How to Tell if Blog Comments are Spam or Sincere


[tweetmeme]One of the participants of a free webinar I held recently on blogging strategies for business asked, “How do I tell if blog comments are really spam, and they’re trying to get backlinks to their own website?”

Unfortunately, spam is a fact of life when it comes to blogs. If you’re just starting a blog, the majority of comments you get at first will likely be spam. Spammers hope you let the comments go through with the links intact so their websites can move up in the search engine rankings.

Blog Comments Designed to Get Backlinks

Here is an example of someone who’s trying to make their comment look authentic, by praising the article. But I think you can see the “real” strategy here:

Your post is very useful. Thank you so much for providing plenty of useful content.Thanks a lot for sharing these information. The post has also helped a lot. Look forward to your next post Your blog is very useful. Thank you so much for providing plenty of useful content. I have bookmark your blog site and will be without doubt coming back. Once again, I appreciate all your work and also providing a lot vital tricks for your readers.
Thanks for the great idea you have post. I’ll wait for another info which will you share. zenithink mobile 2 sim wrist phone gpad spy cameras i found it very interesting and at the same time very informative i will definitely bookmark this site for future reference…
I leave a lot of comments on a lot of blogs each week – but there is one situation where I rarely leave a comment – even if the post deserves it.Good work

The words in bold, zenithink mobile 2 sim wrist phone gpad spy cameras, contained links to his website. Why he thought I’d let that slide and post this comment on my blog is beyond me! (Not to mention, I wasn’t going to include them in this article either!)

Blog Comments Should Reference Your Article to Win Approval


Let’s say I get a comment like this: “Great SEO tips. I enjoyed your article.” I’ll tend to give the person the benefit of the doubt and approve it, even though the commenter may have only read the title and is trying to get that all-important backlink.

On the other hand, if that SEO comment was intended for an article about Facebook that didn’t mention SEO at all, that’s a different story. That comment gets deleted. End of story.

Here are some sample comments to one of my articles about email marketing, and how I responded, to give you an idea:

As you can see – the second commenter had some kind words to say about the article, and specifically referred to the topic. But I think he also wanted to promote his own site. I decided to click on the link and see for myself. After checking it out, I found there was some useful information to share, so I didn’t mind giving him the backlink.

Don’t Be Afraid of Negative Blog Comments

Unfortunately, every once in a while, you’re going to get a negative comment on your blog. If someone disagrees with a point you made in one of your articles, you can safely assume the comments are NOT spam (even if they are unpleasant to read). But just because the comment is negative doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post it or respond to it.

If you think the commenter is wrong – tactfully say so. And if he’s right, acknowledge it. It shows your readers that you’re only human! Plus – it’s a great way to get into a dialogue with the reader – and who knows, you may wind up turning him into a client or customer!

Anti-Spam Filters Work… Most of the Time

Most blogging platforms do have some type of spam blocker service to weed out the junk comments. For instance, WordPress uses Akismet as their anti-spam filter. But Akismet is not infallible. Every once in a while I’ll see a comment that hit their spam filter that should not have been flagged. In that case, I just take it out of spam and post it. Akismet uses that info to adjust its alogorithms.

Have you found any interesting comments that got flagged as spam by mistake? Share them in the comments below – just don’t spam me! 🙂

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18 thoughts on “How to Tell if Blog Comments are Spam or Sincere

  1. Appreciate this helpful perspective. I just started an educational blog and am moderating comments. All are showing up in Askimet spam although some seem harmless. Thanks for clarifying which ones are targeting SEO tactics. Some seem legit although are not specific to my topic, kind of “wow this is great” or “I’m amazed” which does not seem sincere. The link to an avatar probably explains that. Spam is disheartening but tapping into a community takes patience.

  2. Previous one was my first comment using WP ID. How did you configure avatar. I seem to have linked gravatar picture on my WP blog through which I commented yours
    What’s the problem

    I think I should have written anti-spamophobia (instead of spamomania or what would be the term?). If you tried to comment or register, it became almost impossible. I even bought more expensive white (static) IP address instead of grey (dynamic) I used before and still I am frequently blocked in the butt. The internet became user-un-friendly (how should I write correctly this term) and unpleasant experience for human communication but not for the spammers and spambots

    Not only “flattered” but be sure that you should not change either your profession or blogging platform.

    I myself do not read all and everything through. I use search. I also usually do not read posts, comments, tweets (what would be the one-word term? ) without links because any deep thought is based on citations, i.e. links to experience/works of others, or references to works to go inside. Now internet is full of ramblings and shallow opinions without any references and eventually information.

