Letting Comment Spam Take Over Your Blog – How to Let Your Blog Go #5

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I visit a popular political blog about once a week and a few months ago I started seeing some pretty nasty comment spam pop up. After a few weeks it seemed like it was completely taking over the comments and my first thought was, “Gosh, they’re really letting this blog go to the dogs!” – which is exactly what your readers say when you let your blog go and stop paying attention to comment spam.

Thankfully, that political blog was just going through some personnel changes and it wasn’t long before someone had gone through the entire blog and removed all the nasty comments. Before that happened though, a lot of their regular readers stopped leaving comments because it was just so offensive down there. Which is also exactly what will happen to your blog if you stopping paying attention to comment spam.

Why You Need To Clean Up Comment Spam – NOW!

You look bad to your readers: The average reader has no idea how blogs work or how the comment system works or that there are evil, spammy bloggers out there who like to spread their nasty little links all over the Web. The average reader thinks there really are people out there promoting all sorts of nasty products leaving links that lead to all sorts of nasty sites.

And the average reader thinks you are personally allowing these people to take over your comments section and that you approve of their nasty comments and links.

To the average reader, you look like someone who doesn’t care about his readers. In fact, to some readers you look like a sleazeball, someone they don’t even want to be associated with. Consequently, they’re going to stop leaving their nice, valuable comments on your blog. They may even stop visiting altogether.

You’re hurting your SEO: If you have dozens of spam comments after each post, just look at all those off-topic keywords compared to the keywords in your post. If your post is 400 words long and it’s followed by 2,000 spammy comments, the search engines aren’t going to know what to think.

And let’s not forget about the fact that Google is now looking at who you’re linking out to and they don’t like it when your links lead to spam, hype or malware.

2 Steps to Get Comment Spam Under Control

Step #1 – Spend an afternoon or a day, or whatever it takes, and go through your blog now to delete all comment spam. You’ll know it when you see it because it will make absolutely no relevant references to your posts at all.

If this leaves your blog barren of comments, so be it. Maybe, once that spam is gone, your readers will finally feel comfortable enough to start leaving comments.

Step #2 – Come Up With A Strategy To Control Comment Spam

To prevent this problem from cropping up again, you have several options:

Turn off comments: Some blogs get along very well with comments turned off. It’s drastic, and not necessarily the best solution, but it is an option.

Blacklist repeat offenders: If you’re using WordPress you can blacklist repeat offenders and it does work. You can use the person’s name, the name of their website, keywords, or even their IP address. Once blacklisted their comments won’t appear on your blog.

Moderate all comments: You can choose to moderate every single comment, even from repeat commentors. This, too, is a little drastic. Not only does it create additional work for you, but your readers will get frustrated if they have to wait for the comments to be approved all the time. Regular commentors expect to see their comments published immediately.

Allow previously approved comments: Make it a little easier on yourself and only have first-time comments held for moderation. Once the reader has had his first comment approved, all others are automatically published.

Install comment moderation plug-ins: There are loads of WordPress plug-ins that help automatically moderate comments. Using a plug-in that requires a captcha to verify the commentor is human cuts out the bulk of your comment spam.

Stéphane Kerwer
Article written by Stéphane Kerwer (1995 Posts)
Bonjour from a french guy. My name is Stéphane Kerwer and Dukeo is my blog. I do most of the heavy lifting in here but from time to time, you may see some guest posts. To receive updates from Dukeo, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
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6 Comments (Add one)

  1. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Ste,

    I let comment through but thank goodness no need to delete many spam comments. If I do receive a batch of 20 or 30 I delete immediately and add to the blacklist. You receive one chance to make a first impression.

    At times we forget what seeing our blogs, social networks or sales sites does to our visitors. Approach the situation from a third party perspective. Like visiting a bad neighborhood, you want to leave immediately because of the low energy element.

    No difference online. People see a flux of spam and get out of town rather than hang with low energy bloggers or commentors. Uber practical tips here.

    Thanks Ste,

    Ryan

  2. Jack Durish

    Funny, but I blogged on this same subject this week. It appears that “comment spam” has become endemic and we’re all learning to cope with it in our own ways. I’ve chosen to moderate all comments. Will it work? Will it become too much work? Will visitors who leave comments become impatient waiting for me to approve theirs? I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  3. Bob Young

    I’ve been moderating first-time commenters (once a comment is approved, future comments are allowed automatically, like you wrote about). Recently, I opened my blog to all comments, but set the filter to require me to moderate comments that contain even one hyperlink. It’s working okay so far – about one week – but I also don’t receive a lot of comments, so I’d still consider this an experiment.

  4. Howard Lee Harkness

    On my most active blog, I get roughly 500 spam comments per day, and 2-3 real comments per month.

    Akismet catches about 99% of the spam, so that I only have to manually delete 5-6 comments a day. I moderate *all* comments.

    I would like to have more real comments, even if it means spending more time at moderation.

    By the way, I’ve seen a new plugin that traps spam by having a fillable field that only appears to ‘bots. If a ‘bot fills it out, it is automatically trashed for you. I haven’t had a need for that yet, but it sounds like a really neat trick.

  5. Lisa

    I’ve just started going through all posts to clean up and comments are next on my list. I bet I could find some old spammy ones before I know what spam comments really were :) Thanks for sharing Ste.

  6. Cornel

    First, I’ll wait to recive some comments on my new-born blog..:) Then, I will moderate these. I think the last method is most suitable for me, the WordPress plug-ins. And I have to thank Ste, again!