Blog spammers the bane of every blogger

Well I think the title says it all. I am sure every blogger has had their share of spam posted on their site. They usually try and incorporate a thinly disguised, vague comment, usually complementing you but with a link back to their site.

Why do they do this?

The answer is simple. They are trying to get more back-links to their site so they can increase their page-rank with the ultimate goal of getting closer to the top of Google and the other search engines. Stealing some of your hard earned page rank and “link-juice”. Many of these folks incorporate elaborate linking strategies called link-wheels. These are methods of trying to fool the search engine algorithms to think they are valid sites & links and in case they are detected, the secondary sites will take the hit while their main site will not be penalized to heavily.

So what can you do to prevent blog spammers?

There are a variety of plugins that will aid you in stopping blog spam.  They range in effectiveness as the spammers figure out alternate methods to defeat them.  There are:

  • ‘Captcha’ plugins that throw up a series of letters in various formats to defeat the automated bots.
  • Plugins like Akismet which try and isolate the heavy offenders

Alternatives to this are:

  • Moderation of the blog and manual approve/disprove the posts
  • Disable commenting all together

If you run your own server or have access to the blog directory, make a backup of your existing .htaccess file, then modify it as follows:

# Anti-spam posting bot
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} .wp-comments-post.php*
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !.** [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^$
RewriteRule (.*) http://%{REMOTE_ADDR}/$ [R=301,L]

Be sure to change the to your actual domain.

A quick summary of what this does:  Some bots actually look and see if you have the standard wordpress php program to post and automate the posting.  This modification will detect who the referrer is and redirect them back to their own site with a 301 error (permanently moved).  It is not fool-proof, but it does significantly cut back on the spam.


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