Have you ever looked at your blog comments section and thought to yourself “wait a minute, something about this comment just does not seem right”? Well, chances are that you are looking at a spam comment. You know or can at least sense that not all of your blogs/news comments are genuine, so how do you distinguish between real and spammy comments?
This article will help you understand just that. Spam can do a lot of damage not only to the reputation of your company but to your revenue as well. In fact, a study conducted by the American Economic Association stated that spammers and spam-advertised merchants collect gross worldwide revenues on the order of $200 million per year (source: Aeaweb)!
So it’s time to take a closer look your blog comments and remove the spammy ones immediately. Here are our suggestions on how you can identify spam comments from the ones that are legit.
Take a closer look at the comments
Sometimes the comments themselves make it pretty obvious that it is in fact spam. For instance, comments that don’t talk about the blog post at all, but instead tells readers about some online marketing promotion accompanied by a link to a different site, then this is probably a spammy comment.
No real person will try and excessively promote their own business using your comments section by telling them to visit a site to get a free product or great discounts. If they liked the blog, they would comment on the blog itself and tell you what they liked about it or even tell you how to improve it.
They always contain suspicious links
When you see a comment that has a link in it, try and investigate whether the link could be spam. These links are purposely put there by spammers in an attempt to lead your readers to their sites to steal their information.
Try to find and remove such false comments as soon as you identify them. Some of the links put in the comments by spammers could take your readers to very suspicious sites that infect the user’s computer or steals their information. If you continue to neglect your blog and keep such spam links available, it will adversely affect the reputation of your company.
Check the email address of the commenter
Another quick way of investigating fake commenters is by checking the email address which they are using to make the comment. A spammer will always use ludicrous email addresses to try and look like a genuine commenter.
Watch out for those tricky email addresses that end with ID’s like @freestuff.com or @mail.com. You could also again do a quick search on Google to verify if these ID’s are spam or check for a list of common spam email address being used by suspicious individuals.
Does the comment have poor English?
Poor use of English, foreign languages, incorrect spelling, and grammar or unnecessary capitalization of words in a sentence are all indicators of possible spam comments. If a genuine reader took the effort of reading your entire blog, they would certainly make the effort write a decent, grammatically correct comment for it as well.
You would not publish a blog on your company website without thoroughly proofreading it for accuracy. So why should you accept any comment that is poorly written, makes no sense, and irrelevant to the blog topic?
Confirm if the website URL is valid
Spammers or hackers often make clever changes to well-known website URL’s to fool people into believing that they are credible sites. For example, for the popular world news publishing site, huffingtonpost.com, a spam version of this was ‘hulfingtonpost.com’. Some even create outrageous links that can be instantly recognized as spam like make-money-online.7makemoneyonline.com for instance.
So always ensure you cross-check the website URL properly before you go ahead and publish that comment. If you don’t, and once it’s published, the comment could lead your followers to various risky websites.
Use online spam detecting tools
You could also take the help of some downloadable free-to-use spam prevention tools that can detect spam, especially in blog comments. Some of the popular ones available out there are Akismet, Spammer Tar Pit, Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin, PHPrbl, etc.
Take the help of Google
If you have done all of the above and you still are unsure, one of our favourite ways of identifying legit comments from the ones that are not are by doing a quick search on Google. If you come across a comment or link which you feel is spam, simply copy the entire comment and paste it in Google.
If the exact same comment appears multiple times on different websites then you can be sure it is spam. You may even see other bloggers or website admins claiming that such a comment is spam in the search results.
Do you know of any other effective ways of dealing with spam?
We would love to hear your thoughts on the subject and any other ways you may know on how to check whether blog comments are legit or not. We still strongly recommend that you or your website administrator keep checking your blog comments section regularly and remove the ones which could be spam. This will avoid an unnecessary pile-up of fake comments which could over time become very tedious to sort out.