8 Commenting Mistakes that Make You Look Like a Spammer

Spam is the scourge of the internet. Depending on which source you want to use, somewhere between 80-99.9% of all email is spam. Akismet, the most widely used WordPRess spam filter, shows that right now 83% of comments are spam on blogs running their plugin. That means that only 17% of blog comments are legitimate, what Akismet calls ham.spam

The flood of spam is the reason I first implemented a Comment Policy here at SuccessCREEations.

Spam is nasty stuff.

Danger of Getting Labeled a Spammer

When it comes to blogging, there is a big danger in getting labeled a spammer. Most of the prominent spam filters such as Akismet (Defensio is another good one I recommend) have filtering algorithms that learn which commenters are spammers and which are legitimate (hammers?) based on user submissions.

This means that every time I mark a comment as spam, or tell the filter that I think a comment that it has marked as spam is really OK, it sends that info to a central database and learns. Combine my input with millions of other users and the filters get pretty accurate pretty fast.

Of course, if the filter ever starts thinking you are a spammer it can be nearly impossible to get your comments approved again. On any blog anywhere.

I’ve had friends end up there by mistake and I promise it is no fun. You don’t want to have that happen. Seriously.

Characteristics of Spammers

To help you out I thought it would be good to share some common characteristics that spam comments tend to share so that you know what to avoid. Hopefully it will help you stay out of spam purgatory.

Keep in mind that most of these characteristics taken individually do not necessarily mean your comment will be marked as spam. However the fewer of these you have in your comments the lower your chances of your comments being marked as spam. On, and I’m going to leave out the painfully obvious things like link stuffing for porn, pills or gambling.

  1. Arrive from a DoFollow list. The short version is that there are lists of blogs floating around out there listing blogs with decent Page Rank who have removed the NoFollow property from comments. Since this blog is on many of those lists I know that the majority of folks who come here from them are more interested in link juice than conversation.
  2. Leave several comments in a very short time. It is not unusual to see a commenter leave a half a dozen or more short comments on various posts in the span of 10 minutes or so. More often than not they never comback after their initial slash and burn pass. Instead, leave on comment a day over several days.
  3. Use key words instead of their name. Since spammers are all about getting better ranking in the search engines they often fill the name field with key words instead of, well, their name. Talking with keywords instead of people makes for awkward conversation, to say the least. Use your name and participate in the conversation.
  4. Don’t have a Gravatar. Spammers are about staying anonymous. Adding a picture of yourself goes a long way towards identifying you as a person and not a spammer. Go get your Gravatar set up so blog owners know you are a person.
  5. Only 1 or 2 sentence comments. Spamming is a high volume, low return activity. Since comment spamming is about getting the link the only incentive is to add just enough comment text to (hopefully) make it past the filter. Taking a moment to add value to the conversation will go a long way towards your comment being approved.
  6. Use free email service instead of email with your domain name. Spammers use throw away email addresses because it helps the anonymity factor. They tend to be random letters and numbers. Using your name in your email, or better yet your own blog domain will help you look less like a spammer.
  7. Blog has comments closed on all posts. Spammers are not interested in conversation. Since they are spamming, they probably think everyone else is spamming too. Turning their comments off is a sure way to prevent getting spammed back. Make sure yours are on and encourage conversation.
  8. Link to a sales page instead of a blog. Spammers are trying to improve the ranking of their sales page so they can make more money. It is much more effective long term to engage in dialog and let your ranking grow over time rather than trying to “trick” the search engines into giving you good ranking. If your blog is on an internal page of your business site, consider linking there instead of to your front page.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list. But avoiding these mistakes will go a long way towards keeping your comments out of spam filters.

What would you add to the list?

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Comments

  1. Recently, I’ve discovered that my messages have been winding up in spam slush, though I did none of the above to warrant having them wind up there. I’m hopeful that you will get this one.

    Just wanted to say this is a great list and bloggers need to be aware of it. I’d like to know want you recommend for a person to do if they find themselves somehow banned from commenting.

  2. Heya Robyn! It’s a tough one. The people I know who were successful at getting freed from a false spammer label took a long time and had to ask their blogger friends to let their comments out of their spam filters. Each time they commented. Eventually it happened enough times that the filter figured out they were not spammers.

    I recommend you reach out to Joe Hauckes. I know he overcame that issue a long time back and could probably shed a little more light on what it takes.

  3. Thanks so much, Chris. Lately I asked Robert Hruzek to lift out comment that didn’t show up and turned out to be in his spam box. Glad that didn’t happen here. Just came back to test it out. Whew!

  4. Howdy Chris! Yes, Robyn’s comments have simply disappeared from the Middle Zone many times – and there’s no trace of ‘em in the spam file either! Don’t know what to do about that when it happens… :-\

  5. Robyn, I’m using Defensio right now not Akismet (though I switch back and forth at times) so that’s probably why your comment showed up right away here.

    There is no telling “how” your comments started to get marked as spam. The filters do flag false positives at times. If bloggers don’t look through their spam folder before deleting they will flag good comments without realizing it. Unfortunately for legit commenters it can quickly snowball.

    And Robert, I don’t have an answer on how the comments don’t show up anywhere. That’s weird indeed.

  6. Should I try Defensio instead of Akismet? Is it in addition to, or instead of? What happens to the Akismet stuff if I switch? or is it better to just dance with the current pardner?

    … and of course, the ever-popular: what about Mary Lou? :-D

    • Robert, Defensio is comparable to Akismet. Personally I like the way Defensio displays spam messages better than Akismet. I think Defensio makes them easier to sort through to see if there are legitimate comments trapped as spam by mistake.

