[resolved] Question about what attracts comment spammers (5 posts)

  1. TrishaM
    Posted 1 year ago #

    One of the sites I manage - a very small site without a lot of traffic - seems to attract comment spammers by the bucketload - we're talking tens of thousands of spam comments left weekly.

    Akismet does a good job of trapping 99.9% of it, but I'm wondering if there is anything in particular that is making this site seem like a good target.

    The only think I can think of is that comments are set to auto-approve while still notifying an admin about the comment…..the organization (it's a small non-profit) decided to do this because they really want engagement with their audience but rarely have someone available to moderate comments. They are okay with the occasional spam comment that gets approved until someone has time to come along and mark it as spam (which usually winds up being me since I'm online 18 hours a day). They would rather that than have legitimate comments *not* appear in a timely manner.

    Before someone mentions the WP version, this has been going on since day 1, and through many version upgrades since 2.0.

    SO in general, what it is about any site that makes comments spammers think "oh joy, here's a great site to bombard!"

    If anyone wants to view the site before answering, its:


    I manage a lot of other sites - including other non-profits - that don't get even a small fraction of the attention from comment spammers, so this one has me baffled.

  2. catacaustic
    very awesome
    Posted 1 year ago #

    You said it yourself:

    comments are set to auto-approve while still notifying an admin about the comment

    Once the automatd SPAM bots post a comment and see that it goes live straight away, they'll flag that site as "Yes, this one works straight away~ and it will go to the top of the list for SPAM'ing every single link that they can get paid for.

    On top of that there's other factors like SEO, page rank, etc that are all at different levesl of "greatness" in the algorythm that they use to choose what sites to SPAM links out to. There's also a lot of different netowrks that all have different lists of sites. Some share, and some dont, so it can depend on which lists the site appears on.

  3. TrishaM
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thanks catacaustic for the quick reply…..

    I rather thought that too, except that Akismet keeps most of them from actually appearing - in fact I'm amazed at how well Akismet works….out of the 50k to 60k spam comments the site gets in a month, maybe one or two get posted and I have to go mark them as spam…..wouldn't that keep the spammers away? You'd think that after a few thousand don't get posted they'd give up and go away.

    But I will see if I can convince them to change that setting.

  4. catacaustic
    very awesome
    Posted 1 year ago #

    No... They've seen one or two get through, even right back at the start, and that's flagged the site as vunerable. Once it's got that, it'll stick for a very long time even if not much gets through in the future. The thing to remember is that all of these systems are autoamted, so it doesn't take any more effort to post a SPAM comment on one site as it does to post the same comment on millions of sites, so if you're on a list you'll stay on that list until someone manually removes you.

    As for the settings, I don't think you'd need to change much. If you're only getting one of two slipping through, Akismet is working well, and there's not a huge problem. If you feel like changing anything I'd suggest something only a slight bit more aggressive.

  5. TrishaM
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thanks! Overall it's not a problem (clearly since Akismet is working so well), it's just something that had me curious and wondering if there was something I could do to just get them to go away. I'm thinking at this point I'll just leave things alone until it gets to be an actual problem.

    I appreciate your input. :-)

Topic Closed

This topic has been closed to new replies.

About this Topic