For Bloggers Who Hate Comment Spam

Do you hate spammers? Many bloggers at least believe they do.  Hate only hurts the person who feels that emotion and does nothing to the object of your hatred.

Holding a Grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head

Image Credit: RedWritingHood.ca ~ Click image to read My Hate Button is Broken

What I realize that many don’t is that there are different kinds of spammers. While there are some who know they are stealing our time and energy, probably the greater number of people bloggers refer to as spammers do NOT know they are doing this all wrong.

ANYONE that comments regularly IS going to
end up being flagged by Akismet as a spammer.

If we just delete them they won’t ever know WHY or how to get better. It makes more sense to EDUCATE new commenters than to slam the door in their face. If I deleted YOUR comments are YOU going to come back?

When shopping we expect the door to be open to the store, right? If a business keeps their door locked and grills you on WHY you want in or asks for your ID or references would you still want to buy from them – or even get inside?

I would not. Deleting comments willy-nilly is telling your new readers you don’t trust them and you don’t want to even give them a chance to interact with you! Most bloggers are so focused on being anti-spam that they’ve forgotten how to be human!

Put yourself in the commenter’s shoes.
(And you ARE in that place if you EVER comment in other blogs.)
How would you feel if I mistook you for a spammer and deleted
your comment that you spent your valuable time writing?

UNINTENTIONAL SPAMMERS:

  • Some are new bloggers trying to find their way who don’t know how to write high value comments – yet.
  • Many have fallen for spammy syndication and link building plugins and strategies being taught by the get-rich-quick crowd.
  • Small business owners struggling in a declining economy and being hurt badly by Google updates and desperate to save their businesses and keep food on the table are being sold ineffective SEO linkbuilding through comment spam solutions. They usually are NOT aware of what these supposed “experts” are doing.

All these people are NOT your enemy.

They are humans just like you or me trying to figure out how to survive in a faltering economy in perpetual decline.

Just today someone Skyped to me complaining about comments appearing in this blog. I delete far more comments than I approve, but I do approve many comments others bloggers would delete because I know what they don’t know:

Many of these comments are left by people I already have relationships
on social media so I KNOW they are not drive-by link builders!

Some of them are bloggers just like us who have blogs they are trying to use to generate an income, who work for SEO companies, or who accept client work.

Many of our favorite bloggers write great comments that we don’t think are spam even though there are doing the things many bloggers THINK are behind spam!

Bloggers are so tired of spam
that they are spam-trigger-happy.

What IS Blog Comment Spam?

To compound the problem, while most bloggers BELIEVE they know what spam is their definitions are all over the place. Here are some actual answers I have personally received from spammers regarding what spam is from most obvious to most surprising:

REAL COMMENT SPAM:

  1. Spambot generated comments  ~ These are blocked by our GrowMap anti-spambot Akismet Alternative plugin which reduced by 96% the number of comments I had to moderate on this blog.
  2. Obvious spam because the comment has nothing in it specific to the post and is either an advertisement or a bunch of links.
  3. Trackback spam that looks like a comment but is auto-generated (Blocked by Simple Trackback Validation Plugin.)
  4. Phony Trackback spam that looks like a real trackback and is auto-generated, but either has no real link to you, or a link hidden in source code but not visible on the other blog OR has nofollow links in a mouseover section.
  5. Copied comment spam.
  6. Duplicate comments copied and pasted into posts manually.
  7. Manually written comments that have nothing to do with the post where they’re left.

COMMENT LINKS MANY BLOGGERS PROHIBIT, EDIT, or DELETE:

This section discusses links often prohibited, edited or deleted by bloggers and my position on what I allow or do not allow.

  1. Comments linking to sites in bad neighborhoods. For example, I do not permit links to ga mbli.ng sites including bi–ngo and cards or ad-u–lt content or to ph .ar a cueti  cals. (The reason these words are in this post in that manner is to reduce the likelihood that my having mentioned any of those topics will trigger alerts and flood my blog with “related” spam. I avoid using those words in posts, in in comment replies and on social networks especially Twitter where using any of those words will generate auto-tweets and get you followed by spammers.)
  2. Linking to sales letters. Some prohibit links to ALL sales letters; others allow links to products and services they feel are ethical.
  3. Comments linking to anything promoting unethical get rich quick methods, or selling Twitter followers or Facebook friends. Because these can be difficult to evaluate many bloggers prohibit all sales letters.
  4. Links to a legitimate business ~ Even if they’re not in your niche they could be very interested and regular readers of your blog in any other niche. Everyone has multiple interests and most businesses ARE interested in social media, online marketing, and business blogging.
  5. Comments linking to blogs in other niches – While I encourage bloggers to primarily comment within their own niche, I do NOT consider comments linking to blogs in other niches spam.

