Spammed By A Master (Of Making Money Online)

One side-effect of making your blog DoFollow is an increase in traffic. Unfortunately, it also leads to an increase in comment spam – and I’ve recently been spammed by Make Money Online Master.

Beginner’s Explanation: A DoFollow blog is one which disables the nofollow attribute on the links left by commentators. This is normally done using a dofollow plugin and can boost your commentators’ websites in the SERPs (search engine result pages).

As I’ve mentioned many times before, if you use WordPress, most comment spam can be stopped using plugins (I use a combination of Simple Trackback Validation, Math Comment Spam Protection and Askimet).

However there are always borderline spam cases: such as those that leave a good comment, but use keywords in the name field, or those that leave their name but link to commercial (non blog) sites.

There are many differing views on what’s acceptable. Each blogger must make their own decision, on what’s spam and what’s not, for their blog.

Personally, I don’t mind helping my commentators by letting them use their keywords in the name field, but I want to know their real name, so I feel like a real person is leaving the comment.

That’s why I created the KeywordLuv plugin for WordPress, which lets commentators enter both their name and their keywords. This rewards your commentators and should help increase traffic to your website as a result. However, I’ve noticed a sharp increase in borderline spam as well.

Spammed By A Make Money Master

Even though I no longer have time to answer all comments, I still read every comment and look for spam.

I recently noticed someone who was using one email address, but several different websites (no problem) and different names (problem). He left 20 comments, using 10 different names and linking to 6 different domains.

Crucially, he made multiple comments on the same post, using different names. His comments were fine and contributed to the conversation – it’s just he was having the conversation with himself!

I recognized one of the domains he linked to as belonging to a prominent Make Money Online blogger: a sometimes controversial, former blackhat, who tells it like it is and who has a very loyal fan-base. I won’t say who he is. There are a few bloggers who could fit that description.

This is someone I used to read a lot (before we moved and I ran out of time). He really knows what he’s doing and I’ve learnt a lot from him. He’s even left the occasional comment here, as himself.

The Take Aways

I got several take aways from this:

1. DoFollow comment links are worth pursuing (if you use your keywords): If this guy took the time to leave comments, you know that it works.

2. Borderline comment spam is indeed a confusing issue: I’ve learnt a lot from him and I don’t mind giving him the links, but I still feel spammed.

3. This ones just for me: I’ve been able to build a portfolio of his sites, so I can see some real life examples to go with the theory I’ve learnt from him!

New DoFollow Plugin Coming

As a direct result of being targeted by borderline comment spammers (not the Make Money Online Master in particular), I’m creating a new Dofollow plugin that will discourage borderline spammers and reward those who contribute quality comments.

It goes a step beyond what we’ve previously seen with plugins like Lucia’s Linky Love, which only makes comments dofollow after the user has left a certain number of comments on the site. That was a great innovation, but I’ve had some borderline spammers who leave 10 comments in a session.

As with any spam prevention mechanism, a small number of serious spammers will find away around it, but it should discourage most of them.

I’ve got a full load on right now, so it may take a couple of weeks to finish.

Final Thoughts

Borderline comment spam is inevitable on a DoFollow blog. However, annoying as it is, you’ll also get an increase in traffic: more people reading and commenting on your blog. For me, it’s worth it, on this blog.

Hopefully, I’ll soon have a DoFollow plugin that will keep the spammers honest and make them worth for their link.

67 responses on “Spammed By A Master (Of Making Money Online)

  1. Thaya Kareeson@web development

    Stephen,
    That’s funny because I just wrote a post complaining about the increase in borderline comment spam because I operate a dofollow blog. I was about to develop a plugin myself to combat these issues, but now I am thankful that you are going to do this for me. Do you have any more details on what the new plugin is supposed to do? I had some ideas in the works, like keeping everything dofollow by default, but allowing admins to mark individual comment links as nofollow.

  2. pearl @ Fresh Perspectives

    Hi Stephen

    I’ve been using
    no follow case by case for some time, which allows you to make the links no-follow if you feel someone has been spamming you. But of course, its tedious and won’t be a good choice if you have high traffic.

