Mark from WeblogToolsCollection.com recently touched on a subject that I think all bloggers are having to deal with and that is, human created comments with links to questionable sites. I’ve been seeing these types of comments increase in regularity here on Performancing as well as my own blog. The comments appear relevant to the article but when you check out the URL field, things are not quite as they seem. So, unlike comments that can be immediately identified as spam via their content, larger websites are having to spend more time in the moderation queue because of these human entered relevant comments.
Andrew Rickmann left the following comment on the WLTC article,
This kind of spam, and in fact all spam, is a symptom of the misguided(IMO) approach to comments that says that a commenter should be ‘rewarded’ with a link that gives google juice.
I don’t agree with this. The fact that I am commenting here says nothing about my website and shouldn’t entitle me to any search engine benefit. It is enough that real humans can find my site and fine out more about me.
The best answer to comment spam is for everyone to stop linking out. When the benefit is gone then the spammers will go elsewhere.
This comment was the basis behind the poll we recently conducted here on Performancing.com. I began to wonder, who would continue to comment on blogs if the URL field disappeared?
So far, 32 people have voted that they would while 22 people would not. I am still wondering if I could kill two birds with one stone via this approach. The lack of a URL field would eliminate comments from those looking to have a quick link back to their site published on my blog. Also, human written comments which appear relevant but then use the URL field to link back to their questionable website would disappear because the incentive is gone. Some would argue that the human spammers would then move their URL into the content.
Pros And Cons:
The Pros of removing the URL field:
The incentive to comment just to get a link back is gone which should decrease the amount of spam.
Software which creates a database filled with blogs in which to comment on should stop listing your blog.
Instead of receiveing human spam that ends up being worthless because of what they linked to, the removal of the URL field should encourage legitmate comments.
The Cons Of Removing The URL Field:
Plugins such as CommentLuv which parses the last known blog post from the URL provided within the comment will not work.
People will be unable to check out a commenters blog
The bottom line is, I need to experiment with this setup and report back the results. So, I will be doing an experiment on my own blog where I will remove the URL field from the comment section for the month of October and then report back my findings. If anyone else feels daring, I encourage you to participate in this experiment on your own blog as we can then compare our findings together in a follow up conversation.