5 More Examples of Legitimate Looking Spam

Last February I wrote a post titled Bad Coments/Spam The Same where I highlighted six different types of comments that show up and I felt were spam of some type. After that, Adrienne Smith and I had further conversations about what we felt was spam related, and at the time I thought her beliefs were a little tough. Upon reflection, I think she’s got it spot on.

Spam wall
freezelight via Compfight

Here’s the deal. Sure, all of us want visitors and we want people to comment on our blogs. But we have to be ready to face the fact that not everyone who’s commenting on our blogs cares anything about what we’ve just written about. As a matter of fact, I’ve been a bit tougher on some comments lately, and I’ve noticed that only one person has complained about their post not showing up, and it was easy to address.

I figured it was time to address this topic once more because, well, spam just doesn’t go away, and yet there are so many blogs I’m visiting where I know it’s spam, but the blog owner doesn’t. This could be you or someone you know; let’s find out with these 5 looks:

1. Does the comment actually address the post in question? I wrote a recent post comparing Google+ to Facebook and got a few comments that told me what either G+ or Facebook were. Frankly, I already knew what they were, everyone else already knew what they were, thus this was spam. I know, it was someone paid to leave a comment on blogs obviously, but that’s just human spam; gone!

2. Is there any punctuation in the comment, or any real grammar. By this, I mean there’s no capitalization, no punctuation between obviously different sentences, and usually the comment is 2 or 3 sentences with no real start or end. Often this type of comment only addresses the first paragraph of a post so it looks legit, but it’s not because not all first paragraphs are what a post is about; you other writers know what I’m talking about.

3. Almost the exact same comment in the same style from different IP addresses, but the comments come in at the same time. Now, I’ve seen this type of thing often, and it’s problematic because every once in awhile the comments aren’t bad. But you have to call it out, as I did earlier this year when I wrote a guy who was doing that, linking to two different websites, but when I checked it out they were the same website with one being a redirect. He apologized for doing it and admitted he was paid to post comments on other blogs, but hadn’t paid much attention to where he was doing it obviously.

4. There is punctuation but no spacing. Come on, who really writes like that? What I did initially was visit the websites linking in to see if those websites were written in that style; they weren’t. That tells me that whomever is commenting could care less about what they’ve written on my blog because they didn’t give me the courtesy they probably expect in their own space. Once again, gone!

5. Too many people seem to keep missing this, which is right about the comment space:

“This blog doesn’t accept keyword names, and the comment will be deleted if a real first name isn’t put on first. Also, if your name has 3 words or more in it, the comment automatically goes to the spam filter; just so you know.”

Sometimes, if the comment isn’t all that strong, I just leave it in the spam filter and delete it. Now, some of you who keep ignoring it know who you are, and if you’ve seen your comments on the blog posts you know you’ve left something pretty good. Otherwise, the way I see it if the comment isn’t great, and the comment policy was ignored, then that was someone not even trying to add to the conversation so, sorry, it didn’t exist.

Okay, those are the 5 points I wanted to make. However, I mentioned something where I said one person complained. Actually, he wrote me because his comment didn’t show and he wondered what he might have been doing wrong. In a post I wrote in September talking about spam settings, I mentioned how if I got more than 3 spam comments from a particular IP address that I went into Settings/Discussion and reduced the filter to just the first 2 numbers rather than all 4. Well, my friend got caught up in that one, which told me his hosting company has a lot of spammers coming from there, but there’s nothing I can do about that. So I went in and altered that IP so that his comments would not be sent to spam any longer. First and only time that’s happened, but at least it worked.

There you go. How many of you will own up to seeing this on your blog and not thinking about it being spam? Will you remove it, or at least remove any further incidences of it, or do you see a comment as a comment?

19 thoughts on “5 More Examples of Legitimate Looking Spam”

  1. I think you pretty much nailed it.

    99% of the spam is coming from contractors working for lazy bloggers.

    I think people who are spam commenting just for links are missing a big opportunity.

    What good is a link that no one will ever click on? This is how websites end up attacked by the Google animals.

    I learned that only comments that add value to the discussion will get clicks by readers and result in new referral traffic. Do it right and it REALLY WORKS, trust me.

    Hiring contractors to post comments for back links is a waste of marketing money.

    The blogger would have come out better just buying banner ads.

    Remember newbies it’s trash in trash out. Merry Christmas.

    1. Great contribution Jacko. Actually, if they cared these folks could write better stuff than they do. You’ve seen Carl here; he writes comments for other blogs and websites but his comments are pretty good most of the time. So it can be done if they cared about what they were reading.

  2. Jacko is dead on. Hiring people to do the human spam thing works for a little bit in the short term before bloggers catch on and pull the plug on it.

    The larger sites they really want the links from know better and won’t allow it anyway.

    Although it must work on *some* level or they wouldn’t keep at it. A zillion links from non-targeted sites for a short time must yield enough bump to make it worthwhile? I don’t know…

    I block so much stuff. I even block it if it’s a comment that has like 3 words in it. I know I tend to leave longer comments and I don’t expect that from everyone but you can do better than 3 words!

    I’ll tell you the most insidious method that gets me an embarrassing amount of the time is when the spammer quotes/paraphrases an earlier comment, or even my own words from the post!

    It’s like “Yeah, I agree with this.” then “waitaminnit, of course I agree with it, I WROTE it!”

    Although, I have been getting a few link removal requests from folks who are finally realizing that having a ton of links from my site that has nothing to do with their site is not helping them.

