Spam is Spam

Don’t try to advertise your products and services on my blog.

June 30, 2014 Update
I’ve finally gotten around to writing up the site comment policy on a regular page (rather than post) on this site. You can find it here: Comment Policy.

For some reason lately, my blog — and many others, I’ve heard — has been attracting a much larger than usual amount of comment spam. Comment spam — in case you’re not familiar with the term — is an attempt by spammers to incorporate links to products, services, or Web sites they’re trying to promote in the comments on blog posts. Smart bloggers use spam filters like Akismet (which I use) to separate the obvious spam from what might be legitimate comments. Some bloggers let everything that their spam filter doesn’t catch get published to their blog, but I don’t. I review and approve every single comment. This is all laid out in my site’s comment policy.

This site attracts, on average, about 100 spam comments a day. Lately, that number has quadrupled. On another one of my sites, Maria’s Guides, spam has increased tenfold. Apparently, there’s a new spam tool available for spammers. But Akismet has me covered.

Akismet, unfortunately, doesn’t catch all spam. One or two spam comments slip through each day. I dutifully delete them — or, more accurately, mark them as spam so Akismet will recognize them as such in the future — even if they appear to have been manually entered by a real person. (Most comment spam is entered automatically by spamming software.)

What some people don’t seem to understand is that my blog does not exist as a platform for them to advertise their goods and services — especially if those goods and services compete with mine. What can people possibly be thinking if they attempt to advertise their helicopter charter service or computer how-to book on a blog post that talks about my service or book? Do they think that I spend hours every week building a platform for their advertising? I don’t.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not discouraging comments here. I’m just asking readers to think about their comment before adding it:

  • Is it on topic? Most spam is not.
  • Does it add to the conversation, and thus, to the value of the blog to other readers? A comment written solely to advertise a product or service rarely adds to the conversation. And yes, it is possible to mention and discuss a product or service without it being an advertisement.
  • Does it provide information about products and services that compete with the blog author’s business? You can’t honestly expect a blogger to allow comments that would reduce his or her ability to earn a living.

If the answer to any of these questions is NO, don’t post it. You’re wasting your time since it’ll never appear here.

And here’s a tip: you’re far more likely to have a comment containing product or service information accepted here if you’re a regular commenter.

If your first comment here simply presents information about a product or service, it’s all to obvious to me that your sole purpose for posting it is to spam my blog. Don’t waste your time. It only takes me a second to click the Spam button.

What do you think?