In the Internet age, Spam is no longer the stomach churning, salty meat that if it was the last thing on earth to eat you rather eat sand. It is unwanted advertisement, and an annoying aspect of online-life. The term spam came fromt he infamous Monty Python sketch where a group of vikings keep drowning out all conversation by repeatedly shouting “spam”. Unsolicited bulk messages are the same – they flood your inbox, preventing you from getting to your important email – sounds familiar.
Today, spamming occurs almost everywhere, and blogs are no exception. If you’ve ever written or commented on a blog, then you can see them on blog posts, some blatant “buy my product” gibberish with links or some seemingly innocent comments (written in bad English) with a link that doesn’t have anything to do with your post. These spammers are using your blog, not just to advertise to your audience, but to create backlinks to their sites and hopefully give them a good Google ranking. Spam comments are annoying and they will turn off your readers and give your blog a bad reputation. So here’s the top 4 ways you can stop spam:
1. Install Anti-Spam Software
There are many free and cheap anti-spam software out there to help catch spammers before their comments appear on your blog. WordPress, for example, has Akismet, which you can install on your blog as soon as you set it up. Of course, these software only prevent these comments from immediately showing up on your blog – you still need to go through each comment and approve it.
2. Install “human detecting” Software
You’ve probably seen this on websites where you’re required to sign up. reCaptcha is one of the most common, and requires users to read words and type them into a field. This prevents spambots (programs that don’t require humans to comment on blogs) from writing on your blog, because only humans can read the words (for now). Still, human spammers can get past this, but it makes it harder for them, since they have to take time to go through the reCaptcha process.
3. Have a Log-in for Users
It’s often annoying for readers to have to login for anything, especially if all they want to do is make a short comment. However, it’s a great way to prevent spam and ensure only quality readers and commenters will keep coming back. Also, you can install software where people can use existing IDs (Google, Facebook, Yahoo) to sign-in, and no longer need to keep track of another website ID.
4. Block IP Addresses
There’s two ways to do this: 1. Block IP addresses of known spammers (usually taken from a blacklist) or 2. Block ranges of IP. The problem with the first method is spammers can easily change IP addresses once they realise their IP address has been blocked. The 2nd way is more effective – that is, you block IP addresses from countries that would probably never visit your blog. Think about it: if you run a restaurant in South Dublin, then why would anyone from China or Bangladesh visit your site? Unless someone is craving fish and chips at 3am GMT time, these visitors are very likely looking for blogs to spam.
Spamming has become a ubiquitous part of our everyday Internet life, but it doesn’t mean you should let it take over your site and your blog. While you can’t totally stop it (without stopping legitimate users from accessing it) you can reduce its impact and make your life a whole lot easier.