Human Spam: From Genesis until It Hit You

Human Spam: From Genesis until It Hit You

Every now and then, I like to check my real-time stats and I noted a close relationship between spam and SEO. Perhaps you’re wondering, ha which is the big news? Well in my case, I didn’t think that it’s so planned!

It’s really evident how targeted is the spam, for me and I bet, for you too. All we can be hit for those bad guys.

 

Human Spammers

 

I’ve increased in a huge way my indexed pages, reaching good ranking for certain keywords with my SEO efforts, more after my move to WordPress. Also at the same time, more spam is coming, but not any spam: I’m talking about human-spammers with deliberated and methodical ways to reach you!

 

I’ll illustrate you with few stats: the genesis of a human spam, it sounds interesting, isn’t it?

Let’s begin with stats:


Human Spam Stats

 

As you can observe, those human-spammers were searching specific keywords to attack, in this case: “leave a comment” “kitchens”. He stayed few minutes to post his “bad donation” and here is the result:

 

Human Spam Comment

 

Where can I confirm that is the same person? The IP is the same in both cases – bingo!

Also as you know, they target mainly old posts – may be for the ranking, but I believe that the main reason is that they think that old posts are not monitored like the new ones – wrong my “spammy friend” πŸ˜‰

This case was from India, but as you will perceive the countries don’t matter – we are “international” talking about spamming, here it’s another from UK:

 

Spam Human

 

Same thing, “soccer blog” “leave a comment” and my post about Uruguay Food Football more best of the week, was hit!
Better for him, that it hasn’t comments (I warned people that zero comments on some old posts, were due to the fact that I lost some of them in the transition to WordPress)

Here is the spammy comment and both show the same IP * bingo* again.


Spam Human Comment

The result: a generic comment, where you can find it put on other blogs.

Again, a good confirmation of human spam: is totally deliberated and planned, by persons, bad/fake “SEO agencies” or rarely very smart bots (but I don’t think that these are the cases). Surely, there are human spammers that mask their IPs changing them constantly, therefore try to block them it’s useless.

 

What possibilities do you have to fight that human spam?


Comment Spam WordPress Platform

As I explained in my post of the transition from ID to WordPress more plugins like GASP, you get out most of the spambots, and they’re minimal, but not human-spamming.

  • With Captchas, again you can reduce bots, but not human-spam.
  • Aksimet plugin can catch some of them or not, depending of the settings – even ban legitimate users, but I don’t recommend it.
    I’ve had a bad experience with it – being labelled as spammer for mistake taking about a month to try to be “normal” again and not all my comments being deleted or sent to spam.

So what are the options?

A simple way is to add several targeted keywords by spammers on: Discussion Settings / Comment Blacklist.

You know them: casinos, pills, etc – I don’t want to put my list to avoid being indexed for that words and receiving even more spam πŸ˜‰
When human spammer triggers a keyword-listed, this comment will go straight to spam.

Certainly you can set to moderation all your comments – this up to you. Depending of the influx of comments / spam this can be a daunt task.

 

Comment Spam Blogger Platform

As I’ve been on Blogger and then I moved to WP, I’ve this problem also there.
First rule, if you let your guard down, you blog will be FULL of spam in old posts – never allow this. You’ll lose rank and as you are your own “brand”, you’ll be sinking irremediably with the blog.

  • Set to Moderation all your comments. I know this is not pretty and comfortable, but it’s worst to delete them after they were posted.
  • Don’t allow anonymous comments – they are the worst.
  • Install external comments system. This was my option with Intense Debate, read my experience with ID with all my problems, I don’t recommend it.
  • Disqus: I don’t have an opinion with them, I’ve seen positive and negative feedback. Give a try and let me know in comments πŸ™‚

 

Returning to WordPress, my blog is CommentLuv and Keywordluv enabled and since some time, it’s partially Do-Follow.
What does it mean? You must reach 5 comments done with the same name and email to be Do-Follow. This is an extra measure for the human-spam that posts crap and run.

If approve for some reason a spammy comment, anyway NFFree will not give you a Do-Follow-link, till you reach 5 comments. Sorry, you’ll work a bit harder to reach it.

Want to deepen more about do-follow? Check out Ana’s article dofollow-vs-nofollow and regarding the NoFollowFree plugin, read Justin’s article how to control your dofollow blog comments.

 

I’d like to hear your voice and tell me which method you use to minimize human-spam on your blog.
I think that the positive feedback between bloggers is essential, because this is a constant task and it can be improved, always πŸ™‚

 

Image by madmarv00

65 Responses to Human Spam: From Genesis until It Hit You

  1. Hi Gera,

    I recently did a post about spam.

    I use Akismet and Conditional Captcha for spam filters.

    I also have commentluv, keywordluv, and linklove.

    I do not moderate all comments. I only moderate when it is a person’s first time commenting. If they return to comment, then I don’t moderate their second comment.

    My spam filters usually do a good job at catching human spammers, but sometimes, a few slide through. When that happens, I delete the comment.

    I like your suggestion on moderating all comments. I didn’t know that some slipping through could hurt your ranking. I just might have to consider moderating more than just the first time commenters.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Evelyn

    • Evelyn, I’ll be checking your post about it!

      I don’t use Akismet, after being treated rude for a mistake of this plugin – I don’t want to do it to other people.
      In all cases human spammers can skip over captchas, because captcha is for automatic bots that can’t read those deformed letters-numbers.

      My comments are moderated till the second one, then they are approved, but now you’ve to reach 5 to achieve the do-follow status.

      The “big brother” notices comments with spam, because they see them repeatedly on other blogs so they don’t want to appear on searches.
      Bloggers that allow them can hurt their rankings and also they show a poor image in terms of branding.

      I suggest moderating to two comments and then auto-approving.

      Thanks for coming by πŸ™‚

  2. I have a stupid question. What is the purpose of spamming? The folks who are selling something, maybe I see that (though do people really click?), but what about folks like that example of yours. What’s their purpose in writing a useless comment?

    • Belinda, there are not stupid questions. Before, I asked the same thing and the answer is pretty simple, spam is business πŸ™
      Of the trillions of spam sent by email / posted as comments people STILL click them. If you calculate that tiny percentage of click-openings you obtain giant sums of money.

      On the other side, it is the SEO topic. For every spammy comment posted on hundred of blogs per day, some aren’t deleted or are deleted after several days, this fact implies a boost in term of ranking for their links. Their comments generate links to their own sites.
      For the keywords they want, having better positions in SERP (search engine results page) allow them to get more traffic, in other words, more $ for ads or affiliate’s links.

      Summing up deleting & preventing is a must for all bloggers.

      Hope those concepts can clear a little the landscape!

  3. Brankica I know those human spammers are an unpleasant phenomena everywhere.
    Perhaps this Twitter post has some specific keywords that those were targeting. If you look up your stats I bet you find the motive.
    For example some days I tweeted about IPhones and immediately I receive bots on twitter more few comments related too.

    After installed Simple TB validation all the spam via trackbacks has gone.

    I’ve had also some posts that are meticulously hit constantly – is like candies for kids, irresistible LOL!

    Yes they are clever, so you never know if are real or a potential spam in few days. In my case I need to post my comment policy to avoid misunderstandings.
    E.g. real comments but linked to suspicious sites – deleted. Comments without names, just keywords deleted too, unless are real clear comments..so I’ll see at that moment.

    Thanks a bunch for your visit πŸ™‚

    • Just keywords in the name for comments and the same situation on other social sites, are bad idea always.
      People don’t understand that you cannot have as name “new equipment store”, no matter if you have Keywordluv or not.

      I’ve a post pending since sometime ago explaining this policy and beyond, I’ll need to update it as soon as I can πŸ™‚

  4. Interesting to say the least… I hate spam. However, I recently posted on Reddit and got banned for spamming.. not sure why, it was a click from someone’s blog.. oh well didn’t need them anyway! I understand how spam is so annoying too! They really are run by children on that site I didnt know it.. you always have such great info here!

    • Claudia, I don’t think anybody like it πŸ˜‰

      Ohh Reddit is very particular about what they call “spamming”, they’ve very strict rules and what you can do it freely on other social communities and on Reddit, you get banned.
      e.g. You cannot submit material very often or the system reject it. In that case read, the net-etiquette of Do’s and Don’ts – I tried several times, but I prefer other sites that are more flexible.

      Much appreciate your kind words!

  5. Pesky creatures these spammers, there are so many plugins out there to prevent them, but they are just getting so cunning.

    I have used a plugin in the past where you can completely ban an IP address, this way they don’t even make it in to your moderation and are deleted straight away.

    I’m afraid, it’s always going to be a fight with them no matter what πŸ˜‰

    • Karen no matter what we can do, they can find the spin to jump it πŸ˜‰

      I saw the plugin to ban an IP address, but it’s completely useless because they change the IP for every comment, in many cases.

      I believe if they promote the same URL or few of them, these are the points to target. I think you can agree with me, right?

      Thanks for coming by!

  6. I understand your point about your SEO perspective and how hard it can be losing sales.

    I know that reading posts and commenting in a proper way takes time, but doing it in the wrong way is a waste of time. Bloggers who receive spammy comments in old posts will delete them.

    Link building is time-consuming for all, including myself, but only comments are just a fraction of the backlink-iceberg, you can try e.g. making good videos, podcasts, etc and you can get tons of legitimate links too, among other ways.

    Thanks for taking the time to write your opinion!

  7. Hi Gera, Always brilliant tips from you I swear! I use most of what you do on my wordpress blog. I’m still using intense debate on blogger…. I’m so afraid to move after reading your horrible ordeal!

    The black hats have lots of scraping/commenting programs and seem to always be on top of new ways to spam for rank!

    The advice to breakout bras was very truthful. They only stand to gain by your advice.

    How do like the new comment luv?

    • Kathy thanks for your kind words πŸ™‚

      My experience with intense debate wasn’t good; perhaps you can have better luck.

      You’re right always there will be a person to scrap or software to spam…

      I approved the comment you mention, although was only keywords in name, because it was a different opinion and really I know that commenting is just a tiny portion of backlinking-methods.

      I didn’t test here, the new comment luv – will be available soon at least for me – and I’ll test it. But I saw installed on other blogs and it looks excellent!

      • Only keywords in my name? I see Name redkathy @are you hungry. Don’t understand what you mean by all keywords but removed @are you hungry on this one, and will do in the future.

        • Kathy this is a misunderstanding.
          I’m not talking about your comment. I’m talking about the “breakout bras” comment done before!

          Of course your comment is perfect and you can use redkathy @are you hungry. Indeed I just corrected and put your keywords.

  8. Great post and great advice. I use Askeme and for the most part it works well, but as you said a few times it catches legit users. I am definitely going to apply your wonderful tips.

    • Thanks! I know that Akismet works well for several people the problem is when delete / ban / or mark as spam, like my case, and there is no way to change it, even whitelisting the commenter, still sent her/him to spam.

  9. I wish I could spend more time monitoring spammers, but for now, I simply delete them in my WP-Spam account. I have always used Aksimet and, as far as I know, haven’t had a problem.

    • You’d check a little more attention with that spam folder, Akismet sends a lot legitimate commenter there – I know for my own nightmare with them πŸ˜‰

  10. Hi Gera, Thanks for your informative post, as always very helpful. I’ve had a few spammy comments but didn’t think much about them until I read your post. I will definitely look more carefully into this.

    Joanne

    • Joanne as your blog grows the spam going with you, never allow them to take control of your blog. I’ve seen many bloggers not deleting them and this isn’t a helpful idea πŸ™‚

  11. Intense Debate in terms of spam is good, I hadn’t much spam of any kind when I used it.
    The problems were the comments deleted, failed and duplicated – perhaps my template wasn’t akin to it.

  12. I do it the old-fashioned way and moderate all anonymous and old posts. Blogspot has gotten better about recognizing spam so I am sticking with that. Diskus is tough – because I can only post in a certain browser or it doesn’t take – so sometimes I have to change browsers to comment. I think spammers will always find loopholes… cyberspace holes?

    • Claudia I know that Blogger has improved the fight against spam with moderation enabled.

      Oh I don’t have this issue with Disqus, but I’m familiar with persons with problem commenting there, other cases work great for spam…
      You’re right spammers can find potentially holes πŸ™

  13. I have noticed that since I started with WordPress my I have received about 7 spam notices. Soem that I cannot read because theya re from Russia, etc…

    Have a wonderful weekend Gera and thanks for so much info.

    • Norma glad you’re on WP and you’ll find several odd spams – delete them all πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend!

  14. Hi Gera:

    Sounds like you are as frustrated as I am. In one week accordig to akismat I have received almost 15,00 spam comments. But akismat does a good job of taking all spam comments to spam. It also takes my real comments to spam too.

    Also, you are right they come on some particular blog post not all.

    On of the post I closed the comments, and these spam comments did not stop coming.

    I am very sick of these human spam comments.

    Let me know what are you doing, about it? I will do the same, as I have had it I have no other trick. Can we have two spam plug ins on one site?

    Talk again.

    Fran A

    • Fran, reading your comment, it make nervous for those 00: 15 spammers or 1500 spammers – big difference!

      You’re right this the problem with Akismet, is easy sending almost “all” to spam, more when you aren’t. I had a problem with them no matter I did, all my comments on blogs were sent to spam folder. I needed to send a big communication to Akismet’s support and finally they un-banned me – phew!

      If you closed the comments on particular posts and still are coming, this sound bad.

      Perhaps Fran you can find a patron why they target those specific posts. I find they are searching for special keywords, maybe delete them.

      Ban explicit IPs (if they are static, if not it’s useless.) You can ban also via your server on CPanel. I did it many times, for security purposes.

      You can add conditional Captcha or other plugins that work with Akismet together complementing their functions. Look up for extra “spam” plugins on WP repository. Test installing and see the results. Do you have installed Simple Trackback Validation with Topsy Blocker? This plugin will end with false spammy trackbacks.

      Hope these advices can help a little πŸ™‚

      • Yes it’s a way to ban IPs directly from servers. I used also to ban spammers that repeatedly come here.

  15. Great thanks! This is the theme with Akismet, has an easy spam-trigger. The problem is that not all bloggers check their spam folders often, so perhaps the comment can never show up or is deleted accidentally some day when the blogger is cleaning that folder.

  16. Hi Gera,

    I quite agree with you. We all want to boost our sites’ rankings. What I don’t understand with these kinds of human spammers is that why don’t they do it decently? By leaving nonsense comments will only put their sites’ rankings to risk. Some bloggers control it by moderating the first-time comments only of that person and his next comments will be auto-approved. I don’t know whether they base it on email or IP. Do you know how it works?

    • Calli, you can filter the spam with both: emails and IPs. Just verify that the IP is static because if it is dynamic, will be changing constantly πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for coming by!

      • Yeah I just saw it on my settings. There is also an option “Comment author must have a previously approved comment”. I think this is what I meant in my previous comment. πŸ™‚

  17. Johanna, doing relevant comments in posts no matter the time is a way to be approved in general. I comment also in older posts if it’s brilliant or I’d like to add my two cents.

    In my old posts I receive several daily, all spam with comments copied of other places, links to other spam-blogs, even copied from comments of the same post (thinking you’ll not check if that comment was already posted)…of course not approved.
    I know some bloggers can have hundreds per day…ouch

    Thanks for stopping by!

  18. Hi Gera!!

    I don’t know how I missed this post. I do remember seeing it but never went over here to read it.

    Ugh human spam. Glad you are finding a solution that works. It’s tough when you want to “give something back” whether that be a link or just a platform to express one’s opinion.

    I think we’ll always deal with a small amount of it. Humans are much smarter than bots. They can make real-time decisions based on the blogger’s wishes. It’s still spam in that case – even if they do everything we ask (like invent a first name or something like that).

    I like that you can check IPs and how they came to your blog. That’s a neat thing I ought to try out.

    • Tia, is not everybody busy lately? I missing a lot of posts and it seems in next week, I’ll be even more busy πŸ™‚

      I’m far to have a definitive solution to human spam, only are some tips and this new plugin to avoid to share link juice to these people.

      When bots start to be smarter than humans this will be a real problem LOL..

      If you see that an IP that come again and again the best is to block it directly and problem resolved.

      Really hope that your new comment system Livefyre is cutting down spam and increasing conversations πŸ™‚

  19. Ray I agree with you – we need a magical button, but I bet that always will be a human with wishes to put a spam so the battle will be long.

    Thanks for coming by!

  20. Josh the game is traffic and more traffic; everybody is looking for them, the only difference is that these bad guys are doing it in a wrong way.

    The worst part is that in many cases, they succeed with bloggers that allow this spam to enter on their blogs. We hope also that plugins will improve and mininmize human spam πŸ™‚

  21. The more SEO traffic you get the more bots will try to spam your website. I don’t think of it as negative as much anymore. It’s a good sign that you are growing πŸ™‚

  22. I get this a lot, actually it’s so bad I did a post giving a theory as to why it happens. It’s obviously human spam as they bypass captchas and stuff so my theory was it’s perpetrated by idiots who didn’t know what a good comment was or by people who pay a pittance to others to leave comments for them. Either way you get crap comments.

    • Sire, I agree with you. Both are probably the cause of those comments, some people who don’t know how to comment and others that are rented to spread spammy-links for SEO purposes only.

      I’m trying the combo GASP, Simple TB Validation for spambots and now the Defensio plugin as a spam filter management for human spammers, till so far I’ve more control on those crappy comments.

      Thanks for coming by!

        • After being banned myself by Akismet for a month, all my comments were sent to spam or deleted, I decided to not use Akismet here (was an error of pings after my transition to WP that banned my blog).
          This is the reason, why I don’t use it anymore.

  23. That’s some good investigating! While I have not reached that level of spammers I think it will be inevitable πŸ™‚ But they totally blow there cover with these scripted comments.

    • Thanks Joseph! Inevitably as soon as you start to have traffic, these bad guys appear in masses. It’s good to be prepared with some plugins to combat them πŸ™‚

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