Peter VanRysdam / Digital Marketing / July 2nd, 2012

Comment Spam & Other Evil Practices

Comment spam is out of control. For those that aren’t familiar with the term, it refers to people posting comments on a blog or article that are not intended to add value, but rather a link back to their site for SEO purposes. The problem is people continue to do it because it actually can work, but only when done right.
I spend some time each week removing these comments from our site. They’re easy to spot, since people are rarely actually named things like “web design bombay” or “car hire gatwick.” What amuses me the most is that our site, which used to allow links in the comments, no longer does. Way back when we first launched, you could add a URL that would appear as a link from your username. Comment spam ended that practice. However, really bad SEOs continue to post with these ridiculous usernames, even though it has no benefit. Even if the link was active, we use no-follow code in our comments section (this tells the search engines to ignore links, rendering them useless for SEO purposes). I’m all for black hat SEOs wasting their time. I just hate when it wastes mine. So, I decided to track down my biggest offender, “Car Hire UK.” By searching for his email on his many comments, I found the company he is working for. In addition to emailing him, I decided it would be cathartic to contact the company he’s contracting for as well. Here’s the chat transcript below. Hello and Welcome to CarHireUK, my name is ‘Jenny’ , How may I help you today? Jenny: Hello Peter
Peter: yeah, i have an odd question…
Jenny: How may I help you?
Peter: i was hoping you could pass this to whomever does your website’s marketing. I must get at least 2 comments a day on my blog from you guys, and they are all comment spam. See https://www.352inc.com/blog/5-Things-Not-to-Do-in-Your-Webinars.aspx for an example. How do I make this stop?
Peter: It’s all coming from Arnav Disuza. (http://airport.ezinemark.com/car-rental-gatwick-7d35fe02ea5f.html)
Peter: hello?
Jenny: I am really sorry, This would be the reservation dept. you need to send an email to our customer service dept
Jenny: during the working hiursJenny: 10.00 to 16.00 GMT
Peter: not that i am a customer, but sure, what’s their information?
Peter: i should point out that your spammer seems to work all hours, as the latest one just came in.
Peter: so what is their email?
Jenny: customer_services@car-hire-uk.com or customercare@car-hire-uk.com regarding this query Peter: great. I look forward to spamming the hell out of them. Did it help anything? No way. Do I feel better? You’re damn right!
And please, don’t become a vigilante and email arnav.disuza@yahoo.com or customercare@car-hire-uk.com at all hours of the day and night. That is wrong.

  • Nathan Williams

    Great article on comment spam. It's funny to see how people try to game Google by adding useless comments to random blogs and websites. Of course, there is a proper way to get SEO benefits from commenting on blogs, articles and forums. Provide an opinion or additional information. Provide some value other than just stuffing the thing full of keywords and saying "Great work!" We see these all the time on our blog too but whoever puts those up there is definitely wasting their time since our stuff is no-follow as well. It's funny to see black hat people waste their time. If you're going to do that kind of stuff, at least take the time to find out if the link from the site will even be looked at. I understand sites that use the Disqus interface do in fact allow Google to follow the link.

  • Spook SEO

    Pete very nice post. Yes you are right this is the thing on which all bloggers come to discuss their mutual worries. I think following things can reduce the spam comments like turn off trackbacks, turn off comments after 1 or 2 months and plugins like Akismit to help control spam.