On blog comments

I always get excited when I see an email in my inbox with a subject line that starts “WordPress:…” as it means someone has commented on one of my blogs. Such a simple delight I know but hey, you take pleasure in the little things I guess.

Sometimes that delight is instantly crushed when I realise it’s a spambot that is trying to add a comment containing a link to either some ‘enhancing’ pharamceutical, a flirty comment from a hot chick, or just complete nonsense accompanied by a phishing URL.

However there seems to be a rise in the number of “real” spam comments these days, and that is hugely disheartening. These comments are left by, it seems, real people who have taken a fraction of a second to search, for example, for “Olympics” found my blog post from a couple of years back and added in a perfectly unoffensive comment, with a link to their specialist Olympic Boxing in 2012 website.

And in a weird way that, to me, is worse than any automated spambot. The fact that there is (again, it certainly seems that there is) a real person that has left the comment makes the whole thing feel tainted and dirty.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hugely precious about this blog but really, this new development in comment spam is just ugly. But then it’s always the few that spoil it for the many.


  1. K said:

    But at least here is a real comment to excite you when you see your email… and then you’ll realise it’s just me babbling in your comments box AGAIN 🙂

    September 4, 2009
  2. Z said:

    I’ll remember not to leave flirty comments in future.

    September 4, 2009
  3. Hg said:

    Agreed. It’s like the physical junk mail that I was moaning about in a blog post a few weeks ago… advertising in the media or public spaces is one thing, but when they’re shoving it through the letterbox and into your house it feels much more objectionable.

    I’ve only had a couple of those spam comments so far. I”ve handled them by leaving the comment there, but editing it to take the link out of it. Might amend my template to warn spammers that this will happen, see if it dissuades them from bothering.

    September 4, 2009
  4. Hg said:

    Rather fittingly, less than 10 seconds after pressing Submit on the comment above, a pizza delivery menu drops onto the doormat.

    September 4, 2009
  5. shauna said:

    COMPLETELY agree, Gordon! The fact that they take the time to make it appear remotely relevant is really, really crushing!

    September 4, 2009
  6. JonnyB said:

    Useful blog post you have a lot of good things to say On blog comments, I will add it to my RSS reader…


    Yes. I’ve just banned my very first individual in *checks* five years. Because they’re essentially spamming. But it’s different than blocking a bot – cos you can’t help thinking ‘well perhaps they’re reading it and finding it interesting….’

    The other thing for me is – how little you must be paid to manually spam? I can’t believe the economics make it a viable career for all but the poorest.

    September 4, 2009
  7. Chameleon said:

    I could not agree more with the sentiments you express! It really is quite dismal!
    Your post prompted me to check a few stats. My first ever blog post dates back to 23rd may 2004 and since then, I have received a grand total of 253 comments (quite a few of which ought to be discounted, as they are responses written by me). Since I installed Akismet last year, it has blocked 108,956 spam comments – goodness only knows how many I looked through and deleted prior to that. In the meantime, Blog Patrol informs me that I have had 116,351 visitors (since I created my account there on 5th June 2007).

    September 5, 2009
  8. Michael said:

    When Google devalues blog comments, people will cease to leave comments.

    September 9, 2009
  9. Andy C said:

    I use Disqus but suffer from the same problem so I have now adopted this fairly arbitrary rule for moderating comments:

    ‘If I don’t understand it or it’s trite and banal or I can’t grok the context, it’s spam.’

    September 18, 2009

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