    I’ll be looking forward to your plugin. I have still to incorporate keywordluv though.. will do it soon…

  3. Rhys

    Rich Hill

    I use a Firefox SEO plugin that hilights no-follow links.

    Stephen

    Black-Hat: Thanks for that info. I had a feeling that the former black-hat was still at it, but doing it out of sight – all that “I’m really a very honest guy” stuff was a bit too hard to swallow!

    DoFollow Plugin. This will be very welcome.

  4. Magnus@Sokmotorkonsult.se

    I have a few dofollow blogs myself and I used to feel a bit tricked in the beginning. My take on it now though is that if the comment is interesting, it’s an interesting comment, no matter the reasons it was written. Whole pseudo-conversations might be to much though but my point is still valid, a good comment is worth the link, even if it goes to a “make money online site”.

  5. RT Cunningham@Philippines

    I’m currently getting hit with multiple spam from one source. Akismet is doing nothing to stop it. My other filter isn’t doing it and the blacklist isn’t doing it.

    So… I feel your pain.

  6. john

    Yea, i agree. Dofollow would really increase your traffic and if you’re planning to monetize your traffic, its a great benefit

  7. April@Scotland

    I have to admit to leaving borderline spam as I have left comments to sites that aren’t social blogs and I’ve also left comments as different people. However I always use different email addresses and use proxies.

    I have do follow on most of my blogs but don’t advertise the fact. When I get borderline spam I don’t really care because I can actually get quite good traffic from the long tails.

    Us internet marketers have to be very careful because many do follow bloggers are simply going to remove the plugin which is not something any of us really want to see happening.

    1. Thaya Kareeson@web design

      It’s good to hear from an internet marketer on this topic. I agree that internet markets should be careful to not abuse do-follow blogs as the author will just remove the do-follow plugin. Nobody wins in this situation. The blogger will get less traffic/comments and internet markets will get no link juice. Unfortunately, there are always a few bad apples that ruins it for the rest of us.

  8. Werbegeschenke

    thanks to Stephen Cronin for the KeywordLuv plugin for WordPress,this will be very useful to us.it should help increase traffic to our website.its a great benefit

  9. IMFreakz@Busby SEO Challenge

    :Multiple comments on the same post and do conversation with himself:
    LOL.
    As long as you approve his comment, I think he will do that time to time. :D

  10. Sarika@Ann Arbor Web Design

    That was pretty ingenious of him. I guess he got caught because all the comments were coming from the same IP address? If you are referring to the same Make Money Online Blogger I am thinking about, you got yourself a good set of research material. BTW, I also read somewhere that it is easy to get a list of websites belonging to one person, using some tool that makes a list of the sites where the same Google Adsense publisher id is used. Obviously for this to work, the owner should have put Adsense on the sites and it can get tricky if he has multiple Google Adsense accounts.

  11. RT Cunningham@Philippines

    It turns out that the blacklist (under settings/discussion) took care of my spammer problem. Can you believe the guy hit 70 posts with various information within 5 minutes before I stopped him/her?

    As far as marketing spammers go, if the multiple personalities actually add to the conversation, I let it go. When they don’t, off to the spam bin they go.

  12. K @ Free iPhone upgrade

    Stephen, that sucks and I am so curious if you are talking about teh same person I am thinking although he hasn’t done that on my site. It is really graceful of you not to divulge his name.

    I haven’t seen this behavior and yet I haven’t really been looking to see either. I do look forward to your new plugin but interested in hearing what approach you think will work against this.

    Cheers!

  13. Ben@SEO Horror

    My blog is also a ‘do follow’ blog and spam is a downside. But as you said: “annoying as it is, you’ll also get an increase in traffic: more people reading and commenting on your blog. For me, it’s worth it”

    Same does apply for me, but spam still suck.

  14. RJ@Parrot Bluetooth

    I loved that style of adding a name and then a keyword which can certainly drive genuine traffic indeed! Yes youa re very right a do-follow plug-in does give many rewards to the commentors like us and I feel that some intelligent plug-in such as askimet may help avoid spammer comments.

  15. Chloe@Travel Systems

    Even though u have keyword luv on, i’m sure people will still be leaving spammy comment names also.
    I think keyword luv is good because it does put a bit of a stop to this.
    I think spammy comment names, like people commenting on your blog called ‘Web Design’ or ‘SEO’ is really the pits. Just devalues the blog for other more genuine readers.

