Comment Spam Sucks – But at Least Do it Right!

April 18, 2008

Precursor

So I had this post written and queued up to post today, but I decided to switch my blog from Blogger (hosted, custom domain) to WordPress.com (hosted, custom domain) and while the import went great, the way that Blogger handles HTML in the body of comments did not come through nicely and as such I’m not going to call out the UK-based SEO agency who I was going to rag on (in a fun way) for comment spamming my new blog and several other SEO blogs. They are off the hook, this time!

Comment Spam – Sucks, But Come On – At Least Do It Right!!!

Now, what is spam and what is not spam is a matter of opinion – to some degree. If you have a blog you likely get a ton of spam – and most is easily identifiable. Its often not even actual sentences but just a ton of links. Some spammers though are a bit more intelligent, and they’ll offer comments like “Great post, thanks!”. These are done in automation, and are specifically generic so that its not obvious that they didn’t actually read your post.

Fine. This is nothing new. Transition…

The only thing worse than spam is poorly-done spam!

That’s what <company> has done. They put a link in the body of their comment (decent idea), but their code was funky – it inserted a BR tag at the end of the URL, making the URL invalid and thus the link wouldn’t count for them for SEO benefit.

Okay this was not fair. I don’t know that <company> or someone who works at <company> did this. Someone did. They posted links to the <company> website. It could be someone who does not work for them.

So once instance does not a spammer make. In fact, two doesn’t necessarily either. I’m using this term more playfully here – this group could be a nice group of people and if so I’ll buy them a beer or something.

This isn’t a unique incident though. I see it all the time. Its like they would rather do 100 crappy comments quickly (and only format their URL correctly 10 times) than do 20 legit comments and get 20 links (yes, I know they are all nofollowed anyhow).

Here’s an incident of a company doing exactly this, on this post by Jim Hedger. Full disclosure – I also posted a comment on that post.

The moral of the story is at least three-fold:

  1. The is a semi-spam that isn’t really traditional spam. This is a good example. They actually posted legit, thoughtful responses. To that extent, its not really spam. On the other hand, they do seem to be using links to their interior pages on their comments.
  2. If you do this (shoot I’m guilty on occasion myself!), make sure your URL is valid. Defeats the point if not, and silly guys like me will take it and run with it.
  3. Question: At what point is it spam? These guys “sort of” added a legit comment so perhaps I should let them off the hook as just frequent commenters who happened to choose to post links to their own site in every instance? Certainly this is way different than the typical poker comment spammer.
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