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The Nutritional Value of Spam

If you are not friends with the divine Ms. Cecily on Facebook, you may have missed this point made by one of her friends who responded to my question about the point of spam comments.  I’ve never really understood why spammers do what they do, why they desperately want a bunch of gibberish on my blog.

Apparently, though they know most of us will go through and delete out the comments (and hopefully, most will be caught by a spam filter before they go through), they are hoping that if they post them on older posts, we will be feeling lazy and not go back to delete them, figuring that few people will see it anyway.  But you should, and this is why:

Apparently, every time you leave a comment with the url for your blog (or in the case of spammers, a link to their site as well as extra links within the comment), Google counts that as a link (or multiple links) to your blog (or website).  The more links to your blog, the higher up you appear in a Google search.  The gibberish left by spammers are usually key words.  Or, sometimes, they’re just a cut-and-paste message such as “nice blog!” that they hope you’ll leave on because it seems harmless enough.

Therefore, if I ran a porn site online (you know, just speaking hypothetically.  Though I must make a note to reserve the url www.hotjewishinfertilebabes.com) and wanted people to find my porn site, I could get a bot to leave 10,000 comments on 10,000 blogs and hopefully, 10% of those people wouldn’t delete them, ending up with 1000 links back to my porn site.  Which would quickly bump my porn site in a search engine past all the other porn sites with fewer links.

The more widely read the blog is, the more enticing it is to get spam on there because their high ranking will help catapult you into a higher ranking.  Therefore, if I could get my spam on the Huffington Post or BlogHer or even A Little Pregnant (damn you, Julie, why are you always deleting my comments about a great place I know to get Viagra?), I could possibly get a lot of traffic to my porn site.

So please delete out spam and let reputable porn sites who pay for advertising on kinky blogs receive the most traffic rather than allow scummy spammers to use your hard-working blog to bring them new pervs.

That said, even if you are getting and rejecting a tremendous amount of spam, no one needs both comment moderation and a captcha device on their blog.  Take one or the other.  Rather than pass along your frustration with spammers to everyone else who reads your blog, simply go back and delete spam comments once a day.  Think about it–if you make people jump through too many hoops, they are less likely to stick around and give you feedback on your posts.  And spammers can still get through, even with a great spam block in place.  So, my advice–just delete.

But, there is also a good side to this.  If you’ve ever wondered why other blogs get so much traffic from Google searches, it’s because they leave a lot of comments.  It’s not just that people then follow you back when you leave a comment to return the favour by reading your blog, that comment also serves as a link and therefore raises the status of your blog in the search engine.  Some someone Googling a keyword on your blog–let’s say, “uterine anomalies”–is finding your blog because you left a lot of comments around the blogosphere; or, at least more than another person who also writes about uterine anomalies.  So people who are bitching that no one is reading your blog–are you leaving comments as you read?  If the answer is yes, I can’t help you because this is how it was explained to me.  If the answer is no, get commenting.

And yes, there are other things that determine SEO, including the url for your blog, the url for your permalinks, the placement of keywords or links within a post, and the number of times people link to you within a post.  Hence, Julie and Cecily just got a boost from this post because I linked to them.   It’s a nice thing to link to other people and I try to do it as much as possible.

Perhaps this will be an impetus to leaving more comments (hey!  And join up with IComLeavWe–I’ve always said that you’re doing something for others when you leave feedback on a post, but it turns out that you are doing something for yourself too).  I know that learning this yesterday kicked my ass to leave more comments last night as I cleaned up my Google Reader.

So now you know why the spammers are like mosquitoes, always flying around and trying to suck the life force out of you to feed their own bloated bodies.

Not a great analogy?  Perhaps I should stick to coming up with urls for new and amazing possible SEO-rich porn sites.


1 Vee { 01.16.10 at 5:15 pm }

Ok, I get it now. Thanks for the clarification.

2 Kate { 01.16.10 at 5:16 pm }

I’e made myself non-searchable via google and search engines because of anonymity issues, but that is interesting, I never knew that was the goal of spammers! Also YES either comment mod or the funky monkey key words to type in, not both!!!

3 Christa { 01.16.10 at 5:19 pm }

Wow, you taught me so much! I had no idea leaving comments would determine where your blog ends up in a search engine. I remember when I first started blogging I felt too intimidated to leave comments or participate in the IComLeavWe but now that I’ve gotten the hang of it I’ve found that I have more followers. And I thought it was just coincidence!

4 Heather { 01.16.10 at 5:26 pm }

Most of the blog hosting sites (including the software you’re using here) automatically attach a “nofollow” tag to comment author links (which is why you’ll often see spammers putting the link in the body of the comment). So while leaving comments is awesome and a great way to build personal connections, it’s not going to do much for your search engine rankings.

