Have you read Jonathan Bailey’s – Not Good: Human Spam And Dumb Bloggers Are Killing Comments And Trackbacks? If you haven’t done so yet then I suggest you read it now so you can protect your blog from pingback and trackback spam invasion.
Every day I see blogs wherein bloggers have posted trackback and pingback spam. This is not surprising as the Akismet Live Spam Zeitgeist 83% of all comments received are spam.
I find it quite easy to identify bot generated and human generated spam designed to get the spammer’s URL into blogs so it will be posted and open the door to them getting clicks to blogs that amount to splogs full of cherry picked plagiarized content and/or stolen content. But due to their desperation for recognition and validation new bloggers don’t find it easy to click the “spam” button. It seems they are especially vulnerable when it comes to approving pingback and trackback spam, because their desire to post comments often challenges their ability to discern the difference between spam and legitimate comments.
Desperation results in Mistakes
What I find is the worst is the inundation of trackback and ping back spam from businesses who are trying to get their links into our blogs. I can’t imagine doing business with any business that employs people to undertake such sleazy practices, however, there are many bloggers some new and some not so new to blogging, who are sucked into the vortex. They are not only sucked in when it comes to posting it to their blogs, but are also sucked into automatically making internet marketers who have invaded social media and social networking sites “friends” and “followers”.
Every week we get at least a couple of new bloggers posting to the wordpress.com support forum wanting to turn off Akismet (ridiculous and not possible), and to examine every spam received by Akismet. In almost every case when I visit the blogs in question I find they have approved bot generated and/or human generated spam.
On the wordpress.com support forum I have even witnessed Staff politely posting and itemizing the so-called false positives in the belly of Akismet, and recounting the words that indicate it came from spam factories ( acne prevention, viagra, casino and/or buy drugs online pharamaceutical spam). Even after we Volunteers and Staff explain that the very worst of the spam that can bring down the whole site is removed from their moderation queue some newbies are still unhappy about not being able to see it.
Closing the doors
I’m seriously considering implementing three new practices on my own blogs. At this point I moderate all comments like you have described above and I check out all pingbacks and trackbacks, while moderating comments. However, I suspect some crap has slipped by me via Zemanta and possibly from activating “possibly related posts“.
The first idea I am toying with is simply going through my entire blog and removing all pingbacks and trackbacks received from sources I do not know. The second idea I’m toying with is simply disallowing any and all pingbacks on all new posts from this point forward. Thirdly, I’m considering not approving any trackbacks at all.
What do you readers say to that?
Some tips on moderating comments, pingbacks and trackbacks
May 7, 2010 Update
In her article How to spot a splog Lorelle says:
“Splogs, spamming blogs, are often little more than link farms, a bunch of text stuffed with links to whatever they are selling. The easiest way to identify a splog is when nothing adds up nor matches. The content doesn’t match the links. The content doesn’t match the blog title or post title. There is a signature or name in the article that doesn’t match with the name of the post author or submitter.”
When we first begin blogging our comprehension of what’s going on and why we ought to do this or that is cloudy. As we proceed we become exposed to a wide variety of bloggers who approach the same subjects from different angles and eventually a light shines into the darkness and we begin to gain understanding.
1. If someone posts a shameless plug in very poor English, but has a blog that’s expertly written – there’s a chance the content has been stolen.
2. If the blog has been around for quite some time, 6 months or more, and has no Google rank – the bar is completely GRAY in color – there’s a good chance Google has already detected duplicate content, and blocked the blog from search results.
3. If the blog has only been around a month or so and has an extremely high Google page rank, such as a 4 or 5, there’s a good chance the blogger is stealing page rank by using a redirect and cloaking tactic.
4. Advertising is not an automatic indication of wrong doing with a blog. However, if a blog has what appears to be an over abundance of TLA (text link ads) there is a chance the blog is for the sole purpose of making money. It’s advisable not to share links with a blog that contains an over abundance of TLA type advertising because the chances are great that Google will detect and block this blog from search results – rendering your back link useless.
5. An abundance of affiliate type advertising is also not a direct indication of any wrong doing! What you want to look out for are blogs with an abundance of “get rich quick” affiliate links. These types of links sometimes even lead to virus infections and severe browser problems such as homepage reset and redirects when surfing.
6. Watch out for unrealistic FeedBurner subscription numbers! This one is becoming increasingly popular. If you see a blog with little content, no page rank, no comments, and what looks like very little traffic – yet they have a FeedBurner subscription indicator that say’s they have 12,457 subscribers – beware! If they would willfully use code to alter and fake their subscriber list, you can practically rest assured they’ve used other tactics on their blog as well.
7. Other indicators that all is not well can include a lack of contact information for the owner, at the very least there should be an email address somewhere.
8. A lack of timely posts, huge gaps in the posting calendar followed by bursts of several posts in a row on the same day often indicates someone that blogs only when they have paid reviews to do.
9. Bad judgment where credits are concerned – I see this quite often, a blogger will alter the code on WordPress templates and remove the template creator’s name and replace it with their own. Photographs without a mouse over “alt” tag, and no credit given anywhere are another indication of bad judgment.
10. Any site that has contents comprised of posts or snippets of posts which are automatically posted from RSS feeds is not a real blog!
11. Comments containing numerous links are a wake up call. Set your wordpress blog up to automatically send any comment containing more than 2 links (default setting) to the spam moderation queue. > Dashboard > Discussion >
12. Older posts are a target for spam. You can set your wordpress.com blog up on that same Page to cope with this. Automatically close comments on articles older than ___days.
13. If you receive a suspicious comment, pingback or trackback then know this. Search engine criteria for quality inbound links has become increasingly tougher due to unscrupulous webmasters trying to achieve incoming links by deceptive techniques, like hidden links, or automatically generated pages designed solely to provide incoming links to websites. These pages are called link farms; they are disregarded by search engines, and linking to a link farm can result in your site being banned entirely. Use the bad neighborhood checker and do not post pingbacks, trackbacks or comments emanating from linkfarms.
There are blogs and there are splogs and it’s important to learn the differences between them.