      I keep both plugins installed so if one is having problems with spam (services go down from time to time) I can switch to the other with a couple mouse clicks. However you should only activate one at a time. Trying to run them both at the same time will likely cause problems.

      As far as which one is better, I think it is really a matter of personal preference. They are both good.

  7. “Should I try Defensio instead of Akismet?”

    I think Defensio might be a bit better when it comes to catching spam messages. If you were to login to this blog you would see Defensio, not Akismet! This blog gets it’s fair share of ham so it’s a no brainer. Equivalent of = recommended by doctors ;)

  8. I actually came to your blog from a directory that you were talking about; however you did your job and got me to subscribe to your RSS feed. I guess it helps that I’m interested in your niche.

    I think I set my gravatar up correctly. I’ll probably change the picture because it looks more like a default one they give, but I just wanted to see if it would work first :)

    Great suggestions though, that is huge! If you choose to make backlinks through commenting, you only get your times worth out of it if they remain on the blog and are not deleted as spam. Great post, strangely relevant to me :)

    • That’s a good point, Jared. If getting back links is your objective then having your comments deleted or marked as spam sure doesn’t help you any.

  9. I totally agree with you mate. My blog has too much spam and not much ham which really annoys me. Today I made my comments dofollow so I’ll be suprised to see how much spam and ham I get now. When it was nofollow I had over 3.5k spam which were mostly to do with Viagra which really annoyed me. :(

    • Hate to break it to you, Artful, but changing to DoFollow will probably make your spam problem worse, not better. Spammers are out there looking for link juice and if your site ends up on any of the DoFollow lists spammers will start showing up in big numbers.

      Of the nearly 125,000 comments this blog has had to date, I’ve only approved just under 4,000 of them. That means I’m getting nearly 97% spam here.

      I’m regularly tempted to turn off DoFollow. But I have a personal issue with penalizing good folks along with the bad just to make it easier on myself. It is possible I may get frustrated enough to change my mind on that one day though.

  10. On all of my other blogs (the website I’m currently liking to is like my only HTML site) I use Akismet, but i’m getting fed up with all of the spam that makes it through the filters. In fact, I actually had a decent sized b,og that I have currently completely changed and left for dead because I couldn’t keep up with all of the spam.

    Gravatars also help identify who isn’t a spammer as well (I think I have one…)

    I’ll just point out a little bit of hypocracy to you – there’s a comment a few comments above mine left by someone whose name is “cellphone_junkie”

    • Heya Simon! I see where you are coming from about the cellphone_junkie comment.

      From my perspective it’s not about hard and fast rules but about general guidelines. These things can make a comment “look like spam”. I was careful not to say they automatically make a comment into spam.

      Ultimately I make a value judgment on every comment I approve or mark as spam. Though the comment you mentioned above is very close to the line, I tend to be relatively lenient at times. I felt the comment added enough value to the conversation to make the cut. Another time I may decide differently. Since this is my site, I have that freedom.

      I can see how you might find it a contradiction. Though “hypocritical” seems a bit off. If I posted guidelines like these and then went out and spammed other sites, that would be hypocritical.

    • All though some people uses some SEO text as usernames, I am not sure It should always be considered spam. If the comment is good and of value, does it really matter what name is used? And if this person does contribute to the discussion would it not be ok to let that person have a keyword backlink?

  11. “Since spammers are all about getting better ranking in the search engines they often fill the name field with key words instead of, well, their name. ”

    I fully admit to doing this, but I’m certainly not a spammer. It’s been a funny thing–learning about SEO the last year or so. Yes, I visit forums and blogs to get backlinks, but I always use my real picture, I always post relevant posts, and the funny thing for me is, at first it was an arduous process… finding high PR sites, posting, etc. But now, quite as a byproduct, I have found quite a few forums and blogs that I very much enjoy visiting regularly–yours is one of them. I learn new things, I give heartfelt comments (i.e. one site involves raising kids…)

    So what started, I admit, as a strategy, has become part of my lifestyle, a useful learning tool, and something I actually enjoy. But for sure the backlinks (with keyword anchor text) help my online store!

    By the way, my name is Derek, not shimano fishing. And thanks for allowing me to do my thing (my ever-evolving thing) here.

    • And your comments don’t get marked as spam (here anyway) because you have a Gravatar and tend to leave comments adding value to the conversation. Your strategy can work, but as you found out it takes a little work. Spammers aren’t willing to put in the extra effort it take, almost by definition.

  12. Yeah, leaving multiple comments in a short time is a dead giveaway of being a spammer. Nice post, a lot of spammers should look at this, heh. I think it’s obvious to see a person interested in getting some PR juice.

  13. Interesting. I don’t have a Gravatar (Actually, I didn’t know what it was until you mentioned it), but I am a real person.

    And yes…I must sheepishly admit that I came here because your blog was on a high-PR Do follow list.

    Well…since I’m here…I guess I should ask a worthwhile question. Is there any value to posting comments on a “No-follow” blog?

    Thanks. And beacuse of your hands-on approach, I think I might become a regular reader of this blog.

    Ed (Real person located in Ohio…Miami graduate etc…)

  14. I think these days, everyone wishes to remain anonymous.. especially when posting on blogs. But I do agree with most points on the list and I find it really helpful.

    I’ll use this guideline for my own blog at my website.
    The arriving from a dofollow list I feel is probably the best indication of whether or not someone wishes to actually create or spark a conversation or is only using the blog for link juice. Nobody really uses their real name and who cares if people use keywords.