5 S.I.F. { 01.16.10 at 5:29 pm }

I have so much to learn about blogging! I started just because I wanted to be able to write about this journey, but the technological aspects are overwhelimg to me! Thanks for one more tip!! 🙂

6 Sonja { 01.16.10 at 5:36 pm }

I bet we could make great money doing some kind of an infertility porn site.

Wait, that wasn’t the point of your post?

7 Jayme { 01.16.10 at 5:58 pm }

I can’t stand the captcha! I’d rather people just moderate comments.

8 Jo { 01.16.10 at 6:05 pm }

I’m with Jayme on the captchas. They aggravate the heck out of me. I must not be too popular, as I’ve never gotten a spam comment. :-/ But, good to know anyway.


9 HereWeGoAJen { 01.16.10 at 6:24 pm }

Just a word of warning though, I didn’t have any of the spam blocks up because I was a “just delete” kind of person. Then, one night, I got 607 spam comments while I was asleep. (And they were still coming in when I woke up and didn’t stop until I turned on the word verification.) I am still working through deleting them all. I despise the captchas, but I was driven to it. I just don’t have time to delete that many spam comments.

10 Lavender Luz { 01.16.10 at 6:34 pm }

Thanks for addressing this, for answering the wonderings I’d had about spamments, and for that cool new porn site. I DO have a thing for infertile naughty Jews.

“if you make people jump through too many hoops, they are less likely to stick around and give you feedback on your posts.”

SO TRUE!! There are some beloved blogs I read regularly that make me jump through hoops to comment. I am often tempted to just skip them for the trouble.

11 Bea { 01.16.10 at 6:38 pm }

Huh. I did not know that. I have been deleting spam off old posts just on general principles, because spammers annoy the shit out of me. There you go!


12 Julie { 01.16.10 at 7:34 pm }

I delete your comments, my dear, because my penis is plenty hard already.

13 Tonggu Momma { 01.16.10 at 7:37 pm }

I’m super lazy because I typically close my comments about two weeks after I post. If someone links to a specific, older post (like in the creme), then I’ll open up the comments again, but closing comments after awhile really cuts down on the spam. I still get some spam on current posts, but it’s easy to delete.

14 Michelle { 01.16.10 at 7:54 pm }

Thanks this is good information..something I knew nothing about.
Gotta admit when I first saw the title of your post in my blog reader, I thought it said “The Nutritional Value of Sperm”.
hahaha.. sorry I’ve got sperm on the brain.

15 Battynurse { 01.16.10 at 8:14 pm }

I’ve gotten a few spam hits but almost none since I started moderating comments. I did have one comment recently on my post about taking Christmas down that I had no idea who sent it, it didn’t make much sense other than something religious and I didn’t publish it. I don’t know if it was spam or what the heck it was.

16 Suzanna Catherine { 01.16.10 at 8:53 pm }

Not being a “techie” I was fascinated by your explanation re spammers and comments. Seems like I always learn something new on your blog. (And not just about po.rn sites! Ha, ha!)

17 a { 01.16.10 at 9:04 pm }

The spambots haven’t found me yet, but I’m glad to know how this works.

18 Meghan { 01.16.10 at 9:37 pm }

I thought you said sperm in the title too!! But I guess with spam it is all kinda related

19 geohde { 01.16.10 at 9:43 pm }

I just learnt something about spam.

I delete all that shite already, but mostly out of pure irritation.


20 coffeegrl { 01.16.10 at 11:50 pm }

Thanks for the reminder ! I knew I had some housekeeping to do, but didn’t realize quite how many spam comments I’d gotten in the last month or so. Sheesh!

21 luna { 01.17.10 at 1:56 am }

so on wordpress, akismet really works as a great filter. I rarely even check it and it just gets automatically deleted at some point.

but really I just wanted to SPAM you with a comment about how I’m searching for some hot infertile jewish girls.

22 Manapan { 01.17.10 at 2:11 am }

I’m totally with Sonja on this one.

Hot Jewish Infertile Babes or something similar could potentially be a great fundraiser. Someone in the community needs FET funds? No problem. Just kick her some of the porno revenue. Later she can contribute back by comment spamming 1000 blogs with the site link.

Not to mention that it would be awesome to fetishize infertility. Once something is kinky, everyone and her half brother knows about it. Maybe it’ll stop the assvice. 😀

23 Baby Smiling In Back Seat { 01.17.10 at 4:07 am }

I’m with Luna: WordPress spam filter is close to perfect. I have moderation turned on for someone’s first comment on my blog, so the spammers never get through. Occasionally a real comment will be tagged as spam, though, so I do go through the spam folder by hand occasionally.

Yet another way in which WordPress > Blogger.

24 Terry { 01.17.10 at 7:53 am }

Thank you for this post ! I used to leave links to my blog in my comments and I was wondering why it was considered spam and when I had spam I was wondering what the heck it was !

