This is a rewrite of an article I originally wrote in 2009. I’ve left the only comment I got on this article previously because Peter (who used to go by Sire) was the first person who ever purchased this product from me. Also, this article has an affiliate link, which is underlined in blue. It’s the same product as the one over there in the right sidebar. I’ve read often that if you write a review post about a product you actually use and like that it will drive sales of that product. Let’s see how true that premise is.
Back when I was warning folks about hidden messages in email, I mentioned Mailwasher for the first time. I wrote this review originally because I was trying to let people know that there was a safe way of checking email that protects their computers as opposed to downloading email and then looking at it. There’s not a lot that’s changed since that first review except a few things about how it looks; that and I can update the review a bit since I’ve purchased the latest version. Continue reading →
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
not spam lol
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…).
Isn’t that nice? Looks like a great comment doesn’t it? Unfortunately, not only isn’t it a good comment, it’s actually spam. How do I know this?
Look at the comment again. Do you have any idea what article it was made on? For that matter, isn’t this the type of comment that could go on any article you read, only changing the name?
Oh yeah; it already has shown up on many articles. Not on my blog, but here and here and here and here. Actually, it comes up over a thousand times if you do the search; now that’s a shame!
On two of these blogs the writer of the article responded to it as if it was a real comment; I thought I should tell them but decided to keep it to myself, so only you wonderful readers will know the truth.
Something I’ve written about in the past is learning how to recognize spam that can make it through your spam filters. It looks like a real comment, but if it doesn’t address the article in any way then you know it’s fake. For instance, here’s another fake comment I received:
Well done Mitch. You have nicely explained the rules of marketing with details. great work
That was pretty lame wasn’t it? It actually went to my Pending area only because I use CommentLuv Premium, where I was able to then download Anti Backlinker and tell it to put any comment without a gravatar into moderation. Since many of you don’t have the first, you can’t get the second, so it’s possible you’ll have comments like this on your blog. Actually, it shows up on Google over 2,300 times with a slight variation after the first few words of the sentence.
Speaking of not really trying…
I read your full article and its really interesting a lot. Thank You For providing us great articles…
Come on now; I’m almost insulted that someone wasted their time with that. lol Actually, depending on what you might want to check this one comes up the fewest number of times, but it’s still repeated… must be relatively new.
How about one more:
Very interesting. I finished up my post for today yesterday and it posted in the wee hours when I was still asleep and yet you and I make some very similar points right down to the Morgan Freeman quote.
As I said in my post, though I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and knew no black people whatsoever, I was pretty aware of a lot of black history. I don’t remember it being taught in school so maybe I got it from television.
I like to hear the entire scope of history and not isolated bits extracted for some specific agenda.
This is only a sample. It’s pretty good isn’t it? It was actually a very long comment and it might have fooled most people. How did I know it was spam? Because it was an actual comment that someone else wrote on this article from February that, because I remembered us having a conversation about it at the time, and the comment not fitting on the article it showed up on, I knew was spam. This one was at least creative, if misplaced.
This is the kind of thing that many people miss because it’s a legitimate comment… just not on the right article, which made it easy. Sometimes it’s on the same article which makes it difficult; I’ve missed that a few times here and there.
Overall I’m pretty lucky when it comes to spam. The truly bad and fake stuff almost always finds its way into the spam filter, with some occasionally making it into preview mode. However, sometimes they end up on this blog or one of my other blogs, and for the most part I know it’s spam and I get rid of it pretty quickly.
Here’s a truth; not all spam is intentionally spam. Some are just bad comments left by people who think saying “nice post” has any meaning to the writer. You need to get rid of those comments as quick as possible also because if your blog looks like one that will accept them, you’ll have all sorts of bad comments and spam showing up on your site and the search engines will think your site isn’t worth bothering with.
There’s always a question whether or not search engines look at blog comments. I doubt that’s the case. However, I tend to believe that their bots will see lousy comments, notice that the links are a bit dodgy, and penalize the site in some way. Do you want that happening to your blog when you’re spending so much time trying to write great content?
