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How To Eliminate Wordpress Blog Comment Spam

One of the most serious problems with any blogging system, including WordPress, is that the comments area is wide open to that scourge of the Internet, spammers. In this case, it's comment spam.

Comment spam is created by people seeking to boost their Google rankings by having lots of links pointing to their own websites. This causes a wide variety of problems:

• When Google detects content spam, they will often block the site it's coming from because it messes up their...

internet spamming, internet scam, online business

One of the most serious problems with any blogging system, including WordPress, is that the comments area is wide open to that scourge of the Internet, spammers. In this case, it's comment spam.

Comment spam is created by people seeking to boost their Google rankings by having lots of links pointing to their own websites. This causes a wide variety of problems:

• When Google detects content spam, they will often block the site it's coming from because it messes up their ranking system.

• It takes up your valuable time and bandwidth to eliminate these posts.

• If the onslaught of spam is heavy enough, it may result in a denial-of-service attack, intended or not, which is a situation in which the server tries so hard to post bad information and/or deliver notification emails to you that it denies service to the legitimate requests. In at least one case, a blogger received over two thousand email notifications of comments that needed approval; as he dealt with these, he continued getting more, ultimately crashing his mail server.

As you can see, even if you have your comments set to post only upon approval, this can be a serious problem. One solution is the Akismet plugin for WordPress.

Akismet Plugin and Other Plugin Options for WordPress

Akismet is designed to help you filter out those nasty spammers, and it's not hard to get it installed into your WordPress system. Download the plugin, and upload it to the blog directory on your server in the plugins subdirectory under wp-content. Activate from the WordPress plugins menu. If you have a notice that you need the Akismet API, go to the WordPress website and look or ask for one.

Here's the magic: the only instruction in Akismet is "forget that spam was ever a problem." You don't have to do anything else at all – the spam will simply be bounced. You will not receive a notification, nor will you have to go out and delete spam.

Another plugin for eliminating spam from bots is the "Did You Pass Math" plugin. This one makes the user perform a simple math problem before submitting a comment. As most humans can handle this and most spambots can't, it's pretty likely that a comment posted through this is a legitimate comment. You should add a note of caution that your comments will be deleted if you answer the math wrong, though; a wise commenter will use an offline composition tool, not post directly to the comments area.

If This Still Doesn't Work

If you still can't eliminate spammers with these plugins, you can eliminate them by denying them access to your comments area. This does not mean you have to disable your comments section, only that you need to set up a filter.

It's not usually as simple as just blocking their IPs. Serious spammers use random IPs, while blocking IPs may get rid of them for a short time, it will ultimately prevent legitimate comments from being posted. Spammers are also notorious for hijacking other people's IP addresses. But as a short-term emergency solution, you can try it. The IP address is included in the information packet for the comment; it's similar to a traceable phone number. Look for clear patterns in your IP numbers.

Use the .htaccess file to block unwanted IPs from even seeing your blog. For instance, these lines can be added:

order allow,deny
deny from 123.123.123.123
deny from 456.456.456.*
deny from 789.789.*.*
allow from all

IPs are four-part numbers, such as 192.168.0.1. Typically, if you see a pattern with the first two sections being identical, you can block all IPs of that type by simply listing them as 192.168.*.*, as you see above. This screens out all these IP numbers. Blocked IPs will get a 403 error page; customize yours so that your contact details are listed in case you're blocking out a legitimate user. Don't use your regular email; a spammer can harvest that too, for a whole new set of problems. Instead, encode your email so that it's not automatically readable.

When you think you have your problems addressed, you can remove the block from your .htaccess file. If it still doesn't work, or if you don't see an IP pattern, it's likely that spambots are hijacking someone else's machine to attack your site. In this case, do not use the IP block.

Again, if you don't have an IP pattern of attack, this may not be worth doing. Remember, too, that with IP addresses, the first numbers affect the largest number of computers, like a reverse address: USA, California, Sacramento, X Building, Ste. 101, Joe Schmo. An IP follows roughly the same pattern, with the last of the four sections referring to the specific computer it is attached to.

Google's Nofollow Attribute

Of course, if it's a waste of their time to spam you, spammers may just skip you altogether. For this reason, you can use the Google Nofollow attribute for links: . This attribute is embedded automatically by modern versions of WordPress.

It does not eliminate links, which is what spammers are working on adding to your site. Instead, it makes those links irrelevant to Google. The end result is that it doesn't hurt your rank in Google, and it doesn't help a spammer to send data to your site. It also marks you, for spambots looking for an easy target, as a waste of time.

This is not an immediate fix. But it is a way to make your blog resistant to spammers in the future. If you're already a target, you'll have to work with it slowly, incorporating all these fixes. If you aren't a target, the very least you should do is turn on the nofollow option in your WordPress system; this will deter any hungry spambots. Upgrade your version, or look for one of the plugins that provides this service for you.

 

How To Know If It Is A Link Farm Spam Page

A link farm is a network of sites that link to other sites for the sole purpose of increasing link popularity. This is when a website gets hundreds of links to unrelated sites in exchange for reciprocal links. This is termed as spamming and any website who relates to link farms is penalized by removal from a search engine’s index.