  16. peter@Peter Answers

    Great post that should get a lot of people thinking. I wish everyone understood that one can leave a good comment that contributes positively while at the same time using a keyword to benefit them.

    This was a great example because I also do this, to a small degree. I don’t think I have posted using multiple personalities here but I do have them and when I post using one of those personalities, which, yes, are tied to certain keywords, I really am taking a perspective tied to that individual.

    I’m sure it seems very odd, but to me when Peter leaves a comment it is unique from when Lisa does. But maybe that;s just me! No, I am not skitzo, I’m just trying to work the internets.

    Thanks for a great plugin.

  17. Fred@Wachovia Online Banking

    I think that the KeywordLuv plugin is that best thing to sort out spam from legitimate comments. Half of my spam comments has someone trying to be anonymous. Using the keywordluv plugin, I can spot them easily. The other half leave a link in the comment field. This make them easy to spot too.

    As someone who loves to read blogs and is also into SEO, I love dofollow blogs. I can read great blogs, add to the conversation, and still build a link to my site. I think that the keywordluv plugin has solved the problem of anonymous comments. This was my biggest problem with do follow blogs.

  18. Jamie with Las Vegas Pool Service

    I think most people, while being self-serving, still want to help others with their page rank, valuable hits and links. So, even though I may appear to be a “borderline spammer,” I want everyone to succeed. I do read the articles and try to leave a comment that adds to the conversation.

    Plugins may not be a bad idea to help get rid of those only out for themselves. But like you wrote, “It’s worth it” because you get an “increase in traffic: more people reading and commenting on your blog.”

  19. Chris Cox@opsec

    I had pretty good success on my blog when I added the addition validation tool, for keeping out spammers.
    Oddly enough, I had the same tool on my forum, which got spammed! Never did figure that one out.
    I have no problem with someone doing a little bit of self-promotion on my blog or forum, as long as it’s tasteful and in passing, like a sig on a relevant post.

  20. Skip Hire

    I used to have a dofollow blog and I would also get hordes of people called “SEO Utah” and “Web Design Lancaster” stopping over to post drivel. I found the best way to combat this is either delete the comments or remove the link. They seem to get the idea.

    LINK REMOVED: because of failure to use KeywordLuv syntax (name@keywords)

  21. Dinesh B@Busby SEO Challenge

    While the general inclination is to spam do follow blogs, comment spammers are realizing of late that all that this will accomplish is get them akismated. Many smart commentators are now making an attempt to further the post and conversation but rarely have I seen the same commentator have a conversation with himself.

    1. Chris Cox@opsec

      You’re right, Busby. And not only that, it makes the bloggers themselves sick of filtering out the spam and kill the dofollow tag! Actually, that’s how I found this blog- looking for a better way to filter out spam, in case it gets worse.

  22. Larry @ Green

    Just a question…why do you think its bad if someone points their comment link to a non blog website? If someone is going to add a legit comment who cares what category of website it is. I mean I can understand if it was an inappropriate website but it just seems like a non-legitimate beef.

  23. Chelle@Pittsburgh Moving Services

    You are right that it is borderline what is spam and what is not. I currently own 5 blogs, some are for me & my hubby’s business, others are purely just for fun & online blogging pursuits. I just wanted to tell you that I LOVE the keyword luv plug in and I am going to try to push it down every blogger’s throat that I know to start using it. I think it encourages to use a real name, but still gives your readers the “appreciation benefit”…Anyways, you might see me here under a few different sites depending on what I feel like promoting :) But I ALWAYS leave thoughtful and meaningful comments while doing it. And I promise I won’t leave more than one comment w/different sites per post or all at the same time :)

    Looking forward to your future plug-ins :)

  24. lisa@Woodbury Commons

    One plugin I have found useful is the Delink Comment Author Plugin by Alex King.

    Here is the description:

    Adds a link to comment e-mails for you to remove the URL the commentor left. Useful if you want to ditch the comment URL but keep the comment.

    When someone does a leave a really spamming URL and name but their comment is still valid I will remove the link but still post the comment using this plugin.

  25. