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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Avoiding Comment Spam Scams

For every blogger receiving comments from readers can be a feel-good experience. It makes you feel like your writing has reached someone on a level deep enough or important enough that the reader takes time out of his or her day to respond to you. But before you approve the comment and publish it to your blog, take a minute to determine if it's an authentic person leaving the comment or if it's a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Some comments are easy to recognize as spam, comments containing misleading links or the commentator's name is linked to a nefarious website are obviously spam. A less obvious spam comment is something like "great post, thanks for sharing, I'll be sure to visit this blog often." Sure that may be a legitimate comment, but in most cases if you visit the site linked to the commentator's name you'll find a spammy website.

A recent trend I've seen in comment spam is a request for you to send the commentator an email. This is what I'm seeing, "Great articles and it's so helpful. I want to add your blog into my rrs reader but i can't find the rrs address. Would you please send your address to my email? Thanks a lot!" While this comment is obviously trying to appeal to my helpful nature, there are a couple of tell tale signs that is a spam comment,. First of all my RSS feed is pretty easy to spot on my blog, it's a big button with the letter RSS on it. Second, the comment has nothing to do with the blog post. If you receive a comment like this on your blog, DON'T RESPOND TO IT! It is an attempt to capture your email address which at the very least will end up on spammer's list. On a similar note, as I mentioned on Seedlings, posting your complete email address with the "@" symbol is an invitation to spammers.

There are a number of very good plug-ins that you can use to automatically filter comments. As good as some of those filters are the one fool-proof method of protecting yourself from spam is to moderate comments yourself.

Image credit: Thomas Hawk. Image link.

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