Friday, July 20, 2012

I Don't Like Spam!

And I'm not talking about the edible kind, which I do enjoy from time to time, I'm talking about the verbal kind, which pollutes the blogs and causes an unbelievable amount of grief and aggravation.

Some time ago, a plethora of bloggers got spanked by that ninny who doesn't like American women, and more than a few of us were briefly at a loss in how to deal with it. Now, I'm pretty sure that this was a one-shot thing, simply because the guy has nothing left in the tank. I believe that his blog was yanked so the only way he can post his infantile rants is as an "Anon" poster.

However, there are ways to knock down the amount of spammers that you get on your blog, and none of them are as drastic as closing your blog, although there is one option that comes pretty close.

1} Get rid of the ability for people to post anonymously. Now this is one of the easiest ways for spammer to post, and by getting rid of that option you've instantly eliminated about 33% of your spam. This blog is the only one of my blogs that people can comment anonymously on.

2} Moderate. If you don't want to do option one, then option two is your best bet. This allows you the ability not only to mark out a comment as spam, but it actually activates the Blogger spam blocker. Blogger maintains a huge database of spam ISP's and about 97% of the time will effectively screen out the spam before it actually shows up on your dashboard.

Before I move on to the other drastic options that you can do in order to cut down on the spam, I would like to take this opportunity to offer a few of my readers an apology.

Shortly after that particular spammer made his rounds, I decided to check my spam comments (all 350) to see what kind of spam I had in there since early 2011, which is when Blogger really started doing this kind of minutia. Imagine the dismay that I felt when I saw four of my regular readers's comments labeled as "spam".

The only reason that can think off for that happening, is that my computer can get incredibly wonky at times. By "wonky" I mean that my cursor will go off on its own, whether I'm using the mouse or not, and highlight a link that I had no intention of clicking on to begin with. This is apparently what had happened here, and believe, I did fix the problem by not labeling them as "spam" and thus they got published to where they were supposed to be.

So I would like to offer an apology to the following bloggers for inadvertently labeling one of your comments as spam:

Charles Gramlich
Nurse Myra

To continue: There are two very drastic options that you can pursue in order to cut down on the number of spammers touching your blog.

3} Make a post a draft. Blogger has a feature called "Stats", in which not only can you tell how many pageviews a given post has but where the referrals were coming from.

Across the top of the screen you'll see buttons labeled "now/day/week/month/all time". Clicking on "all time" will show you short list that you can expand showing you the top posts on your blog with the most pageviews.

If you think that a post has way too many pageviews for the topic of choice (which means more than 150) and you've been able to eliminate any and all reasonable explanations for the high pageviews, means that your post is being hit by spammers.

Solution: Tune that post to a draft. Doing so instantly eliminates the url that spammers use as a referral and thus cuts down on the amount of spammers visiting your blog. I have only two pots that meet the criteria (each has over 750 pageviews) and only one post has been reverted to draft. The other has not because its one that I specifically wrote for Valentine's Day 2010 and contains my best piece of flash fiction that I've ever written.

4} Nuke the post. This is the option of last resort. If you have a post that has an unbelievable amount of hits that is out of proportion to the content of the post, then the only way to cut down on the spam is to get rid of the post. I had a post that had gotten up to almost 1800 pageviews and without knowing at the time that I could do option #3, I first wiped out all of the content to see if that would cure the problem. I waited about a week, then nuked the post.

So my friends, these are the four options that I've use with moderate success in the past four years to contend with the amount of spam/spammers that visit my blog on a daily basis. By sharing these with everyone, I hope that I can help others who may be experiencing the same thing from getting completely annoyed and aggravated.


  1. Most of the spam I get goes to old posts. If it is more than a few months old, I just shut the comments off completely and that stops it.

  2. Can I ask you G. When you get all these hits on a certain post do you get spam comments too, and urls or do they just hit the post and do nothing else? I'm asking because I'm getting a lot of that on posts at the moment too.

  3. As annoying as spam can be, it's the trolls I hate more.

  4. Oh btw. There is an award for you on my blog. I'm not sure how you feel about receiving awards, so if it's not your cuppa tea just ignore it okay? :)

  5. Did I say something crazy in that comment?

    I actually just went and had a look at my own blog's Spam comments and 99% of them were indeed spam and came from a time this past Spring in which I decided to allow anonymous comments. A couple of my "real life" friends would like to comment on my blog but don't want to go to the trouble to set up a blogger account. But then they never commented after I allowed anonymous comments, so I took that option away again since so many crazies were getting through.

