Spotting comment spammers and link droppers
I have an existing policy on comments on this blog, you can see it at the bottom of this post. For those too lazy to scroll down, here it is, with a link to a little rant of mine some time back.
Please do not spam or post multiple urls to your site or sites you earn from. All comments are moderated.
Your comments are your own. I reserve the right to edit anything I find objectionable. This includes the use of anchor text, links to moody stuff etc. If you don’t like these terms, then please go elsewhere, do not self promote or promote others. Say something that adds to the conversation. Spammy me2’s and yeah I agrees aren’t welcome.
Seems fairly straightforward if you ask me, yet people still try it on and expect me to just let things slide. So to help reinforce this I just thought I’d update things a little to help account for some of the more imaginative ways that people are trying to get these things called links and anchor text.
Hey, let me get things straight here 1st, I have no problem in the world with people being creative and finding ways to promote themselves or their clients. I do it daily, it’s called link building. Lots of others do it too, it’s the way of the search marketing world.
Blog comments are a great way of getting yourself out there. Heck, I should do it more too, but I don’t, because most of the time I’m too damn busy doing stuff that will, over time get links anyway, its called building good useful content.
Lately see, I’m getting comments from people who turn up and call themselves all manner of names full of anchor text to TLD’s and client promotional stuff.
Let’s just make it clear here. I really don’t want those types of commenters here.
When you turn up and drop a link to your stuff 1st time with your anchor text to your site then straight away my hackles are up. Even if your comment is good I find myself thinking hold on a minute, this cheeky bastard thinks I was born yesterday, they think I’m gonna let their link stand. Uh uh, no way. If you comment on my blog and are respectful enough to have engaged in a thread or two, then you know what – I might just think to myself, hell I like this person, I like their style. As a result I’ll probably write about you at some point too and tell people how cool you are and why they should go and look at your stuff. I just won’t be mugged off by people who think ooh cool this is a dofollow blog, I’ll dive in there and get a free juicy anchor text link.
So as a little helper I thought I’d share 3 small observations I’d noticed, hell maybe it’ll help strengthen a plugin or two.
I won’t mention the obvious ones like links to Pr0n or Ph4rms or G4mbling type sites they are easy.
3 red flags for dodgy comments
- 1st time commenter has a name like ‘Electrical cool Gadgets’
Not many people were christened with this monicker. It’s most unusual. There have been isolated reports of forward thinking SEM’s naming their kids Viagra or Cilais or Ringtone Julie, but generally these are in the minority and are a pretty good indicator of some kind of spammy activity.
Where I see these, if the topic is on target, then I’ll generally delink their URL and delete their email address from their comment. This prevents them from attaining approved commenter status and allows me to moderate any subsequent incursions.
- The commenter links to a non blog website.
Blogs for me, are a conversational medium.Whilst not everyone has a website or a blog, some people see blog comments (especially dofollow) as an easy target for a link back to their or their clients URL. If a commenter isn’t linking back to theirblog, then it could be a case of them trying to use you for a one stop singular IP link back.
- The comment is short and praiseworthy but not much else.
Akismet catches most of this stuff, but sometimes it slips through. Don’t let your ego fool you. A person wading in with a ‘hey great post thanks’ type message, isn’t necessarily sincere. They are most likely just trying to rump you for a linkback. Be mean, be ruthless, delink their ass.
There are others, some are funny and some where you’ll just have to use a degree of commonsense decide for yourself.
- Free email addresses not related to the blog
Not all free email addresses are red flags for example. I use a hotmail account for this blog, its just easier to manage. I sign all my comments with my url and my hotmail address.
- Dumbass email addresses that shout hey I’m gaming you
One recent commenter was dumb enough to use an address of firstname.lastname@example.org which sort of made me laugh, but is probably an exception rather than a rule. One guy who is aligned to a well known comment spamming system discussed in the blogosphere recently had the shortsightedness to use an email address which helped me identify him as just that. Suffice to say his IP address was duly noted.
- Iffy looking TLD (domain extentions)
Look out for TLD’s like .info or .ru or .cn or any other number of obscure cheaply acquired mass abused domain extentions. Most (not all) are fine purveyors of spam who will link to stuff that might look ok, yet might be switched to something dodgy at a later date.
- Thin or shallow content.
Is the person you are linking to for real? Maybe their blog or website looks a little thin on content and substance, yet on the whole it isn’t too bad or innocuous. be cautious with this as it could be a bait and switch waiting to happen. 2 months down the road the guy decides to redirect the traffic to his latest money making program or worse still something morally objectionable.
It goes without saying of course that ultimately it’s all about what people say and how they say it. I’m all up for rewarding my commenters with a little link love, it’s one of the reasons why I removed nofollow from this blog and why I installed the top commenters plugin too (see sidebar). A good commenter will take the time to read what you have said and offer a genuine considered view on your perspective. Their interest in what you’ve written will in most cases shine through.
It isn’t always easy though and there are lots of borderline cases that make you wince a little and think…hmmn I’m not sure about this one. No one wants to alienate a genuine commenter, well not me anyways.
Heck its clear that there is certainly a need for some kind of network lookup plugin that periodically checks the content that you link to for dodgy words or imagery. Maybe those smart chaps at wordpress can come up with something useful, maybe I could even if I weren’t so lazy 😉
What do you do to identify your comment spammers? Do you even think twice about the name they use, or the type of stuff they link to?Posted on: 31st July 2007, by : Rob Watts