    I know many of them just made a mistake and are now trying to do the right thing, so depending on how nicely they ask I will go through and remove the links.

    It’s a tough game out here, and unfortunately spamming is the path of least resistance for a lot of these guys.

    1. Good stuff John. I’ve been thrown by seeing words I thought had already been said at all; you get that deja vu thing and then you want to smack someone. lol I only got a few requests to remove links and I started telling people that they had to tell me specifically which one to remove because I wasn’t going to go through a lot of time trying to figure it out. One thing I’ve noticed on a couple of blogs I monitor is that some of them get tons of spam and I have no idea why because I don’t get close to those numbers. This must be what Mitch was talking about before he closed comments; I must be lucky.

  3. You know, that about 2 months ago, I put all comments on my main project on moderation and manual approval. The crazy thing is that even this way, some of the comments are bypassing this and got published automatically, not many but still and I don’t know how this happen. Rarely spam filters can stop “smart” spam or bad comments. On most of my WordPress blogs, I am dealing with bad and low quality comments. Using different than usual filters and list of nearly 500 stopwords, setting on comment length, but still there is always spam, but less.

    1. Carl, these people are always finding new ways around the stuff we set up; it’s amazing how smart these people seem to be and yet they can’t figure out that they’d make lots more money doing legitimate business.

      1. I am not sure how much money they can make with legitimate business, but for sure many businesses are losing money because spam. Not many of them are doing this manually, but in most cases software, which technically means that black hat software developers have a bit more knowledge about development and constantly improving ways to bypass spam filters, I can’t say that I am impressed by any algorithm that it is fighting against spam, even Google screwed up several times with their Pandas, Penguins and all other animals that are coming.

  4. People ignore our commenting policy Mitch but it they break two of the things I mentioned I don’t allow then they go directly to spam. I don’t care how good the comment was. You’re just telling me that you aren’t paying attention.

    I don’t have as many spammers as I use to but I still get those lazy ass people who want links from my blog so they “think” they are appeasing me by giving me some sort of decent comment although if they really knew what decent was they would be so embarrassed. It’s obvious to me that they are being taught to get out there and comment on those blogs. Sad thing is that people don’t know how to just be themselves. Or maybe they really don’t care to take the time to read several blogs a day. Oh heck, I have no idea what’s in their pee brains.

    Great points and it’s so sad that we even have to write about this topic you know! Shame on them but good for you.

    Hey Mitch, thanks for the mention… That was a good conversation don’t you think!


    1. It definitely was Adrienne, and the fact that it’s stayed in my mind for this long shows that I was paying attention. Lazy is the proper word for it because those folks are being paid to do a job and that’s the best they can do with comments? I’ve heard that some of those folks are on Fiverr; figures. Truthfully, I don’t care who someone’s commenting for; I want the comment to be pertinent if I don’t know you. I figure people earn their right in a way to become part of the community, and some folks aren’t really interested in that.

  5. I agree that spam is bad. But not all spam is created equal. If someone takes the time to read the first 100 words of any of my articles, and doesn’t finish…but still feels compelled to leave me a comment. …Ill take it. Even if it is a paid blog networker. I don’t even mind if they dont reference the article at all, as long as its a thank you or a adda boy.

    So I definitely am more opened minded than you. But I think we can agree robot keyword differs of anchor text the whole web could do without.

    Thanks for your post.

    1. Hi Jeremy; welcome. I’m not sure how long you’ve had your blog but this one’s just passed 5 years, and one of my other blogs has passed 7 or 8 years; I can never remember. There was a time when any ol’ comment would do but I’m past those days by now. Even though I write pretty fast, I don’t put posts out just because I’m trying to show off my writing skills. I want to know what people think about what I’ve written, and if all they’ve seen is the first 100 words, or even just the title, they’re not going to really have an idea of what I’ve written about; happens at least 75% of the time.

      If it doesn’t pertain to what the article is about then it’s a lousy comment because it takes away from the content and shows that person has or had a hidden agenda rather than cared what I had to say. If I wanted that I’d ask my wife to read my stuff, since she doesn’t pay attention. lol

  6. Mitch, I’m glad you wrote about item #3 because that’s what I just started to experience on my blog in large numbers. I noticed the same IP address, many comments, different avatars. At first I approved all the comments but then I realized that I would just get more of them. The comments were not bad. All addressed the points in the content. Some grammar was off. It just didn’t “feel” right. So I went back and deleted them. I wonder now if I should mark them as spam. Thanks for writing about this! It’s been on my mind.

    1. Suzanne, I marked them as spam because I felt I was being played and didn’t like it. I’ve always felt scammed with redirects in that fashion. You do know about adding the IP addresses under Settings/Discussion so they’ll go directly to spam, right?

  7. I’ve had the same experience as Suzanne above. I spam them if they don’t look legitimate. I also check out the web address provided if I’m not sure and if it looks legit I will give them the benefit of the double. I’ve had less since installed the Comment Luv premium too.

    1. Lisa, I’ve started looking at these things more lately because I want to make sure my blogs aren’t wastelands of bad comments. For instance, female names & pictures with male email addresses and the like.

  8. Spam comments are becoming a big issue. I know some bloggers want “shortcuts” but as someone already said in the comments: they are missing a big opportunity.

  9. I’m reading the comments and all of you have good points. Spam comments won’t add real value to discussion, so what’s the point in them anyway? People don’t see the big picture.

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