War Against Spam Comments – Throwing Punches From All Sides!

I’m a big believer in the power of blog commenting as a traffic generator. With this in mind I always try as much as possible to leave a positive comment on every blog I visit. Whenever I visit any blog and the topic does not move me to leave a comment, I simply navigate some where else.

But recently, I discovered that many bloggers simply would do any thing to get a back link with their comments. One of the ways they are doing this is using spam comment bots. Visiting a blog and leaving a comment that is nothing but just links is annoying enough but where someone decides not to visit your blog but uses a bot to try and trick you into giving him that link love it’s worst than a dirty slap in the face.

Why this post?

Since moving the home business marketing blog to this new domain name – www.webincomejournal.com, I’ve noticed a deluge of comments. Of course many of these were held in the spam folder by Akismet, and a quick look at them showed they were nothing but spams and so were easily deleted.

On the average, I was recieving close to 20 comments daily. And it was a big pain moderating so many comments as I tried to ensure that only the genuine ones went through. But despite all these I soon discovered that many of these spam comments scaled through without much trouble.

In a bid to discourage this misuse of the power of comments, I wrote, “Simple But Powerful Tips For Driving Traffic Through Blog Comments.” This post was done with the reasoning that if you can visit and read a blog post you can also write a comment that will pass through moderation thereby giving the desired link back to your blog. But I never knew that most of these comments were actually coming from spam bots!

Spam Comments Bot CaseStudy

I only realized this a couple of weeks ago when I saw a comment held for moderation in the spam folder and when I visited the site link as a gesture to return the favour, I discovered what truly shocked me. Take a look at the screenshot:

Now, here’s what that comment says,

“Just got a chance to leave a comment so here it is! Excellent post and very interesting stuff! Hope all the best for your blog and your making money online ventures…

Just letting you know that I’ve signed up for your blog newsletter and looking forword to your future posts. It would be great if you’d do the same for my blog… I’ve also created a few products that I promote on my blog and would love if you’d consider promoting them on yours for some quick affiliate cash!”

That comment from all indications appears genuine enough. There is a gravatar attached and it sounded real. But guess what happened when I visited the blog, at least to reciprocate this “good gesture.” Right on the blog I came across a comment by another blogger who have discovered that this particular blogger was using a spam bot for commenting on other blogs. What really angered me was the reply by this blogger that as long as what he is doing is bringing him results he doesn’t care!

That quickly opened my eyes to the fact that I had been dealing with spam comments more than I had thought. I had to change my method of approving comments by first doing a check on google before approving any comment. For example when I checked the above comment on google.com it returned a result of 2,170!

Can you imagine how many bloggers these guy has decieved into either signing up for his newsletter or helping promote his blog without any effort from him?

It’s appalling!

A Decision To Fight Spam Comments

Over the next few days after that incident I was moved to find ways to totally eliminate spam comments from this blog. This was to save the time I was spending on approving comments and also send a warning to these shameful bloggers who are putting a dent on bloggers. As I write this post this blog is completely rid of spam comments. For the past 5 days I’ve not recieved one spam comment as against an average of 20 a day before now!

So how did I achieve this?

The following are some of the anti spam comment plugins I’ve to try out.

1. Bad Behavior

Bad Behavior is an anti comment spam plugin that complements other link spam solutions by acting as a gatekeeper, preventing spammers from ever delivering their junk, and in many cases, from ever reading your site in the first place. This keeps your site’s load down, makes your site logs cleaner, and can help prevent denial of service conditions caused by spammers. Bad Behavior is a PHP-based solution for blocking link spam and the robots which deliver it. This plugin has really proved powerful. You can get it here:

http://www.bad-behavior.ioerror.us/download/

2. NoSpamNX

This is another anti spam plugin I tried. Though effective but I had to remove it since it was still allowing some spam comments to be logged in the spam comment folder. You can get more details about the plugin by visiting this link:

http://www.svenkubiak.de/nospamnx/

3. TanTanNoodles Simple Spam Filter

Of all the anti spam comments plugins that I’ve tested, this one simply met what I was looking for. I only implemented this one 3 days ago but in these 3 days it has a report of already blocking 116 spam comments!

So how does this one work?