Backgrounder on Link Farms

Link farms were originally developed by search engine optimizers to take advantage of the Inktomi search engine’s ...

internet, internet spam, spamming, link generation

A link farm is a network of sites that link to other sites for the sole purpose of increasing link popularity. This is when a website gets hundreds of links to unrelated sites in exchange for reciprocal links. This is termed as spamming and any website who relates to link farms is penalized by removal from a search engine’s index.

Backgrounder on Link Farms

Link farms were originally developed by search engine optimizers to take advantage of the Inktomi search engine’s dependence on link popularity. It was targeted for manipulation with the use of link farms because of the fact that it was used by a number of independent but popular search engines. The most popular search engines during that time – Yahoo! also used Inktomi results as a supplement to its own directory search feature. Link farms facilitated the stabilization of listings for online business websites having few natural links from more stable sites.

Link popularity is used by most search engines to come up with a ranking order for search results. However, at the time link farms came to be, the Inktomi engine was maintaining two indexes. The primary index produced search results that are limited to about 100,000,000 listings thus pages with few inbound links fell out of the index on a regular basis. While the handling of link farm exchange was informal at the start, several service companies were eventually founded to handle automated registration, categorization and link page updates to member websites.

The coming of the Google search engine paved the way for the use of a link weighting scheme called PageRank. The PageRank algorithm assigns more weight to links that it determines as more valuable than others. Link farming was used to help member pages to increase their PageRank. This soon became the subject of manipulation by unscrupulous webmasters who continue to receive inbound linkage but found ways to hide outbound links if not totally avoid posting any link at all to their sites. There came a need for link farm managers to implement quality controls and require member compliance to rules that were installed to ensure fairness.

As a result, alternative link farm products emerged such as the link-finding software that identifies potential reciprocal link partners. This made possible the sending of template-based e-mails that offered link exchanges. Directory-like link pages were created for those websites intent on building link popularity as well as PageRank. The link farm movement was actively countered by search engines as they sought to identify specific attributes associated with link farms thus filtering those pages from indexing and search results. There were instances where entire domains had to be removed to prevent the potential influences of link farms on search results.

Link farm-influenced crawling diminished as search engines increased their capacity to index more sites. It became unnecessary for link farms to help sites retain their positions in primary indexes. However, it remained a popular tool to increase PageRank or perceived equivalent values. The Inktomi technology has since become a part of Yahoo! while the term “Link Farm” is now widely considered as derogatory.

There is still an ongoing debate as to the value of using PageRank in determining search results ranking. Reputable search engines are one in recommending that webmasters request for relevant links to their sites instead of participating in link farms. Sites that participate in link farms run the risk of having their search rankings penalized.

Link Farm Spam Page or Not?

Link farms usually refer to sites with an almost boundless list of links to other websites rather than links from page to page within a site. Relevancy to a site is not a major consideration in determining the links as the major purpose of linking is to get a high ranking among search engines. The provisions of good information to users cease to be the goal of these websites as they concentrate on attaining search popularity through the sheer number of links.

When is a specific website said to be participating in a link farm? The current indication seems to be pointing at having not more than 100 links on a page as a safe measure. There are apprehensions of whether having numerous internal links will be interpreted as a link farm.

A link farm is composed of a group of web pages that hyperlink to every other web page in the group. It can be manually created but is most often created through automated programs and services. It is sometimes called spamdexing as it is a form of spamming the index of a search engine. A term that is often associated with it is the “spaghetti code” which is a code with a complex and tangled control structure that uses unstructured branching constructs.

The algorithmic principle that puts emphasis on the voting power of “authority sites” lies behind the manipulated processes of link farms. There is that assumption that related pages link to each other and authoritative pages tend to link to other authoritative pages. Conversely, being linked to spam sites or sites that use Black-Hat SEO degrades the reputation of any site. Association with poorly reputed sites affects a site’s search engine positioning as it stands to be categorized as an irrelevant site.

As spammers continue to go around the valid purpose of linking, the value of reciprocal linking continue to decrease. Too many irrelevant links provide no value and can be seen as spam by human experts and search engines. A link directory with no clear, organized and distinct categories of links can be interpreted as a link farm especially if there are already more than 50 links on a page.

TrustRank is used to counter the various techniques employed to achieve higher rankings than actually deserved in a search engine’s result. It uses a technique that manually identifies reputable seed pages and uses their link structure to discover other pages that are likely to be good as well. It aims to cut down on spam and deliver the real content that is desired by the searcher.

There are a number of ways to ensure that a website’s link directory does not end up being categorized as another form of a link farm. Incorporating a link directory into a website has its own advantages but caution should be taken so as not to have too many outbound links on a page that dilutes its value. If a website’s links are very much varied and tend to be unrelated, they will need to be categorized to become relevant to each other.

The use of clear, concise titles and descriptions for categories will help searchers (humans and search engines’ spiders alike) understand what a particular category is all about so that the measure of relevancy can out rightly be determined. It is not a requirement to agree to all link exchange requests especially if the requesting site cannot be considered a good representation of a site’s theme and values. It is highly recommended that regular follow-up on approved link exchanges is done to determine the status of the links and determine whether continued linkage with them is still acceptable. It is possible that although some links present themselves initially as good links have been banned, gone under, or moved. These are situations beyond anyone’s control so it is best for a website to work hard on keeping its links and contents relevant so as to bring continuous qualified traffic to itself. Link farms may be considered obsolete in a sense but it continuous to pop-up in different forms at present.

 

How To Prevent Comment Spam With Google’s No Follow Attribute

Putting up and maintaining a weblog of your own could be done for free or built into your paid domain site. Either way, whatever you put up on your blog becomes accessible to practically anyone on the World Wide Web. Your blog has the potential to gain many regular followers and once-in-a-while visitors, given that you deliver content that is relevant and interesting, making it an excellent medium for advertisement or promoting products, services, or other websites relevant t...

Internet, SEO, Internet Business, Technology, spam

Putting up and maintaining a weblog of your own could be done for free or built into your paid domain site. Either way, whatever you put up on your blog becomes accessible to practically anyone on the World Wide Web. Your blog has the potential to gain many regular followers and once-in-a-while visitors, given that you deliver content that is relevant and interesting, making it an excellent medium for advertisement or promoting products, services, or other websites relevant to its general area of discussion. Thus, it is a reason for companies paying blog owners to publish their ads on their blog sites.

What happens, though, if a certain company or enterprising individual tries to get onto your blog through the comments page with an active link to their site? That’s what’s called comment spam, and a business enterprise can be the least of your worries when it comes to this underhanded way of getting Google search ranks up. Enterprising entities do this not merely to promote the site to those who access that particular comments page, but more importantly to increase their ranking in search pages to that the site will stay on top of the search return page.

Another version of comment spamming involves a website owner who only copies the content of his or her site from a different website that ranks high on the Google search page. That way, this dishonest site owner doesn’t have to work as hard, to promote the site and gain a considerable following. The good news is that, finding out if one’s site content has been copied, has become very easy, as copy detection programs can be found online. Now, let’s go back to the links problem.

Fortunately for blogs and sites that allow trackbacks and comments from others, Google has announced their development of a way to decrease the occurrence of comment spam. It’s a feature known as the “nofollow” attribute, which allows site owners to add an additional attribute in the form rel=”follow” to any href code active link. This added part of a href link commands Google spiders to disregard a link that leads outside of the host site. The objective of this new development is to keep those who abuse open Internet sites from reaping the benefits of their misdeed.

While distressed blog owners may rejoice at this good news, some may opt to weigh the pros and cons of this new feature. To a business owner, a positive implication of using the no follow attribute is that, he or she will be able to avoid freeloaders trying to ride on his own site’s Google ranking. Google’s new tag can offer you an increased control on the effect of a link posted in your site by someone else without your prior permission. This has the potential to increase the possibility of that someone moving on to trying other possibilities that will increase traffic for their website. When issuing comment spam loses its benefit, then the spammer can hopefully try other things that are potentially laden with honesty, for a change.

Also, the new development will help strengthen the notion that bloggers and site moderators must make an effort to ensure that links that lead to their site will not disappoint, and their content are beneficial to the users of that particular site hosting the link. In addition, site owners must try to focus on outstanding and read-worthy content that will have enough impact to the online community that other sites will want to provide a link to their site by their own choice.

Perhaps the only Internet users who will find this new attribute disadvantageous are those who have become accustomed to using comment spam as a means to promote their own site. However, it should instead be a challenge for them in putting up worthwhile content for their site, such that Internet users will be searching for their site by name, and not clicking on its link by accident. For best results, have the service add the nofollow attribute to links that other users themselves created, such as those within their comment, and the link attached to the name of user who wrote the comment. Other areas where the attribute can be used include visitor statistic sections, guestbooks, and referrer lists.

Among the first weblog software creators that signed up for this service are LiveJournal, Blogger, Wordpress, Flickr, and MSN Spaces. Users of these blog services and others need not do anything themselves. The free blog host only needs to keep the attribute version updated to ensure its full effect.

This concept of having better control over outgoing links isn't all new, however. Forward-thinking programmers have been able to devise ways to prevent search engine spiders from detecting outgoing links for quite a while. Yet this new Google tag gives power to the common website owner over his or her site's outgoing links.
Some may have doubts on the effectiveness of this new service. One notion is that this will not be fully efficient unless it becomes a default option for bloggers and webmasters. Perhaps it also does not help that there are skeptics, not to mention dishonest users that will try to get past this obstacle and even devise a tougher-to-beat approach to comment spamming and link campaigns.

In addition, those who do gain in search engine ranking through referral links by those who really, wholeheartedly support their site have the most to lose. The possibility of search page rankings being a thing of the past presents itself in this scenario. Then again, it would not hurt to pose a challenge to those whose sites and products have yet to gain popularity. Perhaps businesses need to make a habit of improving, and have faith that those Internet users, who know exactly what they are looking for on the web, will find them eventually and be satisfied with what they have to offer. Besides, the really great ideas are the one that stand the test of time.




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