Thursday, October 18, 2012

A-Spamming-We-Will-Go

Ah, the cushy life of a blogger, even a non-monetized blogger like Grace. We write our gems and put them out into the blogosphere where we wait to see what comments we get back from our reading public.

So why is it that far too many of those comments are in languages most of us don't speak or in gibberish that no one understands? And why do all of them contain links that are entirely unrelated to the blog post itself? (My personal favorites are the links to fashionista websites--obviously these folks have no idea what a middle-class, overweight 63-year-old wears, especially Grace!)

It's not a new question. Bob at Satisfying Retirement asked the same thing awhile ago. His issue was moderation. I long ago realized that I was going to have to moderate the comments coming into my blog. This wasn't necessarily to prevent nasty comments. (Not that I've gotten those, anyway. Disagreement is always fine by me.)

But I find myself wondering what the spam is supposed to accomplish. I can't imagine that anyone would click on a link buried in a lot of nonsense words.

In searching for the answers, I learned a lot--more, actually, than I wanted to know--about comment-spam. Apparently there IS a reason for it, especially for those who monetize their blogs and want to attract traffic. Since I'm not blogging for money, I don't particularly care how or where my blog comes up in a search though I do want potential readers to find me. Sure, I like knowing who comes to my blog, but I don't worry about my numbers--I'm not looking to be first in any search engine exploration.

Still, when Google or some other search engine, decides which websites to place at the top of a list of search results, one of the factors it considers is the number of links pointing to the site. A page that has many inbound links from other places on the web generally ranks higher in the search results than a page that has only a few links. As far as Google can tell, web pages with many inbound links are more popular, so Google concludes that those pages are more likely to have the information that a user is looking for.

Ergo, spammers don't really care if readers of GRACEful Retirement read the comment, click on the links or buy anything. The simple fact of getting the comment published creates a link that a search engine will count. That's also why a lot of the comments are on posts from the past rather than current ones--maybe we bloggers won't notice a new spam comment in an old post and it will be more likely to remain there untouched.

Even more amazing to me was the discovery that there are people, particularly in third world countries who will sit around and comment for seriously small amounts of money, as low as $1.11 an hour. I guess, for that kind of money, a decent command of the language in which the blog is written is not necessary.

On the flip side, there is software that allows you and I to send out random spam with a link to our blog to everyone else, so we can say a lot of folks out there linked back to us, and, we hope, get us up to the top of search engine lists.

See how wonderful technology is! And it must be getting better because I have seen an increase in the number of spam comments to my blog--fortunately, mostly caught by my spam filter, but still. . .

I personally found most of the explanations of spam and why we have it, way too technical. But here is one of the more succinct and helpful posts on the subject.




10 comments:

Jessie said...

Very informational on a topic of which I had no previous idea or awareness of.

Haha! There's my attempt at being a spam comment. Seriously, this is interesting stuff. I haven't experienced this yet, but if I keep at it I probably will. Good to know.

Sharon said...

I always wondered about this..thanks for the info! :)!

Super Saver said...

Links in comments are "no follow" and are not counted in Goolge's algorithms. So I've read ...

Sandy said...

I started getting too much spam and decided to stop letting "anonymous" comment. That person had way too much time on their hands. BTW, when I check my stats, your blog is one of the highest sources for my blog. Don't know why and I'm not monetized, just interesting. Have a great week and keep posting.

Grace. said...

Super Saver--I've read that as well, but not everyone seems to believe it; Certainly not some of my spammers!

Donna Freedman said...

I'm being overwhelmed by spam in the past few days. Hundreds per day. I'm grateful for a good spam filter. Also irritated at the need for one.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I don't blog, but I read a lot of blogs and I post anonymously...just because I don't even have the time to create a fake name, lol.

Bob Lowry said...

It is sort of like the Nigerian money pitches. It is hard to believe anyone falls for that scam anymore but if someone didn't they would stop.

Google is in the midst of a major crackdown on these bogus links so maybe they will disappear in time.

I spend at least 30 minutes a day checking and deleting these comments before they see the light of day...what a waste.

b said...

This is the topic that is on all of our minds. I have alway left a link to my blog because it only seems right that you would know who I am. I think I will quit doing that.

I even wondered as I read your post if the comments that go into the spam folder on blogger count. I will get a notice by email that I have received the comment but it never shows up on the blog.

I have been blogging for 6 years but there is a lot I don't know. I suppose that is why I keep doing it. I love the learning curve.

No spam here. Just interest. You have raised my awareness!

b

Sebastian said...

Most of the spam comes from automated software, unfortunately for you it is becoming a part of blogging
many people add comments with links back to sites that are related - this is good and all part of the "process" As Bob said Google is cracking down on this and making these spam comments less relevant, and will one day fade away. depending on the type of blogs you have there is software out there to help with this