We’re all familiar with spam. If you’re of a vintage like myself you would have started receiving it in the 90s to your yahoo or hotmail account. (Remember those!?) Before that, the closest we would have come to spam was a chain letter in the post. (Remember those too?!)
I still don’t ‘get’ spam. I don’t understand enough about the internety world to see how spending 23 hours a day sending out reams of badly written correspondence benefits you or your family. I know it’s something to do with back links and views to your p**n site, but still, spammers seem to spend an awful lot of effort trying to reach out to me. (By the way I’m putting stars in any of the s-e-x related words because if I stuff this post with good time Charlie language – well then guess what? More spam.)
Since going self-hosted on my blog I’ve come to know spammers quite well. The reason I went self-hosted was because I wanted to interact with readers and other bloggers. I used to have a Wix site and they had no way of letting you know if someone commented on your post. Comments let you know that people are reading what you write – or that what you are saying has some resonance. Without comments, you’re just sending your words out to the abyss – for yourself. So comments, are good.
With them however, come spam comments. Thousands of them. The first spam comment I got on my new self-hosted blog had me hovering over the ‘approve’ button. It was something along the lines of ‘hey great post, I really like what you’ve written, good job.’
Oh, I thought. THANK YOU! How sweet. People like me!
Then I re-read it and looked at the email address of the poster. It was a bit suspicious. It just didn’t feel right. I wanted to believe he liked what I wrote and that he took the time and trouble to comment. The truth was he didn’t give a f**k. He was a spammer and I nearly got caught.
This was a good move. Once you approve a spam comment, you go on a list of spammable sites. You will be bombarded! I don’t ever remembering approving dubious comments, but one day I checked a post that had been getting a lot of spam and there I found three published spam comments. Either they slipped through the net or I hit publish by mistake. Either way, since then, I’ve been screwed. I am well at the top of the spam ladder.
One of my posts gets hit up at least 50 times a day. If I don’t log on to manage the comments daily, it becomes a massive chore to go in and sort them out. (First world problems but still, time is precious and all that.)
As I’ve been deleting out these comments I’ve found a pattern. These guys are good. I mean I want to believe what they are saying. They have raised my self-esteem no end. And because I can’t publish them to the site and let you all know what they are saying I’ve captured eight ways my favourite spammers try to get you. Let me guess – you’ve received these too?
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If like me, you’ve had problems with spam my tips would be to:
a) Be very careful with how you approve your comments
b) Go back through particularly spammed posts to make sure there’s no nasty comments lurking published on your site
c) Think about disabling comments on a post for a while, if it’s been hit over and over again. You can do this in WordPress by unticking the ‘discussions’ checkbox under post in edit mode.
Now, back to my real life, where no one tells how amazing I am or how much money they want to give me. Damn you reality, damn you.