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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

More on Blog Spam . . .

It ain't over, folks, so this is another post on blog spam. 
It's like a bad itch; you scratch it and somehow it returns.

Wanting to learn more about comment spam, I did online sleuthing to learn reasons for and actions bloggers can take. (That's what happens when I'm recovering from a cold and staying awake.)

Thanks to a fellow blogger who posted that some blogs, including mine, had been spammed. I'd deleted recent spam, but wasn't diligent in marking comments them as spam (now done) to avoid future repeats. 

And, I'd failed to re-check comments a couple days after a current post. Sure enough, I found spam that had been left after. This won't be happening again; an Italian proverb states:
When a man deceives me once, it is his fault; when twice, it is mine. Today, this is more popularly translated to: Fool me onceshame on youfool me twice, shame on me. — Good advice !
Everything here may not be practical or applicable for all, but I enjoy sharing info.

What's comment spam?
Sometimes, it's an underhanded sleazy way for a spammer to hope for a free link back to their website by either copying previous comments or leaving a totally irrelevant  comment and a link. If a comment looks like unsolicited advertisement, it's can be spam.

Why it's annoying & why moderate it?
Blog authors take time to design a post they hope will entertain or inform or where they can share things of interest. "Real" commenters spend similar time reading such posts. 

Comment spam, if left unattended, could make it look like the blog author doesn't care about or read comments left by "real" commenters. 

It's even possible that not doing so could put readers at risk. If someone clicks on a fake link in a spam comment, a re-direct might lead to a malware site that could infect a computer with spyware or even a virus. 

You can be sure that not only will that person not return, but could alert others to avoid your blog. Wouldn't you?

How to identify spam
Comment links — be careful when you see links to other websites that you either don't recognize or suspect are not legitimate blogger sites. Avoid clicking on them.

Commenter names — many spammers won't use an actual name, but instead use SEO (search engine optimization) keywords like "best design company." If you spot a comment with no name, mark it as spam. The use of keywords in the name field of a comment without a real first and/or last name is almost always the sign of an SEO spammer. 

Relevant comment — is the comment related to the blog post? Generic platitudes like nice blog heregreat captureI have bookmarked it, keep posting, your site looks amazing can (but not always) can possibly be spam.

Not all comments like this are spam. "Real" commenters may leave similar ones due to time constraints, yet still want a blog author to know they've visited. Perhaps, you've received some from regular readers. In those cases, you'll need decide about its validity.

Inappropriate language — English is the most common language and a comment that you don't understand could be spam.  However, even on English language blogs, those from other countries may comment in their own language. You may well need to use your own judgement in many cases. 

There are two major blogging platforms. Wordpress offers plug-ins to combat spam comments through several third-party systems (at added cost). Blogger offers several built-in features. It's the only platform I've used, so here's some of them. 

Limiting spam in Blogger
Avoid anonymous comments — Log into your blog dashboard and go to Settings > Posts and Comments. You'll see an Option called Who can comment? Instead of Anyone, choose one of the other options: Registered User, User with Google accounts, or Only members of this blog.

Turn on comment moderation — This step takes time, but many blog authors do it to maintain the integrity of their blog. Go to Settings > Posts, comments and sharing and you'll see the comment moderation option. If you set it to Always and enter email moderation requests to — it prevents any comments from being posted without your approval first.

Receive comment notification email — Go to Settings > Mobile and email where you'll see a field for comment notification email. You can enter up to 10 emails, separated by commas. This option will notify you whenever a comment is left.

Enable CAPTCHA verification  — Most spam bots can't surpass CAPTCHA verification. Go to Settings > Posts and comments. You'll see an option for word verification. Enable it, by clicking to Yes and then Save settings. Now to leave a comment, someone will first have to complete a word verification. Be aware that not all commenters may like this additional step especially when reading and commenting on multiple blogs.

Websites implement CAPTCHA codes into registration processes because of spam. Those crazy numbers and letters are a way of checking if the person registering or trying to comment is a "real" human being as opposed to a computer program attempting to spam the site. (CAPTCHA is short for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.)

To check comments
Click Comments > Published
Under the comment, click Delete or Spam to move it to the Spam folder.

To manage comments in Spam, click Comments > Spam
Comments previously marked as Spam will be sent to this folder. You can delete them.  

You can check the spam folder not only to see what's been found, but also to make sure that no "real" comments went there in error. If you find one, click Not Spam and it returns to the post comments.

As the blog author/administrator, you can delete or mark a comment as spam, even if it's already posted — nothing is forever — especially spam.

What method(s) do you use to monitor comments — any of these?

16 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

Whatever method I do, and I forget, I don't seem to get any spam. But I don't do Comment Moderation. So many people do this but it's so unwieldy that I can't imagine why. I often want to ask, "If you click 10 enables a day, but only get spammed once a month, what's the point?" Maybe they don't realize that it's very easy to delete the occasional spam comment after the fact.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I agree with you on this point, John, and comment moderation seems like it would take up a lot of time when there’s always the need to confirm a comment. Similarly, I am not a CAPTCHA fan either because it too is time consuming. Like yourself, I haven’t gotten a lot of spam until recently and you are right that it is easy to delete these comments. Marking them as spam has also caught a few I missed on earlier posts. What I did find was that some unwanted comments had been posted days or weeks after I had read the original post comments.

Sandra said...

I removed anonymous years ago. I rarely get spam but when i do i catch it as soon as it this because i have my comments come into my email. when i see one i go delete it. this is good info because it is a real problem that can be mostly eliminated

Doris said...

I always use comment moderation. Spam comments can come way after the post. I find it to be easier to read/post or delete as they come rather than letting them post first....it works for me!

William Kendall said...

I use comment moderation after a set period- I think it's two weeks. I find spammers often tend to target older posts.

I've had one occasionally comment by starting off with "howdy". That word alone is one reason to make me want to hit them in the face.

Emma Springfield said...

All very good tips. You have done your research. Thank you.

Eggs In My Pocket said...

I use comment moderation and spam can be so frustrating. Thank you for you helpful post!

Red said...

Thanks. You've done a lot of research here. I've learned something.

Valerie said...

My way of removing spam was to block it in the first place via my Settings. It was so easy to do - just tick a box.

mamasmercantile said...

Thanks for your tips, I have certainly learnt a lot.

Country Gal said...

Glad you have that sorted out . I don't get spam in my comments as they go automatically to my email and it weeds out spam for me as it does not recognize them as a real address or a regular user address also I use my email to moderate all my comments just in case . Hope these spammers get the hint and you can automatically weed them out for good .

Country Gal said...

I also removed anonymous comments years ago to that also helps well with spammers .

Ginnie said...

A lot of research went into your exercise. Thanks. I had my fill of "Anonymous" years ago when a religious nut latched on and FLOODED me with nasty comments.

Lynn said...

I don't allow anonymous comments and that has pretty much solved the spam issue. Just one here and there.

Connie said...

Thanks for the information. Spammers can be a real bother.

L. D. said...

Thanks for sharing this. I know blogspot says that they really are secure. It is the links that people put on their blogs that can send you to regret land that is the problem. I have had invaders in my comments that messes with the view of the comments in my mail.

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