How to Write Comments That Get Deleted Or Marked As Spam

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

Sometimes the most seemingly obvious stuff gets missed by those with the best of intentions. Like millions of other blog owners, I delete comments and mark comments as spam, nearly every day. There’s the obvious stuff like posts for online poker, male enhancement pills, a wide array of pharmaceuticals, and all sorts of stuff in the adult category. In my case (and many others) the majority of that type of comment spam gets caught by Akismet, a WordPress spam detecting plug-in.

I don’t know about others but I don’t even check my spam folders, everything gets deleted within a 30 day period. The really bad stuff that most of us are seeing is automated comment or track back spam. I have to imagine there’s a lot of people out there thinking they’re doing a good job of promoting their web site or blog by posting lots and lots of comments, but I have news for you (although you’ll probably never read this), you are doing it wrong.

Since this is a chiropractic blog I’m going to use an example of some comments posted recently by a chiropractor. I took some screenshots and removed identifiable information (except for the commenters name). Let’s take a look at three comments Steve left over a matter of minutes.

Those that use WordPress will be familiar with the screenshot shown above. What we are looking at is the manage comments section. I currently have all comments on the site set for moderation before going public so people really never get a chance to see all the stuff that’s being deleted or marked as spam. If you’ve posted comments to this blog, and they haven’t appeared, it’s extremely likely you are engaging in spam like activity.

There are three comments awaiting moderation and they are all from the same individual. The comments are related to chiropractic so I wouldn’t consider them blatant spam, but none of them had anything to do with the posts that were made.

The first (shown above) reads “a local Chiropractor has put together this service. It allows you to find a chiropractor at a reduced rate. Check it out and let me know what you think please.”

Here’s what I think: 1) the keyword chiropractor is hyperlinked to the web site in question. To me, that is flag number one that this is spam. 2) the comment has nothing to do with the post. 3) the commentor has never before participated on the site. 4) two more similar comments were made in a matter of minutes.

Above is a screenshot of the other two comments. Notice they both have hyperlinks to the commenters web site using the keyword: Chiropractor.

So this is not spam like automated buy drugs or male enhancement formula spam, but it is spam nonetheless. Think about it this way… Imagine I’m in my chiropractic office serving my community. A stranger walks in that no one in the office has ever seen before. He doesn’t say hi, he doesn’t comment on how the office is running, he doesn’t offer any complement or criticism, he just announces to everyone there that he is a chiropractor and would like everyone to come visit him. How would you react if someone did that in your place of business?

I shouldn’t have to get into how to leave a comment on someone’s blog, that really should be common sense, unfortunately it’s not. To be helpful, I asked the simple question to my friends on Twitter… What are your best “how to leave a comment on a blog” tips? Can you give me something in 140 characters or less?

I received the following responses moments later…

LisaBarone: Read the post, then comment. Not the other way around.

davesnyder: RT @LisaBarone: @chiropractic Read the post, then comment. Not the other way around. … golden advice!

serena: @chiropractic: be succinct, use bullets to keep ur points straight, limit your adjs/advbs to keep it hype-free, link to back up data

CarrieHill: @chiropractic – dont say “nice post” – leave something valuable – even if it’s WHY you agree or dont agree.

I’m glad Carrie Hill brought that last point up. If you are new to posting comments, saying things like “nice post” or “great post” may seem a perfectly OK thing to do. In reality, it is probably irritating as hell to the person/s moderating the blog. You may get through once, but posting such empty comments on a consistent basis is likely to get you banned.

OK, those are my thoughts on posting comments, and I’m sticking to them.

10 thoughts on “How to Write Comments That Get Deleted Or Marked As Spam”

  1. When I see anchor text being used I will usually dump the comment without even reading it because that person is obviously not making a legitimate comment. If it’s someone that is making a real comment but just doesn’t understand what is and isn’t spam I’ll typically just remove the link and leave the comment up.

    I actually just wrote a post on this that may help the… “uninformed” (nice way of putting it)

  2. Your tweeple have given good advice. I use the question of “Does this add to the conversation on this post?” as my biggest clue as to whether or not to comment. Answer yes click the button. No keep going or rewrite your comment.

    Also look at any links inside the post twice when approving comments. Rarely will I leave a link inside the comment unless I have previously addressed the topic like your first commenter. Much better to trackback and start a conversation across blogs.

    The big thing is that commenting is always about the conversation. Tale part or be quiet.

    Would make blogging much more pleasant for all.

  3. I had the same message from this guy three times also. The thing I found odd was that the message said a “local” chiropractor, then never said where he was from. I did some research and turned him up in Australia, quite local.

    I’ve always seen the yes…and method be the most effective means of advancing discussions or in this case leaving beneficial replys. YES, is to verify that you understood the person, so in this case commenting on something in the post to show that you actually cared enough to read it. AND, is something to move the conversation along, or add to the communication. If you don’t have an AND then you probably don’t need to post.

    My least favorite comment to see is, “Great Post!” You could easily say, I really liked ____ about your comments, and I think that if you did ____ you may really find success.

  4. @Mike Paetzold: I like that thinking… Does this add to the conversation on this post?

    @Chris For me, that further creates the idea that it’s spam. Funny thing is, I’m fine talking about chiropractic websites (and even providing links), but bad commenting practices are not a good way to start.

  5. You realize all comments on this blog are no followed don’t you? In fact, that’s the case for the majority of blogs. It’s like a link condom, no juice passes from one site to the next. You’ll still get traffic from those passing one relevant site to the next, but you’ll get nearly no benefit from search engines, posting comments to blogs like this one.

  6. If they are not automated spammers then they are just new to blogging, and you are right for writing a post to bring attention to this problem.

    The problem is that the person who left those comments on your blog probably does not read post before leaving a comment. So he may try to comment again on this post without even reading it.

    I view it as something that will never stop; it is just one of those insolvencies they must be put up with if you want to maintain a blog.

  7. I agree that I don’t think they are reading posts but my hope is that some thinking it may be a good practice (especially in the chiropractic space) realize it can get them sent to akismet hell. Ironically, there’s been some good comments on this post.

  8. Many would-be marketers miss the boat and overlook establishing relationships with bloggers in the specific niche they are trying to connect with. Providing value and legitimate contributions should be at the forefront of their minds but many appear to be stuck in an outdated spam paradigm.

    Rest assured, these folks are learning lessons the hard way and are not getting the traffic and the business growth they seek. Nice job bringing this to light.

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