Blog spam, also known as comment spam, can easily turn your blog into a splog-a blog that consists of nothing but spam-if you are not careful!
The process of attempting to use spam to get listed on the search engines is known as “spamdexing.” Any blog that accepts comments can be a target. Spam is an “equal opportunity annoyer” and affects everyone, no matter what platform they use, be it Mac or PC.
Spam comments are automatically posted to numerous blogs by software with the sole intention of getting a link back to the spammer’s site. Usually, the spam message is written in a generic fashion in an attempt to appear semi-relevant to any post.
Unscrupulous marketers spam in an attempt to unfairly increase their search engine ranking so as to be listed ahead of other sites. Spam is not only posted to blogs but also to forums, chat rooms, and, of course, e-mail, all as a way of getting free backlinks to the spammers’ sites and luring in potential customers/victims.
The precursor to blog spam was guestbook spam. The principle was the same: guestbooks that were intended to be used by genuine visitors were instead filled up with automatically-generated comments and links back to the spammers’ sites.
Perhaps it was in 2003 that spammers truly started taking advantage of the blogs and forums. Many blogs and sites started instituting blocking mechanisms, but it became a sort of cat-and-mouse game in which the bloggers continually tried to get around it, by using tools such as Trackback Submitter, described by Wikipedia as a favorite tool of spammers.
There are, however, various techniques that site and blog owners can use to stop the spammers. Validation tests, in which commenters show they are sentient beings rather than pieces of software, are one such method.
One type of validation test is the Captcha test, in which a combination of letters and numbers embedded in an image must be retyped correctly by a visitor in order for their comment to be posted. Since spammers attempt to get around such tests by adding text recognition to their spam tools, the tests are made harder to beat by distorting the text to keep it from being picked up by text recognition systems.
Of course, often the distortion of the text makes it harder for human readers to recognize it as well, and it can put off some from posting comments who see it as a nuisance, but such is the price that must be paid in the never-ending quest to fight spam!
Another spam-fighting tool is Akismet, which has a free version for nonprofit and personal blogs and a paid version for commercial blogs.
This WordPress plug-in uses various secret techniques, such as the domain from which it comes, to recognize spam and to automatically block it, with pretty good results, based on reviews. WordPress and the plug-ins that run on it are platform independent tools, which means that anybody with a compatible web browser, whether they use a Mac or PC, can use it to create and maintain their blogs.
Spam is certainly a nuisance, but it is something that probably will always be a part of the Internet, and as long as it is, it will be important to protect your e-mail and blog to keep them from being taken over by the spammers.
This was a guest post by Timothy Arends. You might get the impression that the Mac is the forgotten stepchild of the Internet marketing industry. But did you know that some of the top names in Internet Marketing use Macs? Visit http://internetmacmarketing.com/blog and get a FREE 75-page ebook that covers everything you need to know about running your Internet business using a Mac, iPhone and iPad.