Tips For Dealing With Spam Commenters

Like most bloggers I really love comments.

And it’s great to get comments that express concern such as “Sue – you’re back and…not blogging yet?:)”……. only to discover it’s a spam comments.

I’ll tell you how I minimize spam comments below – but first a little on the WHAT.

What are Spam Comments?

The reason why people write spam comments is to provide links to the spammer’s commercial web site; to get you and/or your readers to visit their site.

Common spam commenting techniques include:

  1. Adding links to their web site in the comment and their URL Image of spam comment
  2. Adding the link for their web site in URL Image of spam
  3. Creating pingbacks to blog postImage of spam pingbacks

Spammers generally write comments with minimal substance such as:

Thank you for this tips; Good Stuff!; Good job, bro; Very informative and helpful; Yes, it is very helpful; Thanks you for the information and I’ll return here often…….

If it smells like spam it normally is!

Check the URL to confirm— and DELETE!

Image of deleting spam

Refer to Managing, editing and approving comments for more info on deleting comments!

Ways of Minimizing spam comments!

An annoying aspect of spammers is they’ll often target posts with numerous comments.

So while deleting their comments helps it doesn’t prevent emails being sent to commenters who selected ‘Notify me of followup comments via email’.

The key is make it harder for spammers to leave comments so eventually they give up and move on!  And in the process reducing their spamming of your readers!

The two main methods I use are:

1.  Comment moderation

I’ve found comment moderation the most effective method because it allows me to target specific spammers.

It’s as simple as:

  1. Go to Settings > Discussion Image of Settings menu
  2. Add the spammer’s URL, email address, IP address or word(s) commonly used to the Comment Moderation field
    • Tip: For pingbacks I’ll normally include the word(s) they are using to link to my posts Image of spam moderation
  3. Click Save Changes

Now any comments written that contain any of these words in its content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP will automatically be held in your moderation queue where you can decide if to approve or delete them.

2.  Akismet

Image of AkismetAskimet is a spam commenting service designed to reduce comment and pingback spam.

It checks the content of the comment anonymously with an online server, to determine whether it is spam or not.

All comments considered spam automatically placed by Askimet in a spam queue where it is held for a month and then deleted.

Refer to these instructions for setting up and configuring Akismet!

Please Note:

  • With Akismet it is important to regularly check your spam screen to make sure Askimet hasn’t captured any legitimate comments or pingbacks.

Final Thoughts

@spammer!  Yes, I’m back from holidays and thanks for inspiring this post 8-)

If you are enjoying reading this blog, please consider Subscribing For Free!

Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

40 Responses

  1. Gail P says:

    I’ve gotta admit Sue, that I’m “happy” to see that you have challenges as well as the rest of us. When I get your spam comments now in my reader, I simply reflect on all the steps you have taken to prevent that and I realize it ain’t easy. I have a measly 158 spam comments blocked on my blog but that’s 158 akismet protected headaches I didn’t have to deal with.

    • Sue Waters says:

      @Gail P, Sorry about those spam comments in your reader. Akismet only traps those that it has previously identified and unfortunately it can be good at grabbing comments that aren’t spam.

      I get a lot who get past Akismet and they often will have several companies they are spamming for. So it can take time to get them under control.

  2. Hi Sue, thanks for the post…most fortuitous I have to say.

    I have been very lucky over the last couple of years and have had little spam so have been able to resist using the comment moderation because I think it puts in barriors to people leaving comments.

    BUT…I have been getting a lot of spam over the last month…to one particular post. Would you be able to give me advice on how to deal with this problem on Blogger?

    • Sue Waters says:

      @Sarah Stewart, I wonder if Google had an in built spam protection system which has been protecting you over the years? However it is hard to believe they would be doing that without sending the comments to moderation like Akismet does.

      I totally agree regarding comment moderation which is why I love being able to do it selectively.

