Tomorrow is Thanksgiving 2016 and I’m thinking that I’ve been writing a lot of long posts lately. Today, not only have I changed the date of the blog post (Wednesday’s post went to my business blog since it would have been my dad’s 85th birthday), but I’ve decided to shorten the post just a little bit.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written specifically on the topic of spam, just about 2 1/2 years, and even though a lot hasn’t changed as it regards spam, I knew I had more ways to help people identify when a comment is spam.
First, check out this post from September 2013 giving 9 ways to identify spam and then proceed… heck, read this one first, then go back to the other post; that makes more sense. lol Hopefully most of you know this already. If not, you can thank me later:
1. Multiple comments within a short period of time.
Sometimes you’ll get someone who’s visiting your blog, decides to read a bunch of your posts, and comments on a lot of them. When it’s legit, that’s pretty cool. When it’s not, it’s easy to tell.
If you’re looking at comments in your Admin panel, it tells you the time and date of a comment. If you have 2 or more comments from the same person within a minute or two, it’s spam. Think about how long it takes you to read someone’s blog post, let alone comment on it.
2. Many different names but the same email address
This one should be easy but a lot of people don’t pay attention to it. You might get multiple comments quickly, but if the spammers are savvy they’ll space these out.
3. Many different email addresses but all from the same IP address
You know easy it is to get a Gmail account? For that matter, you can fake an email address and link it to a real website or blog (sneaky punks). What you can’t fake unless you have specific software is the IP address, which is just under the email address in the Admin area.
4. The comment is directed at an image.
If you ever see an image in the area where it tells you which article someone is commenting on, it’s spam. Most of these comments are fake anyway and should be easy to spot, but you might not be paying attention, especially if you’ve got a lot of comments to go through.
5. Well written comment but doesn’t address anything in the post
These are pretty good comments… but they’re fake. Maybe 1 in 20 gets close enough to the topic where it looks legitimate, but if you’re paying attention you’ll realize that they haven’t addressed a single thing you wrote about.
6. Great comment… but there’s something familiar about it…
This one is tricky and even I’ve missed it a few times. The comment looks great and is on point with the topic. Just one thing; you think you’ve seen it before because the words seem familiar.
This in a great scam because it’s easily missed, especially if you have a lot of comments on your article. In essence, it takes either a portion of a comment someone else has written on the same post or copies the entire thing. If you’re not paying attention you’ll miss it and start responding to the comment. Sometimes while you’re doing this you’ll ask yourself “didn’t I say that before”?
7. Comments written in all caps
How many people do you know who write in all caps (well, my wife does it so I know one lol)? This usually denotes bad software that someone’s purchased. Since these comments usually don’t pertain to the article, they should be easy to spot.
8. Multiple links in the comment
On this blog, even one link in the comment sends it to spam because I use the GASP Anti-Spambot plugin. For most blogs, you can get away with popping in links without retribution, although a lot of spam will only pop in one link to try to improve their odds that you’re not paying attention. If it’s not someone you know, immediately move those comments to spam or remove the links without clicking on them; trust me, that’s the safest thing to do.
9. The comment uses your full name or states your name multiple times
Back in the day you knew a comment was good when they knew your name. These days, the spam software has gotten so good that it can scrape the name of the author of the article. If it uses your full name that should make it easy for you to know it’s a spam comment. If you see your name multiple times that’s another easy one to call. If it uses your name once… well, read the comment and ascertain whether you think it’s legit or not.
There you are, 9 more ways to tell if a comment is spam. Although I kind of indicated that most of these are automated, not all of them are. Some people are paid to drop the same comment on multiple blogs, which helps them get through your spam filters. The best rule of thumb is to view any comment that looks even a bit dodgy as spam and delete it. If the person comes back and asks where their comment went, you can deal with it then. If not, you can feel pretty good that it was fake to begin with (I’ve never had anyone in all these years come back to ask about a missing comment that was truly spam; just sayin…).