The plugin is built to do a simple check on every comment looking out for some identifiable spam comment pattern. If the test fail in any area the comment is immediately blocked and rejected as obvious spam comment. However, instead of deleting the comment right away, an error screen is shown with an explanation of why the comment was rejected. Then an optional captcha (which you should have configured) is shown, allowing the commenter to confirm that their comment is indeed legitimate. The plugin also works in conjunction with Akismet and will display a captcha if Akismet flags a comment as spam. In all cases, the captcha is displayed only if a comment doesn’t pass the obvious spam rules or if Akismet thinks a comment is spam. Comments that don’t pass the captcha are immediately rejected and discarded.

I simply love this one. And I’m running the TanTanNoodles Simple Spam Filter plugin with Akismet for now. Here is the link to learn more about the plugin:

http://tantannoodles.com/toolkit/spam-filter/

There were other plugins I’ve tried these past 2 weeks but I have to remove them since they did not do what I wanted. Besides, let me apologize to those of you who may be finding it deficult to post your comments. I hope you bear with me for now. Until things come to normal I’m not in any rush to relax the measures I’m taking to fight this menace. I hope you do understand.

So the battle is against spam comments and I do hope you’ll join this battle by posting a comment that adds value and not just seeking for some cheap link back.

Let’s have your reactions to this post. Have you been flooded with spam comments lately? If so, how were you able to fight them down? Let hear your contributions in the comments below.

23 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Chadrack,
    I hate spam as well.  That comment looked really genuine and it would have fooled me.  I’ve been using GASP (Growmap Anti Spam Plugin) over the last month and haven’t had any spam comments.  I previously used akisment, but I’m a little worried about legitimate comments getting accidentally flagged.  So I switched and I’ve been happy with GASP so far.

    • Hi Richard, thanks for the comment. My amazement is why many bloggers will want to abuse this great opportunity of interacting with other bloggers. All the same I don’t want to be fooled by any of them again. Thanks for that suggestion, I will be checking it out.

  2. Richard got to it before me, so I’ll just second it…GASP truly the one and only spam-bot plugin you’ll need. 🙂

    • Oh great Dennis, I really did not know that plugin is known by that name, (GASP) 🙂 I’ve seen it on many blogs, so when Richard mentioned it and I took a look I discovered it is what I’ve seen on other blogs already. 

      I considered that plugin when I was looking around for something to use. However, I must also say that I’ve had problems with it many times. And what was the problem? I simply overlooked the check box before posting my comments. And because the comments could not go through since I did not check the box I tried going back using the back button but I’ve already lost the comment. Now, most times my comments are very long and going back to write the whole comment again was a problem for me! I really do not want that same problem for me readers. I think I will continue with the ones I using right now since I’m having good results with them, that is, TanTanNoodles Simple Spam Filter plugin and Akismet.

      But all in all I think GASP is a good anti spam plugin.

      • @Chadrack,

        No longer an issue! You don’t even leave the page, a simple popup tells you to tick the box. 😉

  3. Hi Chadrack!
    I also face the same situation, funny thing is they can send  spam comment of 1 full page :). As you said above some time its really hard to justify whether genuine comment or otherwise. Spammers always find their way ……… Thank you for this excellent post. have a great day guys!

    • Yea Rammesh, those who have given themselves to spamming will always find ways around the plugins. But that’s the reason why we mustn’t give up also in fighting the menace. From my experience so far, I’ll continue to monitor what passes through my comments. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Chadrack! I know how annoying it is to get spam posts in your blog and I am definitely against these people who do. Why? Because of them, sincere people like myself who does online blogging to generate to generate traffic are getting filtered… Some people would simply put “great job” or “nice post”… whatever! I don’t… Like you, when I read a post I cannot connect to – I leave and go find something else.
     
    Tina

    • That’s what all of us are up against. I know with the type of plugins and other anti spam resources coming to the market, it’s either these spammers desist or they will soon go extinct 🙂

  5. Spamming makes the blogger, the writer, the website owner seem to be unprofessional and disinclined to work. Since this is a known technique that is not beneficial for you and many others, why use it then.

    • Ok, I may want to agree with you on some points there. But how does spamming make the website owner seem unprofessional and disinclined to work? Do you mean he/she ask for the spam comments in the first place?

  6. To handling spam is really a frustrating task. I wonder how Matt Cutts handling the Google spam team. he’s really awesome guy that has unique ideas for best SEO stuff. Thanks for nice post..

    • Oh thanks Chuks. You came in just right on time. I was already installing G.A.S.P before you post your comment. In fact in the couple of days I’ve noticed some one or two spam comments slip in so I’ve decided to try out G.A.S.P!

      Thanks for putting in your voice 🙂

  7. spamming is one of the worst threat. i came across while working on web. i really appreciate your blog for making people aware for this threat.

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