25 Sunny { 01.17.10 at 12:56 pm }

BRILLIANT!!! Thanks for shedding the light, Mel. Here I am laying in bed all day and still getting smarter. You rock.

And for the record, I did *not* leave this comment in order to get more traffic on my porn site.

26 Nicole { 01.17.10 at 1:55 pm }

Thank you so much for sharing this! I have thus far only had one or two hits of spam as comments, and tend to get more coming from the e-mail address assigned to my blog – just this morning I was informed by the British Pepsi Office that I have won 500,000 pounds! Provided I send a notice via courier with my bank account information so that the money can be wired to me, of course. And I have to agree with Lori – the more hoops I have to jump through, the less likely I am to comment.

27 mrs spock { 01.17.10 at 2:55 pm }

I’ve been getting multiple spam comments on old posts every day, and I delete them as I get them. Everything you’ve said was echoed by my software security expert husband.

I don’t mind the time to delete them, as I like it to be as easy as possible for my readers to comment.

28 Beautiful Mess { 01.17.10 at 3:33 pm }

Good info, thank you!

29 The Steadfast Warrior { 01.17.10 at 5:17 pm }

Huh! The things you learn!

I moderate comments on posts older than a week and all comments are emailed to me so if anything wierd shows up, I can go delete it. I had a couple run ins with comment spam and am grateful I figured out how to step a couple steps in front of them.

30 Jamie { 01.17.10 at 8:21 pm }

I’ve always wondered – now I know! Stirrup Queens: Fun AND Educational.

I had a spammer leave comments on about 8 different posts all at least a year old. I went through and deleted them and two days later they were all back, all on the exact same posts. It was frustrating as I was within days of delivering my baby (and at that point, everything frustrated me). Then I went back and re-read the posts and saw that they were from my last miscarriage before I got pregnant for good. It was very weird.

31 brad { 01.18.10 at 10:08 am }

Suh. weet. I’ve just been letting the spam gather some weeks. I’ll make sure I get rid of it more regularly. Thanks.

32 Kimbosue { 01.18.10 at 10:24 am }

never knew that was what those spam comments were about. I never got any with Blogger, but I get a few every week with WP. I do need to comment more since I’m not really posting about my infertilty issues anymore, no one is googling me :0(

33 Mr. J { 01.18.10 at 10:36 am }

Good to know. I got here from DCBlogs, not by searching for Hot Infertile Jewish Girls. I think I’ll go buy that domain now…

34 Miss Tori { 01.18.10 at 12:56 pm }

I’m less likely to read blogs (and therefore comment) if I have to actually click on it from my reader to read the whole thing.

As far as the spamming goes, I have the word verification on, and like another commentor said, I have comments on posts older than 2 weeks e-mailed to me prior to them posting.

I’m not too concerned about getting tons of followers. I’d rather have fewer followers that really care and WANTS to read my blog, then 100s of followers who could care less, but follow just because everyone else is.

35 Trish { 01.18.10 at 4:17 pm }

This is very interesting information! Thanks. I have been getting more spam than usual lately (and even left one up this week simply because it amused me) and I sort of wondered why..
I wonder now if maybe my “Fine*” post (which got a lot of attention, thanks, in part, to you!) got me some spammer attention as well.
hmm.. Very interesting. I always knew this was an educational blog!

36 g$ { 01.18.10 at 4:23 pm }

Whew, SPAM and Sperm are so close together in my fleeting iphone reader brain, I was dumbfounded when I clicked over and found a whole different subject than I had originally thought.

37 Billy { 01.18.10 at 7:12 pm }

Thanks for this post!
I had not so long ago a comment from a “new” reader saying something about what a nice blog. I didn’t like the fact that she added a link in the comment (to some maternity clothes shop or something), but as I don’t like deleting comments (somebody took the effort to come and read and comment, how dare I delet!?), I left it [didn’t even think about it as spam]. It was a bit weird when I saw this “reader” leave an exact same comment on another blog I read.
Reading this post, I think I will delete that comment!

I agree on how annoying it is when bloggers use both comment moderation and captcha.
And might I add, I do like to follow up with comments on a post I read [what other people/the blog owner had to say], but once I read it I tick it off my reader, and never really come back again. Most blogs have an option to get updates on comments through mail, but some (cough cough like yours) don’t.

38 nonlineargirl { 01.19.10 at 12:10 pm }

I recently got rid of captcha after reading various people complaining about it. (I also don’t use comment moderation.) So far the spam impact has been pretty minimal. Granted I have a low traffic blog, but I originally activated captcha because I was getting a bunch of spam comments. Since dumping captcha a month ago I have gotten 2 spam comments, both deleted. Seems like a reasonable price to pay to make my blog more accessible.

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