COMMENTS THAT ARE NOT REALLY SPAM:

  1. Weak comments written by real readers who are sincerely trying to participate in your blog. These are virtually impossible to tell from weak comments left by spammers.
  2. Comments that are difficult to understand because the reader’s native language is not English because writing in a secondary language is very difficult and machine translations are often of very poor quality. Do you really want to discriminate against anyone who doesn’t speak English as their first language by deleting all their attempts to communicate with you?
  3. Comments left by someone who took the time to read your post and write a relevant comment.

There is NO WAY to know whether a commenter found
your blog because they were working on linkbuilding
or left a comment with a link because they are a
new or regular reader of your blog and
were interested in what you wrote.

There is NO WAY to know which came first:
the interest or the comment with link.

Every time you delete a comment you are slamming the door on an attempt to communicate. While we DO want to discourage spammers it makes more sense to teach others how we want them to comment than to delete them. What can they learn from THAT?

Many bloggers are making snap judgements about comments being spam that are NOT spam. I know this because I know most of my readers on Twitter BEFORE they ever comment – and most of their first comments are JUST LIKE the comments spammers leave!!

Many bloggers delete ALL comments that link to businesses.
WHY are you doing that?

Real people just like us own those businesses.

They are the solution we need to more jobs,
a better economy and a higher standard of living!

What many bloggers are doing is slamming the door in the faces of a huge percentage of their real readers. If you use Akismet and don’t moderate everything it puts into spam THEY are slamming that door for you.

If you use Akismet, use GASP to block 96% of the spam Akisment misses that is spambot generated so you can FIND the real comments in your spam folder.

Many of our regular readers are consistently flagged as spammers
by Akismet because SOME bloggers flag almost ALL
the comments they ever receive from ANYONE as spam.

THESE ARE NOT SPAM!

Here is what bloggers have personally told me they flag as spam:

  1. “Comments that link to ANY business.”
  2. “Any comment from someone I don’t already know”.
  3. “Any comment I don’t like.”

THAT is why Akismet can never work well. Read in their own words how Akismet works. They mention that hiring people to comment is ” exploiting low-paid workers” but that is NOT true.

We all need to get clear on who is exploiting whom.

Hiring people in other countries because the difference in the value of their money and yours or the difference in the cost of living allows people to live well on less money does NOT equal exploitation.

All people anywhere deserve to be paid
a living wage to do ethical work.

The solution to the declining standard of living is to support small businesses because money we spend with them stays in circulation.

SPENDING MONEY WITH SMALL BUSINESSES:

  • Is almost immediately reinvested in the economy locally and in the economies of their suppliers.
  • Pays their employees wages they can actually live on.
  • Is spent to buy products they sell us – and if they are wise they buy from other small businesses.
  • Pays taxes that support services communities need.

WHY I DO NOT BUY FROM CORPORATIONS or BIG BRANDS

None of what I wrote about small businesses is true for multi-national corporations – the big brands most people support. This holiday season and throughout the year I implore you to really understand how changing where you spend your money can save YOUR standard of living.

Big Brands pay far less in taxes. Some pay none – all pay less than almost anyone reading this or any small business. They squeeze their employees and suppliers dry and keep squeezing. They intentionally endanger their employees lives to maximize their incomes.

The profit from the money you spend with them is taken out of circulation, paid out in obscene bonuses to the already wealthy, and hoarded in overseas tax shelters. THAT is the reality.

The “illusion” we’re sold to justify all manner of green and
corruption is that we should all be striving to get rich, too.

Those who buy into that illusion defend horrendous behaviors like the Enron VIDEO employees bragging about how they stole money from little old ladies by intentionally causing unnecessary blackouts to increase their stock earnings.

The defenders of our current economic system claim this was an anomoly. I disagree – that is business as usual for most publicly traded companies. As Dr. Jeff Schweitzer , a recognized ethics expert writes:

Wall Street is a casino rigged against investors
sold false hope by unscrupulous companies
sanctioned by government to deceive and bilk customers.

It is time for those who still believe in the illusion of “The American Dream” to finally wake up to the fact that is IS only an illusion. I compile my proof for that claim in my post about Why Small Business Can Not Afford to Ignore the Occupy Movement.

It us up to US to stop supporting unethical activities.

We can start by not promoting Amazon who chose to have ambulances stand by to cart away their employees who get heat stroke – a totally unethical “solution” when they should have FIXED THE CAUSE! (Here is the alternative to Amazon I am supporting – and there are many others.)

The solution to finding what you need online is blogging communities – collaborations of bloggers who recognize and work with the other quality people in their niche and location.

We need to teach each other to create geo-targeted blog collaborations
and/or group blogs that work together and welcome local and
related small businesses into their blogging communities.

I provide free mentoring to bloggers and small businesses and share best practices and tips for those who prefer the do-it-yourself method. (I encourage even them to contact me for greatest benefit.

BLOGGING RESOURCES:

HOW TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES:

Use these to help your favorite local and online small businesses to STAY in business and to share with your customers so they can help YOUR business stay alive.

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Gail Gardner

Small Businsss Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of GrowMap.com, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.