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Part Three – Sorting Out Spam Comments in your Blog

What a thrill it is to get people commenting on your blog. That’s how it works, right? People from all over the world will discover your writing talents, appreciate your knowledge on a certain subject and leave comments. That is what all of us engaging in the social media world have all been promised, right? Well, good comments will happen, but I hate to tell you that here, too, spammers are lurking in the background.

Usually these spammers are trying to get into your site by adding links where you may not even realize it. This is called link spam and they are doing this to give their websites higher rankings by adding lots of links. These link spammers use various methods, which include link-building software, link farms (aka mutual admiration societies), hidden links and spam blogs.

So how do you recognize valid comments from a spam comment?

Many times you can recognize link spam by the nonsensical, irrelevant text and by the large quantity of links that all point to a single site. Link spam causes various problems from wasting your time in reviewing them, to clogging search engines, and in scraping content from other’s sites making real new content difficult to locate.

Sometimes it’s not easy to distinguish between spam comments and valid ones. They try to convince you with their high praise that you are literally the ‘cat’s pajaams’ (I had one that said exactly that).

Here are five things to look for and ways to clean up your comment list quickly:

1- First, delete the obvious ones, like the ones shown below entirely. Don’t let them get any link juice from your site.

Obvious Spam

Obvious spam message in blog

2- Do you know the commenter or business name behind the comment?

3- Is there content that appears original? Meaning that it responds to information that you specifically provided in your post or addresses you by name.

4- Multiple comments sent from the same address or domain.

Repeat Spam

5- Reply to their comment with a thank you and a question. Do you get an answer? If not , it’s probably a spammer.

Adjust how your blog or website is set up

There are some simple things you can do to deter link spamming in the setup of your website like: adding validation software like CAPTCHA, making comment links “no follow”, not allowing multiple consecutive submissions, and blocking certain keywords (Levitra, etc).

Use an anit-spam software like Akismet or Discus. This software helps by showing multiple email addresses, allows you to track back to the IP address easily and allows you to tag comments for spam, and approve or disapprove comments. I also like it because I can reply to a commenter without using my email address and putting that at risk.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!

Part Two – Spam on Social Networks

Recently I got scam-spammed on Facebook by reposting an entry on Amy Winehouse’s death stating that it was getting more media attention than several soldiers who were killed in action. I should know better, right? Maybe you saw it, too? Oops. Sorry! How did I find out? Shortly after I posted, I received an email from a friend that said it was an inaccurate message. The exact same message had circulated about a year earlier using Lindsay Lohan’s name. That got me mad enough to write this blog. People need to know how insidious spam has become.
'Folding the flag.' photo (c) 2008, Sam Craig - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Chuck Anastasia has done a nice job researching and straightening out the facts. What I learned from this incident was that in the future before I repost anything, especially posts honoring our fallen soldiers, I will check them out first. The great disrespect these soldiers’ families have experienced and the great pain caused to them is horrible.

Increasingly, social networks are experiencing viral marketing tactics that use embedded links that cause great harm to ever larger groups of people. They lure people to click on these links in many deceptive ways, some will say a person is missing and to click on the missing persons flyer, some say your system has a worm virus called “insert name of horrible sounding virus here”, some use a celebrity breaking news item, some use the lure of checking out ‘who’s checked your profile on Facebook’, etc. Similar links can be embedded in quizzes, games and apps. After the individual clicks on one of these embedded links a variety of things can happen. Some will take control of your address book and send malicious messages to your friends and some will download viruses, spyware or Trojan horses right onto your computer.

Plus, there are other tricks that these spammers employ. If you are asked to “Sign Back into Facebook” beware! This is a sign that they are phishing for your password. Legitimate sites, using Facebook Connect, will open a new window with the URL starting with ‘facebook.com’. Do not type in your password using any other domain name. If you are asked to connect to an app and you are unsure of it, simply ‘deny it’ or ‘leave App’.

Where should you check first?

1- My first spam, scam, fraud and urban legend point-of-reference is Snopes.com. They have a treasure trove of information categorized on most everything. If the story is true, they say so. Although they didn’t have the Amy Winehouse on Facebook story yet, I still use them often.

2- I plan to continue checking Coolsparks, Chuck Anastasia’s blog. The comments from the Lindsay Lohan blog, posted over a year ago continue to come in.

3- About.com does a nice piece called Urban Legends.

Next week, for part three of this four-part series, I’ll talk about “Sorting Out Spam Comments in your Blog”. If you missed last week on recognizing spam, click here. Hope to see you then. Thank you for visiting.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!