Saturday, January 10, 2009

How to recognise and deal with comment spam on your blogspot blog

"Susan said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often."
Aww? Isn't that nice? Comments like that are great. They're why I wrote the beginners guide. They're the ones that Grannymar calls the readybrek of bloggers. Except, in this case, it was spam. Bold Susan or Deborah or whatever you were called.

One name to begin with, but signed Deborah and a link to an insurance website. Spam spam spam.

Many blog writers will be more than familiar with such comments. Wordpress users have their own filters to deal with such, but people new to blogspot/blogger might like to know the following.

Why it happens:

This is just another form of bad advertising. The same way your web email gets "gr0w y0ur pen1$" and "cheap r0llex watch" emails, so some people write comments in the hope that the link they attach will either boost their SEO rankings (how quickly and easily people will find them in search engines) or that you or your readers will click on the link and buy.

Believe it or not, companies actually pay for this. One such site is pictured below:

They advertise how "they hire skilled writers who are trained in creating high quality blog comments. They post relevant comments on websites that have a strong connection to your website’s niche. By posting a username at each comment with a hardlink directing back to your website, our commenter creates a high quality backlink for your site with each comment."

You'll be glad to know though that unless you or a reader clicks on the link, it doesn't work. In January of 2005, Google created a nifty piece of code called "nofollow" which means links in the comment section of Blogspot don't benefit from any Pagerank boost, the very thing the spammers are after.

These companies are out there though and I'm seeing a lot more of their spam creep through. Darren Rowse over at the well-worth-a-regular-read has more on it here.

How to recognise a spam comment

Well, like the above, it's usually in the name or the fact they've included a non-relevant URL or website in their comment. As well as the above, I have some examples here:

Example 1: No name provided and a non-descriptive URL linking to a site that could be anything:

Example 2: No name provided, another link to a site that could be anything and a foreign language. (I really hope I'm not deleting a comment that is telling me I've won something.)

Example 3: Sometimes they're nice comments! However, given the facts that no name is provided, I guess we can say they're probably more spammy than not.

Example 4: We have a name, we have a decent, relevant comment but it's still bad advertising, it's still a link to a site I have no relationship with, so it still gets deleted.

What you can do about it.

Your first visit should be to your Dashboard. You can then choose Settings and then Comments and set things up there, from who you want to comment on your blog to whether you'd like to enable comment moderation or word verification.
  • If you enable comment moderation, you can view new comments and approve or reject them before they appear on your blog

  • If you enable word verification, this will require your readers to enter a unique code - or captcha - when they comment which will deter automated comment spamming systems.
You should also ensure you have your email address entered in the Comment Notification Email section, which will ensure you get an email whenever anyone leaves a comment. I have a filter set up in my Gmail meaning every comment goes to a special marked label and is easy to find.

What I do is delete all of the spam comments I get, usually immediately but always as soon as I can. It's just a matter of clicking the little delete/trashcan icon on the comment itself.

I hope that helps someone. If you happen to think though that this is far too basic, that people must or should know this information already, do spare a thought for Rhonda:

Check out the Quick Online Tip to help you locate the ANY key on your keyboard.

Spam: not fun, funny sometimes, only good in a Monty Python sketch. Or a blender.


  1. I sometimes get spam advertising on my Handy Hints day. If the comment is worthwhile I keep it and delete the URL, that way there is no link back.

  2. That would explain "Leon" who has suddenly been appearing on every blog I read.

    Oh, he'll find you, I'm sure. :)

    I like the Trashcan/delete button. Makes you feel more powerful. ;)

  3. Great post! You can donate me a Rollex watch or a bigger p5ni5 @...

    I hate the spammers.

  4. but but... those are the only comments i get! (kidding... i actually have two real people (people that i know) who finally read my blog) Good post.