    The main thing I look for in my blog is whether or not the comment is related to the blog post I put on. 99% of spammers don’t even read the comment,t hey just say thanks or something like that.
    Again, 1 or 2 sentences AT MOST.

  15. Great tips for those looking to comment on blogs, they are all good for people to take note of. I cannot recommend the whole do follow movement enough to people with their own blogs. I have only recently discovered it for myself and it is a powerful tool, a free one too so bonus!

  16. Chris, sometimes, my blog will be flooded by those spammers (I have no idea where they found my blog), which they’re posting the comments like the speed of lights. The even worse thing is most of the comments included with several links to their websites and it’s totally annoying me indeed! :(

    • The good news is that it’s your blog so you shouldn’t feel guilty marking those comments as spam, especially when they are that blatant about it.

      • You definitely have the point here, Chris. Why should I concerned about the spammers’ feeling, as they didn’t respect me in the very first place, isn’t it? Well, thanks for the advice, now I know how to deal with those nasty imposers and show them, who’s the boss here…

  17. Yeah, that´s a true balance. You have to keep in mind that you want people to know you because of great content. Take pride in your work!

  18. What will happen then if our legitimate comment be filed in a spam “bin” considering the bulk numbers of supposed spam comments? These 8 major list are self-explanatory although you did explain each fully, still there’s a need to go back to basics for review. Good reminder though. :)

  19. i enjoyed reading your post it was very thorough. I have to agree as well i’m one of those individuals that hate spams but don’t use any spam removal plugins i manually read them and delete them if they don’t contribute to the post but aside from that i have noticed that many people that do comment on my blogs do at least five of the things you listed on this topic.

  20. Thanks for the tips and I agree with viewpoint. Spamming is always a turn-off for people (including me). It not only are annoying but also can jam up the e-mail inbox! Which leads to another source of frustration.

    Sometimes I worry about making comments in blogs for the fear of being misunderstood. But I do enjoy reading great articles like this to open up our minds further and in a way mold the right behavior in the cyber world. Thanks

  21. Thanks for the tips. I’ve been noticing that some of my comments have been tagged as spam although I try and post relevant comments in response to the article someone has posted on their blog. I think #5 is the most important. Don’t just leave 1 or 2 sentences, leave a comment that let’s the blogger know that you actually read their article and obviously with leave their site with the piece of information stuck with you. I have learned many interesting things while trying to build links.

    Have a great weekend
    Susan

  22. There’s sometimes so much spam held in the queue that the only way to check them is to look down the left hand side (at the gravatars). Ah well…it’s better than the alternative (having no comments :P )

  23. I am glad I read yor artice I did com from a follow page t I did not knowI could b labeled spam. I am not spamming I am learning the whole blog thing. I did sin up for you newsletter. I will do the gravitor as soon as I learn it.

    Thank your charles

  24. That is a really helpful list thanks! We use akismet and we have millions of spam comments caught. The frustrating thing is, we have lots of legit comments caught in it too. but because we have so much spam, we can’t dig through it to find all the legit. So sad when good commenters get caught. I am going to go tweet about this post now…

  25. Hi

    I was tempted to start this post off as a typical spam one (how ironic, how witty :) ) but thought better of it.

    I am guilty of a couple of the above – hotmail email address that I’ve used for years and using a directory of follow blogs. I do comment to try and get links/juice to my site but I like to think I try and add some value along the way.

    I would say that I’ve received quite a volume of span whilst my site was nofollow – waiting to see whether I will be flooded with it now I’ve changed to dofollow

    I like the point about not just leaving a single comment and never visiting again – I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed as a result :)

    Neil

  26. I did not know about the gravatar thingy. I shall sort this out as a matter of urgency. Thanks for the tips.

    Worth noting that webmasters have a responsibilty in dealing with comments appropriately. I have seen people have their standing in the community destroyed because of malicious activity designed to label a innocent surfer a spammer.

    Its worth remembering that even if a comment scores high against the pointers outlined in the post. It may still be authentic. Labelling comments as SPAM should be done responsibly!

    Just my two cents worth

    cheers :)

  27. I have been swamped with spam this weekend, making me wonder what is going on. It’s more than just people seeking out link juice. I suspect a new zombie network or something that’s popped up.

    Every hour, 50 – 100 spam comments, all from different IPs and it’s driving me crazy.

    Great list that you have here as well.

  28. Thanks for the great list–though it made my heart beat faster. Not because I’m a spammer but because I’m scared of being branded as one. One of my favorite things about the Internet is the freedom to read about everything and anything. Having the chance to show appreciation is another one. I hope it stays that way. Thank you very much for a nice post. :D

  29. Chris, thanks for your advice. Got my Gravatar!

  30. Forgive my violation of the no avatar rule. :) Great tips, thanks for these. I was wondering how you can tell if you’ve been listed tagged as a spammer. I’m learning a lot about SEO by following these types of blogs and forums. If you have any other ideas that could help, that would be great.

    Look forward to reading more! Cheers.

  31. Spam is a curse and I woke up this morning to find that I had 23 new comments awaiting moderation-all spam. I don’t mind doing it this way at the moment as I only average a few comments a day but if it gets more popular then I guess I will have to employ some sort of anti spamming tool. Problem is that Askimet just scews up my wordpress site. Sorry for no Avatar btw – boy, do I feel guilty now!

