Comment Spam Disguised as a Real Comment

I don’t know about you, but I hate comment spam.  I approve all comments manually and that helps keep my site pretty much spam-free.  However, there is one type of comment that I really hate.  It’s those comments that are disguised as real comments but really are spam.  They are the type that most newbie blogger will approve, which is just plain wrong.  You should not approve any comments on your site unless they:

  1. Are real comments related to the post they are posted on.
  2. Add something to the conversation.

Comments help build a community on a site, and allowing spammy comments destroys the community flow.

Examples of fake comments designed for nothing more than a link back include the usual flattery type comment.

“Hey, excellent blog.  I’ve told my friends about it.”

“Wow, this is great.  Could you write more on this topic?”

“I can see you are an expert in this field.”

For ALL comments like this, send them to the trash.

Today I got another comment I wanted to show you because this is comment spam that some people may not recognize as spam.  Here it is in my Spam folder (I’ve already sent it there).

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(Click to open full size in a new window)

At first glance, the comment looks to be something helpful to my readers, but the first clue is that it is not related to the post it is on, nor does it involve any of the conversations already on that page.

In fact, this is just generic text designed to fool a webmaster into approving it.  Read it:

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If I do a search of Google, I’ll bet that exact same text is found elsewhere on the web, as these spammers usually just lift a paragraph off another website.

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You’re BUSTED!

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Comments

  1. Jeremy says

    A comment I nearly approved the other day went something like this…
    “When I posted a comment previously I subscribed to follow up comments, but I keep getting the same comments sent to me, is there any way you can disable this service”
    I almost hit the approve button and was about to reply when I thought I’d check to see if they had actually made a comment, nope, no comments from that username or email were found on my site.
    SPAM.
    thanks for the post Andy, I can’t stand the junk either.
    Merry X-Mass.
    BTW is the “Confirm you are NOT a spammer” check box a plugin? what one is it ? cheers.

  2. james says

    Yes, I would like to know if you have added the “confirm you are NOT a spammer” and how.

    Also, Andy I thought I read on your blog somewhere where you were considering or are using CommentLuv or Disqus.

    What are your recommendations or what tool are you using now to combat this increase in spam.

  3. Peter Sundstrom says

    Hi Andy.

    Unfortunately many people who are new to creating blogs get very excited when they receive their first lot of comments and in most cases will approve them (assuming they even have that setting on).

    I guess it’s a matter of education so beginners realise what comment spam actually is.

    Cheers

    Peter

  4. Tom Brownsword says

    Great tips. I had not considered searching for the text of a comment before, but that’s a sure-fire way to see if it’s being used as comment spam (even if it does seem legitimate).

    While it’s like trying to chase cockroaches (in a way), I also ban all IP addresses that leave a spam comment on my contact forms across my web sites. I do this via .htaccess (it’s easy to do if you use Cpanel; just use the “IP Deny Manager” in the “Security” section). On my blogs, though, I only do it for comments that make it past the other anti-spam measures I have in place.

    • Andy Williams says

      The only problem I see with banning IPs, is that a lot of people can share the same IP, so blocking one person could effectively ban a lot of others.

  5. Marc says

    Comment spam stinks in another sense because it means that I can’t say “Hey, excellent blog” or “fantastic post” anymore. Simple exclamations of emotion can’t be expressed anymore. We also have to be careful about saying anything that is a generality lest it be mistaken for spam. It’s quite natural to occasionally make a general statement. What we as commenters are allowed to say or not say is being bracketed by the spammers. When artificial intelligence gets cheaper and gets into the hands of spammers, our freedom to express ourselves will be whittled down to the point where it becomes too much of a bother. I suppose by then, most blogs will deal with it by not allowing links in comments.

    • Andy Williams says

      I agree, and I do still approve some of those “great post” comments IF I recognize the name of the poster. However, even then I usually want a little more than just “Excellent blog”. I want comments to be more conversational as visitors who come to my blog also don’t want to see “great post” comments. They probably think that they are spam comments too, and wonder why they were approved. ;)

  6. Billy Roberts says

    Hi Andy,
    i approved a lot of spam comments until i saw that my articles that i researched so well had such crappy comments. I don’t approve any now that aren’t about the article. I dont want to be part of a spammy links to an equally spammy website. Is it ok to delete the comments after approving them?

  7. Art Howard says

    Andy,

    I have a website that I use only to test new plugins and such. I was getting more than 100 spam comments a day of the sort you’ve mentioned, including the fake Word Press help spam messages. I wanted to see how many people were actually typing out their spam comments vs. how many were simply using bots. So I posted an article about how to get a free backlink from my site. All the spammers had to do was type 4 simple words in their comment field to get my approval…if they would type “Thanks for the link.” and nothing else I’d approve their comment and give them the link back.

    Care to guess how many responded with that exact comment?

    You guessed it…Zero.

    Not even a noob marketer was smart enough to take me up on it. lol

    Anyway, thanks for the post and helping identify another “fake” type of comment spam.

    Have a great day:)
    Art

  8. Mr Bearly says

    Nice post Andy. Very accurate and I get a lot of junk comments which i don’t approve. One a new blog I will edit the comments and take off the link just so I have some comments to stimulate the discussion.

    I always have comments set to manual approve. The stupidity of some of the spam comments has to be seen to be believed. I will always delete any language other than English as well. I may trash some legitimate comments that way but if the post is in English so should all the comments.

    Nice work with the Kindle sales as well.

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