Tag Archives: blog comments

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?
 

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Check Your Blog Commenting System

More than a year ago I wrote a post titled Is Your Comment Process In Error? In that post, I talked about two things that are irksome in regards to commenting on other people’s blogs. One of those things was when people write posts and immediately close comments. The other point is still a gripe I have, that being people who have comments open, you leave a comment, and then you never hear back from those folks.


via Flickr

Today I’m only talking about the second one because it’s hit me that even after more than a year that there are still a lot of people who aren’t recognizing that people aren’t seeing that their comments are being responded to. This isn’t a problem like what we deal with on systems like Blogspot, WordPress.com, Typepad or many other blog services which some of you know I absolutely hate. In this case, folks don’t have anything extra on their blog such as a checkbox where we can decide if we want return messages, and the blog owners, who are being good by responding to comments, don’t know that no one is seeing those comments, hence they’ll never get any return comments from those folks.

I made an assumption that some people would add the threaded comments plugin if they had a WordPress blog, but I realized that there’s no way for me to know. I also thought about it and wondered what people that didn’t use WordPress (who could that be?) wouldn’t have access to the plugin. Finally I said “Heck, if people don’t know people aren’t getting responses, then why would they even think about it at all?”

Therefore, this is a brief educational pause to all of you that have noticed that you never, and I mean ever, get anyone to return to your post if they’ve left a comment you haven’t responded to. There’s actually one things you should be paying attention to, one thing you need to do, and I’m going to help you out right now.

The first is to ask yourself if you get email notification that someone has written a comment on your blog. If the only time you know there’s a comment is when someone writes you to tell you they left one, or you have to go to your blog and that’s when you see comments, then your comments probably aren’t working.

The second is if you’re unsure if it’s working or not, then you need to do a test. Even though I knew it was working on all my blogs, I still did a test with the last 3 blogs just to make sure. This is really simple. What you do is go onto your blog site and write a short comment on one of your posts. Sign in using a different email address than what’s associated with the site; you don’t have to put in a url because you’ll be trashing the comment pretty quickly.

You leave a comment, then check your email to see if you got notification of the comment. Whether you do or not, go into your admin panel, look at your own comment, and reply to it. You don’t have to write a lot; just write something like “test” on your original comment and your reply. Then check your email once more to see if you’ve received a response. If not, then you know that no one else has been receiving your replies either.

At that point you can either check all of your settings to see if you’ve missed something, add the plugin I’ve recommended above, or find something else that can help you monitor comments while giving people the option of receiving comments or not. This is a very proactive way of making sure people are getting your replies, and that helps build community. After all, people love knowing you cared about their comments, and if you’ve been doing that but they don’t know, it’s the same as not doing it at all.

And there you go; another blogging tip from Mitch! 😉
 

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Why Don’t People Read?

A common lament I see when it comes to bloggers looking at comments is that the responder seems to not have read any of the post. Many comments seem to be geared towards the title, which is fine in and of itself, but when the content goes a different way than the title then many comments look, well, idiotic, definitely spam-like.


by Rachel Sian via Flickr

I’ve noticed this as well, but not only in commenting. I’ve talked about my finance blog, Top Finance Blog. It’s the only blog I have that actually makes any money.

Anyway, on that blog I have a written guest posting policy; it’s the only blog I have one of those on. I created it because I get lots of requests to write posts for that sucker, mainly from the UK, which I find really interesting since it’s obviously an American blog, but as long as they fulfill the qualifications as listed in the policy then it’s all good.

However, at least half the requests I get don’t fit the policy at all. I don’t mean articles; I mean how to contact me. See, I put one very specific thing in that guest posting policy to help me weed out people who could care less and people who might have something on the ball. It’s very simple; all the writer has to do is use my name, Mitch, in the email. That’s it; don’t call me “webmaster”, don’t just say “Hey”, but use my name.

Those that don’t use my name also ask me if I accept guest posts. Don’t ask me if I accept guest posts because the policy says I do. And something weird is happening lately. I’m not only getting requests to guest post on my blog, but there’s the line that says if I have content I’d like to post on their blog to let them know. Actually, that sounds kind of good on the surface, so let me post you the quote, which is coming from a lot of people word for word:

If you happen to have some good articles or blogs posted elsewhere, provide a few links so the site owner can get a good feel for your writing style. Ask upfront if there are any requirements the blog owner is looking for such as specific word counts (500-1000 words) or post deadline dates.”

I mean, what is that? You’ve just visited my blog, supposedly, are asking if you can post on my blog, then you add this? Am I supposed to be flattered, encouraged, what, other than kind of irritated?

Anyway, I’d like your opinion on whether you feel very few people actually read what you have to say based on what you’re seeing on your blog. I know it’s not universal, but try to guess how many posts I’ve had to eliminate over the past few weeks that aren’t adhering to the very clearly written comment line just above the comment box regarding keywords.
 

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When Do You Unsubscribe From Posts?

