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Open Letter to Blog Comment Spammers

Posted on Feb 18th, 2010
Written by Lee Odden
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    Dear “SEO Consulting Services New York” and you too “Starting A Home Business”,

    I have an admission to make: I don’t like comment spam. You are comment spammers. Our readers don’t like you. I don’t like you. You’re not welcome here.

    Our Akismet filter has been doing a good job of filtering out spam and our commenting filters within Disqus catch most of the non-automated spammy comments. But they still persist. Most people active online have real names (obvious I know, but stay with me). If they don’t use their real name, it’s popular to use a “handle”.   I can see that it might be reasonable for some people to have a few different handles, but for the most part, singular identities are the norm.

    Where the “identity crisis” comes is the persistent and pervasive use of what I consider, spammy handles in blog comments. Doing this is as old as blogging itself.   It started with legitimate beginnings though. For example, I used to put “toprank” in the name field when making comments on other blogs since that’s my handle. Today, I just use my own name.  Apparently, there are a large number of people named, “internet marketing minneapolis” or “insurance leads”. I don’t think so.

    We “no follow links” within our blog comments due to abuse by SEO spammy types. Actually, most of them are not professional SEO’s at all. Pro SEO’s would not be so obvious and stupid as to blatantly use keywords as a person’s name when the links are no followed. It’s a waste of time.

    So, to “internet marketing india” and “buy viagra and ciallis here”, I’m pretty sure those aren’t your names or your handles. My position with this blog is that if you opt NOT to identify yourself as a person, then the comment has no place here.

    My preference is for readers to use real names. When people do that, their comments also tend to be more thoughtful, intelligent and useful to other readers. Additionally, when people use a handle or nickname to reference themselves online, it’s usually a good comment. However, with the popularity of Twitter, most people use their Twitter handle which is often a one-word name anyway.

    I simply draw the line with people (or bots) that insist on using keywords they want to rank for in search engines as their “Name” in our blog comments.  Same goes for those that decide to use a two word name that then decide to link to a sales letter for some kind of “automate all your online marketing” software.

    We’ve published a blog comment policy several years ago, but after adding Disqus as our comment management system, we cannot link to it in the same way. However, there should be a link at the end of each blog post now so readers can our guidelines for commenting.

    After blogging for 6 years, I’m not ambiguous in my thinking about this. I’d be curious to know if readers think this is extreme, but I have no problem saying that I’m pretty firm in this policy and not buying in to the argument that there’s an implied reciprocation that should happen when people comment that involves a keyword link in exchange.

    If you’re a long time blogger, what decisions have you made about a blog comment policy?