I love websites that allow readers to leave comments and advance the discussion. So far, every website I’ve set up allows this in one way or another, and I love to hear what the visitors have to say.
One feature of leaving a comment is the option to allow the user to put their own web site’s URL in the comment box. This is great for record-keeping – I can find articles I’ve commented on by searching for the back-links to my domains. This is great for people visiting the original article and interested in the perspective of the added comment. If they like it, they can see more from the author. Its great for the commenter, as he/she can use keywords in the anchor text to tell search engines how their site should be labeled.
But for all the benefits, there’s a huge downside: spammers.
For all the reasons these comments are great for legitimate purposes, they’re also great for selling things and promoting products that search engines don’t like. You know what these are, and I’d rather not even say the word for fear of inviting even more spammers here. A few links from your site to bad neighborhoods and your web page’s reputation could plummet. You are responsible for every link that leaves your site and points somewhere else, so be careful with your comments and make sure you review the new ones every once in a while. Definitely get some spam protection for the times you can’t always watch.