    Google bites its own tail – it is based on links and anti-promotes them

    Before starting to use WordPress.com (WP) I passed by a dozen of blogging platforms

    The most surprise was blogging platform from Google (blogger.com blogspot.com). I thought it would be searched. Alas! It was completely unsearchable what means unreachable and unusable by anyone…. even by author, since searching on internet my own writings is more fast than on local computer

    My WP blog really did not need any promotion technique! SEO, SEM,… started to be searchable immediately without any techniques – I did not need travel by blogs and social networks and invent reasons to usefully spam… sorry, comment, tweet, post, retweet, “like”, add friends, retweet in order for it to start be visited and read.

    You (your article) want to fight with consequences (not reasons). That’s useless.

    ItIMHO it is is so-called SEO imposed to all by omipresent and omnipotent Google, that infected and rotten the internet. SEO is oxymoron, costly, by never-ending to always-changing senseless game and gamble imposed by Google

  3. Even more than spammers I hate spamomania.
    Look at growmap.com blog articles.
    There are hundreds (spamming) comments.
    Spammers?
    This is the fact of the internet life: if your blog is not interesting, then you do not have spammers.

    From the other hand, spammers and pirates are frequently free and very efficient way to promote web resource (blog, etc.), products and services

  4. What really confuses me is spam that doesn’t contain any links. I mean, it’s obviously nothing about my post and has just been copy-pasted, (and the commenter doesn’t have an LJ login, which for LJ throws up red flags) but what does the spammer really think it’s going to do? I’ve gotten more and more of this kind of spam on my LJ recently. It’s very odd.

    • Ashley,

      Even if the spam comment doesn’t contain any links, if the person’s avatar has a link, that will show up on your blog if you approve the comment. That’s the backlink they’re hoping for. I think they figure that their comment may slip by and they’ll get that link. But I won’t hesitate to delete comments that have nothing to do with the post. Spammers are just plain weird! 😉

  5. Well, definition of spam is very subjective but blacklisting by Akismet is мун objective and used by blackhat SEO to dump competitors.

    Let me cite from
    Akismet Deletes Comments Bloggers NEVER SEE!
    http://www.growmap.com/akismet-deleting-comments/
    “Here are some unusual definitions of spam that I have come across:
    1.Any comment that has a business in the URL field.
    2.Any comment left by anyone the blogger doesn’t recognize.
    3.Comments that include a link not related to their blog’s niche.
    4.Any comment that has keywords in the name field EVEN IN BLOGS THAT HAVE KEYWORDLUV installed.
    5.Any comment they don’t like.
    6.Any comment from a commentator they don’t like.
    7.Any trackback = spam to some bloggers because so many of them are from scraped or MFA (made for AdSense sites) – even high quality incoming links from major sites and blogs!”

    Well, cutting it short I’d like also to give references:
    “Content is NOT King; Relationships are King”
    http://www.growmap.com/content-king-relationships/

    “Human spammer vs. technical copywriter dispute”
    http://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/mod/keycaptcha/support/human_spammer_vs._technical_copywriter_dispute-t_91203

  6. What would happen to my site’s ranking if I accidentally approved these spam comments, will it hurt my site’s reputation/ranking? I was too excited to get lots of comments, I didn’t even think about it being a spam! What am I thinking? =( By the time I wrote this comment, two more new comments flooded in my inbox.

    Pleas help. Thanks!

    • Unfortunately, posting spammy comments can hurt your ranking, so my advice is to go through and delete the ones that look like spam. From now on, delete those spam comments. Do you have a spam filter installed on your blog now? If not, you should have one so that it will help you filter out these suspect comments.

      • Actually I did, in one of my blog. But this particular one hasn’t got one installed. So, it’s flooded with spams. Oh, now I know why people HATE them! Thanks Gloria for your time and help. I’ll sure to check your site very often. Thanks.

  7. Comment Spam is a terrible thing. I feel like I’m constantly fighting a battle against the slime that leave unsolicited, irrelevant and often degrading comments filled with links to disreputable sites on my blogs. It comes from the automated bot spammers but also from the small blogger who think that a comment like ‘nice site’ with a link back to their site is any better. I delete them all and add them to a blacklist.

    • It is frustrating, isn’t it? I just don’t understand why a person thinks that a comment of “nice site” is good enough. Show me you actually took the time to read the post by commenting on something specific and adding your own point of you. That’s what you did, and I appreciate you taking the time to do it!

      Gloria

  8. Hi, Gloria,
    I could not quite understand your question.
    Did you mean registration forms? Yes
    Akismet is not blocking spam, it is flagging and sorting it out.
    Though, since it is frequently fails, it should be manually re-checked anyway.
    Keycaptcha is captcha, it does PREVENTS programmatic/machine access to message boards, wiki, forums, chats, blog comments, registration forms, etc. AT ALL.

    • Thanks for getting back to me. I did check out Keycaptcha, and it seems like a great solution to the spam problem. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it works with WordPress.com, so I can’t install it on this site. I’ll just have to keep manually checking my spam.

  9. What’s the point in Akismet after which one needs to manually scan all spam?

    Get reliable captcha like keycaptcha, zero spam ever since

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