Watch out for crafty comment spammers


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One of our blogs received a seemingly innocuous comment:

Thanks for the fascinating post. I honestly like your weblog and decided which I’d let you know! :D Hi and thanks, Thanks a bunch

The writer was Astol@gmail.com from IP address 180.246.178.46. There was no URL in the comment, which is a dead giveaway of drive-by comment spam. None of our blogs allows unmoderated comments.

That email address has been noted on one of the anti-spam sites at a different IP address: 83.5.145.233. His bedfellows all seem to be promoting baby stuff and all use Gmail, which does not reveal the IP address of the originator in the email headers. It’s disappointing that Google chooses to do this.

The poor English and an IP address originating in Indonesia confirm that the spammer is clever. They know that a non-spammy comment might be approved to become visible and that many WordPress sites are set to allow subsequent comments to appear without moderation. If such initial comments are approved, the spammy link drops will soon follow.

180.246.178.46

What can we find out about this IP address? Head over to Bing and search for ip:180.246.178.46. Unfortunately, Bing knows nothing about it. Try Google next: (link) and it looks as though it is a proxy server. So the spammer could be anywhere in the world.

The comment

The comment has been used with small variations on a few blogs with success, so let’s search for a fragment in Google: “I honestly like your weblog and decided” Try that link and you’ll see the few sites where it was used. The first three sites are down. The Chinese site is live and has this comment with a URL:

comment

The destination of this link is lowest cost of diapers dotcom, a low quality Made-for-AdSense splog. Its posts look like spun material — articles where phrases are substituted many times with synonyms until it becomes barely comprehensible to a human. Such sites are usually built by the site owner, but spun articles are a common tactic for sending to article directories with links to the SEO’s customers.

This diaper site is on the same IP address 204.152.255.1 as 287 others, which might not necessarily belong to the same person.

WordPress settings

You should check your settings by going to Settings > Discussion.

Uncheck:

  • Before a comment appears > Comment author must have a previously approved comment

Check:

  • Before a comment appears > An administrator must always approve the comment

Other settings will depend on your preferences — you may not want any comments, for example.

Keeping spam comments out will help you retain readers and also improve the site’s estimation in Google’s algorithmic eyes.

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