Just a bit of a tutorial for you on this Monday morning. Happy blogging and moderating to you all! 😉
Addendum: – You won’t believe this but if you look at the comments below you’ll see that someone came by & left the exact same comment that I highlighted at the beginning of this post; ridiculous! I removed the information from that comment so the guy wouldn’t get any benefit but shared it so we could call it out. However, it came from someone calling himself Abdul Samadessani, email address email@example.com, website bloggingearning.com and Twitter handle @samad_100. I’ve sent contact via Twitter calling him out or whomever he hired; let’s see if he responds. Until he does, go ahead and abuse this guy because, trust me, you’ll probably be seeing this same comment on your blog one of these days, if it’s not already there.
A couple of weeks ago the Hot Blog Tips Crew (without me these days…) did a video on the subject of what to share on Google Plus without, what Brian Hawkins of said Hot Blog Tips believes, is spamming. I thought it was a fairly interesting video, and since I’m not a part of it I’m just going to include the link to that video and tell you to check it out.
One of the things he said in the video I totally disagreed with, and in thinking about that one particular thing it got me to thinking about some other things, hence I thought it was time to share some thoughts while asking y’all what you think of these same things.
There was another blog post I read a couple of months ago (from where I can’t remember) where the writer was saying that in today’s social media world sometimes you have to “like” your own submissions. He didn’t mean you have to like what you write as much as publicly affirm that you like what you write by clicking a Like button or a +1 button on those platforms that allow you to do it.
His reasoning was that often some of these items you share won’t get seen if no one ever clicks on them, even if they’ve viewed them, and he’d done a test where if he voted his own submissions upwards that they’d get more attention. He didn’t talk about YouTube so I doubt that was a part of his testing.
Frankly I think that kind of thing is dubious, yet if you create a Facebook business or fan page you actually have to like your own page to be able to access it properly, and the same goes for groups you might create. Thus, in an odd way you become the first person promoting you as an authority so that others can see what you like and potentially come by even before you invite anyone.
By the way, this isn’t the first time I’d seen such a thing. Another of my online friends had said the same thing over a year ago, but she was speculating without testing. I didn’t quite like it then and I don’t like it now, so I refuse to go that route.
However, Brian’s contention is that if someone shares something of yours on Twitter, G+ or Facebook and you give them a “like”, it means you’re suddenly spamming people because they probably have seen it already if you shared it. And, if other people share what you’ve posted and you like or acknowledge all of them, now you’re really spamming and people are going to hate you for it and possibly unsubscribe from you.
This is the concept I have a problem with, and I’m going to explain why. One of the things we all talk about is acknowledging people who share things of yours. It’s a nice thing to do and it encourages people who like what you do to share, knowing that you’ll appreciate it.
I think sharing should only be done if people have actually read the piece, which is another interesting topic of discussion because I know some people who share things from blogging sites or shared sites that they’ve never read to get rankings; that’s kind of smarmy, although if you do it you won’t see it that way. I never put my name on anything I haven’t read or looked at because I care about what I approve.
Anyway, if someone shares something of yours, how do you acknowledge it? Is there really a proper way? Maybe yes, maybe no; let’s look at it deeper.
Let’s look at Twitter. There you have two things you can do to thank people. You can retweet what they’ve shared and thank them or you can just thank them. Twitter moves fast; there’s tons of messages and still 24 hours to kill, and even if you share your blog articles 4 times it means you’ve missed 1,436 minutes where people might have missed it. Is it so bad to use the opportunity to share it again and let other people know why you’re thanking someone? Maybe if it’s been shared 20 times within an hour but if it’s shared 5 times total?
Let’s look at Google Plus and Facebook. You have two options there as well. You can +1 the article or “like” what’s being shared by someone else or you can comment on it.
Here’s what I’ve noticed on both. If you write something on those shares, people in your sphere of influence see it, whether you “like” it or +1 it or not. For that matter if someone comments on a YouTube video of yours and has it go to Google Plus, and then you comment on their comment it shows in both places, but on G+ others who weren’t connected to the original poster are now going to see it.
This means that if you decide you want to thank someone for sharing something of yours, it’s going to go out to the masses anyway. Are you spamming, or are you being courteous? Should you ignore people who share things you’ve put out or not?
