Spam on Blogger (Anatomy of SPAM comments)

Blogging is a very different way of engaging with people.  Compared with YouTube or other facets of social media where people can literally reach out and comment, blogging it seems is more inclined to reader ingestion and the engagement stops there.

(Have I said thanks yet for reading my blog?  Thanks!)

In this article I will analyze the anatomy of a bot comment, what causes it to happen and what are some steps you can take to mitigate being spammed by comment bots.

At the time of this writing I have been blogging for close to two years.  Roughly producing one article a week.  I am experiencing the positive impact of the "catalog effect" and pairing blogging with YouTube videos is creating a successful impact on my digital presence.

(If you are looking for ways to boost your blog, use different social media and point these different avenues towards each other)

On YouTube I get comments from people asking questions, requesting different videos, people that love the content and people that hate the content.  

Blogger has been different.

I have received over a hundred comments and only six of them have been from actual real people.

So, if a high percentage of the comments being left are not from real people, who are they from?  These comments are from bots.

You may have heard of bots before, but essentially it's an automated program/script that creates an account on Google and places comments on blogs en masse.  The big question is why? What does the author of the script have to gain?  In order to understand this you have to see the types of comments being left.

Below are some snips of comments that have been posted to my blog.  Let's look at the anatomy of a bot/spam comment.

So there are three key things to make note of.

1) Tone: The tone of the comments can have a strong flattery cadence or they are getting straight to the point with phrases that are dripping with click-bait.

2) External Links: This is a must have, without an external link there is nothing to redirect users back to.  What's the point of planting an advertisement on someone's blog if it is not going to get clicks?  The number of links can range in quantity.  On average it is between 1 and 5.  I have seen 10-15.  LOL

3) Profile: Profile is extremely new.  In the above three images the two profiles davidkaake and naftalijabarie were created within the past week before posting on my blog.  Notice also that there are no spaces between the first and last name.  Sometimes I see completely random collections of letters as well.  The third comment is just under a year old.

This profile is a bit different.  It's pretty empty, has an ambiguous name and very few profile views.  This one could actually be a real person!  However when we analyze their comment again.  
We can see that there are a few things off.

1. Grammar is poor.  Now I know not everyone has perfect grammar, however in my mind it is a red flag to look out for.
2. External link has nothing to do with what they are commenting on.  When I clicked on the link (I did some analysis before doing this by the way)  I was redirected to a sales page.

Spam comments are usually pleasant.

The above comment is a perfect example.  Why would I want to take down a comment that is saying my content is amazing?  It's for that reason alone that the tone of the comment is usually pleasant.  If it was horrible and mean, the author would take it down faster.  If the comment is nice then there is a higher probability that the comment will survive longer.

Why do people create bots that spam blogs with comments?

Simply put, it boosts their SEO.  It's all about the backlinks!  You could potentially put malicious links in blogs, however I believe there is more money to be gained by temporarily boosting your SEO.

What causes a blog to be targeted?

Another question I ask myself why are a majority of my comments for Asian online gambling websites?

Here is a picture that explains it.

The majority of my blog views have come from Indonesia and Hong Kong (also big thanks to everyone from Germany!).  Canada, where I live, comes in fourth!

If someone is going to pick a blog to spam with their content, they will pick blogs that are popular in the region they are targeting.

Additionally, as your catalog effect increases your presence online will grow.  Your blog becomes like an entity in itself, always on and working for you.  As you get bigger you will be targeted by spammers.

The cost of fame?

What can you do?

You can do what I do, and if someone has a better method please share it (as a comment?).

I report the comment as spam and delete it immediately.  I keep my eye on the comments, leave the real ones up and delete the bot comments.

Also you can modify what people can do with comments.  Select "Settings" and scroll down to comments.

Modify these settings so that they suit your needs best.

Thanks for reading. 
Andrew Campbell


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