I was torn on how to title this post; this is either
Further proof of the depths to which Google’s bot will go to crawl your content
An alternative to Akismet
Have I lost you? Let me start from the beginning. I have an unhealthy interest in comment spam. It sits in a different class from email Spam which is, frankly, nothing but a form (albeit distasteful) of direct marketing. Comment spam exists under the guise of praise for your effort; a contribution to your community, with the sole intent of creating links or promoting a business.
“As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you”
Over the years, we’ve watched a tug of war between technology and the lengths to which spammers, in general, will go. From CAPTCHA to Akismet, we try to block attempts to waste our time; science and algorithms try to distinguish between the credible from the crap. That is, perhaps, why I was amused to stumble upon a merging of a personal favorite field (SEO) and this scorn of my time as a blogger. Google can help you identify comment spam.
“Good post, nice info. One of my favorite topics, very few good writers out there.”
The comments that seem to most frequently elude the roadblocks, are those that seem innocuous; they communicate enough relevant context to slip through the cracks, more often then not, going even unrecognized by bloggers. Finally, fed up with trying to distinguish between the credible and the crap, I wanted to see how significantly spam fell through the cracks. Borrowing from an SEO Easter Egg (an amusing Search artifact related to a search for “Click here”), I dropped the comments as phrases in Google Search to see what one might uncover.
Who wouldn’t approve these comments??! A sign that your fans adore you! Your heart warms to know that precious time spent sharing some experience, isn’t falling on deaf ears. Apparently, many fall prey and approve such comments.
Google does such a good job of indexing your content that the search results are littered with listings caused by spam. Do a search for “As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you” (include the quotes to do a search on that exact phrase) and you’ll uncover dozens of blogs that have received and approved the very comment. A comment from neither a fan nor mere reader but more likely an intern or bad SEO/PR firm that is tasked with building links for a business.
Frustrating to me, and challenging the noble efforts of the developers creating filters for this, is that these are the comments falling through the cracks. They sit waiting to read and approved; clearly, often making the cut and succeeding in building links for sites. How can you help shut down the spam? Turn to Google as one of your spam filters.
Before approving any vague comment to your blog, forum, or community, drop it in Google. If you get any result, even just one, you aren’t alone in receiving the comment. At the very least, delete the comment but if you are feeling savvy and want to stick it back to the spammer, approve it, without the link; you just might start to leech some attention away from them.