Fighting blog comment spam – what companies need to know
By Charlene Li
There are two major reasons why many companies and publishers have not enabled comments on their blogs: 1) they’re afraid of negative comments; or 2) there is concern about comment spam, whereby a spammer adds links pointing to the Web site to increase search engine page rankings.
Google spearheaded an effort to add the new “nofollow” attribute to its indexing algorithm. Any hyperlinks that have the “nofollow” tag won’t be factored into its Page Rank calculations. The most notable part about this is that other search engines quickly jumped on board -- Yahoo and MSN are also supporting the attribute ensuring that comment spammers have no where to hide. Vendors like Six Apart (disclosure: this blog is hosted by Typepad) have added their support. Search Engine Watch has a detailed (very detailed) look at how “nofollow” works here.
This won’t stop aggressive spammers eager to target a popular site’s readers, but it will at least remove the purpose behind the most egregious comment spammers. For companies that are still sitting on the fence about turning on their comments, there are other techniques, ranging from accepting comments only from registered users to using comment blacklists (see the Six Apart Guide To Comment Spam for details on various methods).
Recommendation: Companies should enable the “nofollow” attribute immediately on their blogs and then open up a few posts to first Trackbacks and then comments to test the waters. Again, this is contingent on your company feeling comfortable with the whole idea of comments in the first place. But my strong belief is that if your company is making the commitment to support blogs in the first place, it’s a shame not to at least place some faith in your blog community to comment responsibly and give it a try.