5 Things Bloggers Need To Know About Spam

Post image for 5 Things Bloggers Need To Know About Spam

by andrew

Spam is something that you simply can’t ignore. Traditionally taking the form of annoying emails that keep popping up in your inbox, selling anything from pills to porn, they take up the majority of the email traffic on the Internet.

But there are ongoing efforts to prevent these emails, and the effects are starting to be noticed by these spammers. As a result, they are focussing on other ways to get their message out there, and unfortunately, bloggers are ever-increasingly being used as a way to do this.

To help you better understand about spam, here are a few things you need to know.

1. Not All Spammers are Spambots.

A spambot is a program designed to collect, or harvest, e-mail addresses from the Internet in order to build mailing lists for sending unsolicited e-mail. Because it’s becoming more difficult for spammers to use emails, blogger are now being targeted because they often have the facility for their readers to leave comments which are viewers are then able to read.

By default, a lot of blogs don’t have any spam detection software running, so spammers are increasingly using humans to find these blogs and to write and post comments by hand.

Typically low-paid workers in Internet cafes, schools and factories, or professional viral marketers, they are paid by spammers to promote new products. The fact of the matter is, they are constantly trying to exploit your blog for their profit – and trying to do so without you noticing.

2. Web Spam is not the same as Email Spam

Email spam is targeted to you, the owner of the inbox. They want you to buy their product. On the other hand, web spam, in the form of comments on your blogs, are targeting your readers. You, as the author and owner of the blog, are not the target.

3. Web spammers are using your blog as an advertising platform

Unfortunately, they have no intention of giving you any of the profits. What makes it worse, they’re not even asking for your permission first. Spammers will sell links from your blogs to anyone willing a pay a few cents or even dollars. If your blog is particularly popular, it will probably be listed by name, with backlinks for a sale at a premium price.

4. Web spammers are expert social engineers.

Email spammers have spent years perfecting the craft of writing messages that are specifically designed to get your attention.

Web spammers on the other hand, write messages to escape your attention. They are constantly trying to deceive you by pretending to be real bloggers, real people, writing real comments. They don’t want to be found out. They want you to approve their comments and publish it on your site. They’ll try everything including flattery and blatant lying to take advantage of your trusting nature in order to trick you into giving them the benefit of the doubt.

5. Backlinks – the secret sauce

The ultimate goal of web spammers is to sell links (known as backlinks) from your blog to their clients. This technique is an effective way to bypass the search engines and trick your readers into visiting dubious and illegal web sites. These clients are often harmless, but most of the time they are trying to sell fake pills, malware, scams and even porn.

So what can bloggers do to stop web scammers?

Here are 2 really quick and easy ways you can make your blog a pain in the ass for web spammers.

Install CAPTCHA – this plugin is a really easy way to filter out the majority of automated comments submitted to your blog. CAPTCHA stands for (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) and is based on the Turing Test, named after the famous computer scientist Alan Turing.

It essentially involves adding to your site’s comments area an image that contains a random stylized piece of text. The text is usually blurred or distorted just enough so that whilst a human can interpret it, a computer will find it extremely hard. The commenter is asked to copy this text exactly into a form field before they submit the form.

By asking for the correct text, this process almost always guarantees that the commenter is a person, and not some automated script or process. However, this does not solve the problem of a human being spamming your comments section manually. This is where the next strategy comes into play.

Install Akismet – this is a really simple way to sort out any of the comments that got past the CAPTCHA process. All you need to do is install the Akismet plugin on your blog. It’s free and easy to use. Just install and register your blog URL on their website. You’ll get sent an API key, which is just a unique string of characters, to configure on the plugin.

Once activated, Akismet will check all the comments that are left on your blog and cross reference them, by using various methods, against their database, identifying anything suspicious. You can then delete these suspicious comments at your heart’s content. 😉

Just by following these 2 simple actions, you can pretty well knock out all but the really determined web spammers from exploiting your blog.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: