Monday, March 25, 2013

Spam Flattery and Mr. Anonymous Commenter

It starts out innocently enough. Spam Flattery delivers the line. It’s a simple, common, worn out line meant to make you smile and maybe even blush a little. You know the type. They’re the lines everybody uses when they want to flatter you just enough, that you become a tiny bit self-absorbed; those wonderful little things they say to make it easier to take advantage of you, without you even realizing what they’re doing.

You toss your hair back, smile at the screen in front of yourself, cock your head off to one side and read the most delightful comments posted on your blog for all to see. They’re shy, the poor devils. They always sign in as Mr. Anonymous; sometimes they leave their name at the end of the comment, along with a link so you can visit them in return.

Mr. Anonymous says things like, “Appreciate this post. Will try it out.” Or “I’m going to link this page and share it.” That always gets your attention, right? I mean, we bloggers live for page views, and people linking to your work is like finding gold at the end of the rainbow.

Except there isn’t a rainbow in sight, it hasn’t rained in days and that site they’re linking to is nothing more than an advertisement for Viagra, Accutane, hemorrhoid cures or some other product you don’t want to advertise in the comments on your blog.

Oh, they’re good, these unsolicited, sales marketing spammers! They’re really good! Check out this comment left on an unsuspecting, unprotected blog:

Ηello! Ι unԁerstand this iѕ somewhat off-topic however 
I had to ask. Does managing a well-estаblisheԁ wеbѕite 
like yourѕ rеquirе a lot of ωоrk?
I аm bгand new to running a blog but I do 
write in my diary on a daily basis. I'd like to start a blog so I can share my personal experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!

They close by leaving a link to their website. (Funny. They don’t have a clue about blogging, but they’ve managed to build a website!)

Whatever you do, don’t click on the link!

These Mr. Anonymous commenters are masters of deception! They draw you in and spit you out. Picture cookies, lots of them and viruses – well, I wouldn’t be surprised! Spyware, malware, Trojans – both kinds I’m afraid.

Trust me, you’re going to be getting tons of comments once the A – Z Challenge begins next month. The last thing you need to worry about is sorting through and finding the ones from Mr. Anonymous, and wasting time trying to delete them all. Not to mention the unsuspecting bloggers who might actually click on the links provided!

Take a minute right now. Go into your blog settings and turn off “Anonymous Comments.” Make your visitors own their identity, claim their name and document their source before they can leave a comment on your blog. This is standard practice in the world of blogging anyway. It eliminates a major percentage of spam from ever getting through…unlike the dreaded captcha that does absolutely nothing to protect your blog from anonymous spammers, and only serves to frustrate anyone trying to leave a comment on your blog – except the anonymous spammer, that is. They’ll jump through all the hoops they need to, just to sell a product or leave a malicious link on your blog!

Photo credit:  The Emblem of Anonymous, Kephir at English Wikipedia, Public Domain; No Spam, indolences, Public Domain; Blog-commentskkkkk, Cortega9, Creative Commons Attribution
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Contributed by M.J Joachim, find her at Lots of Crochet Stitches by M.J Joachim


Rob Z Tobor said...

Its a sad reflection of the times that the anonymous option has got so bad no one can use it anymore. And they always said I had one of the best blogs they had ever seen. (Well at least that bit was true).

Anonymous said...

Not allowing anonymous comments takes care of 99% of the spam if not completely.

I used to like having the anonymous feature available in case family or friends, who didn't have a blog, might stop by my blog and leave a comment. That only happened once in the 3+ years I've been blogging, so I guess I don't miss the anonymous comments.

Jarm Del Boccio said...

Thanks for this...I am about fed up with the spam I've been receiving. I will make sure this is done before the challenge!!

Anonymous said...

Even though I have the anon not to come through to my blog I still get the occasional few which are not very flattering.
It's a bit like being ex directionary on the phone and still get numbers you don't know.


Anonymous said...

Our blogging is a service. We give our work to whoever stops by. Seems giving them a platform (for whatever other purposes they might have) is going a bit beyond the extra mile. Thanks for your comments and contribution to this discussion Rob, Susanne, Jarm and Yvonne.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip. I totally would have clicked!

D.E. Malone said...

Thanks for the reminder! I believe I did this long ago, but am now going to double-check!

Laura S. said...

I can't remember the last time I received an anonymous comment. I think most people have some kind of identity for the blogosphere. I'll check and make sure it's turned off anyway. Good tip!

Tina said...

Great follow-up to your TURN OFF CAPTCHA post! You rock it as always, MJ.

Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

Jolie du Pre said...

I had to turn off anonymous commenting a long time ago. Yep, takes care of most of the spam.

Susan Scott said...

using aksimet is pretty good at keeping out spam. When last I looked Aksimet has prevented 121K from getting through. Will check to see if I have an anonymous button to clik off/on ..

Sanderella said...

Someone had posted something similar to this last month I think...and I did just that!! I didn't know these things could happen and thank you for reminding us all! I think I shall double check to make sure my settings are proper!!

Maple Syrup Land said...

I had to do that this morning...I got more spam this weekend then comments from real people who were not trying to sell me Viagra

Unknown said...

Good advice especially for April
I just went in to clean out my spam folder / like emptying the trash just takes longer

Anonymous said...

@cleanslate - No, don't do that!
@Dawn - Great!
@Laura - Thanks!
@Tina - So do you! :)
@Jolie - Definitely!
@Susan - Sounds good!
@Sandy - You're welcome!
@Maple Syrup Land - Hate it when that happens!
@Leslie - Yes, check the spam folder. Found a comment from one of my followers in there not long ago.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I turned mine off last year and that eliminated almost every spam comment.

Mary Kirkland said...

That's a really good tip. I turned off anonymous comments a long time ago.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. thanks - they still get through commenting as someone - but get found out and get deleted ..

But good to remind everyone to be on their guard ...

Cheers - "keep hell-fire hackers elsewhere out of our universe .." spray them with brimstone!! ... Hilary

Susan Kane said...

Will do so, immediately! Thanks!

Tamara said...

Grrr...I HATE anonymous comments. I didn't know I could turn it off and I had comments about fleshlights all over my blog. Crazy. And kinda gross. haha. I'm definitely turning it off on the new blog! Thanks for stopping by to see me. My new blog will be up next week. Hope to see you there! :)

Elizabeth Sara said...

They also seem to have webpages in German or Finnish. Weird webpages.

Unknown said...

I like this article. I do happen to be somewhat new to blogging, but I have been at it a year, and have recently started more blogs, but I have always kept comments open to anyone because I thought that would bring in more people??? Anyway, thanks for the advice I appreciate it.

Novabug said...

I've lost count the amount of times I try to educate my peers about this, and of course E-mail scams. However, I would accept more spam if the trolls would disappear.

Sherry Ellis said...

Thanks for the tip. I've been getting a lot of anonymous comments.

Anonymous said...

@Alex - Spam is almost non-existent since I turned mine off too.
@Mary - Thanks!
@Hilary - Yea, some of them are smarter than others.
@Susan - You're welcome:)
@Tamara - Well now you know. Looking forward to seeing your new blog.
@Ice Girl - Yea, I wouldn't be clicking on any links, if I were you.
@Zion - Thank you. More traffic isn't always a good thing, especially if it comes from spammers.
@Novabug - Now there's some good blog topics!
@Sherry - They've been hitting a lot of bloggers hard. Hope this post helps a few people.

JoJo said...

I was shocked I the amt of anonymous comments that ended up on past blog posts. I went through the other day and it took hours to delete all of it. I disable the anon option right away and haven't had any problems since then. One of my posts from 2007 had 247 comments on it. 7 were the original comments from my friends at the time, 240 comments were spam.

Andrea said...

Nope, I rarely fall for it. there always seems to be just a little something off in the wording!

Paula said...

Anyone - includes Anonymous Users
Registered User - includes OpenID
User with Google Accounts
Only members of this blog

So which one of these do I click????

Christine Rains said...

I've been getting a lot of those lately. I had no idea I could turn them off. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

My old blog has been getting a lot, a handful each day. Finally, I turned on word verification because I only keep the blog because I don't think I can transfer the posts to my new one. That seems to have worked... for now.

Some of those spam comments were amusing. Did anyone else get the ones where the spammer pointed out other spam comments? Like that would really fool anyone.

Anonymous said...

@Andrea - Agreed.
@Paula - Don't click on "Anyone." The others get rid of anonymous comments. Registered users probably will allow the most comments, Google Accounts will eliminate people from various sources outside of Google. Blog members are people following your blog.
@Christine - Glad I could help you with this.
@Patricia - Oh, the dreaded word verification. I'd prefer to turn off anonymous comments.

Unknown said...

Thank you. I didn't know I could do this. I will go try to figure it out right now! Appreciate all the great advice from all of you at A to Z. God bless, Maria at Delight Directed Living

Vidya Sury said...

Great advice there! thanks!


Sharon said...

After receiving 4 "Anonymous" comments today and many more over the past weeks, I have today followed your suggestions and hope that I don't receive more.

Thank you for the tip.

ManicScribbler said...

Have just followed your good advice. Thanks. Those anonymous comments were a constant worry.

Unknown said...

Those comments have become a lot more clever than they used to be! I don't get fooled by them though, just check them in my wordpress dashboard, and the dodgy sounding links give them away.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Yep, had to do this a few weeks ago when one of my year-old posts suddenly received 80 spam comments. No more now though.

Michelle Wallace said...

Great advice! Thanks for sharing.
Bloggers must also remember to check their spam folders from time to time. Sometimes, the odd legit comments get sucked in.

Nick said...

I have moderation switched on for all comments. That way, I can assess all comments, anonymous or not, before they appear on my blog. For me anyway this works much better than just banning anonymous comments.

Francene Stanley said...

Thank you! Annonymus has left up to 5 comments a day for the last year. With your instructions, I've seen how to turn her away.

Anonymous said...

So glad you all appreciate this article, and are getting some relief from Spam Flattery and Mr. Anonymous. As mentioned in the comments, be sure to check your spam filter, in case you receive any legit comments there. Hopefully this advice will make the Challenge much easier on everyone, including the bloggers who will be getting so many fabulous comments from participants:)

Pearson Report said...

Excellent and timely post.

Last year, as one of the co-hosts, I found it quite overwhelming the number of participants that had WV on. (word verification)

Seem it's either an all or nothing approach whereby some let anyone comment and others have their fortress on lock down.

I like comment moderation when not doing a challenge, but definitely at high volume times we have to let bloggers comment with ease, or they just won't.

Great info.

Diana Wilder said...

Thank you for the timely comment (and thanks to Michelle who mentioned the spam folder in her comments). Good information!

Artsnark said...

your post popped up while googling how to stop all the anon. spam I've been getting on blogger lately.

My favorites are the comments that supposedly from new bloggers and ask if I have advice on how to deal with spam comments - incredibly cheeky!

Theresa Ammons Pinkston said...

Uh-oh. My blog (on WordPress) does require someone to provide a website and/or email address. However, I recently went through my "Spam" comments and clicked on the individual sites. If I found a site to be about web hosting or something else I thought was non-threatening, I approved the comment. Should I take them back off?