If your blog receives a lot of spam comments, have you ever thought that you may be the culprit? At first, this idea sounds rediculous, but let me explain to you why this may be the case.
For those of you who use WordPress as your blog platform, you have some options in your admin control panel as to how new comments will be handled. Under Settings > Discussion, there is a checkbox that is labeled:
Comment author must have a previously approved comment
To help prevent spam, you may have this option enabled. This is a great way to protect your blog from receiving spam comments, but the security is only as strong as the comments you allow to be posted.
Here’s another scenario: Most of you who use WordPress also use the included Akismet plugin which is a wonderful tool to filter out spam comments before they show up on your blog. The way Akismet now works is that it learns from your previous actions. Comments from specific IP’s or from users who link to certain URL’s may at first be flagged as spam by Akismet, but if you de-spam the comment, Akismet will learn from your action and not flag similar comments in the future.
So, what’s my point?
If you approve a comment, whether it is through your blogging platform or from an added spam filter plugin such as Akismet, any comments made by someone using the same IP address or linking to the same domain name may not be flagged as spam in the future and can show up on your blog automatically.
The way these spammers are getting on your blog is by posting a halfway decent comment on your blog such as “great post” or “you’re now on my RSS reader”. They may include some spammy medicine-related or other type of URL as their website, which will be linked to their name. When you see the comment you believe that it is a reader who has a genuine interest in your blog and you allow that comment to be posted. You’ve now allowed that user to make subsequent comments on your blog which may be posted without your approval.
The same user comes back to your blog at a later point in time and leaves a completely spammed up comment and instead of being flagged, it goes right through!
The lesson here is to be careful when approving comments on your blog. If common spam filter plugins such as Akismet flag a comment as spam, it’s usually for good reason. Unfortunately, the only way to completely eliminate comment spam on your blog is to manually approve each and every comment, which may not go over too well with your readers and takes up all of your time. However, by taking a careful look at each comment before you approve it to be displayed on your blog, you can greatly decrease the amount of spam comments that may be posted in the future.