Before I begin talking about the subject, I thought I’d put this message out first to see if those folks I consider as comment spammers will actually read it. This blog has never accepted keyword names, but if a first name is present I’ve always left it alone. Other comments, if I thought they were good, I’d go in and edit the name so that only initials showed up. Thing is, not one of those people has ever come back to say anything about it or leave another comment. Therefore effective immediately, any comments with only keywords in it will be deleted; I’m not even going to take the time to read the comment. I need a name, something to call you besides “Vacations In Paris”, or whatever goofy thing someone wants to promote.

via Flickr

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Because I comment on a lot of blogs, I often subscribe to the post for a while to see if someone will respond to it. That is, when it’s an option; otherwise I’ve just figured I’m already subscribed and I’m good with that. I don’t mind seeing other comments… for a while at least.

We all know what happens most of the time. Blog posts aren’t known for their periods of longevity when it comes to getting comments. A post can get a comment many months later, but most of the activity happens very early. Just a few days ago I got notified of a comment on a blog post on someone else’s blog that was written more than two years ago; that’s actually pretty neat because it gives you an opportunity to go back to that blog post to see what it was all about and possibly read it again.

But what do you do if you’ve commented on a blog kind of early and then you’re starting to be bombarded with a lot of other comments? How do you personally handle that type of thing?

The way I handle it is to first wait to see if the blog owner starts responding to any of the comments. I’ll give that a few days or so, and if the blog owner hasn’t started responding to any comments by then I will usually bail. I know that people go on vacation and have other things to do sometimes, but in today’s world everybody has access to the internet within at least a couple of days.

Also, if I’ve written a comment and already gotten a response but there’s still tons of comments coming, I’ll take a look at the comments to see what types of things people are writing. If after a while I notice that almost every comment is kind of junkie, I’ll leave. After all, one always hopes that other people’s comments are going to add to the conversation, and if that’s not happening then why bother?

In being truthful, I have to admit this isn’t a problem I have to deal with all that often. There may be a few blogs that end up with tons of people who comment all the time that I have to deal with. I actually applaud those few blogs because the owners are also responding to the comments. But I like to think I know when it’s time to move on.

So I’m asking you, do you ever unsubscribe from comments at a certain point or do you stick with a blog post no matter how many comments and up showing up until they just finally stop?
 

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A Decluttering Update & Problems With Some Comments

Back in January I wrote a post titled Decluttering My Online Life (Kim, now you don’t have to search for the link lol). In it I made some declarations as to what I wasn’t going to do to anymore as it pertained to helping to speed up my life online.


via Flickr

I’m one of those people who visits a lot of blogs. If I were a spammer, someone who writes horrible comments, that probably means nothing to anyone. But in general I tend to write comments that show I actually read the article, and sometimes mention some of the other comments as well. They’re not all super long, thank goodness, but there’s no impression left that I didn’t really read the post and that I didn’t attempt to offer some value. That is, unless it’s a funny post that I only have a one liner for; that’s rare, though, and most of the people know me already so they’re cool with it.

I’ve noticed that there seems to be even more people moderating comments than I would have ever imagined. Many of these people seem to be accomplished bloggers who you think would know better; obviously not. Some of them are people that were listed in my post last Friday on 21 of the Top Black Social Media Influencers.

That’s disappointing because I want to be supportive to this group and I want to help promote this group, but some of them have set their blogs up to be, I have to say, irritating. That just won’t do for long term comfort, at least for me. So, I didn’t subscribe to some of those blogs and probably won’t be going back either; it seems duplicitous but my reasons for highlighting someone and for then not going back are different; my conscience is clear.

One thing that helps decluttering is to have a plan and your own rules of engagement. This is the same in your offline life. I have certain rules for how I live my life, and I stick by those rules wholeheartedly. On my business blog the other day I wrote a post on race where I basically indicated that if there’s a racial issue that needs addressing, I’m going to do it. You don’t get away with racial slurs, or slurs about any other group, without my saying something to you about it, even in public. I just can’t let stuff like that go.

My decluttering has helped me to stay true to myself. I could still be following around 250 blogs if I hadn’t given myself some criteria. True, a few people get to slip under the radar because I know them and knew them before my declaration, but anyone new, nope, not doing it. So much simpler life.

When one thing gets simple, something else gets harder. In my case, it’s some of the comments I get on this blog. I have a comment policy that I thought would be sufficient enough but it seems it’s not. Oh sure, it’s made some things much simpler because I can exclude a few comments and not worry all that much about it. But then there are a lot of comments that are borderline passing; those are giving me consternation.

What’s the issue? I know these are people who have actually stopped by the blog. I know they know what the topic is because they address it in the comment. But the comment doesn’t really say anything. Something like “I have that and it happened to me as well” isn’t quite a developed comment is it? Writing a comment without separating the 2 or 3 shot sentences doesn’t give one pause that it’s overly legit either; even people who learn English as a second language are taught to put a space after the period.

And then there are those commenters that have missed the part of the policy that says I don’t allow fake commenter names unless I have a real name as well. Now, in my policy I state that I’ll change the name to only initials but I think I’m going to modify that to state that I will be deleting those comments from this point on. After all, I’ve noticed that no one ever comes back to check on a comment I’ve written back to them. Then again, most of the people doing that aren’t writing great comments anyway my responses back aren’t all that enthralling either.

What to do, what to do… I’ll put it out to some of you. What would you do if you were in this position? This one should be interesting for more than one reason. Those who actually read the post will probably give me something good. Those that are the types of commenters I’ve talked about either won’t comment here or will comment only on the declutter part because it’s easy. Let’s see what happens. 🙂

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