Blog Spam and the Collateral Damage of Howard Owens

Written by and published

Scott Karp over at Publishing 2.0 wrote an entry this week about the scourge of blog comment spam and how it can become an annoyance for unintended victims. Such is the case for Howard Owens. Whenever Howard leaves a comment on a blog that uses Akismet, his comments almost always get flagged as spam, but the problem is that they aren’t spam. Scott believes the culprit is hacking (or cracking as it should appropriately be called).

It’s likely because Howard’s blog was hacked by spammers. Not once, but twice. So when Howard enters his blog URL in the comment form, it triggers the spam filter.

Without Akismet, it would be almost impossible to manage comments on a WordPress blog. On the Sitening Blog (which runs WordPress), the percentage of comments submitted that aren’t spam is less than 4%. So, as much as I feel for Howard’s commenting pain, I’m willing to allow him to slip into my Akismet spam list and click the Delete all button without reviewing the list, and without remorse.

Ultimately though, the point of Scott’s entry was to highlight and increasing trend on the Web — “how spam threatens to squeeze out real content.” Unlike email spam, which has its own agenda, comment spam seeks to artificially build up traffic and search engine performance through automated — albeit somewhat archaic — means of publishing keywords and links. Also, blogs in particular, are like a vast gold-mine for spammers. For every high quality blog that is carefully attended to, my assumption is that there’s a hundred more that are unprotected ones that are being filled up with spam comments. If email spam is any indication of the future of blog spam, then we’re in for long, bumpy ride.