With spammers getting better at disguising what they do, are you confident you can identify every piece of spam that comes through?
One of the first steps in the fight against spam, of course, is deleting the wrong kinds of comments and submissions from your blog. But, do you ever find yourself worried that you'll accidentally delete a legitimate response by accident?
These are legitimate issues, especially since anti-spam tools can't prevent all of the wrong posts and comments from getting through. To help you keep spam off of your blog, and to do our part to put these kinds of nasty little companies out of business, here are five tell-tale signs of a spam link submission:
1. The post or comment is attached to a very dated article.
Granted, readers can stumble upon an old article that's still relevant and decide to comment on it, so this shouldn't necessarily be cause for deleting a post or comment right off the bat. But, spammers like to comment on dated pieces because they know you aren't looking at them as often, so be suspicious of new posts on topics that have already run their course.
2. The email address given is generic.
Although many of us have several email addresses these days, how many of us would go out of our way to comment on a blog using a very generic Gmail address for replies? This is another area where common sense comes into play; if the email suggests that the item didn't come from a real person (or someone who's been reading your blog), it's probably a sign that it didn't.
3. The comment doesn't make much sense, or could be applied to any of your posts.
Spam marketers have actually been getting better at coming up with comments and posts that seem almost legitimate, until you stop and realize that they could be applied to virtually any kind of content. A very generic statement almost always suggests spam, since people rarely sign into a blog in order to offer a few nonspecific words of encouragement.
4. The commenter's name or title contains keywords.
This should be a dead giveaway. Real people don't use names or titles like "low-cost Canadian meds," so you should be able to spot those kinds of spam right away. Tougher, though, are the keywords that aren't as obvious. Still, if it looks like a search term is being embedded, then delete the post or comment and move on.
5. The post or comment comes in the middle of the night.
While some people actually do read blogs and comment on them in the middle of the night, a far more likely scenario is that your "visitor" is coming via automated software from a time zone across the globe. Look very critically at posts or comments that arrive outside of normal waking hours.
Just as spammers try to build businesses using lazy tactics, they are counting on your inattention to help them build links from your high quality site to their low-quality one – hurting readers, customers, and your website’s credibility in the process.
So, the next time you spot a suspicious comment on your blog, check back to this guide and see if it fits the bill. Chances are, you'll just be getting rid of a bit of spam; and if you aren't, the person supplying the post or comment will have to come back with a slightly more detailed thought or idea in the future. It might not be a perfect system, but it's one that usually works.