Spam Blog Comments: Why?


This is something I just don’t understand.  We all know about e-mail spam, it has been around for almost as long as the Internet itself, however comment spam is (by comparison) relatively new and a little mindboggling.

Nearly every serious blogger I know moderates comments and uses manual and/or automatic spam detection (e.g. Askismet) mainly out of necessity rather than choice.  The scourge of unwanted and unwarranted, unrelated and often simply baffling spam text seems to be increasing each month. 

With moderation and other filtering in place, what is the point of sending this garbage to websites which are obviously not going to republish this nonsensical garbage?  Often the spam is just a barrage of links, or just keywords.

How can we fight this misuse of our own resources?  Defeating spam comments, for me, just means clearing the spam filtered comments about once a week, so I’m not losing too much time or productivity, but it does annoy me and it must annoy many other bloggers, especially those who have not implemented a more rigorous comment filtering process.

When I set up some early BlogEngine.Net websites I did not enable moderation, and at one stage I lost an hour or two having to go through and sanitise all the articles due to these mass comment spammers.  Since then, I’ve added CAPTCHA and moderation, disabled links and this strategy has almost removed 95% of the comment spamming.

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What is the point of this?

So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the purpose of comment spam is that it is a numbers game.  Locate blogs with high page rank, and shoot away.  Detect the blog engine type, and use automation to do the rest.  If 80% of the saturation sticks (the comments are posted live) and if just 1% of that is converted into clicks, then perhaps they have a winning solution?

The odd thing is.. why not check that the spam comments are actually being posted?  Surely wasting time sending hundreds or thousands of unpublished comments is ultimately counterproductive on a daily basis?  How can we create a disincentive to these automated drones who pollute the Internet with utter garbage (and, doubtlessly are wasting bandwidth and filling our databases with nonsensical garbage!).

Oh, and a word to comment spammers: don’t waste your time on this site, comment spam isn’t going to get published here.. move along.

Interested in your thoughts


About Rob Sanders

IT Professional and TOGAF 9 certified architect with nearly two decades of industry experience, 18 years in commercial software development and 11 years in IT consulting. Check out the "About Rob" page for more information.

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