How to Earn a Trip to Akismet’s Spam Land

I try to be considerate – even generous – to those who leave comments. If its not something I want to publish on my site, I may not approve it. It takes an extra special kind of jerk to get me to actually hit the spam button in Akismet – and someone fitting the profile just stopped by to visit. As a reward, they win a trip to the Akismet spam bin and hopefully other bloggers won’t have to moderate them next time. Its a powerful way for bloggers to work together in comment moderation, but it can lean toward harshly marking legitimate comments. Balancing between the pros and cons of Akismet can get tricky and the issue is always a great source for discussion.

I’ve been in the spam bin, I think anyone who actively comments on blogs and social sites probably ends up on one list or another at some point in time.  This is why I usually don’t condemn others to share the same fate.  But seriously, if you leave comments with these attributes on my sites, you’re going to end up on the wrong kind of list.

Obviously Fake Emails – I’m not harvesting or re-selling your emails.  I don’t even use email for marketing and promotion.

What does matter though, is that if you’re hiding your real email address you’re showing that you’ve got something to hide.

Its like covering your face every time you walk by a store security camera: If I’m the store owner, I’m going to keep an eye out specifically for people acting like they don’t want to be seen.  In this case,the domains in the email addresses wouldn’t even resolve.  They’re just completely random combinations of numbers and letters and the only place Google lists them are in pages that do harvest and republish the data from these types of comments.

Rapid Comment Submission – Red flag number two:  The comment sprint.  When someone drops three comments in five minutes, I’m skeptical they had any time to actually read and think about what they are commenting about.  Yes, WordPress shows us the chronological order and timestamp on these comments.  You can change your name around, but if you drop three links to the same site in five minutes from the same IP address or IP block, your fake names and email addresses aren’t fooling anyone.

Generic Comments – The last straw, your comments don’t actually have anything to do with the topic at hand or a Google search shows me that other people have made the exact same comment on dozens of other websites.  “Great info!  I really appreciate this.”  “Really?  I did not know it was still up for debate.”  “These contents are good for me, I will subscribe now!”

It doesn’t even bother me if your English isn’t perfect.  I would normally think that this is an important skill to have in a writing-based industry, but I can even tolerate those who are learning it as a second language and truly trying to improve their abilities.  Some kind-souled and patient English teachers had to read my grade-school essays, so if I think you’re legitimately interested in your topic I’ll pass that good deed along.

Where do you draw the line?  For me, it can be summed up like this:  Are your contributions adding value to the content?  Yes?  Congrats, you get to say what you want and you’ll get the proper attributions.  Otherwise, if your comments don’t add to the content, I’ll be sure to help out the other bloggers by training Akismet to ignore you.

1 Comment

  1. Comment spam really seems to be on the rise lately, there are some pretty good tools that you can use in addition to Akismet. Im not really sure why anyone would put that much energy into comment spam when doing good commenting would get you further.

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