  32. Amen. A few of my blogs are on those same dofollow lists and I get tons of comments from “cheap used cars” and what have you. I don’t mind if people place the name of their site in the name field instead of their real name, but spamming it with keywords is annoying and usually grounds for either deletion or editing to remove the keyword stuffing.

  33. Very helpful information, liked it and so Stumbled it to share with my friends, thanks :)

    Sarah.

  34. I’m new to blogging and do not have much in the way of traffic to my site at the moment, but interestingly I have started to receive spam comments. At the moment I’m not too worried, and to be honest it feels like my blog is beginning to get noticed which is a good thing – well I think it is anyway.

    I think that making a blog do-follow you will attract readership, your main readership, but then also those readers who arrive at your blog because of the do-follow setting. I don’t think this is a bad thing, but you will inevitably have to spend more time moderating comments to weed out the one’s for whom the content of your site is irrelevant.

    As for using anchor text in the comment – I’m not sure that is such a bad thing – you only have to follow the link to discover my indentity.

  35. Thanks for this article to spread awareness about commenting. Most of the times when people actually don’t have much knowledge about spam, their natural comments also look like spam. It will help both blog owners as well as commenter to participate decently in the community.

  36. Thanks for some pointers. Now I know what to look for on my own site but also what to do to avoid looking like a spammer. Will change avatar as soon as I find a picture of myself looking human:-)

  37. Hi, so spammers are really well-known, I just find out. Great to read this. I am Indonesian blogger and now start to look for abroad blogs to read, and yes I want to increase my blog’s rank. I’m not spammer, just trying to leave “sincere” comments in as many blog as I can. I don’t comment before I read at least half of the post, Lol…

  38. great to read this, no one love spams so if you dont want to see spam in your blog please dont spam at others, this is all about… :)

  39. I very often choose to get nptified by email when I comment. This ensures that I can follow the convertations I have commented in. Just leaving one reply and different post shows a lack of interest in the post itself.(although sometimes a single reply says it all)

  40. its great,nice to read here. i found many people doing spamming on blogs.
    many of mine blogs have got comments that are of wasted things. i have cleared that.

    i might say your ways are appreciable,

  41. You have absolutely right. More and more people find in blog comments a good way to create backlinks. Anyway, I think that google will soon reevaluate the links coming from blogs.

  42. Hi Chris,

    Many thanks for the advice, I am certainly new to reading and commenting on blogs and would not want to inadvertantly get listed as spam.

    As a result of visiting your blog post I have signed up for a gravatar, signed to your RSS feed, and looked into an anti spamming device for my soon to be launched blog.

    Many thanks

  43. I never really got the point of comment spam as the links are worth very little, even on a high PR blog. I mean, yeah, if I’m going to write a comment I may as well include a link, but there’s little point in actively chasing them – there are so many better, more effective ways to get links.

    Funny part is that most of the people posting spam comments just aren’t good at it. Most of their comments are of the generic “thank you for your post, your thoughts are very useful to me” variety, which is just a fancy way of saying “hey, look at me, I’m spamming you!” Come on, spammers – You can do better than that! I mean really… How hard is it to write something halfway intelligent that doesn’t make you sound like a drunk space alien?

    I don’t agree with spam = using your keywords instead of your name though – using keywords instead of your name is just being smart. If you’re going to link to your site in a comment, you may as well make it somewhat worthwhile. Using your name as anchor text is worthless (unless that’s what you’re trying to rank for) – why even bother?

    And I can’t be bothered to get an avatar. I don’t think that should be taken into consideration as a lot of people just don’t care. I agree with the rest of the stuff on your list though.

  44. It is very commical getting spammy blog posts saying how much they enjoy your article and how they look forward to following your blog and then you see the link they’re coming from is some viagra, poker or adult site. It just kind of makes you wonder when will they get it or do people actually post these links, they must or elese they wouldn’t keep doing it you’d think.

  45. Hey Chris,

    I’m enjoying reading through your blogposts. I was getting a few hundred spam posts a day for a while. It was obvious they were spam, like you said the names were keywords and the posts were empty of content.

    Only after adding WP-Spamfree was I able to stay clean of the hordes of crap thrown on my blog.

    Thanks!

  46. Hey, just because I use a keyword as my name doesn’t mean I’m a spammer. I’m not going to lie, I do very much enjoy the sweet, sweet benefits of getting another link to my site, but as you can see, I am adding to the conversation.

    I know what its like to get spam. Almost 100% of the comments on my blogs are either spam or pingbacks, neither of which I want to show in the comments section. It’s a hassle to delete them all, and but I’m sure Akismet stops a few of them, but I haven’t checked the stats of it in awhile.

  47. I find it hard to keep anonymous when you’re linking to your site. Well, I guess you can hide who you are if it’s some site about some random product. I don’t get many comments at all on my site, maybe because I’m using a 3rd party commenting script, who knows. Fun to have people give you their thoughts on what you wrote. Nice post.

  48. To me is seems that a good part of this problem is caused by Google (and other search engines) and how pageranking works.

    The whole internet is based on links and using them to calculate pagerank was a good idea in the beginning. But now that the internet is mature it does seems a bit obsolete to me. If they would change their algorithm I would expect that this will clear up a lot of backlink related spam.

    As a relative new blogger, I hate doing the marketing stuff as I’d rather concentrate on writing good posts. But as the whole system is more or less based on pagerank this is almost a necessarity to do: registering to social media sites, blog directories, etc. All to get the word out and in the end improve pagerank. No wonder comment spam exists.