One last point here.
Normally we think of spamming as more of an automated thing. I hate that stuff, and I notice on Twitter sometimes that some things pop up every 15 minutes or so. At some point if I get sick of it I’ll just unsubscribe from that person and get on with life because I know they’re not there and don’t really care.
To do the acknowledgements however, you have to be present. Truthfully, how many times for most of us does our stuff get shared? Maybe for someone like Ileane Smith or Adrienne Smith (no relation lol) they could get 20 to 25 shares per article, but that’s across all platforms.
Are any of us really upset when we see different people sharing their things and then seeing them being thanked for the honor?
Are we really that sensitive to seeing things more than once when most of the time, because of how fast the internet and social media moves, we’ve probably missed it not only the first time but every subsequent time as well?
All of this is both my question and my opinion. Now it’s time to ask you for yours. Is the option not to ever thank people for sharing your posts and videos and whatever as opposed to thanking as many people are you can recognize? If you thank one person and ignore everyone else how to you think they’d feel? And put yourself into both of these situations; how would you feel if it’s you?
I’ve written about spam around 125 times out of the almost 1,500 posts on the blog. I’ve talked about how much I hate it, ways to identify it, why it’s important to keep it off your blog and how to move more of it to go directly to your spam filter so that you don’t necessarily have to rush to your blog to remove it from going live as often as you might without putting certain things in place.
And yet, like the reason I have to wear this mask on my present consulting assignment right now (that’s another story) I don’t always understand the purpose of some of the spam. Back in the day most spam looked to be trying to sell something. Nowadays a lot of it is so nonsensical that the only thing you can believe they’re hoping to achieve is to get a link placed on your blog so that it goes back to their page. Obviously some of those folks got bad SEO advice of a different sort than the bad advice I mentioned in that post I just linked to.
What am I seeing? Let’s chronicle some of it:
1. The long, rambling post about nothing. I got a spam comment from someone calling himself “best gym supplements for muscle growth“, and other than occasionally trying to pop a link into it the spam comment was almost 100 lines of nothingness. Someone must have been told that writing a long spam comment gives it a better chance to be thought of as being legitimate; please!
2. The comment with lots of characters in it. What the heck is this type about? I got this mess: “ѕuρp&X6c;eme&X6E;ts mаy also re&X6e;еw the respira&X74;ory”. The thing is I get lots of these and I’m betting you do as well. It’s not even close to readable so why even bother? I’m of the opinion someone’s technology has gone haywire; I wonder if spammers can get their money back.
3. The short, incomplete and nonsensical spam comment. I can’t believe anyone even took the time to actually write this, so it must be some kind of randomizer: “Just file manufacture clear subject matter. What did you say? precisely I needed! I have been before browsing search engines like google the complete day for some correct clause such as this” That was it; didn’t even finish the sentence. Intelligence obviously belongs to other family members.
4. Spam that attaches itself to an image. This one is totally incomprehensible. It shows up at the blog with nowhere to go except spam because it thinks the image is the blog post. I hope the spammers didn’t spend too much money on this program because it’s a total loser, like the spammer.
5. The “good post” spam. That one’s been around forever, as well as calling you “webmaster” and asking you if you’re using a free theme. I’m always amazed when I visit a blog and I see the owner actually responding to those comments; well, at least they’re trying to be a good host. 🙂
6. Spam that shows up without any links whatsoever. Why did the owner even bother sending that one out? By now most blogs probably won’t accept posts without a link because those are usually trolls and what benefit is a spammer hoping to get from something like that?
7. Copying a previous comment as one’s new comment. I have to admit this one’s creative, and it can be easily missed. I’ve missed it a couple of times, even though the Spidey senses went off thinking it looked familiar. This one was actually a legitimate comment… the first time around anyway.
The first link I put up on this post links you to many posts where I’ve talked about ways to protect your blog from some of the spam. I hope you’re using the GASP plugin and, if it’s really bad, go ahead and use Akismet, even though some people run from it like it’s a bull chasing them. We own these blog spaces, not them; don’t let them get you down or chase you away.