Comment Spam, Do Follow, Keyword Names, and You

I’m pleased with the number of insightful comments this blog gets, and I appreciate comments from diverse readers from around the world.

As my comment policy specifies, first-time comments are moderated; after the first comment is approved, future comments from that person are not subject to moderation. In theory, at least. Recently Akismet, which generally does an excellent job of catching spam and not blocking legitimate comments, has blocked comments from regular commenters. I usually delete spam comments without looking at them, so it’s possible that some valuable comments have slipped through and been deleted. If you have commented before and your comment doesn’t appear immediately, e-mail me.

If you haven’t commented before, your comment won’t appear until I have approved it. If your comment hasn’t appeared within 24 hours, you can contact me.

However, if you leave a comment that says “great post,” “now there are more reasons than ever to comment,” or any other comment that doesn’t even indicate you’ve read the post, expect it to be deleted. The first time, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and delete the comment; if it happens again, the comment will be marked spam and any other comments you leave will go into spam.

This blog is a Do Follow blog, which encourages comments. It also attracts spammers. If you come here to comment because you want a link that search engines will follow, I’m happy to have you … IF you read the post before you comment and leave a comment that says something. If the comment is so generic it doesn’t relate to the post … that’s a different story.

The most egregious case of inappropriate commenting started with a comment I approved. The comment related to the post, and I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary so I approved it. The next day that person left about 15 comments—all of which posted immediately because the previous comment had been approved. The first comment I read sounded familiar so I read through all the comments on that post, only to discover that a comment left by another person had been copied. I checked all the comments, and all were duplicates of other comments. The comments were made on older posts with a lot of comments to make it more difficult to catch. Since they were copied from relevant comments, they were appropriate for the post and seemed like legitimate comments. In fact, they were legitimate comments from the original commenter—but plagiarized by the spammer. I marked all the comments, including the first one (which had also been copied though I didn’t recognize at first), as spam. So now we have spam and plagairism in the same comment!

Commenters we bloggers love. Spammers are not welcome.

I do appreciate all legitimate comments, and I reply to every comment. I like to address the commenter by name, but I won’t address someone as California Liposuction or Timbuktu Real Estate. I will approve and reply to the comment, but I’d much rather respond to Susie of California Liposuction or John @ Timbuktu Real Estate. Note: This policy has been changed. Now I automatically send comments with keywords only in the name field to spam. Including keywords with your name is fine—you get a keyword link, and I know I’m replying to a real person. I have a hard time relating to Fat-Burning Miracle.

If you are a blogger, what is your comment policy? If you comment on blogs, what do you think of my comment policy? How do you feel about using keywords rather than names?

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