  49. Love to read this one..Thank you so much for the advices. Leaving relevant comments on someone’s blog is a great way to build traffic to your blog. Especially if you add to the conversation with unique, helpful information. However adding comments that have noting to do with the post or blog is a great way to get labeled a spammer. And once that happens, your reputation is pretty much sunk.

  50. As someone just starting out in the blog and internet sales world this is such a great post to read! Thanks for the tips and now I am going to spend the rest of my days avoiding spammers and trying to positively and genuinely dive traffic to my site!

  51. Akismet does a particularly good job of blocking SPAM comments, thank God. I just recently made my blog at DirectingCustomerService.com DoFollow and I’m hoping it will keep the spammers away

  52. Hello Chris, thanks for the helpful tips on both being a more responsible commenter and tools to use on our own blogs to filter out the spam from the ham (I like the use of terms!).

    We are in the process of setting up our own blog, outside of the one we have with Active Rain, and appreciate what you’ve done with your site. John

  53. Chris,

    So right! I typically avoid commenting on other’s blogs unless I have something valid to say because I really don’t want to appear to be marketing. But, one of the main reasons I spend so much time on my computer is to market my business.

    It really is a tough balancing act sometimes! Without the face-to-face contact, networking is both easier & more difficult.

    I really love connecting with like-minded on the web, which, for me, is the true motivation for commenting (& for the business).

    By the way, thanks a lot for the helpful tips. I’ll always remember those points.

    Cheers,
    Andy

  54. A lot of our sites get bombed with spam junk daily, we use nofollow but that doesn’t stop them from going after our high page rank. Thankfully Akismet filters out most of them and the rest are so blatantly spam that they get deleted without even a second thought.

  55. Word verification and moderation together performs excellent protection, I always believe. Spammers will find it useless to spam because the moderator can reject their spam in one click, while they need to press their keyboards several times to pass word verification once. That’s a losing trade.

  56. Those eight points are indeed true and are found all over the web. Most of the comments posted on blogs are for enhancing search engine rankings. I however feel that if a “spammer” can at least reply to the topic with relevant post then it’s fine, it’s those people who give one liners and try to sell stuff that you don’t need a big problem.

  57. Great points about the usual characteristics of spam comments. Unfortunately for me, my comments have some of those characteristics. But it’s more because the internet can be somewhat of a dangerous place if you reveal too much personal information, so for example I use a free email provider and don’t want to get a Gravatar. It’s a fine balance we all must achieve now, to be anonymous enough that we’re safe from malicious people online but personal enough to be considered legitimate. I get spam on my personal blog too, but if it’s a decent comment I usually let it go. I generally only mark it as spam if the comment is just a bunch of nonsense with links mixed in.

  58. Many spammers are using automated software for commenting that through comments like bullets from a machine gun. I have seen a post on some of the forum where blogger shows the spam comment in his moderation system. There were two comments on two different posts on same time. You will believe it or not there was no difference in time even seconds were same.

    The poor guy, he doesn’t know that those kinds of comments will never get approved as most of the blogs those passes comment luv are using strict moderation system.

  59. In order to increase the traffic, should i use the dofollow blog ? because my blog is still new…

    what do you recommend ? thank you very much.. :-)

    • To increase traffic to your blog and to get user generated content through commenting you can always install plug-in like CommentLuv and other. But be sure to moderate each and every comment to stop spamming.

  60. :)
    truly, a very right post. All the items that you have mentioned are indeed totally valid. I stumbled upon here while searching for how to identify comment spammers. All the tips that you have mentioned are completely practical. Is there some way to configure these in Akismet? Like not using the website domain name, or just coming from dofollow list?

  61. Mass spam apart, there is thin borderline between real interested commenting / arguing and backlink-hunting self-promoting messages.By removing “nofollow” you know very well what you are gaining in terms of spam and comments count. You get both. And maybe you can get also some good valued comment. Double-faced issue: I have not a definitive opinion about no follow / do follow.

    BTW. I came to your page from a DoFollow list (point number 1)

  62. Well you know what, after reading this post I felt like a spammer lol but I am not. I like to read the posts because I always learn something new and sometimes it evens helps me in my ventures. I think as long as you leave a legitimate comment and try to return back to read more (if you find the content interesting), and avoid the things mentioned in your list, people’s comments will be alright. I hate the spammers that come by and leave multiple affiliate links and no comment lol, now that is just bad.

  63. Its a symbiotic relationship … Commenters add fresh contest to the blog which attracts the search engines

    When i check my logs I find some of by blogs are found because of wording that my commenters used

    Here’s the way I look at it

    If the person takes the time to actually read the post and leave a meaningful content then that’s all that matters

    Jack

  64. On my personal blog I love it when people constantly go through every post and write “Good Post”. Dorry but your not getting a link from me. I do think it is important to allow dofollow though almost as a reward to people joing the conversation. Just please, join the conversation!

  65. Comments are my bread and butter right now for link building. My website is only about 3 weeks young, and is my testbed for learning where to link my website. I only make about 10 comments a week, and probably 8 of those are nofollow. Never knew what nofollow was until about 3 days ago. I’ll chalk it up to learning the system. I did take the advice and get Gravatar. Thanks!

  66. About 12 months ago I decided to go the dofollow route on my blog and regretfully had to undo it again a few weeks later. For a blog that rarely gets comments, I started getting 20-30 a day – a clear sign that people were just in it for the links.

    The annoying thing is that some directories still think I have a dofollow policy so I spend a lot of time moderating spam.

