Spotting Spam in Seemingly Genuine Blog Comments

I really appreciate comments on my posts, both positive and negative. I read them all and try to learn from them. But over the last 2 or 3 months, I’ve been getting more comments which are getting through my Akismet spam filter and which at first sight seem to be genuine but are probably spam. Akismet generally does an excellent job so I don’t really need another antispam plugin. In addition I don’t like Captchas –  I’ve spent enough time refreshing these till I found one I could read before commenting so I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Anyway, there’s just a few comments coming through that on the face of it may be genuine, or may not. So how do we filter the spam from the genuine?

How to spot the spammy blog comment

1. The comment really doesn’t add any value to that particular post, it’s often just a general comment praising some aspect of the blog as a whole.

2. Try Googling the whole comment, or even part of it and see if it’s been used on other blogs. Here’s a typical one from my blog.

Wow, awesome weblog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
you made running a blog look easy. The whole glance of your website is wonderful,
as smartly as the content material!

Yes, the grammar isn’t perfect but that doesn’t necessarily make it spam. Google the complete comment (within quotes) and you get nothing. But Google just the first two sentences, again within quotes, and you get over 5 million hits! Here’s some of the first page:

Wordpress spam


The first three sentences are in fact the same but small variations start appearing in the fourth sentence. But the real giveaway that variations of this comment are in widespread use is the incorrect and consistent lower case ‘you’ after the question mark at the end of the second sentence. So although it got through Akismet, I deleted it.

Here’s another seemingly genuine comment:

My partner and I stumbled over here by a different website and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to exploring your web page for a second time.

I found that even if I googled this type of comment without quotes, Google picked up the matches in bold. Here’s the first page of search results for this comment when I didn’t use quotes:

Wordpress spam2

So you can see that much of the comment is repeated on different blogs and just changing a few words here and there.

3. I use the CommentLuv plugin, but find that most commenters don’t really seem to use it… at least, until recently. The recent spate of spam commenters often (but not always) seem to use CommentLuv on my blog to link to some spammy site. If I’m not sure about the link, I check it out carefully on my Ubuntu netbook, just in case. Often the articles are very poorly written and are just a vehicle for spammy keywords. Again, if these comments slip through Akismet, they just get deleted.

4. In fact the pattern of the CommentLuv link and the general nature of the comment together with the fact that they’ve all started in the last 2 or 3 months suggest that all these are just spam comments and will be deleted.

5. Just as I was finalizing this piece, Harsh Agrawal of the blog ShoutMeLoud today posted a huge list of spam comments which look genuine. These may help you decide if you are unsure about a comment. Just copy the suspect comment (or part of it)  and head over to that post. Then search the list for your text by simply keying Ctrl-F and pasting your suspect comment into the Find box.

So that’s how I try and weed out the occasional spammy comments that get through my spam filter and I hope that’s been some help in checking out comments which just don’t seem right to you. How do you deal with these? Drop a (genuine!) comment below.

One Response

  1. Ducky Says:

    I found the Akismet plugin filters out 99.5% of all the spam I get on my blog/sites.
    There are the occasional posts that make it through to my normal comment queue, but they usually have a link to a completely unrelated site attached with them…

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