Askimet and Blog Comment Spam

Blog spam is definitely a problem and I don’t want to pretend it isn’t, and anti-spam plugins like Askimet are great plugins. But, if you are moderating comments on your blog, you need to make sure you are flagging true spam as spam with Askimet, and deleting questionable comments.

Blog spam is definitely a problem and I don’t want to pretend it isn’t, and anti-spam plugins like Askimet are great plugins.

But, if you are moderating comments on your blog, you need to make sure you are flagging true spam as spam with Askimet, and deleting questionable comments.

I have heard from some people that a comment of their’s was flagged as spam with Askimet because the owner didn’t approve of the content of the comment.  If you don’t approve of a comment delete it, don’t flag it as spam especially with Askimet because if the comment is not true spam, you have just screwed someone.

In summary, Askimet is a WordPress plugin that is used by thousands of bloggers.  Blog comments are sent to Askimet and Askimet uses it’s rules to determine if a comment is spam or not.  Of course Askimet is not going to tell us how they determine spam, which is good since the spammers would find ways around the Askimet spam rules.

So, if you flag a comment as spam, it’s flagged by Askimet as spam.  Once a comment is flagged as spam by you, Askimet will flag it as spam the next time that person comments on a blog post.

I have read that URLs are sometimes flagged as spam, some keywords are flagged as spam and I suspect IP addresses may also be flagged as spam.  The next time the person you flagged as spam submits a comment on another blog, Askimet may identify it as spam, and the comment will never be approved – even though it could be a perfectly valid comment.

From what I have read, from people who have ended up being flagged as a spammer by Askimet, is that you won’t even realize you were flagged as a spammer until you somehow figure out your comments on blogs never show up.  Some tested by commenting on their own blog to see their comment being flagged as spam.

To get of off the Askimet spam system, I’ve seen people suggest you comment on blogs of people you know, and ask them to mark your comments as not being spam if Askimet flags them as spam.  This is called a False-Positive by Askimet.  As blog owners approve the comments as not being spam, Askimet is supposed to learn.  So if you continue to post comments that are not flagged as spam, you should come off the list.

The best way to stay out of the Askimet spam system is to provide good comments.  But someone having a bad day could decide to flag you as spam for no good reason.  You wouldn’t want someone doing that to you, so be careful when flagging comments as spam when they really aren’t.

If you have questionable comments on your blog, go ahead and delete them, just make sure you delete bad comments, and flag true spam as spam.  I delete far more comments than I flag as spam.  A blog comment has to clearly be spam before I will mark it as such, and Askimet catches most of those for me already.

I also encourage you to periodically look at comments Askimet flags as spam on your blog.  If you find comments that are clearly not spam, remove the spam flag.  You would appreciate if someone did that for you, so do the right thing for them.

Askimet is a great plugin for controlling comment spam on your blog, but be careful how you use it.

Disclaimer:  I am not an expert on Askimet, but I did some research on it to better understand how it works.  If you have more information on how Askimet works, I would appreciate your comments below.

Mike

What are Do-Follow Blogs?

What are “Do Follow” blogs? “Do follow” is the opposite of “No-Follow”. Wordpress blogs, by default, use the HTML nofollow attribute on links that point away from the blog. This no follow attribute comes into play with the posting of blog comments. The no-follow tag tells the search engines NOT to follow the link to any other web sites.

What are “Do Follow” blogs?

“Do follow” is the opposite of “No-Follow”. WordPress blogs, by default, use the HTML nofollow attribute on links that point away from the blog. This no follow attribute comes into play with the posting of blog comments. The no-follow tag tells the search engines NOT to follow the link to any other web sites.

The logic behind using no follow is, it’s good for the blog since there will be fewer outgoing links and therefore less “link bleed”, leading to better Google page rank. Sounds good!

Using no follow also makes sense because there are blog spammers out there who will, and have, posted blog spam comments solely for the benefit of getting more incoming links to their site, which helps page rank. That makes sense!

Do Follow blogs are going against the norm and turning the No-Follow tag off, enabling do-follow of out going comment links.

Why Go Do-Follow?

If you’re like me, you want people to comment on your blog posts. You want more of an interactive community. That’s what Web 2.0 is about – community, relationships, and user created content.

But, how do you encourage people to comment on your blog posts? You give them something in return. You give them an outgoing link to their website, when they make a quality comment on your blog. You also allow the search engine to follow that link to their website by using the do follow attribute.

You also need to let people know that you are a Do Follow Blog. Some visitors will have no idea what that means, but those who do know what it means will appreciate it and will often leave a comment.

You will notice I now have a Do Follow notice in the upper right hand column of my blog. This graphic is courtesy of Randa Clay who is a Do Follow advocate. I’m letting others know that they are welcome to leave relevant comments, and letting them know what my expectations are.

Okay, but what about comment spammers?

No doubt there will be spammers who try to take advantage of your generosity. If you have a blog you probably are already getting comment spam, I sure do. But, I have found that the Spam Karma plugin does an outstanding job of filtering out spam comments.

You will still need to monitor comments, but it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes each day.

How Do I Set Do Follow?

Unfortunately, the option to turn No Follow on, or off, is not an option in WordPress. I have looked at a couple of plugins, and have decided the DoFollow plugin works best for me.

With the current WordPress blog comment spam plugins now available, I see no reason not to be a “Do Follower”.

Once you join the Do-Follow movement, let everyone know your blog is do follow by adding your blog to the do-follow blog list.

Let me know what your thoughts are by commenting below.

Mike