      I’ve looked inside Blogger and they don’t give you a lot of options for controlling. I would change Comment moderation to Only on posts older than (and decide on a good number of days). Most spammers on my blogs start writing spam comments when the post is a bit older. Whereas normally readers write comments within a few days of the post being published – although there are some exceptions to that on The Edublogger.

  3. Ken Allan says:

    First time I’ve seen your blog. And what a great post that was!

    Yeah, right!

    About 5 a month on my blog. I try to resist comment moderation. But there will come a time . . .

    Catchya later

  4. drmike says:

    Hi Sue. I’m sorry to say but you’ve pushed one of my buttons. I for one can not recommend the use of Akismet. Having been blackballed by Automattic within it, I feel the service is too political. To this day, I still can’t send a trackback from my own blog and not have it marked as spam by Akismet. Experience has shown with the folks that I host a very large percentage of false positives with it, especially on highly technical sites.

    The other problem is the use of Akismet within a service like EduBlogs. It’s actually a quick one line change to the Akismet file and James could offer complete sitewide service without the need for folks to run to another site to pick up a license. The problem though to do that, it costs money. A great deal of it. So much so the pricing isn’t even listed on that page. They do a free option but it requires their own advertising on your sites.

    Let’s also be honest. Most folks don’t check the spam queue. They assume that a service like Akismet is plugin and forget and if it’s in there, it;s supposed to be in there.

    There is an alternative though which is something I’ve suggested in the support forums a couple of times. The use of Typepad’s solution. They’ve stated a number of times that the use of their service is 100% free, even on a setup like Edublogs. All it would require would be two edits of the Akismet plugin, the free license obtainable from Typepad and the change of the url of the server that the check is made against.

    Thanks Sue.

  5. Spamming really makkes my blogging life miserable. Not only because I hate that technique, also because it makes me lose comment number. It could’ve been a decent comment but they choose to spam. It’s a shame

  6. Sue Waters says:

    @Ken Yeah know exactly what you mean re-moderation but I’ve had to do it on my blogs for specific terms due to some serial spammers :(

    @Dr Mike My preference is definitely comment moderation based on terms and IP address. Hence the reason why I’ve listed it first. I’ve found that works the best for the type of spammers I’m having to deal with.

    Akismet is only running on one of my two blogs and I don’t see that much difference from using it.

    @Liane YoungBlogger Totally agree. I must change the post on my personal blog as I’ve now had way too many spam comments of ‘have a good holiday :(

  7. christopher says:

    Akismet has been great for eliminating most spam but I found it best to moderate all comments. It’s time consuming but it does eliminate the problem. When my blog was unmoderate it was like an open invite to spammers.

    • Sue Waters says:

      @christopher, Totally agree regarding moderation but due to the nature of readers who leave comments on this blog it causes them more confusion and me more work then if I moderate specific spammers.

      Often if a comment is moderated they’ll end up submitting 2-4 comments not realising that it was moderated.

  8. mbloomer1 says:

    I have the same problem with spam commenters, but I have a different problem as well. I have a blog on possibly the most divisive topic possible, politics, so a person on the opposite side of the aisle politically is using the comment section for the sole reason of being nasty, and the email account he uses is confirmed fake. Is it possible to make it impossible for him to comment all together?

  9. Sue Waters says:

    @mbloomer1 similar but not a nice problem. We call that type of troll behaviour. The best practise is always to model the type of behaviour in comments that you expect people to be using. It is also worth perhaps setting up a commenting guideline page in terms of what you consider as appropriate and inappropriate.

    What I do first is change my comment moderation to all comment must be approved by an admin before being posted — however assume you might already be doing this,

    The next step is I would add his IP address to the coment blacklist which is just below the comment moderation field. This will stop him being able to post from that IP address as I know you prefer not to his comments in moderation.

    Often when you stop the comments from being published they will give up because they aren’t being able to achieve the outcome they want to achieve.

    Hope this has helped?

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