18 December 2012
The most subtle spam I've ever seen - updated
All of you who maintain blogs know that the battle against spam comments never ends. I spend time every morning weeding the comments to remove obvious spam, tricky spam, and some of the borderline my-business-is-linked-in-my-name (the latter I judge on a case-by-case basis, depending on the value and relevance of the comment).
Yesterday I encountered a new form of trickery. The only reason I spotted it was that this type of wording is typical for spam - generic, broadly applicable, and complimentary - designed to be retained by the recipient blogger.
I had to look closer to discover that the two periods between "posting" and "thanks" are in red, and were in fact links - to two different sites.
I'm not sure it's right to call this "spam," since the person is not trying to get traffic. I presume it's a form of black hat "search engine optimization," by which someone hopes to improve the status of their blog or website by being "linked" to mine (and I didn't know that search engines rank sites by links in the comments - I thought they just used links in the body of the posts).
This would have slipped by me if the "comment" had been in any way relevant to the text of my post.
Addendum: For a thorough explanation of this phenomenon by a knowledgeable person, see the discussion by Benjamin in the Comments.
Updated: Here it is again (that red period was a link to spam):
I monitor every single comment written on this blog. They all come to my email inbox for review, which at times becomes a tedious chore, but which I think helps improve the quality of the blog. Any comment from an "anonymous" gets extra scrutiny, and is subject to a more vigorous deletion policy.
Posted for the many readers who maintain their own blogs. Don't let yours get "used" in this way.