Blog comment spam – how to spot it and stop it
If you run a blog that’s been around for a while you’ll be familiar with spam comments. These are comments that at first look appear to be from real customers usually complimenting you on your post. A few recent examples from the Fly Digital blog are shown on the left (click to view).
When you first start getting them it’s can feel good, after all it means people are finding your blog. I remember thinking in the early days “how nice, Mr random1234 who has a website about adult oriented content likes my post”… but then the penny drops and you realise Mr random1234 is also Mrs annoying5678 and it’s not long before you’re cursing their part in your social media strategy.
A lot of the time these spam comments are simply trying to post a backlink from your website to theirs for link building (SEO) purposes. In some rare instances, the comment can contain a link to sites containing malware or pages that download malicious scripts to your visitors’ computers which is why you don’t want to ever let them get published to your blog.
They’re easy to spot, generally the post is a) positive in nature (eg: “good point”, “great post” or “i love your blog”), b) has a link either in the comment post or ‘website’ field to a shortened or dodgy looking URL (whatever you do, try not to click on it) and c) is often, but not always, grammatically incorrect or misspelt. I don’t know why point c) is the case, I wonder if it’s related to the writing ability of the people who perpetrate this or if it’s actually designed to make the comments look more ‘real’.
There are a couple of ways to stop this. You can take the ultimate action of removing user comments from your posts but most of the time this isn’t an option.
Generally adding a ‘captcha’ (example of one is shown on the left) to your comments form will stop most of the automated spam comments coming through. If a real customer wants to post on an article I would suggest that adding a captcha is not a deterrent and is becoming more and more common on blogs these days.
Captcha scripts can be found in many places on the web, most of them are free, Google ‘captcha’ as a starting point. And if you need any help with adding one to your site, get in touch and we can give you a hand. Happy blogging.