    There was one comment from one of my dear regular readers that had gone in there last December. How funny - she innocently used the word "moan" in context with how she likes to say a certain word. There was nothing sexual about it, but it went to Spam because of that word "moan", I guess. :) Pretty funny.

  6. Bearman: It seems tedious, but sounds like a good idea. I rarely write any posts w/o the ability to comment, but I do enjoy moderating. If Blogger can filter out the spam automatically, it makes it that much easier for me.

    Joe: I would say about 95% of the time, I get the hit, plus the spam comment, plus the url. The remaining 5% I just get the hit.

    It's a fine line on whether or not a hit is spam related. I had some guest bloggers who plugged my blog and the link to their readers and I often post my blog link on Facebook.

    My blog has leveled out in the past year or so, so it's really easy for me tell what's a true hit and what's a spam hit.

    The stats feature will show you where the referring url is originating from, and I highly recommend not clicking on those url's. I did a couple of times and my computer started freaking out.

    Oh, and I find the "Sitemeter" widget to be a good tracking tool if you want to where the ISP's are coming from, because you can block certain ISP's from visiting your blog.

    As for the award, I will check it out. I'm always up for an award or two. :D

    Debra: Can totally sympathize with on that. Trolling is the reason why I moderate my comments.

    Back in '08, I was hanging ten in the chat rooms (run by the Topix website) and I was getting trolled something bad. When I had started my blog in May '08, I had a few of them follow me to the blogs and leave a few highly insulting homophobic comments.

    After I had nuked them, I turned the tables, started tracking a few of them back to the chat rooms and gave theme a dose of their own medicine.

    Haven't really been bothered since. Then again, I haven't done the chat rooms since late 2010/early 2011.

    Lynn: To be honest, I didn't see anything out of the ordinary with your comment. I just saw it there and I found it very troubling that it wound up there to begin with.

    I still allow Anon comments here because I used to have a few people from the chat rooms cross over some time ago, and I have friends from the real world who peruse my blog from time to time and they occasionally will leave a comment.

    I don't do it at my other blogs because I don't want the spam.

  7. Labeled as Spam, the ultimate indignity. I will probably recover. it may take a while. :)

  8. Charles: My sincerest apologies.

    In all seriousness, I hated it when my comments were deleted or labeled as spam, so it bothers me when it happens to people who have taken the time to stop by my blog and comment on a particular post.

    I had it happen to another poster a couple of years ago, who goes by the name of Mark "The Walking Man" I believe. His eloquent comment somehow got labeled as spam and I didn't see it for about half the day. But when I did find it, I immediately published and apologized for the slip.

  9. I have a post that has over 20000 hits in just a couple months. But I really haven't been getting any spam in my comments. Just a few here and there.

    I might have to delete the post anyways. All those hits give a false sense of accomplishment. I want my page views to be authentic, from real readers.

  10. Given recent experiences, I'll definitely keep this on file!

  11. Dan: I agree. When a post gets an unbelievable amount of hits, it does make you think that you're on to something.

    It's only when you start seeing where the referrals come from that your ego gets mortally punctured.

    Like I said, nuking a post should be the last resort in dealing with spammers. Perhaps making it into a draft will a better way to go, especially if its a post that you're actually proud of.

    M: Good thing. Wouldn't want you to learn the lessons the hard way, like I did.

  12. I've noticed those referring sites. Most of my hits are from Google images. I've been lucky with spam, but anon is off.
    I hate turned off comments. Have never nuked a post.
    Don't you lose comments when reverting to draft?

  13. Snaggle: A very good question. I went and checked the one post that I have as a draft and the comments are still there. The comments never really go away once they get posted.

    When you have the "Anon" feature turned off, you definitely don't get any spam comments, only spam hits.

    I've only nuked one post because of spam. Nuked others because they were related to my self-pubbed chapbook.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

About that comment moderation thingy: While yes, it does say up above I can take it, I only use it to prevent the occasional miscreant from leaving thoughtless and/or clueless comments.

So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

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