Five things every blogger should know about spam

1. Web spam is different from email spam.

Email spammers want you to buy their product. You are the target of the ad contained in each email spam you receive. Comment/web spammers want your readers to buy their product. You (the blogger, author, moderator) are not the target.

2. Web spammers are social engineers.

Email spammers write messages to get your attention. Comment spammers write messages to escape your attention. They want you to believe they are real bloggers, real people, writing real comments, so you’ll approve the comment and publish it on your site.

They use flattery, appeal to your good nature, and simply lie in order to convince you to give them the benefit of the doubt.

3. Web spammers are basically advertising on your blog…

…and they’re keeping all of the profits. They’re not even asking your permission first. Right now someone is offering to sell links from your blog to anyone willing to pay a few dollars (or a few cents). If your blog is well known, it may even be listed by name, with backlinks for sale at a set price.

4. It’s all about the backlinks.

Web spammers are selling links from your blog to their clients. They do this to game the search engines and trick your readers into visiting dubious web sites. Their clients are sometimes seemingly harmless, but are often peddling fake pills, porn, scams and malware.

Sometimes they’ll use “buffer sites” – that is, innocent looking web pages intended to disguise the fact that they’re really advertising something more sinister.

5. Spammers employ humans.

Not all spam is delivered by spambots. Spammers are increasingly using humans to write and post comments by hand. Typically they are exploiting low-paid workers in internet cafes, schools and factories.

Sometimes they are viral marketers paid to promote a new product. Either way they are trying to exploit your blog for their profit – and hoping to do it without you noticing.

What you can do about it.

Before you approve a comment, investigate the source of the comment. What things are they trying to link to or what site are they posting in their comment? Is the comment relevant to your post? Is it very generalized “great post” or “glad I found your site”? If so, chances are those are spam comments and most likely Akismet will flag them for you.

But, spammers are always working to find new ways to get around our spam filtering. Akismet is always learning so if you come across a piece of spam that Akismet misses marking it as spam will help Akismet learn and not miss similar spam in the future.

If you have more general questions about Akismet, please contact us here.

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