Beware of Spammy Comments in Disguise

Crafterminds Comment Spam Graphic

I love comments. I think we all do. For me, when I see my stats, they show that people are coming to visit my site, and that’s great… but comments are proof that not only people are coming, but they actually care about what I’ve written. Enough that they want to tell me. And that’s awesome.

But, not all comments are created equal. Sure, there are negative comments, which were discussed in a Crafterminds Twitter Chat on Dealing with Critical Comments. Click over to read the chat transcript on Critical Comments. There are short comments like “cool” and “neat” and “gotta try this”. And there are long-winded comments about how they love the tutorial, have been looking for something like this forever, and the commenter now worships the ground you walk on because of the technique you shared. Check out more descriptions of crazy commenters.

There are also comments that are purely self-promotional. Some self promotional comments are obvious, “What a great project! Please share it at my new linky party bunchofcoolstuff andmore!”

Other times, the commenter disguises their true intent. These comments are often disguised as short or generic comments, but the real “giveaway” is the name of the commenter. The commenter’s name isn’t a “name” at all… instead it is designed to be a link. A few that I’ve noticed come across with names like “Cheap Furniture” or “Low-Cost Laptops”. These are not bloggers using their blog name as an alias. These are marketers (and I’m using this term very loosely here) that are attempting to create links back to their site through the comments section of your blog.

I did a little research here, here, and here on what benefits these “marketers” are getting from getting a link back to themselves in my comments section.

Here is what I discovered:

  • Blogger and WordPress default to “nofollow” in the comments section. This means that the spammy commenters are not getting SEO “Credit” for their link in my comments section, because sites like Google don’t recognize it as a valid link (click here to learn more about Links and SEO). However, according to my research, some search engines ignore “nofollow” and DO count these spammy comments as valid links.
  • For blogs that have disabled the “nofollow” default, these spammy commenters have found a goldmine. They can create their own backlinks to their site on someone else’s site! They can essentially “piggyback” on the success of another blog, to build their own search engine rankings. So why would anyone ever disable nofollow? Because they want to reward their genuine commenters with backlinks.

The bigger question here is – do you really care? I do. It is kind-of like someone walking their dog over to my yard for the dog to do its business (and then not cleaning it up). Sure, in the scope of the world (poverty, world hunger, rising taxes, infant mortality), it isn’t a big deal. But, this is my yard, and I want to keep it clean.

And, as a marketing professional, I find it a little offensive. These “marketers” can’t find legitimate ways of creating backlinks to their site or their client’s site, so they’re imposing on my comments section (and the comments sections of other bloggers) in order to make it happen.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to become some link vigilante… it just means that if I see “Low Cost Mattresses” leave a comment saying “Oh, pretty!”, I’m not going to feel sorry for them, thinking that they were teased all through gradeschool because of their parents’ unfortunate naming skills. I’m going to delete, and move on.

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12 Responses to “Beware of Spammy Comments in Disguise”

  1. del says:

    Yep, I delete these all day long. Mine are usually u.ggs or g.ucci related. Pretty offensive, really, because they’re wasting my time.

  2. J. Hill says:

    I find that these comments are also usually unreadable because they have obviously been translated from another language into English. I guess you have to give them points for ingenuity though, huh? 😛

  3. Yes it starts getting easier to recognize once you start catching them. I delete them as well. On my personal blog I had Commentluv and they were taking advantage of that (I have since disabled it, unfortunately).

  4. Rhonda says:

    For a while I was getting a lot of very long-winded comments that were all in Russian. (Red flag already?) Out of curiosity I ran it through Babelfish and discovered that each was a list of different sexual acts. Can you imagine my horror??

  5. Ashley says:

    I agree. Delete and move on. It is frustrating to have to take extra steps because some random person is trying to use your site to promote their own, but such is life, such is blogs. You can’t escape those people anywhere so delete them and move on to the real comments from real people! : )

  6. Michelle L. says:

    Ew, creepy and rude! Now I will be watching out for these. Fair warning to “Low Cost Mattresses with Bedbugs dot com” – go to hell!

  7. Lynda says:

    The spammers are getting more sneaky. For the last several weeks I’ve had spammers that have their picture and even a regular name like Sheila. There is no url for me to check them out. However, when CommentLuv kicks in, it shows their url and then I delete them. If I didn’t have commentluv I wouldn’t have known if they were real or not.

    Again, a great article.

  8. Love this article. I get spam all the time. Thank God for Akismet – it catches most of it for me to review. Some of them are really offensive or even sexual in nature. Ew. I delete 99% of them mostly because I just don’t want to take the time to review all of them. But, I did read in an article recently about SEO and directing traffic to your site that not all spam may be harmful to you. Leaving them on your site may actually catch a few readers for you in internet searches. Sorry, I wish I could remember where I got the article – maybe it was here! – but, anyway, it’s something to think about.

  9. heather says:

    I love you Carolina! Come buy my cheap discount mattresses!

    Just kidding. And your description of someone walking their dog to your front yard gave me a flashback… that actually happened to me once and I was LIVID!!!

    xoxo, thanks for writing awesome articles for us!

  10. amy says:

    I don’t get the mattress comments, I either get the dating ones or the, ehem, “personal device” ones. I long for the days of mattress comments!

    Thanks Carolina, what a great article 😀

  11. Kat says:

    I never get any comments. Good, bad, or indifferent.

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