Sunday, February 05, 2006

Paid Comments?

There is something strange going on. I think anyone who has kept a blog over the past year or two has noticed the comments left by computer programs (bots). They tend to stick out. Usually it goes something like:

"Love you blog! It is very interesting and I’ll be back often. Here is another interesting site that I also like very much. Link"

The point is to get you and other people who read your blog to follow the link. The links also boost their web site's "Google score", so that their site is more likely to appear in the top few results in Google's searches.

For me, the final straw was when I got 7 of these bot comments within a few minutes of posting a new entry. It is easy enough to stop the bots from leaving comments on Blogger. You just turn on the "word verification". Since turning this on, I have not had a single comment by a bot. I think. However, I have noticed something new and I’m wondering if other bloggers have noticed this too.

Now I’m getting comments that are similar to the comment left by bots, but they are just a little bit more personalized. Again, they compliment my blog, and again they leave a link to another site. The most recent was left by someone called "afanter". Afanter’s profile indicates this person is a "Marketing Writer" who belongs to two blogs including one called "Hip-Home, Home Improvement Projects". The person suggested a site called "Counter Culture, The kitchen revolution starts here."

So, I went to that site. It’s very slick, though not especially informative. Each entry has a comment left by someone who is really pumped up by the post like one left by someone calling themselves Sarah Jane says "Wow, this is better than having my palm read!…" Oh, please. Turns out that this Sarah Jane, and most of the other commenters on this site, also contributes to the blog Hip-Home.

Oops, gotcha.

I may be jumping to conclusions here, but it seems obvious to me that the members of Hip-Home are paid to leave comments on blogs. They are paid to direct traffic to client sites and they are paid to leave hyperbolic comments on those client sites. This bothers me. I think it is deceptive and misleading.

My blog is for me. I maintain my blog because I enjoy writing about our home remodeling experience. I enjoy sharing the experience with friends, family, and strangers that also share an interest in remodeling. I love the comments I get. I have received comments from all over the world. The comments have been fun, interesting, and encouraging. I do not have advertising on my blog. I do not get paid a single cent for my blog. I do not like having my blog used by people who do get paid to promote other web sites. Please, if you are paid to promote other web sites, you do not have permission to promote those web sites with comments on my blog. Enough said.

NOTE:Comments that appear to promote commercial web sites will be deleted.


Blogger HomeImprovementNinja said...

I have the word verification on so I usually don't have that problem. That, and I don't think the people on the website get paid enough to risk making a ninja angry.

2:49 PM, February 05, 2006  
Blogger Tony Maro said...

Blog comment spam is a horrible thing and becoming worse daily. I ran for six months before I got my first spam, and then got 100 the first day. After installing comment spam control software on my blog I didn't get any for 2 months, then someone had figured out a way around that and I started getting them again. So, I set my comment control software to block posting of URL's entirely. Without a linked URL, their comments don't do much good.

I found that most of the comment spammers "reffered-by" reports as geocities... but it doesn't appear to actually come from a webpage, it's probably a client-side program they run that just googles for blogs and then spams comments.

Word verification should mostly stop it, I see yours has that now. Without that I guarantee you'll have more spam than content.

5:16 PM, February 05, 2006  
Blogger JLynnette said...

I've had a few of the second type of comment after turning on word verification. I just exercised my right to make executive decisions and deleted the things.

7:04 AM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger Greg Emel said...

The Ninja seems to have the solution, though I don't think that will work for me...

Tony, I've had word verification on for quite a while. I'm pretty sure humans are leaving these comments, but for the same reason as the bots did. Too bad Blogger doesn't have that 'block URL' feature (that I can see).

Lynnette, yes, I'm deleting anything that is obviously spam, even if left by humans. After the most recent incident, I just felt I had to write something.

7:53 AM, February 06, 2006  

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