Why should blog spammers get a free lunch?
Although spam has been one of the scourges of the internet for several years, most spam filters are now good enough for you not to have to worry (or even think) about it. That’s certainly true of Gmail. Spam comments on blogs, however, are a very different matter.
All bloggers must be hit by this menace – I know I am. Most of us make use of word verification technology to help prevent spam attacks from bots but this does nothing to stop somebody sitting in India who’s being paid to repeatedly add spam comments to a blog post for SEO purposes. For whatever reason, today’s been a particularly bad one on Law Actually; they’ve been spamming the s**t out of me.
Unless and until the spam filter functionality which blogspot recently started featuring gets a lot better, the only effective way of combating it is a very manual approach - by deleting the offending comments. That’s not great, but doing nothing is definitely not an option.
I’ve always regarded a blog as more of a dynamic conversational thing compared to a static webpage, so the readers’ comments are just as valuable as the post itself. Rather than me having to approve each and every comment before it goes live on Law Actually, I just make commenters jump through the word verification hoop and once done, their contribution appears for the world to see. That way, it’s a less stilted, more real-time flow of ideas.
But every bloggers secret weapon should be email alerts. I get an alert every time a new comment is made on any of my posts and I’ll delete any I regard as spam immediately. Sometimes, it’s an endless battle but as fast as these irksome spammers hit on me, I delete their false and link-ridden ‘comments’.
In spite of the warm glow of victory having momentarily defeated a spammer, blog comment spam really winds me up. Why should bloggers give away a valuable commodity to the parasitic businesses who want to freeload on our respective pageranks as a means of boosting their own Google rankings? I’ve no objection to those who are willing to pay for it, but I realise that some bloggers feel that monetising their blogs somehow sullies them. I’m less concerned about that; my overriding feeling is that I simply hate people who are always looking for something for free.
The attempts of some spammers to segue their seedy links into the post topic are hilarious, but most are just offensive through their sheer stupidity. Comments to a blog post are really not the place to ‘thank me for sharing’ followed by whatever random link(s) the spammer is touting. Nor are they the place to tell the world that XXXX are the best personal injury lawyers in [insert name of town/city/locale]. And if you offer cheap and fast conveyancing, I really don’t want to hear about it in the comments section on a blog.
But there’s another reason why all bloggers should make a concerted effort to combat the scourge of spam comments. There’s nothing more depressing than seeing a blog plastered with text and links filling up half of the comments on any post. It makes it look cheap, uncared for and with a dirty habit. It’s the blogging equivalent of having track marks up your forearm. Surely you wouldn’t want that for your blog?
So please, learned blawggers of the ‘sphere, if you haven’t already set up en email alert for comments, do so now, and as far as spam comments are concerned, operate a shoot-to-kill policy.
Together we can kick these spammers where it hurts!