So it’s taken months, maybe even years, to muster up enough courage to finally begin that blog you’ve always dreamt about starting. The Big Day finally arrives as you courageously post your inaugural piece, one that you’ve sweat and toiled over for weeks. And before the day has ended, you’ve already gotten a comment from someone drifting through cyberspace who’s NOT your mom or your best friend. “Wow! I’ve connected with someone!” Not to take away anything away from the ‘coolness’ of the moment, but before you start celebrating, be warned . . . that precious comment may be spam. Sorry to break it to you . . . .
Think of spam as sort of like a weed in your carefully-tended garden of gorgeous prose; it’s more of a nuisance that threatens your hard work than anything else. Any unwarranted message posted in the comments section of your blog that’s a tad ‘too good to be true,’ i.e. overly complementary, is probably more likely emanating from a vile spam-bot than an actual human- being, although some lame folks actually pay the bills posting spam. Comments can usually be labeled as spam if any, or more, of the following apply:
• Comments Posted On Old Threads – Spammers, whether they’re ‘bots’ or humans, tend to focus on old threads because they figure you’ll never check there. A good way to combat this is to simply have your blog automatically close threads after a few weeks or a month just to be safe.
• Contains Links/Comments Unrelated To Your Content – As an example, say you’ve written a post about painting with acrylics. Someone responds: “I love painting with acrylics. Nice post,” but the word ‘acrylics’ is actually a link going to some retailer who sells paint. Spam. Also, unless a comment addresses something specific about what you’ve written, most likely it’s spam too.
• Vague Comments/Flattery – This one’s pretty obvious. Comments either ask you to do something or make very unspecific remarks like: “Love your writing,” or “Check out my latest post.” Unfortunately these spammers (more like ‘weeds’) prey on our basic human need to be recognized and appreciated so they butter us up. Be careful what you fall for.
• Posted On Multiple Posts/Poor Grammar/Wrong Language – If the same comment keeps appearing on more than one of your posts, if the grammar is down-right wrong or too formal/ stiff (spammers usually don’t care if their grammar is off), or if the response isn’t even in the same language as it was written . . . then it’s probably spam.
No matter what business you’re engaged in, there’s unfortunately always going to be swarmy types out there looking to capitalize on being dishonest and shady. Treat spammers like the weeds they are: rip ‘em out. Two things you can do to combat the situation: (1) Spam attracts other spam so remove them as soon as they pop up, and (2) get in the habit of responding to legit posts. An ‘abandoned’ blog is much more likely to fall prey to spammers than one that maintains
a certain level of activity. And most importantly, don’t let the spammers get you down or discourage your passions. Keep on writing!