Blogging and comment spam go hand in hand. If you have been blogging for a while now and have not yet come face-to-face with this interesting phenomenon (in fact, if you are not dealing with it on regular basis)…well, THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG with your blog!!!
Your blog not being on the radar of spammers means just one thing: It is invisible to most internet users and so you must work hard to bring it on par. Once you become a target, well, congratulations! Now, you are getting somewhere!
Coming back to my particular case, FertileBrains started receiving comment spam almost as soon as the site was live with a couple of posts on it. As a rookie blogger, I agonized over every spammy comment, reading and re-reading it many times over before forcing myself to delete it forever (Sometimes even that took days because I would just keep re-reading it in the trash, wondering if I was throwing away a genuine comment!) I wanted to err on the side of caution and give every spammer the benefit of doubt.
Not anymore! Over time, as my blogging experience has increased and I have become more seasoned in distinguishing spammy comments from real ones, I don’t think twice before clicking the “Delete Permanently” button. I will talk about my favorite spam handling techniques in my next post, but today I just want to talk about my love-hate relationship with comment spam. Why? Well, there is no rhyme or reason to this post except that this is what I felt like writing today. So yeah.. read on.
- Well, obviously because it is a fake comment. The person writing it has not read your post and chances are that it is not even a human being, but a spambot posing as one.
- It pulls you down with itself in Search Engine Rankings and unleashes Google’s wrath on your site 😉
- Real readers lose interest in your site and shy away from posting comments (even if they want to!) if there are too many spammy comments.
- Even if you filter out all the spammy comments with an antispam software (Check out tips and tricks for fighting back comment spam here), they eat up your database space if you don’t do housekeeping regularly.
Yada, yada…so on and so forth. Well, everyone knows why people hate comment spam, right? Now, let me talk about the opposite, why despite being such a bane of blogger’s existence, why I still enjoy comment spam every now and then:
- Feel Good Factor: Like I said in the beginning, spam tells me (on a regular basis) that my blog is not invisible on the internet. In fact, some people will tell you that the more popular your blog gets, the more spam comments you will receive. Though I have no way of proving it, I do agree that over time, my spam queue has grown bigger by the day.
- Laughter and motivation: I still consider myself a newbie blogger (and will continue doing so till my 500th post, in case you are wondering!) and so I don’t usually receive many comments on my posts. As amazing as it feels to receive a genuine comment from a reader, more often than not, my comment queue is empty on most days. That’s when my spam queue comes to the rescue and I spend a good fifteen minutes daily reading generalized nonsense about how good my writing is, how not many people can write on the topic at hand like I do and how I should keep up the good work 😉 (Talk about positive affirmations!)
- Language, language: Some of the comments are in such fabulous English that it takes me 2-3 readings to understand the meaning. And these comments make me laugh out loud, really loud. And what can be better for my health than a good resounding laughter?
- Old friend: Then there are some spammers who consistently post the same message over and over and over again! If I don’t see such messages two days in a row, I start missing them like old friends and start wondering how they are doing and why they forgot about me!
- Awareness: And finally, reading all the spammy messages builds an awareness and understanding that one can use to filter out spam from other aspects of online existence too when all antispam software fail!
So there you have it, my love-hate relationship with comment spam. And if you want to take your relationship with spam a step further, you can always reply to such comments like James Veitch, writer and comedian did. Check out his TED talk below on email spam (I wish I had the guts or time to do something similar 😉 ):
So, how do you feel about comment spam? Don’t forget to share your views, spammy or otherwise 🙂 And yes, if you are looking for tips and tricks to fight back, check out my next post on comment spam here.