How to get rid of comment spam once and for all
Sick of spam comments clogging up your inbox?
There is an answer to your troubles, although possibly not the one you want to hear.
Why? Because the only way to truly get rid of comment spammers once and for all is to disable the comments.
Simple, but effective.
But, you’re thinking – I don’t want to disable my comments. I do get real people commenting too, or at the very least I want my readers to be able to join in the conversation – it’s just good blogging practice!
You are, of course, very right. But sadly, because spammers are always getting smarter there will never be a 100% foolproof way to get rid of comment spam other than disabling the comments.
But all is not lost – because there are ways to reduce the problem drastically.
5 ways to drastically reduce comment spam
- If you don’t have a captcha – add one (this is the standard one)
- If you do have a captcha and you’re still getting problems – try an alternative like Sweet Captcha (which we use and that brought our spam way down)
- If you’re on WordPress install the Akismet plugin
- If you already have the Akismet plugin, try adding the cookies for comments plugin too
- Manually ‘spam’ and ‘trash’ any remaining unwanted comments and pingbacks
How to spot a spammer
There are a number of tell tale signs
- They can’t string a sentence together (bad grammar & spelling to a horrific extent)
- They don’t mention anything about your article – it’s just a canned ‘this is a great article that I will be sure to refer to in the future’
- Their email address or website that they link to has ‘SEO’ in the title
- Their email address or website has some other kind of spam alert word in them (Viagra, or fake versions of top brands)
- Their comment just promotes their own dodgy product/service
- It’s just a string of insults
Real people want to have a real conversation. They will mention something specific about the article, and make a detailed comment or ask a question. If they are a WordPress user then you’ll usually be able to see their avatar, or otherwise find them online. Also think about who your blog is targeting – if they are in your target audience then they are likely to be real.
Why do people spam up the comments?
There are others who believe that you will follow the link they post back to their site and that you will buy from them.
And then there are the trolls who just like to post destructive and annoying comments for the sake of it (some are automated and some are just very sad people with a lot of issues).
Ultimately, all of them just have to be ignored.
What on earth is a pingback/trackback?
A pingback is a WordPress service that lets you know whenever someone else on WordPress has linked to your blog. You don’t need to publish the valid ones – you can just trash all of them. But if you know the link is a bad/spam one then you can ‘spam’ the pingback.
A trackback is, for all intents and purposes, pretty similar. It’s a service that allows you to keep track of who is linking to your articles.
A lot of blogs do block a lot of pingback and trackback spam automatically – but there will always be those that get through. Just go through and delete it all every once and a while.
And finally – don’t despair!
Comment spam is something that happens to everyone. Don’t worry about it, and know that blog providers are always working to bring out new updates and plugins to stop it happening. Just see it as another small maintenance issue to do a routine clear up.
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