Blogging: Comment Spam Prevention

Comment spamming is the cancer in the blogosphere. “Gaming the search engines” by posting  irrelevant comments blogs  to  increase their own site’s ranking in SERPs is the despicable act of  low life from hell. And, as of November  both the website linked in the spam comment, and blog that allow comemnt spammers to post their crap will suffer the penalty. Detailed information is given in a recent Google Webmaster Blog post Hard Facts About Comment Spam and in a video featuring Matt Cutts, of Google.

What is Google doing to combat the effects of comment spam?

What are bloggers doing to combat comment spam?

  1. Here at wordpress.com we have Akismet which stops about 90% of spam comments and every blogging platform has software in place to combat spam.
  2. All bloggers can choose Comment Moderation.
  3. There is effective spam filtering software available for self hosting bloggers.
  4. Captcha – Simple math questions – No-follow links.
  5. Malcolm Coles is using Backtype to spot comment spam.
  6. Kristi shares her experiences and provokes a discussion in Akismet, Spam Filters and Comment Moderation.
  7. This is my contribution  How to deal with spam effectively. See also my comment policy (excerpt below).
  • Moderation: To ensure that nothing distasteful such as, but not limited to, spam is automatically posted to the blog, comments are moderated.
  • Link limit: This blog is setup to automatically hold any blog comment with more than two links in the moderation queue, which may delay your comment from appearing. Any blog comment with more than two links may be marked as comment spam and deleted.
  • Commercial links, post links, signature links, etc. : Including a link to your “personal” ie.  non-commercial  blog and/or website is acceptable (all usernames are linked) but all links are subject to review and may be removed prior to posting.  Provided the bloggers commenting are actually adding something to the discussion I do not remove their links. However, if I believe that they are just link dropping in an attempt to divert readers to their own blog post(s) or to game search engine results then I do not feel the same way. I delete the links.  Example:  Anchor text – If  a keyword is entered into the name field rather than a name I will either break the link and post the comment or I will delete the comment.
  • Comments on old posts: Comment boxes will remain open for up to 30 days following post publication, however, you are welcome to submit your responses to any older post at any time by using the Contact form below.

What you doing to combat comment spam on your blog?

Related posts found in this blog:

Can I turn off Aksimet, or view the spam it blocks?

15 thoughts on “Blogging: Comment Spam Prevention

  1. I have more trouble with fake referals. I let admin know but I don’t know any other way of stopping them. I’ve only been blogging a few months and am still learning how it all fits together, and as I don’t get many visits the fakes are annoying.

    Jim

    • There is a problem with referrer spam. Yes they are annoying.

      Response from staff:

      Thanks for reporting this – we are aware of this problem and are working hard to find a solution to fix it.

      Some background: what you’re experiencing is called “Referrer Spam”, and it’s an unfortunate side effect of the way statistics tracking works. Spammers take advantage of the referrer logs and visit your blog from phantom URLs that they are actually trying to promote, in the hope that you see them in your logs and click them.

      In the meantime, you can rest assured that there is no security risk here, to you or to you blog. It’s just an annoyance, but one we will hopefully be able to get rid of very soon.

      http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/tons-of-hits-from-spam-domain?replies=29#post-548475

      These spam referrers do not in any way affect your blog’s Google page ranking.

      1. Do not click the links.
      2. Do not post the URL or names of the site into forum threads.
      3. Report all spam referrals to Staff directly .

      http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact/

  2. Thank you very much for your response; as always sage advice. I generally don’t post my blog address in comments or replies, I have in this one :-) I only get a handful of comments for Akismet to flag, say 15 per day as the site is quite localised so going through them is a breeze. I moderate everything as, sadly, there seems to be a culture in South Africa of abuse by ‘anonymous’.

    • 15 spam per day is nothing. When one of my blogs was self hosted it got hundreds of spam comments and trackbacks each and every day.

  3. Hello again.
    I have considered removing the website input field from the comment form. This would presumably discourage spammers as there would be nowhere to input their url address.
    Would this work and is it against the spirit of blogging ?

    • Are you referring to a free blog being free hosted by wordpress.COM? If so this cannot be done as we cannot edit templates or themes.
      http://en.support.wordpress.com/themes/editing-themes/ WordPress.com is a multi-user blogging platform. All the blogs wearing the same theme are sharing the same template. We cannot access the files or edit. Only Staff can as every edit they makes affects all blogs wearing the same theme. If you have a wordpress.COM free hosted blog then the correct support forum for that software is here http://en.forums.wordpress.com

      If you are referring to a wordpress.ORG install for self-hosting then you can edit your template. See here so you are clear on the differences. http://support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/ If you do have a wordpress.ORG install the correct support forum for that software is here http://wordpress/org/support/

      • Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I am using WordPress.ORG. I have found a way to remove the URL from the reply form but I guess I am really asking if it is against the spirit of co-operative blogging to remove a contact option which the URL provides. (I use Askimet to trap spam.)

        • I have not visted your blog so I have no adice to offer that’s based on anything concrete. It’s your blog and you can do as you wish on your blog. If you are receiving lots of spam that is not being caught by Akismet you could install the bad behavior plug-in. If you want more advice then post here please > http://wordpress.org/support/

  4. I just started using a plugin called Bad Behavior which analyzes activity patterns and blocks potential spammers before they even load your blog (which also saves bandwidth). So far it has blocked 1200 access attempts in about 36 hours. It also blocks proxies, bad headers and refers from bad neighborhood sites.

    You can also sign up for the honey pot project which submits blocked requests to Project Honey Pot and helps trap even more spam by attracting spam bots to the pot you set up on your site.

  5. My main blog is also do follow, and as such so is friend.

    I use Conditional CAPTCHA for WordPress which can detect blog spam, if Akismet says Whoa, Spammer recaptcha will ask them to see if they are human. If they pass the test then it goes into spam, if it fails the comment is nuked. If users can’t load recaptcha it falls back on simple math captcha. So it all works.

    Naturally wordpress.com is permanently no follow, and only can use Akismet.

    • Hello there. I missed answering your comment – sorry. :( That sounds fine with me. The aim is to get rid of the spam bots without deterring readers from leaving comments.

  6. I use Akismet for spammers. I disagree with the captcha and no-follow part. My last two sites I built and still operate are do-follow and I don’t get any more spam on a percentage basis than I did before I changed my comments to do-follow.

    Furthermore, any captcha or sign in comment apps (disqus etc…) are a turn off for me (I don’t comment on blogger sites that only allow you to sign in with blogger, google, or wordpress ID’s either) and I think that you should make it as easy as possible to comment on your site to encourage interaction and conversations.

    Just my opinion on it….

    • @Keith
      On this blog I have Akismet. On my worddpress.ORG install on my other domain I have Defensio and won’t hesitate to recommend it. They are both excellent.

      I don’t object to the math question but as I’m visually challenged I have a very hard time with the ones where they try to hide letters and numbers. Some have caused me to enter 2 or 3 times until I could actually see well enough to get the sequence right. They are a definite turn-off when it comes to leaving comments.

      The way I view this is the same as you do ie. make it as easy as possible to comment. However, even though I have good spam filters there are still a few comments that slip through. I turf them out of the moderation queue and into “spam bin” or remove the links in accord with my comment policy.

      Thanks for the visit and the comments. :)

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