A New Kind of Comment Spam

In the past few weeks, I’ve been receiving a new, particularly insidious kind of comment spam. They’re short, apparently legitimate comments, but posted in a systematic way to popular pages on the site. Here are some examples.

They mostly link to dodgy-looking Russian or eastern European websites or link farms.

The tricky part is that they refer to the blog post and are written by somebody with decent English. For example, on a post about the movie Eragon, the comment reads:

The book was written by a teenager. It’s a best seller.

By itself that would be legit, I guess, except that it links to a link farm and there are similar brief, benign comments by the same IP on other pages of my site.

I do regularly receive promotional comments on specific posts from business owners, but these are usually one-off messages from naive folks who don’t understand that they shouldn’t be leaving sales messages for their mortuary services (for example) anywhere they can. This comment spam is far more methodical.

I assume that companies are manually identifying popular pages on blogs, reading the posts, and posting contextual comments to attempt to improve their SEO (I use the ‘nofollow’ tag, so it won’t help them). I can’t imagine that that’s cost effective.

4 comments

  1. I’ve had similar problems with these sorts of comments on my site. I moderate all my comments and normally take the view that if they add anything to the discussion then they are ok unless they are linking to a very dodgy site (phishing etc).

    They are annoying and sometimes can be a tough call.

  2. I’ve been getting a ton of these on my site. I delete most of them. If it’s clear that the person targeted the post just to provide a link to their site, I delete it. I also delete comments from scammy-looking sites. Sometimes they add to the conversation, though, and I have to think about it.

  3. Just feel lucky if your only spam comments are those folks that advertise their site. Most of my spam are similar to the emails that we all get. An intelligent comment with a reference to a site would be more welcomed than an offer to watch a video of xyz doing something to someone!

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