When I started this blog three years ago, I imagined people would view it, and comments would start pouring in. I’m pleased to report the comments are pouring in, at a total of more than 37,000 so far. The bad news is, all but 73 are spam. Of the 73, only 42 are comments from other people, the remainder being my responses.
What is this spam that constitutes 99.8% of the comments I receive? It’s a comment not intended to respond to my blog post at all, but rather to create a link back to the spammer’s website that increases the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking of that website.
At first I puzzled over these. I’d get comments from someone named Daewrnad Ylkernkc, or Prostate Cancer, or Ugg Boots—vague comments like “Great blog post. I enjoyed it.” or “I was surfing the web, found your site, and the information here is great. Keep it up!” Often the comments contained spelling and grammatical errors. Some went on and on about topics unrelated to my post. Some comments were in foreign languages, and some consisted of nothing but question marks.
I considered replying “Thanks, Ms. Ylkernkc, (or Mr. Cancer, etc.), I’m glad you enjoyed my blog post. Visit any time.” But a friend explained the concept of spam to me.
Now I use a WordPress plugin called Akismet to screen all the comments I receive and it sorts out which ones it thinks are spam and which are legitimate. That Akismet software is pretty good, I must say.
Still, I do review every comment I get, whether Akismet considers it spam or not. Often the spam is entertaining. Sometimes I see a comment that comes quite close to a legitimate response to my specific blog post, but then I see that it’s from Ugg Boots and that there are seven more comments just like it from people with equally unlikely names.
I should state at this point that I do not mean to disparage the food product known as Spam® in any way. My blog post refers solely to a different meaning of that word. I’m sure Hormel Foods has considered renaming it, considering the negative connotations.
Akismet is not the only defense against spam. One day I might have to shift to Captcha, which makes would-be commenters have to pass a test to see if they’re human before they’re allowed to comment.
If you blog, are you inundated with spam, too? How do you deal with it? Leave a comment and let me know. If you’re a spammer, feel free to leave a comment, but I’ll warn you right now that it won’t get approved by—