What is Blog Comment Spam
Social Cindy is a major fan of blogging as a way for small businesses to achieve visibility in search results by Google and others. We believe every business website without a blog is missing a bet.
Of course the traditional reason for blogging is to share information and encourage a conversation. Therefore, most blogs include a mechanism for the reader to leave a comment to ask a question or add to a the discussion. At Social Cindy, our primary interest in blogging is to help build search engine visibility, but we also recognize the benefit of fostering a conversation via blog comments. Therefore we almost always leave comments enabled.
Along with the genuine comments from fans and worthy opponents, any blogger will suffer a number of comments that have nothing to do with their original post. The sole purpose of these messages will be to promote someone else blog, or website. This is the very definition of “comment spam.” Comment spam will be easy to spot due to the following common traits:
- Comment spam usually will have nothing to do with the subject of your post.
- Comment spam may offer effusive praise, or ask a question that has nothing to do with your post.
- Comment spam is often written in awkward or broken English.
- Comment spam will often include links to someone else’s website.
- Comment spam will often mention a brand name or product.
- Lately I have seen spam comments written in foreign character sets.
The object for the spammer is to get you to approve the message so their content will appear in your blog and increase the visibility of their site, or product..
Upside / Downside
Comments themselves are usually not known to be dangerous, although I will never click on a link provided in a spam message. We configure your site so that a comment doesn’t show up on the public side of your website until you have had a chance to take a look at it. They simply stack up in a queue in your admin area waiting for you to “moderate” them by approving them, or sending them to the dumpster. The main downside is that if you don’t keep up with the comment moderation you website can accumulate a couple thousand comments in the queue. This can clog up your database and slow your site.
First let me say that an increase in comment spam is not all bad news. When we build a new site the first appearance of comments including spam is an indication that the site is beginning to rank in search engines. As the volume begins to grow you will want to consider solutions to weed out some of the sheer number of spam comments that you must review and dispose of. What are your options?
Akismet is a plugin that comes pre-installed in most WordPress installations, so it is likely already part of your site. In most cases, all you need to do is go to the installed plugins tab and click the activate Akismet button. There is one more step. Akismet requires a “key” to function for your site. The key is a long character string that you will obtain by clicking “Get your key” and insert into the box. (see image.) Akisment offers some configurable options but you are safe to leave them alone to start.
Once you have Akismet activated and operating with your key, it will do a fine job of reducing a high volume of comment spam down to a trickle.
Bulk Comment Deletion
If you do let things get away from you, and you find you have hundreds or thousands of comments in the moderation queue, there are ways to avoid spending hours deleting all that spam.
Once again WordPress plug-ins come to the rescue. Plug-ins like Bulk Comment Remove, or WPCommentCleaner will provide a way to delete pending comments in one action. WPCommentCleaner will even remove comments you have already marked as Spam, and even approved comments if that need should ever arise.