Dealing with Comment Spam

    November 16, 2006

If you run a web site that allows comments, you are going to get comment spam – that’s just a fact of life in the current Internet.

Some sites have disallowed comments entirely, some have a moderation system that requires comment approval or that “mods down” inappropriate posts so this junk isn’t easily visible.

Here at, I rely upon software algorithms that identify and quarantine spam. I can’t be 100% accurate, but so far very little of it sneaks through.

On the other side (false positives) we do pretty well too. I record each comment separately so that I can manually allow anything that shouldn’t have been trapped by my filters. There’s been very little of that either, so the whole system works pretty well.

I found something interesting in one of the quarantined comments today. This was one of those oh-so-typical posts advertising “cheap Ultram” and so on, a dozen lines or so of links to sites I’m quite sure you don’t want to see here. But at the end of it was something I haven’t seen before:

if u don’t like this, please send abuse to with your url and we delete it from our list. thx

Yeah, sure. You’ll add my email to another list, right? Do they really think people will fall for this? Do people really fall for this?

I don’t know. I don’t know why this stuff has any value anyway: are people really going to follow these links?

In the old days, before the “rel=nofollow” tagging almost all comment systems employ now, at least they’d get some search engine love from having placed the link. But with “nofollow”, there is no love.

Maybe (as usual) it’s just a numbers game: post your crap on a million sites and maybe one or two haven’t implemented “nofollow” and maybe one or two idiots actually will follow the links..

Oh well: it’s just something we web folk have to live with.

*Originally published at

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A.P. Lawrence provides SCO Unix and Linux consulting services