  67. I’ll admit that I found this website from a dofollow list, BUT I am not the typical spammer (at least I don’t believe I am). I make sure I read or at least skim the article I am commenting on, and if I am not interested in the subject or can’t think of a comment that is actually worth making, I won’t comment. More than likely the site has other blog posts that may interest me, and I will comment on those.

    What I have learned through this process is actually a lot, because there have been many blog posts where I have learned something new, whether it is in the SEO or marketing area, or just life in general. Many people find blog commenting a chore, and those are the spammers. I actually enjoy adding conversation to a post, and possibly learning something new.

    Now I just have to get a gravatar. Thanks for the tip!

  68. good idea..

    i want people comment in my posting,, but i don’t want spammer…can i filter this??
    what is plugin/software to handle this ?i use wordpress…

    thx 4 information

  69. The one thing I can’t seem to figure out about spammers is why they continually plaster a few of my blogs with spam comments even though I have no follow set and a comment must be approved before it appears. I was getting 200 to 300 spam comments a day that I had to weed through just to find one or maybe two good ones. It became so frustrating I finally had to set up register and log in attributes. It also seemed the more I marked these spammers as just that, spammers, I would increasingly get more spam comments. I have given a great deal of thought to adding a do follow plug in to a few of my blogs but at this juncture I am afraid of the extra work. If I get so much spam now, how much will I get if I set up do follow?

  70. The spammers use to be very easy to spot. I would see comments like; ‘Great Blog’, ‘This is great content!’, ‘You have a very good blog’. Now, however, they seem to be getting a little better with the comments. I’m starting to see contextual spam comments. They are a little harder to spot, but, many times they fail your #3.

  71. I had never heard of a gravatar before. That’s something I will definitely need to look into. Most of the spam comments I get are so blatantly rubbish, that there’s no way they would ever get published. While our corporate site is a PR5, for some reason people who only want links have not found us yet. So it was interesting to read your take on this. I’m sure as we build our reputation on the web, your tips will become more obvious to me as the blog admin. Thanks for the list!

  72. All my blogs are do follow blogs so I have become very good at easily spotting the spam comments, a lot of times I will see the same person on everyone of my blogs making they same stupid comments. Askimet is a must like you pointed out and blocks most of the spam. I would hate to see what would be coming trrough without it.

  73. The spammers are like paprazzis. They come in large quantity but have no quality. You can not stop them. The only way to combat spam is deleting comments or using filter.

  74. I think that while these are definitely signs of spammers, some of them could be legitimate comments as well.

    1. I came from a DoFollow list. It seems like most DoFollow blogs make themselves DoFollow for the specific purpose of gaining more comments because of their DoFollow status. Just because someone comes in with the specific purpose of getting link juice doesn’t mean they will not become a repeat visitor or full time reader.

    2. I have a habit when I find a new blog of going from post to post on their site. This is another thing that is generally a good thing for blog owners as it lowers their bounce rate. A spammer could come in, comment on one post, and be gone in 30 seconds, resulting in a crappy comment and higher bounce rate.

    3. If you’re coming to a site that specifically offers DoFollow link juice, it would be silly to use “Bob” as your anchor text. WordPress has a plug-in called KeywordLuv that allows a commenter to use Their Name @ Their Keywords, so they can include a name, and get their anchor text linked at the same time.

    4. Just signed up for a gravatar. That is a good way to tell if someone is leaving a false address for spam or a relatively solid email.

    5. I think I’m doing good on this one. :)

    6. Using Gmail, but mostly because I prefer Gmail to anything else. Best free email out there.

    7. My blog does have comments closed for now. Whenever I have more time to dedicate to replying to comments and moderating the spam, I will open them up, but for now, the comments are closed. I still have good, informative articles though.

    8. No sales page – just a blog.

  75. I agree with #27. Although these might be signs of spammers I believe there might be genuine users too.

    Thanks for the info about Akismet. I always wondered how it worked and if I was missing some actual comments because of it. I used to get around 30 spam comments a day with text that made no sense. Hopefully only that is stopped.

    Cheers

  76. I have been rather lenient though not letting really obvious through. But thinking about it again, I have enabled everything possible to make it rewarding for my readers to comment such as CommentLUV and KeywordLUV along with Dofollow of course; all without spamming .

    Thinking about it now, I will unlink anyone not doesn’t use the KeywordLUV for instance… enough is enough.

  77. I’ve just made my blog DoFollow and you’re free to stop in and check it out if you like.

    I’ve been thinking about it and it kind of makes sense as a new blogger to make your site DoFollow. It’s good to create a buzz, check out some interesting discussions, etc. IF the person that’s come to your site is strictly looking for link-love, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t stick around to read some articles. The only thing I don’t want is someone hammering the site with one of those spam programs…that’s not good.

  78. Whilst I did indeed stumble upon this site from a dofollow list I wouldn’t say that I did so with the intention of spamming. I actually had a look through some of your posts and this one caught my eye.

    One of the difficult aspects of marketing your website particularly in an area where big companies with bottomless marketing budgets can simply outsource their SEO and have their ‘dirty work’ done for them, is to market your site legitimately and without spamming.

    The practice of leaving short comments with no relevance is deplorable and most definitely spam. However I feel that it is a fair trade off to grab a little link juice in return for taking the time to make a valid contribution to the discussion.

    Also I dont think their are ‘mistakes per se’, since most of us are aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it. Nevertheless I may consider expanding on the debate on my own blog (www.claimsblog.co.uk – Also dofollow) and hopefully this will give your site a little in return!

  79. Your post is so true of what most users use blogs for. My blog receives aprox. 30 comments a day and I would say 90% off them are spam, its a shame really as like many others have said, a few ‘thanks’ ‘great’ comments do not really mean what they should say for there context.

  80. Hmm. Never thought about this. Unfortunately for me I chose not to show my name and always use a nick name containing some key words. I hope I won’t get banned. I’ll be smarter about commenting as I usually posted thanks in my comments for a good and useful and this is always less then 2 lines. So my ignorance can bring me to being banned.

  81. Spam is a very slippery slope. Once you cross a certain line, it’s difficult to undo the connotation that is implied by being labeled a spammer. The exploitations of a few have placed a negative framework around the entire process of “unsolicited anything.”

    With so many people flooding to the internet, it’s no wonder that a significant period of a company’s time is spent trying to convince your prospective client that you’re honest and legitimate.

    Excellent tips on commenting, as I personally am engaging in my own social networking pursuits and have had to invest significant effort in this avenue. With so little honesty in the world, it seems most of our time is spent coming off as legitimate. If we could completely resolve the asymmetries of information that exist in the world, these sort of endeavors would be moot.

  82. This a great list you have, and yes it can be frustrating when readers spam, however, isn’t that the general principle to the do-follow aspect of blogging to help others spread the word about different blogs? I try not to spam, but some of my comments may be taken as spam even if I’m not doing it on purpose. There definitely is a fine line that a commenter must tread to keep their post active.

  83. Yawasp is a great WP plugin to get rid of automated spam, which is about 99%.

  84. Hey Chris,

    What a great list. I really appreciate you took the time out to write this. But I have a serious problem, On most of my blogs I get a ton of spam comments.

    But what amazes me most is that they are just a bunch of letters put together and the URL leads to nowhere. Is there anyway that I can prevent this?

    • Casey, You’re using WordPress so there are a couple anti-spam plugins you can use. Akismet is made by the same folks that give us WordPress and is fantastic. Personally I use a service called Defensio for several of my blogs which also does a great job keeping spam from getting through.

      But even running great plugins like one of these you will still have to keep an eye on things because a small fraction of spam comments will make it though. (Not everyone has the same definition of what they consider spam.)

  85. I used to get tons of spammers, okay maybe not tons, but 3-4 per day. I activated akismet and haven’t had any! None at all, pretty good stuff…

  86. People spamming my blog really upset me, but what about people that want the link juice AND are interested in good conversation? I will get a picture so I don’t get banned, but my blog doesn’t have the option for people to show their pictures… as far as I know. Either way, the internet has proved almost as troublesome finding good people as it was when we did it in person!

  87. Although tools to control the comments, is very difficult to control the spammers. Google is turning into a bunch of spam because of pagerank. Should develop other means of assessing a site. Sorry for the bad english.

  88. Well..

    I don’t think building back links is at odds with participating in the conversation. You bring up lots of good points, but I don’t think it is a black and white situation.

    It was in trying to build back links that I discovered how interesting the blogosphere is – and I have learned so much since then. Everyone is trying to drive traffic, and although the best way to do this right is to create great content – inbound links are important. In fact they are increasingly important.

  89. Google speaks so much in punishment, but they will punish blogs that disclose dofollow lists? Their recommendations are interesting, but I don’t have interest in using a gravatar.

  90. More than the content of your article, what I like most is the picture! LOL! (”,) Personally, I hate spammers! Just imagine, spammers are penetrating even my personal blog that I’m using to offer my service. They are too desperate in building their links.

  91. Does using keywords in the name actually make a difference? I did find your blog through a do-follow list – trying to figure out if there’s anything at all that is “white hat” about the concept.

    I’m intrigued by the concept but agree that the fire and forget mentality tends to devalue comments for everyone. Wouldn’t it be easier to subscribe people to the comments from a post they comment on so that they can jump back in when others respond? I’ve commented on a few blogs that offer this service and I love the fact that it allows me to stay connected without needing to go through every single post I’ve commented.

    Maybe have the “follow-up comments” box automatically checked so we can’t just leave you high and dry?

    (Checking your comments box now!)

  92. I always believe. Spammers will find it useless to spam because the moderator can reject their spam in one click, while they need to press their keyboards several times to pass word verification once. That’s a losing trade.

  93. I will say that this is a little frieghtening to think of. I definitely don’t want to end up on one of the spammers lists, but what would be my recourse if i did? I’m new to this whole thing so it’s a little scary to think about.

    Is there someway that you can have a real conversation with these people and actually figure out why you might have been marked as a “spammer”?

  94. i totally agree with you. some of them just write ‘thank you’. so just read the article and try to write about that article.

  95. It’s getting harder and harder to find those “dofollow” blogs and this list was very helpful. Zappos.com has a great blog as well to post to, unless they’re just hiding their “nofollow” links. All the suggestion comments were appreciated as well.

  96. Now, I may just be playing the devils advocate here, but it strikes me as kind of ironic that this article is training spammers to be more skillful and undetectable while in the same breath expressing such distaste for their existance. They’re hiding amongst the people. Remnisant of the reason it’s so hard to target bomb happy fundementalists as they weave themselves in and out of their own people.

  97. now i know what to look for in spammers.

  98. Thats interesting about people arriving from dofollow blogs being marked as spam.

    I’ve had a few comments appear in my akismet filter and couldn’t figure out why, i realise now this was the reason.

  99. The article is very good. I want to know where can I find more information of blogging which can help promote my website and my blogs.

  100. You hit it bang on. Thing is, I don’t really agree with the thing about them not using their real name. Using their keyword isn’t a crime. There are so many big shot websites out there, and if we don’t use our keywords wherever possible, competing with them is next to impossible.

