For the purposes of this post I’m going to assume that you have comments turned on on your site, but that they’re moderated. I’m also going to assume that you have an anti-spam plugin installed, and that for the most part it works.

We’re going to talk about those tricky comments that are spam, but make it past the spam filters.

I’m going to post an example spam here, and we’ll use it throughout this post.

Example of comment spam

Why Do They Do This?

A common question is why do spammers post seemingly harmless comments?  What’s the danger in simply approving them? The primary reason has to do with moderation.

Most WordPress blogs are set to moderate all first time commenters, but once they have one comment approved then they don’t need moderation anymore. So one innocent, harmless post gets them access to post freely later.

What To Look For

A Lack Of Specifics

Take a look at the example spam above. Note that it could apply to ANY post, on any blog. That’s because they need to be able to re-use it thousands of times, all across the web.

Positivity

Their goal is to get approved, so they want to make the moderator feel admired, and happy. Take a look at the example above.  The only part that isn’t either appreciative or complimentary is the “Hello there!”

The Source

I didn’t post the source of the above example, but it came from a site in Spain which offers services competing with our own. That’s not unheard of in the WordPress world, but usually when it happens properly the previous two flags don’t get raised. When competitors post on each other’s blogs it usually contains real content.

What To Do About It

In WordPress, simply flag it as spam.  If you’re using a quality spam filter then WordPress will pass that information to your filter and it will learn about that spam. It will learn that the source is suspect, that specific strings like “Veeeeeery important issue this one!" are spammy.

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