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Why Comment Spam is Dangerous to Our Blogs

Comment Spam is a terrible thing. I feel like I’m constantly fighting a battle against the slime that leave unsolicited, irrelevant and often degrading comments filled with links to disreputable sites on my blogs. It comes from the automated bot spammers but also from the small blogger who think that a comment like ‘nice site’ with a link back to their site is any better. I delete them all and add them to a blacklist.

There have been mornings that I’ve logged onto my blogs after peaceful night’s sleep to find thousands of comments on my blogs. It can be down right depressing – especially when you think you’ve finally installed that tool to stop spammers in their tracks only to find that they’ve found a way around it.

However I fight on. You see I believe that if we don’t delete and fight comment spammers then we’ll do ourselves a disservice. Comment spam left unchecked can not only bring your own site into disrepute and degradation, but I believe it can also decrease your site’s standing in Google and other search engines and that in the end we all suffer from it.

This morning I was doing some surfing and I thought I’d stop by Blog Search Engine to see what was happening there. I ended up on their blog and was really disappointed by what I saw. It wasn’t that the blog hasn’t been updated for a few months (that is their prerogative) but it was the 142 comments on the last post – all of which (bar one that I could find) were spam to poker, finance and drug sites. Unfortunately this was the tale to virtually every post on their blog – between 80 and 160 spam comments everywhere you look.

Whilst I can understand the frustration of dealing with spam I worry for Blog Search Engine when I see the way they’ve let their blog go. I worry for them on a number of levels:

1. Comment spam damages reputation – Imagine a first time surfer’s reaction to stumbling upon their blog (like I did this morning) to seeing some of the links that their site now points to. I’ve had a number of emails over the years from readers of my blog that have found comment spam on my site (which slipped past my detection) who expressed disgust and concern over what they’d read. I doubt they’ve ever come back to my sites.

2. Comment spam could damage Search Engine Rankings – You see the evidence is pretty clear that Google decreases the page ranking of sites that link into dodgy sites. They frown on a variety of systems including some link trading programs and I suspect the day will come when they find a way to combat comment spammers by adding them to their disreputable site’s list (if they havn’t already) – when this day comes, those of us with masses of links to them will no doubt suffer.

I’ve also noticed that lot of comment spam links are broken links. This also doesn’t help your site with search engines. They dislike broken links and if you end up with a site full of them then you’ll be penalized.

It also concerns me that there is anecdotal evidence surfacing in forums that comment spam works and that a growing number of sites that do it are rising in the search engine results. This worries me because for every site that goes up, a site must go down. There can only ever be 10 top 10 sites for a search term. Your site will suffer as a result of this tactic of search engine optimization. The day will come when a site you’re proud of and have put a lot of legitimate hard work into will fall a place, or two, or ten in the search engines because another site run by spammers rises above it. If you don’t fight spam you’re part of the problem and you will suffer the consequences along with the rest of us.

3. Comment Spam hurts the blogosphere – I want to argue that bloggers not only have a responsibility to their own blogs but to the rest of the blogosphere. If a site allows comment spammers to overrun them it is like saying to comment spammers that they have won and they can continue to do what they do. If one site doesn’t deal with it the spammers win and they will continue to spread their filth across the rest of our blogs.

I can just imagine how many dead blogs are out there which are filling up with comment spam and it makes me quite ill to think about it.

I would suggest that if you’re going to allow your old blogs to die that before you do you either delete the whole blog or that you disable comments on it. Otherwise you’ll just be adding to a growing problem that is going to impact us more and more.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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  1. [...] All is not lost. I know there’s millions of bloggers out there dealing with this. I may as well suck it up and deal with it too. Problogger.net has a few posts about why spam comment is dangerous and how it costs blogs in many different ways. [...]