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Judging spam comments

Having just deleted another batch of spam from my blog, I thought I’d share how obvious some of it is – and how you can avoid your comments being filtered out as spam.

  1. Flattery is common “this is the best blog”, “you write so well man” and “you must be an expert on this” are some recent examples in my spam folder. Genuine compliments are a good strategy, fake flattery is likely to get your comment deleted quickly
  2. Sounding impressed but never giving any specifics is also a common spam technique so they can use the same message in many blog posts. “I’ve been searching for this information” and “I was just discussing this topic the other day with my cousin” have been in my comments innumerable times; a genuine message would be specific and relevant, such as “I needed to know about clear communications” or “Some friends and I were just discussing keywords
  3. there is a discrepancy between the name, email address and URL usually means it is spam. If your name is Mary why wouldn’t your email address be mary@ or m.smith@? However, if the domain of email and URL disagree, I refuse to click on the link or accept the comment. So to get comments accepted, be honest and transparent.
  4. multiple links will be picked up by spam filters, but even the inclusion of one link in a comment makes me wary unless I know the person commenting. I look carefully at any comment with a link and decide if it looks safe enough to try the link myself – I certainly won’t accept a link without checking its content. Sometimes I will accept the comment but disable the link first, and I don’t think I’ve ever added a link in a comment I’ve left elsewhere unless they have the ‘latest blog post’ facility provided.
  5. really poor English is often a give away, too – and the ones that are obviously nonsense made up of part sentences should need no explanation. Poor writing of course is not 100% proof of spam so I do read these comments to assess if they are genuine or not. My tip is to make your comments read well to avoid being thought spam and to give your comment more credibility and weight.
Do you have any other tips for spotting spam comments for what they are?

3 Responses to Judging spam comments

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  • HRA says:

    I think most spammers try to play on human vulnerabilities, so it’s helpful to keep this in mind as well.

    For example, if I get an e-mail from a “bank” that says there’s a problem in your account — your natural reaction might be to panic and check it out right away. It’s the same thing with flattery (“ooh, a complement? Let’s see what they have to say here..) or business scams (“wow, a lucrative business opportunity?). With e-mail especially, you have to take a step back before diving in.

    Sometimes, if you put your mouse over any links in the message it will tell you the URL – if it looks like it might not be safe, it’s not really worth the risk.

    • tashword says:

      Yes, the spammers are often clever – they know what buttons to push and how to make emails look genuine. I find the blogging spammers are not as good as the email ones (good at getting a result rather than good in the sense of a good person helping others!)

      For bank and other financial emails I take the view that if it does not start with my name, it is suspicious and I won’t click on links – if I am not sure, I go to the original site manually and log in that way.

      Hovering over a link for the URL is something I see to do all the time but since changing to a mac laptop it doesn’t work on websites (it does in outlook for mac) so I have to use other factors to decide on the trustworthiness of a link.

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