Filed Under: technology
Published On: March 12, 2009
I think my general distaste for spammers is one of the better known items on the internet. From email, to comments, to social networks, I have little tolerance for those types of poisonous marketing. I typically even go as to sniff out and publish the personal information of repeat offenders. It’s not that I dislike marketing or even advertising, I just dislike people who do it poorly.
That being said, right here on my little ol’ website, I’ve noticed something that’s happened not once, but twice. It’s a new type of comment spam, and I have to say, I hesitantly approve. Here’s a link to the comments in question.
At first glance they appear to be genuine, human written comments. They relate to the material in question even though the material in question is old. The comments even come from verified Disqus (the software I use for my comment system) accounts. The only way you can tell that they’re quasi-spam is that the username is what SEO-types call keyword anchor text.
The idea behind commenting with anchor text is that with enough comments, Google will associate the terms in the link to the webpage that it’s pointing to. Back in the day, we called that Googlebombing and it is how one unfortunate writer was the #1 result for “talentless hack” and a certain President was ranked #1 for incompetent.
But wait, there’s a catch. As this was popular as an automated technique years ago, most blog comment programs add a small “nofollow” tag to comment links. The effect of this tag is that the link has no value to Google.
Beyond that, these commenters are leaving comments on posts that are months old, which essentially negates the chances of a human stumbling upon them and blindly clicking through.
The really strange thing is this – I’m not deleting the comments. Why? Have I gone soft and developed a love for BlackHat SEO done wrong? Nope. I’m not deleting these spam comments because they actually help me. You see, everytime someone with a Disqus account leaves a comment on my site, Disqus creates a followable link on the commenters page. This means while the comments don’t help the spammer, they do help me, if only a little bit.
And that’s the kind of spam I can live with.