Spam or not spam?
January 13, 2010 6:02 PM   Subscribe

Is this comment spam or legit?

I just revived my blog after a long hiatus, and am using WordPress for the first time. The default is moderated comments which is fine by me. I received an email asking me to moderate a comment which said, "Hi. I am a long time reader. I wanted to say that I like your blog and the layout." Nice enough comment, but a little odd because I took a several year break from posting, and I've only had about 7 posts since the beginning of the new year. Also, my layout, while slightly unique, is just a WordPress template. There seems to be a legitimate email address and web site [] linked to the comment, but if you check it out, you'll see why I was unsure if the site was legit or not. A first and last name were also included, which I Googled. This person does come up, but I just can't tell what the deal is. Is spam this sophisticated these days? I would hate to mark a sincere comment as spam, but I also don't want to approve or respond to a comment that is spam. The answer to this is probably very obvious to many of you, and while I'm leaning towards marking it as spam, I'm just not quite sure. Help, please.
posted by katemcd to Computers & Internet (24 answers total)
Any website that doesn't have a valid link to an about page is a website that I'm okay removing a link to. I get a lot of spam so I may be more ruthless, but I'd say spam and not look back.
posted by jessamyn at 6:05 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Spam, almost definitely.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:06 PM on January 13, 2010

Spam. It could apply to any blog in the world.

Any comment that doesn't mention anything specific about your site is either spam, or so lame as to deserve to be considered spam anyway.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:07 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Another technique I use is to go back to an "old" entry and copy a sentence and put it straight into Google, in quotes. Doing this with an old entry on the site you linked to reveals that at the very least, he's using recycled content (check the dates) which again spells S-P-A-M to me.
posted by jessamyn at 6:07 PM on January 13, 2010

Thanks guys, that's what I thought. Thank ye kindly!
posted by katemcd at 6:07 PM on January 13, 2010

Unfortunately, this is an increasingly common form of self-promotion-shading-into-spam rather than genuine praise. Sorry.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:08 PM on January 13, 2010

Maybe jessamyn could remove the link in the question so this guy doesn't get even more traffic?
posted by kylej at 6:36 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

There's been a rash of nasty almost-legit-looking comment spam over the last few days. In the past Akismet has made it easy to keep spam out, but this round seems to be avoiding their filters for now.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:46 PM on January 13, 2010

A friend of mine gets plagued with this kind of thing:

"Hot post! well done"
"Thank you for this great blog information!I'm finding this whole blogging world a great resource for any topic, and really inspirational."
"you write in an interesting way but give a lot of informations"

and so on. The effect in most of those cases is rather ruined because the signature is something like "nike shoes". (As well as the less-than-totally-fluent English.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:55 PM on January 13, 2010

Yup, default spam.. Kill it.. Block the IP.. Set up a reverse trace to infect his computer with a nasty virus that not only makes his computer explode, but then infects the computer of all his spammer buddies..

Or you can just click the spam button to delete it..
posted by SteveG at 7:46 PM on January 13, 2010

FYI, this is what's called backlink spam -- the goal is to get the (spam) link placed on as many pages as possible, to game Google for higher rankings for the link.

If you run a forum, it will often be placed in the user's profile as their web url, in their signature, etc. without ever actually posting a comment/thread/etc. Sadly, most forums are full of this type of spam without the owners even realizing it.
posted by jca at 8:05 PM on January 13, 2010

Even if it weren't spam, you should simply not publish it because it's meaningless, off-topic content that's iffy and has a link. No reason not to have strict standards about comments.
posted by anildash at 8:06 PM on January 13, 2010

Spam, along with the people who found you on Bing and the people who thank you for your informative article on this difficult subject. "Keep working ,great job!" and "Hi there! I just wanted to drop you a line and say that I really like your blog." and "As a Noob, I am always seeking online for articles that can help me. Thank you" and "Hello to all :) I can�t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Help me, please" and "Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks" and... My spam queue cracks me up, as it makes so little sense and is often highly inappropriate in context of my blog.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:33 PM on January 13, 2010

I get this all the time. If the comment isn't helpful or contributing anything and they took the time to link their website, I spam it.

I wonder though...I found a competitor company do this on my website and they appear to be based in the US. Do I have the ability to take any action against them if I can prove they spammed me?
posted by Elminster24 at 9:16 PM on January 13, 2010

Spam, for sure. Treat anything with even a hint of SEO gaming as spam, and you will help make the world a better place.

But hey, at least it's not that guy who goes around spamming "if anyone else has anything, it would be much appreciated" and trying to sell you pianos. That is my most hated blog spam at the moment, as it has happened EVERY day on one particular post on my blog for the last several months. So annoying... But Akismet catches pretty much everything for me, so at least there's that.
posted by gemmy at 9:18 PM on January 13, 2010

2nding the request to remove the spammer's link from this question. Granted, it had to be there so we could judge it, but it's spam.
posted by 2oh1 at 9:52 PM on January 13, 2010

I get that *all* the time on my blog. Askismet is the wordpress plugin I use that pretty much nails 99% of the spam so I don't have to even think about it. It's worked great for me. The few times it misses a spam comment, I can now identify them easily... usually they say the exact same phrases that other spam comments have said and when I look at the e-mail address given, it's from Romania.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:41 AM on January 14, 2010


See also, off-topic. Never let them through.
posted by dabitch at 4:21 AM on January 14, 2010


Askismet cannot be recommended enough. It usually catches even these innocent looking things.
posted by DreamerFi at 5:39 AM on January 14, 2010

[removed link to spammer, put it in brackets, fyi]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:14 AM on January 14, 2010

Nthing spam - almost anything generic-sounding? Just delete - especially if there's a spammy sounding e-mail / website. Remember that not all spam is out to sell Viagra - SEO is considered an even better way because it looks legitimate to even experienced internet users :)
posted by chrisinseoul at 7:47 AM on January 14, 2010

Whoops, helios beat me to it.
posted by Nameless at 3:55 PM on February 2, 2010

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