Sunday, October 30, 2011

Automated Comment Spam

Bad robot
A big problem with a blogs is the huge amount of time wasted dealing with automated comment spam. Their primary purpose is link building for better search engine optimisation and also for generating traffic to generally irrelevant commercial websites. The comment spam content is usually vague and general in nature having little relevance to the posts targeted.

Recently the comment spam content has been socially engineered in the hope of increasing the chance of the comment being approved and published in a blog. Much of this type of comment flatters the bloggers writing style or depth of knowledge on *the subject*. It is the bloggers ego that is targetted in these instances.

Controlling comment spam
The blunt solution for controlling comment spam could be to simply remove the comment option on every post in the blog. Voila! No more spam. While this definitely solves the problem the down side is you sacrifice any reader interaction with the post.

Some posts seem to receive far more spam than others. This happens due to the comment spam robots ability to store open post links when they are discovered and share them with other people using the same software. It is like a mailing list for the spam software. When a post gets identified in this this way I simply remove its comment option. This fixes the problem immediately. After a period of time the spam robot recognises that that post is no longer open and deletes that link from its database.

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