Tip of the Week: How to Take Back Your Website From Comment Spammers
“Wow. That was a great article! I make $500 a day working from home and you can too! Click the link below to learn how!” This is an example of comment spam. You may have seen it before. You may have even fallen for it. How does one deal with such an annoyance?
Comment spam is much more than an annoyance. If your company’s website or social media account is filled with comment spam, it gives potential customers the impression that you don’t care about upkeeping your website and it will discourage them from leaving valuable comments of their own.
There are several tools and settings that can help you decrease the amount of comment spam on your website, but none of these tools are perfect, and all of them require a commitment from a real person to oversee the comments and delete the spam. Here are four tools that will help in your battle against spam.
Disable Your Comments
This is a weapon that you have in your arsenal, but like the “nuclear option,” you don’t want to use it unless you absolutely have to. The reason you don’t want to disable your comments is because authentic comments are valuable–even the negative ones.
Comments give the impression that many people view your website as a resource that’s worth visiting. Search engines pick up on comment-generated web traffic and give your website a higher search ranking. Even the negative comments are good because they give you the opportunity to directly respond and set the record straight professionally and publicly. This will communicate to others that your business cares about a customer’s experience. The only reason why a business should disable comments is if they never do any maintenance on their website–ever.
Approve Comments Before Posting
This is a nice setting that makes sure a moderator is first laying their eyes on the comment before it’s posted. This is a sure-fire way to filter out spam–unless the spammer happens to be clever enough to fool you or the person tasked with moderating your website. If you are fooled by a comment spammer by letting one slip by, then take solace in the wisdom of former President George W. Bush, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me… you can’t get fooled again.”
The downside about depending on a moderator to filter comments is that it can turn into a cumbersome task. If the content on your website is popular, it can generate a lot of comments that need to be approved. Also, a user knowing that their comment will have to be moderated before it’s posted may discourage them from commenting. Some people simply prefer to see their comments instantly display, like with instant messaging.
Recaptcha is a helpful tool that makes sure actual people are posting. When a user leaves a comment, they will be shown a picture of some numbers (like from the side of a house). They will then be asked to enter the numbers into a form. This will filter out spam bots that automatically spam websites, as well as a percentage of human spammers that aren’t in the mood to fill out a few extra forms in order to post their spam. However, this tool isn’t 100 percent effective because a dedicated human comment spammer will fill in the required Recaptcha numbers.
Block Spammers’ IP Addresses
If you happen to come across a spammer, your website platform should allow you to block the user’s IP address from accessing your website. By looking at some spammer statistics from Imperva, you will see how blocking a comment spammer’s IP address will go a long way toward taking care of the problem:
80 percent of the comment spam originates from less than one-third of the spammers, and a mere 17 percent of comment spammers actually account for a majority of the comment spam traffic. Imperva also found that nearly 60 percent of comment spammers are active for long periods of time.
Vigilance is the Key
You can think of fighting spam like fighting a battle. The key to winning any battle is vigilance. You have to stay on top of your company’s website maintenances; letting a few spam comments slip through due to negligence can cost your business dearly by potentially turning away customers.
Spam has many forms and all of them are harmful. Spam shows up in the inboxes of your employees and drags down productivity, as well as causes wicked computer viruses. Staying on top of your Internet marketing means staying on top of spam. What are some of the most annoying spam comments that you’ve come across? Let us know in the comments… actually, don’t.