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Does disallowing URLs discourage paid human spammers? (6 posts)

  1. riddle
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Like many other people, I'm seeing a huge uptick in comment spam apparently written by humans. The comments are on-topic and sometimes even thoughtful, but they invariably link back to some cheesy commercial site. Akismet is slowing but not stopping them.

    My question: has anyone tried entirely disabling the URL field in the comment form? If so, does that deter human spammers, since without the link they won't get paid? Or do they blindly comment anyway?

  2. Matt Dunlap
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    I've added the ip address to the .htaccess file before. You can either just block the ip or redirect to another site. I don't want those guys even looking at my site!

    I don't think you want to disable the URL field entirely. There is a plugin that removes the "nofollow" rel attribute for repeat commentors. For example, if the commenter leaves 5 approved comments, they get the no follow removed. Take that plugin and tweak it so that only repeat, "trusted" users get the url link.

    Sorry, I don't have the link to the plugin... If you need help tweaking it, let me know. Should be easy

  3. riddle
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Matt, thanks for the reply. Two thoughts:

    (1) These spammers aren't coming from a single IP address but from thousands. I used to block IP addresses in .htaccess years ago, but I don't think that works any more.

    (2) rel=nofollow would be a good long-term solution if all WordPress sites everywhere adopted it because it would remove the SEO incentive for comment spam. However, for one site to implement rel=nofollow does nothing. The human spammers wouldn't even know that it's in place.

  4. riddle
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    I meant to add: for anyone wondering what rel=nofollow is, here's Google's explanation.

    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/01/preventing-comment-spam.html

    Odd that WordPress was listed as having signed on in 2005. I guess we don't see rel=nofollow in universal use because implementation would be up to theme developers, not Matt Mullenweg & co.

  5. Matt Dunlap
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    A lot of blogs remove the nofollow as a way to get more commenters. It's really easy to remove from comments.php

  6. Despite their "human" appearance, most of the comments you're referring to are still generated by bots and designed to be both vague and draw from keywords in the article.

    rel=nofollow was originally part of the WordPress core for all links in the comment section. This was removed after some rather intense community backlash. Since 90% of today's spam comments still come from automated spam bots which care little about rel=nofollow (or even the existence of a URL field for that matter), it was seen as more of a way to deter legitimate commentators than anything else.

    rel=nofollow can now be enabled by editing your theme's Comments template or using a plugin, but I still don't recommend it.

    Akismet is a learning system, so the more you mark things as "spam," the more it learns. If the "flood" is too much, you may want to consider adding a few additional measures, like Bad Behavior and WP-reCAPTCHA.

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