says:

    Akismet was the first plugin I have ever used for the spam issue, and so far, it’s the one which has performed best. It is not perfect by any means, but it does its “dirty” job pretty well.
    I can’t help wondering why spamming seems to be a never ending problem. It just takes a short time to make a relevant comment. Personally, I would feel like a fool typing the usual “Great post!” with a link to my website. I like to ask and give respect to the other blog owners fellows.

  42. John McNally (1 comments.) says:

    It was very refreshing AND reassuring to read your views Mark.

    I was starting to get disillusioned with all the spam comments. I have Akismet installed on my blog, and check my spam folder for ‘false positives’ that sometimes are mistakenly placed there.

    I’m trying to produce quality with everything I do, and that seems to be your policy as well, so that’s fine by me. 8)

    John

  43. Suraj Tandon (3 comments.) says:

    I don’t believe in long comment to impress others. I rarely comment on blogs, but when I do comment, I always try to leave comment relevant to topic. And, for wordpress blog Akismet is the best plugin to detect comment spam.

  44. Jeff Travilla (1 comments.) says:

    We’ve had the spam problem on our blog too. And it seems that the more business we do and the more relevant we become in our industry, the more spam I have to sort through every day. It’s an incredibly time consuming process. It would be awesome if there was a program that could auto-detect and delete spam, but I think I would fear that it would also delete legitimate posts, which would be just as harmful as leaving up spam. Every now and then there will be a spammy type post that’s actually well written, so I will approve it but just delete the link.



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