If you’ve run a blog for very long then you’ve probably had your comments spammed at least once or twice in the past. Each blogging package has its solutions to the problem each requiring differing amounts of effort on the part of the site owner and overall the problem has been largely contained. The exceptions being those sites that are run by people who don’t really care if they get comment spam and now the comment spammers are trying a new tactic which Adam Kalsey talks about on his blog:
It appears the spammers have a new tactic in increasing their PageRank. They find a site that doesn’t delete comment spam and fill it with links. Then they boost the PR of that site by spamming it in blog comments. Once the spam-friendly’s site has in increased Google ranking, all those spammed links in their comments will get a boost in rank as well.
It’s rather clever, actually.
Indeed. Most site owners are loath to put a legitimate blog into their blacklists and most blacklists work based on the URL the comment spammer inputs at the time so the idea seems to be to spam the hell out of blogs that don’t care about comment spam and then spam everyone else with links to that blog. Curiously enough, though, the comment spammers are still putting in names such as “online casinos” which makes it obvious that it’s a spam comment even though it links to a legitimate blog entry. Jay Allen, author of MT-Blacklist, has also noticed this trend:
In the past, I’ve sent emails to site owners when I see tons of spam on their sites, but, despite the proliferation and success of MT-Blacklist, it seems like the number of people who have just given up is increasing. This unfortunately affects us all because leaving spam links on a blog is like throwing blood in the ocean where people are swimming. Spam begets spam and pulls the sharks in from all quarters.
So the question: What should be done?
Personally, I’m of the same mind as Adam who says that he’ll add any blog that’s apathetic to comment spam to his blacklist thus preventing them from commenting on or trackbacking his blog and I think that’s the approach others should take as well. The only way to combat this is to try and deny the comment spammers what they’re after: increased page rank. Anyone who isn’t part of the solution becomes part of the problem and should be blacklisted accordingly.
Of course, this is less of a problem for me under ExpressionEngine as it doesn’t currently use a blacklist for comment spam as it has the captcha method of protection which works surprisingly well. Still, EE does use an internal blacklist for referrer and trackback spam and I’ll be adding sites to that to prevent trackback spam if necessary.