  101. Great article. I’m currently teaching a few women on how to get quality links and a point that I strongly stress to them is that to be successful is by contributing in the conversation whether it is in a blog or forums. Its through conversation that you build relationships and these relationships will bring you your customers.

  102. The one thing that really amuses me here is the amount of spam comments that have been approved on this post, some blatantly so. How many of the people who commented on this article are really just doing the bare minimum to get approved and are solely in it for the “link juice”? My guess is pretty much everyone that used a keyword instead of their name. Oh wait – I used a keyword for my name. D’oh!

    I suppose it’s always a good thing to see the best in people and give them the benefit of the doubt, but the fact that you actually approved some of these totally obvious spam comments makes my head spin. If this were my blog their “words of wisdom” would never even see the light of day…

    – Adam

    • Adam, You make a good point. It has ended up being a bit ironic, really. I write a post on how to avoid getting listed as a spammer and it ends up attracting spammers by the score. Go figure.

      Because of your comment this morning I went back through the comments on this post and found a few snuck through that didn’t even meet my generous standards. So I cleaned house a little.

      Ultimately though, spam is in the eye of the beholder. I go out of my way to find an excuse to keep a comment. Keep in mind, this blog gets thousands of spam comments every day. Even with the best anti-spam procedures some are bound to get through. :(

  103. many thanks for all the words of advice and suggestions which the author of this blog and the subscibers have left, it has helped me alot get in getting my head around the whole ‘spamming’ thing. I have just recently started my own website and as a beginner to SEO, was advised to get my name out there on the web whether it be blogs, forums or whatever other means necessary. This ‘advice’ didnt sit well with me as i knew that there must be some sort of authorisation process from the site/blog owners and as a site owner myself, i understand the frustration of spamming as my mailbox too is flooded everyday with random, un-solicited e-mails telling me i need to loose weight and invest in some shady company on the stock market!

    The information I have gained from this post and the recommendations from the authors and readers already confirms what i originally thought, which is, respect the blog you are commenting on even if it is to get some link feedback by engaging with it the site/blog and being a beneficial contributor which will help contribute to the discussion taking place.

    P.S: havent got a gravatar but seeing as i only learned what this term means within the last 5 minutes, i will make sure one is set up soon!

    Kind Regards

    Carl

  104. i hate spammers, i have 4 website and i use akismet but everyday i deleted hundreds of spam message, and i learned they use third party programs such a xrumer, i hate them

  105. I have to admit that I got here via a dofollow list. And it isn’t a secret that many, many people comment with backlinks being one of their major (if not the major) purposes. I like link juice – we all do. But this does not mean that those people aren’t interested in leaving meaningful comments. For example, even though your blog comments are nofollow right now, I still find myself responding to your post because it caught my attention. People will get to a blog by so many means and for so many reasons that in my opinion it’s really the blogger’s responsibility to capture those people’s attention and make them want to comment regardless, as you just have.

  106. I agree, if you want the link juice then earn it!. Many people don’t realize that good posts and helpful and meaningful conversation will encourage more of the serious blog subscribers to want to learn more about you, and your product or service. Help other people, and you will find in time, it will end up helping you. I have had so many people email me for my website, and give great viral referals, because I was being helpful in a blog.

    When you sell information on how to successfully promote an internet business, and you give some of your knowledge and expertise away in intelligent blog posts, people will naturally be more likely to pay for the rest of the information.

    email me if you need any help!!
    devin@startupshortcuts.com

  107. Search engines sniff out the spammy ones. Blog keepers don’t like dealing with the 87% of non-legit blog posts, but in the end search engines are the ones that ultimately have the last laugh when it comes to dealing with spammers. Great post, I went out and got my Gravatar in the middle of reading your post. Thanks!

  108. Thanks a lot for this post we all hate spammers as much as we hate people who post flyers through the letter box. It is true some people are interested in link juice and some are really inputing positive information to the subject. Seen as getting backlinks is so hard i think everyone will appreciate those who are after links but do input and get involved in the convo

  109. Thanks for these amazing tips. I will most definitely put these into practice as I try to help my blog’s SEO by commenting, I always try to stay on topic but I’m not sure if the websites or the admins will think its spam or not. I appreciate your help with this.

  110. Hello Chris, although you covered quite a lot on the subject but I think it would be unreasonable to not mention about certain words which are considered as spam too. Could you please also mention some of those here so that people who are not aware about the ‘spammy juice’ that those words release, do not use them even by mistake.

  111. but its true, i know that they are comming from a dofollow blog shared on a turkish webmasters forum. and the best thing is that the person who share this teach them what to write on the comment box :D

    like : thank you for this interesting article
    thnx for sharing
    thank you
    i will follow your blog

  112. I agree with you, armando. Most spammes will just say “thank you” or some would also say “I subscribed to your RSS” or “keep posting like this because I will follow your blog” LOL. I know these kind of comments may sound spamming and some genuine commenters would also comment like this. But sometimes, I can really tell if the “thank you” is genuine or if it is just spamming. :)

  113. yes that is exactly what I mean. Is like a general statement that would apply to any blog regardless of the topic.

    Right now I have about 100 of them pending moderation on my niche blogs. I just wish there was a way to block them. Or maybe I don’t know.

Comment Policy: Your words are your own, so be nice and helpful if you can. Please, only use your real name and limit the number of links submitted in your comment. If in doubt, please take a moment to review our full Comment Policy before you click "Post Comment" so we don't mark your comment as spam.

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