I just read Comment Spam Warning Signs from Andy Beard. Deciding which comments are spam, irrelevant, for link juice only or positive and constructive is one of the most difficult tasks I have to do while running this blog.
In the above mentioned post, Alex Goad of Net Frontier Marketing describes the problem very nicely:
This is a strange conundrum.
It’s like my mother’s living room. It has extra nice luxurious carpeting which causes her to constantly fret when people walk on it.
Regular house guests know the rules, but new ones don’t…
The stupid thing is, I make it difficult for myself -as does Andy and some others- because of our decision to use the DoFollow strategy. If it wasn’t for that, life would be easy.
You see, the basic principle here is that if you leave a comment that adds value to the discussion, you should be rewarded with a nice link back to your site, where I, and above all, my readers, can expect to find more valuable information on the topic or a related one.
If every commenter followed to this rule, again, there wouldn’t be any problems. After all, this is what makes the Internet tick:
– valuable content
– links to more valuable content
– (strongly) related information.
But what happens?
Using the DoFollow strategy attracts a lot of people, who don’t care about valuable content. Instead, they comment just to get a link back to their or their client’s sites, no matter what the topics are.
The recently launched software Comment Kahuna, which on itself is great software by the way, has only contributed to these kind of comments.
Photo Credit: macie3k
In his post, Andy addressed the most common warning signs that he uses to decide whether or not a comment is considered spam, irrelevant or valuable.
I can relate to that list. It’s similar to what I use. Some commenters on Andy’s post were very upset with some of these warnings, but I should emphasize that they’re only there to protect ourselves – well, I shouldn’t talk on behalf of Andy, so they’re there to protect myself and my blog.
However, I do have some remarks to make.
In contrast to what Andy mentions, I use more options than ‘delete’ or ‘mark as spam’, shown in the emails that are sent by Spam Karma. I just login to manage my SK2 account and use the blacklist a lot for domains that are just affiliate sites, sales pages or content that I do not want like porn, gambling, and so on. The same applies to dirty splogs that send ping backs.
Yes, that IS a lot of work, but I can still handle it (don’t know for how long though). And I prefer to blacklist a domain so it can’t access my blog above marking it as spam.
I don’t mind free email addresses that much, since I use one myself as I was forced to after one of my domain names was jo-jobbed. But I’m terrified when I see .ru and .cn domains, as I discover them a lot in my stats.
Like Andy, I visit blogs and sites from commenters, trying to learn who’s behind it. More often than not, that’s a difficult task on Bloggers.com as most bloggers on that platform don’t take the trouble writing something about themselves.
But I also look at the history of the site. If there’s not much of archives there, I tend to delete the comment. I see a lot of these fairly new sites: only a few posts, plenty of banners in the advertising space (yeah, right) and no Page Rank.
And the same applies if it’s a site that is not ranked by Google.
Sometimes that implies I will delete a completely valid post, but I just can’t take any risks.
And that’s what moderating comments is all about. Taking risks.
While I love to send links back to good commenters, not all links are great ones. Google and other search engines will punish me for having the wrong links at my site. Just because I like to value content generated by my visitors.
Maybe I shouldn’t do that anymore and delete the DoFollow. Would save tons of time too.
What’s your take on this?
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