How Bloggers Get Tricked with Comments

Tricked Blogger being kicked off cliff

Nothing is certain but death, taxes and the avalanche of spam oozing from every pore of the Web.

And while you’re scratching your head wondering how in the world something so primitive can possibly work, blog comment spammers keep profiting from it and irritating businesses to no end. Some big name content publishers have turned off comments altogether.

Attacking the comment area of a business blog entails two simple steps:

  1. First, you need to craft a message that sneaks past the frontline—the spam filters.
  2. Then, it has to make it through human moderation.

And that’s where unscrupulous blog commenters will try to exploit every psychological trick possible, from guilt to flattery, to further their own agenda.

In this post, I gathered a bunch of real comments to demonstrate for you how blog comment spammers weaponize psychology to sneak into your content—and have a few good laughs. Can you spot the tricks they use?

The Root of Blog Commenting Is Sweet, But the Fruit Is Bitter…

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of the never-ending war between the spammers and the spammed, you have to understand why anybody would be involved in something so seemingly counterproductive.

Because remember, if spam didn’t work, nobody would do it.

Basically, the constant invasion of your comment section boils down to two root causes:

  • Getting a backlink for “SEO”: Most content management systems, including WordPress, enable commenters to leave a link to their website. This feature has been shamelessly abused by spammers and sleazy SEOs to grow a backlink portfolio and siphon away some traffic in between, at your expense and without giving anything back in return.
  • Getting more exposure: By carpet-bombing the blog comment section with messages promoting a product or service, spammers get more exposure for whatever they have to offer. Think of it as a substitute for brand advertising for someone with no budget and no moral integrity.

Take a closer look at the default comment form, which an overwhelming majority of WordPress sites rely on to interact with their audiences.

Spammers and shady SEOs abuse the comment form by either injecting the URL straight into the message or by stealthily inserting the link with an anchor text by using the “Name” and “Website” fields as shown on the screenshot below:

How sleazy SEOs can abuse your WordPress comment form to post spam

Yes, all of this sounds ludicrous. Yes, the average conversion rate should be ranging somewhere between 0.00001 to 0.000001 of a percent.

But when you add spambots to the equation (software that automates the process of putting together and sending out blog comments), enabling spammers to submit millions of comments while barely lifting a finger, the whole thing turns into a silly numbers game.

Search Engines vs. Spammers

Obviously, search engines could not just stand aside and watch spammers take over the Web.

In the eyes of the search engines, spam is the ultimate nemesis that must be annihilated at all costs. Each year, search engine providers spend millions of dollars protecting the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) from anything that resembles inauthentic content.

Considering the unprecedented market power Google has amassed, did it succeed in weeding out spam from its index? I don’t think so.

Almost all of the spam messages below made it to the SERPs. This tells me that Google either can’t or won’t remove this stuff from their index. Why make SPAM searchable?

For instance, back in 2010, I captured a spam comment that appeared 13,400 times in Google for the exact match search.

A spammy comment that made it to the SERPs

A decade later, light years ahead in the SEO world, who do you think would win: a multibillion-dollar corporation armed with cutting-edge technologies or a handful of spammers armed with broken English?

If you placed your bets on Google, brace yourself for disappointment:

Ten years later, not much has changed...

Now that you know where the issue lies, let’s move from theory to practice.

1. Guilt

Advertising that invokes a feeling of guilt, shame, or remorse—or better yet, all of them at once—has been a time-tested tool for driving up more sales. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Stop killing yourself with cigarettes!
Cigarettes are filled with poisonous toxic chemicals that will take years off your life.
Take the step towards changing your life now with LiveFree Patches, guaranted to help you stop smoking and give you a new lease on life!
I’m happy to report that it worked and that I haven’t had a smoke in over 11 months. Thanks for giving me my life back.
Scott, CO
Take Note!!
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Click here for more information

2. Charity

Being charitable is deeply ingrained into the very fabric of our society, which is reflected in the fact that Americans are the most generous people in the world. No wonder spammers will try to prey on your noble intentions, if you let them.

This website is very nice and colorful too. Its nice to have something to show others where you attend church and to show all the smiling people filled of the goodness of the Lord. You have a wonderful website here. May God rich bless you always.

