Paid Comments NOT Allowed

In the last few days, I’ve been getting some interesting comments. I’m not talking about the legitimate comments that are from folks I know, or folks who come here for other reasons such as finding me through a search.

What I’m talking about are comments that, on the surface, are on-topic to the post they’re commenting on, but have unusual names such as “Las Vegas Real Estate Guru” or “Palm Coast”. Those comments also don’t link to Blogger profiles, but link to blogs related to the “name” they used.

Why are the comments appearing?

Well, a lot of that has to do with the fact that I have removed the nofollow tag from my comments. There is a service called Buy Blog Comments dot com (link set to nofollow), which lets bloggers (or other advertisers, I would assume), for only $24.99, buy 100 comments on blogs. The blogs that comments are made on come from, and I quote from their site, “…the huge database of no nofollow tag blogs…”. In other words, they’re taking advantage of my goodwill towards other bloggers by turning off nofollow in order to create some link love for them.

How can I tell a paid comment?

An easy way to tell a paid comment is to check out that blog’s Technorati score. In the example of a recent commentator I had here, “Tom Paine” – whose link was to a conservative blog in the US, but the comment was made by someone in India in the middle of the night here – their Technorati profile (set to nofollow) shows that almost all the recent links are from comments on dofollow blogs (interestingly, if you go back further, through all of the self links there, you’ll find that this person’s paid people to blog about his blog as well). The same applies with “Palm Coast” (nofollow), but Las Vegas Realty Guru isn’t listed so you can’t check their Technorati.

You’ll notice that there are hardly any links from other blogs that don’t use the words that are used for their “Name”, or that aren’t listed as “Recent Comments” or “{Name} on …”. Generally, if that is the case, then you have a paid comment on your hands – do with it what you wish. If you’re not sure about a comment or person leaving a comment – check some of the other comments you find via Technorati; if you find that the comments left by the commentator are similar in nature to the comment left on your blog, you might have a paid comment. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, but these are just some general pointers.

What can I do?

The simplest thing to do to stop paid comments is to refuse to acknowledge them. You can do that by not replying to their comment, but that will not make much of a difference since the commentator will likely never come back to your blog again. The most effective way will be to delete comments you suspect as paid. You should also make a note on your blog saying that paid comments will not be tolerated and will be deleted.

Another method for WordPress users would be to use a different dofollow plugin – Lucia’s Linky Love – which is touted as a way to stop human comment spammers. It will apply the nofollow tag to the first x comments left by a particular person – since the chance of a paid commentator coming back to leave another comment are slim, you don’t give them what they want – a free link via your site.

If you know of other ways to deny the paid comments from getting attention, do share them in the comments here.

You can also help get the word out about this – post about it on your blog so that your readers and other bloggers will know about these paid comments. It’s a case where the more you know about something, the better we all are. 😉

My Commitment

If I suspect a comment of being a paid comment, I will delete the comment and not give them any attention in any reply comments I make (astute readers will have noticed that I did call out Las Vegas Real Estate Guru, but that was a once-off occurrence).

10 thoughts on “Paid Comments NOT Allowed

  1. I’ve had a couple of paid comments. I noticed something was fishy when one of the comments said something along the lines of “Nice article/post! I’ve never thought of it that way, but now I see how interesting it is.” It was on the section “About Me”. Uh…ok…

    So I deleted it.

    You can tell by looking (not clicking on) their link. Generally it won’t be a normal blog, it’ll be advertising something. So you can delete it.

    I think I put something on my blog about it – I reserve the right to delete any comments that I feel are spam or paid. If I delete a comment that you made and you felt was legitimate, please contact me via email and I am more than happy to apologise. But if I’ve deleted it, then generally there’s a good reason.

    It’s crazy out there with blogs now – paid comments is just ridiculous and NOT wanted. I don’t totally understand this “no follow” thing but I’m looking at the plugin you linked to and hopefully that will help me understand!

    Good post. 🙂

  2. Hi Sephy

    I got stung with a palmcoast comment. I thought it was a bit dubious but gave the benefit of the doubt. I’ve just now removed the comment. Las Vegas rings a bell, but I think I canned that one when it came through.

    It’s a fine line between not wanting to discourage someone who’s just found your blog (or maybe just started blogging) and allowing spam, but thanks for highlighting this one.

    I’ve been hearing a bit about this Lucia’s Linky Love plugin, so it’s probably time to have a look.

  3. The funniest spam comment I’ve seen of this kind was on a post about how the author tried to buy a house, only to see the sale fall through. The comment was “Congratulations on the new house!”

  4. Looks interesting.
    Till now I am receiving pure spam and that is taken care by a plugin in wordpress.
    May be that is because I haven’t implemented the nofollow plugin in my blog.
    I am thinking of adding it in future.

  5. Katie – Definitely use the delete/mark as spam links as you see fit, especially on your own site. Yep – the link generally will give you a good indication of what kind of comment it is, and that’s what makes these paid comments so hard to tell. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that in the last couple of weeks, the same person has been going around and commenting, using the same links on a ton of blogs…

    Snos – Yep, so did Tom Paine..I wonder if he’s still trying to reach that destination… 😉

    Meg – It is a really fine line, but generally, they tend to give themselves away by virtue of other blogs and appearing on Technorati.

    Cugat – Yeah, and how much did you lose? :p

    Julie – I don’t think you have nofollow removed from your blog’s template, or if you do, you’re not listed in a dofollow list; also, Blogger blogs don’t get the same spam that WP blogs do, for some strange reason..

    Markk – I’ve yet to see a spammer be on-topic (unless they’re speaking in such wide generalities that it’s impossible for them to be off-topic.. 😉

    Xnepali – I’ve heard good and bad things about the anti-spam plugins that are available for WP – especially in regards to marking spam incorrectly. However, yes, the paid comments are targeting dofollow blogs.

    Tinu – Glad to have helped you out. 😉

    Thanks y’all 😉

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