Spammers are out to destroy your website or blog; they don’t care about what happens to you because they are selfish. You therefore must know how to actively stop spam comments on your blog and give your blog a better and more decent look in the sight of your readers and the search engines.
In our last topic on spamming, we talked about how to detect a spam comment on your blog and unmask the person behind it. So if you have not read that post, I would advise you to read it before continuing with this, so that you will understand the importance of the current topic and why spamming is dangerous to your blog’s health.
So today, we are going to look at the various options available to you as a blogger to fight spam commenters to a standstill. Spammers must be stopped at all cost; they would destroy the reputation your blog has built over the years if not checked. I am sure you wouldn’t want that to happen.
Spam comments on your blog
In our last topic we talked about the various tactics employed by the culprits who come to leave those nasty and worthless comments on your precious blog. So if you allow them to continue unchecked, their comments would do one of the following to your blog:
• Reduce the reputation of your site in the eyes of your readers
• Attract Google’s punishment as those spamming sites get punished in the long run
• Give you more job to do as you manually delete the worthless comments
• Slow down your site because of the increasing load on your files
• Give you heartache as more frustration sets in from inability to control the situation
• Reduce your blog’s PR if you are using Commentluv with a “Do follow” tag on your comments
• Make your site untidy and unprofessional as most of the comments would be without profile/gravatar pictures
I don’t need to tell you whether you now need to take action or not. If you are comfortable with the above listed point, then let them go on. But if you are not comfortable, then there is need to actively stop spam comments on your blog now.
How to actively stop spam comments
We have identified the harm spam comments could cause your blog; we have also seen that spammers adopt different tactics to spam your blog. Now how do we stop these devils from destroying what we have labored for over the years? Man! You don’t have to fold your arms and watch those guys run your blog down. Do something fast! Wake up from your slumber because the guys fighting your site are not sleeping. Now what do we do?
locate the spammer’s host
One of the ways to fight the habitual spammer is to locate his hosting company and officially report the case to them to caution the culprit. But how do you find the hosting company? The spammer usually leaves a link to his site because he needs the link badly. So take that link and go to Whois.com and do a ‘whois lookup’ on him. At the site click the “whois lookup” button and in the search box provided, type in his site’s URL without the [http://www.], and then click on ‘Search’. This will give you the information about his domain – Registrar, registrant’s name, email address, hosting company, age of website, location, date site was last updated, etc.
Having armed yourself with all the information you need, visit the company hosting his site and officially make a report about what is happening. To get the right person to speak to, click on their ‘contact us’ link and drop your message in their contact form. If there is any contact address provided, write to them through the address.
This was the strategy I used to stop a particular spammer who was dropping several spam comments on my blog daily while one of my sites was still on Blogger platform. I located his host company and made a report to them. They asked me to provide evidence that this was happening. So I went to my Gmail account (Because Blogger was sending those comments to my mailbox for approval or deletion) and did screen print of the various comments and sent to them. After that the worthless comments stopped coming. They took action against him.
contact the spammer
One other thing you could possibly do is to contact the spammer about what you noticed and tell him you intend to officially report to his host and to Google as well. This would strike some fears in him and make him to stop the spamming. Unfortunately, some of them may not heed your warning and so the spamming continues. The site may also be kept under “privacy protection”, in which case you don’t see his email address, etc. If that happens, write through the address provided and ask the protection site to contact him (you already know his URL from the link on your site).
Protect your site
If the above listed suggestions do not work, then you have to adopt other means to stop spam comments on your blog. I will briefly talk about a few plugins that could be used if on WordPress platform
Akismet is a very reliableplugin to fight spam comments on your blog. It has several features to help recognize spam comments or suspicious comments. It has options to delete a spam comment outright or keep it pending your approval. However, the problem with Akismet is that it requires users to make a monthly subscription of $5 for a single WordPress site, $50 per month for multiple sites access and then $0- $120 for personal blogs. Since a lot of newbie bloggers cannot afford this, the next thing to do is to look at other available free tools you can use.
GASP simply stands for ‘Growmap Anti Spam Plugin’ and it is very helpful in fighting spam comments. How do you use it? After installing it on your site, go the settings page from your dashboard and set the parameters with which it works. Why use this? Most of the websites set up the rule on their comment system that commenters must be registered on their site in order to enjoy the “Do follow” link or in order to get the 10 most recent posts on their blogs highlighted while dropping their comment. So to get this privilege, the attacker decides to register as user on your blog.
Remember that the spammer also uses bots to do the comments too. So this plugin will try to stop the bots from doing the automatic comments. The system is configured to handle this by doing the following:
Checkbox not checked Alert:
The user forgot to check the checkbox – He gets the message “ Please check the box to confirm that you are NOT a spammer”
Hidden Email field Completed:
The form has a hidden field added with a label that has a name value with the word “email” in it. A spam bot will usually try to fill in all fields on a form, if this field has been filled in then something is wrong – He receives the response “You appear to be a spambot. Contact admin another way if you feel this message is in error”.
You can also set other parameters like the maximum number of URL allowed in comment text, and the maximum number of words allowed in the name field. This would also help to reduce packing comment with several links like the attacker are fond of doing
Use Sabre Plugin
You can actively stop spam comments on your blog by using the Sabre plugin. This is one plugin that has several layers of security arrangements to checkmate the spammers. It is installed the usual way like other wordpress Plugins. To configure it against spam comments, just follow the guidelines. All you need do is to fill out the forms at the various levels. Now let’s look at some of the things you see there:
‘Enable Captcha test’ (make sure to check this option). Another option is “Use white background” make sure this is also checked to display the captcha on a white background. Some other parameters that need to be set include: Accepted character, string length, contrast, number of polygons, number of ellipses, number of lines, number of dots, min. thickness, max. thickness, min. radius, max. radius and object alpha.
The next level is the “math option”. If you check this, the person or bot attempting to register would be given some math to solve, and if he cannot solve it he would be denied registration.
Next option is “Test captcha option” in which case he is asked to provide the nth letter of a random word.
Next is “Sequence of tests”. You tell Sabre how to use the parameters set above. Is it to use randomly or use all? Whatever you ask the plugin to do, it will obediently do
The next session has the following in place: “Confirmation Options”. Under this, you have ‘Enable confirmation (by user, admin or none); Number of days, deny early sign-in, send mail when confirmed (to admin upon user’s confirmation), and ‘suppress unregistered users’.
The last sessions to configure include the “Policy Option’ session, ‘Invitation options’ and the ‘Miscellaneous options’. Remember to save your settings at the end. So you really need to take your time to decide what exactly you want anyone who wants to register on your site to do to be allowed access. These two plugins are actually free to use.
Use Commentluv plugin:
Commentluv plugin has elements of Sabre and GASP incorporated into it. So when using Commentluv, you may not need the other plugins listed above; you only need to configure the plugin to apply the anti spam features. I have really written a lot; my fingers are aching. I need some rest now. I am yawning, looks like my stomach needs something. Time will not permit me to write about the other plugins to use. But I think these ones would really do the magic.
You need to keep your blog clean and tidy to help keep its integrity intact. Unless you actively stop spam comments, the spammer would never stop by himself. So, take action now! Stop spam comments on your blog using the steps I have highlighted above.
How have you been fighting spam comments on your blog? How successful have your strategies been? Tell us your experiences and how they can help us. If this post is helpful, please share it with friends. Thanks