Greetings…

Discussion about the earths temperature increase – or global warming are most often disregarded as too scientific – however, earthquakes and mass death should not be another disregarded statistic. Hundreds of thousads are dead and homeless

Please offer financial or volunteer assistance to Chile and Haiti

[removed]/relief/haitiearthquake/

Please, do not delete the given message. Money obtained from spam will go to the help hungry to children Uganda

3. Gratitude

Generic, cookie-cutter blog comments expressing gratitude usually serve one purpose and one purpose only: to slide that link into the comment section.

Thank for making this valuable information available to the public.

Commenting usually is not my thing, but i have spent almost an hour on the site, so thanks for the info!

4. Flattery

In his legendary work The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli dedicated an entire chapter covering how to avoid flatterers. And if the father of modern political science approached flattery with caution, so should you.

Great site. I will bookmark for my sons to view as well!

Who does your SEO work?
I’d give you a PR10 for sure LOL – nice work here.
Very Nice

Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

this article is very interesting and very informative, a lot of people including myself can learn from this site, great work!!! hi five for you!

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It’s the old what goes around comes around routine. Did you acquired lots of links and I see lots of trackbacks?

Your guestbook is example of middle-class guestbooks. Congratulation! I’ll show your site and guestbook to my friends. 

I really enjoyed this. You can look your article comments. This information has really been helpful for most of the readers. I really appreciate the way you have written about this. I will really like to read more on this from you. I know your expertise on this. I must say we should have an online discussion on this.

5. Technical Help

Another way to roll the Trojan horse of spam into your comment section is by pointing out a non-existent issue on your website and—obviously, without any agenda other than your well-being (insert eyeroll here)—leaving a few links for you to check out. How thoughtful.

This internet site is really quite good, but for some reason it does not display properly when trying to view on my Nintendo Wii. If it helps, the console uses the Opera browser and am impelled to using the console for accessing the Net whilst my PC is away being restored.

The difference between a spy web cam and a normal spy cam is that the data is transmitted live on the Internet, rather than to a receiver.

I couldn’t understand some parts of this article, but it sounds interesting…

I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:

6. Camaraderie

We long to belong; it’s as simple as that. Having something in common with a spam target raises the odds of success.

Russia 2 – 1 England

The interesting concept about the possibility of gambling online is that it reunites players from all the countries on every continent.

Hi I thought I would started giving my introduction to the members. I am banker by professional and most of the time I play online casino sites. Gambling is my passion and hobby. I enjoy joining forums, which interest me, and looking forward to meeting new members here.

7. Persuasion

A spammer named “Richard” attempts to convince bloggers with the comment that he can reduce their spam if they will only link to him from their home page. Excerpt:

hello, my name is Richard and I know you get a lot of spammy comments,

I can help you with this problem. I know a lot of spammers and I will ask them not to post on your site. It will reduce the volume of spam by 30-50%. In return Id like to ask you to put a link to my site on the index page of your site. The link will be small and your visitors will hardly notice it, its just done for higher rankings in search engines. Contact me icq [removed] or write me [removed], i will give you my site url and you will give me yours if you are interested. thank you

8. Intimidation

When persuasion fails, some spammers would even go so far as to threaten to do something nasty to you if you remove the spammy comment. But have no fear: nine times out of ten, you get to deal with something like this:

Hi, this is just another comment. But this comment is much much more beautiful then the others. Hence, don’t delete this beautiful comment. Because you will be impotent if you delete this comment.

9. Personalization

Tailoring a message based on the information collected about a site owner helps make the comment look more authentic and thus raises the odds of making it past the spam filters and human moderation.

Hi, John: I was certainly posted in the comments earlier this week. As you may know, I am open to responses and comments. So feel free to send a blog post and I can write some responses.

10. Sincerity

Finally, spammers may even try to show you how genuinely they care for you, almost as if they are doing you a favor by dropping that link that has nothing to do with your site whatsoever. But hey, at least they don’t try to charge you for it.

Hi. I like your website but i can tell it probably isn’t getting much traffic? If you want to help imrpove that check this website out, he has a short video that i really suggest you watch. [removed] P.S this isn’t my website and i’m not spamming your blog, i don’t care if you delete this comment. I am only trying to help you improve your site.

The Internet changes. Trends change. Technology changes. Disruptive companies rise to a zenith and crash into oblivion. But one thing remains a constant:

Spam has always been there and always will be. Hopefully real blog comments will be as well.

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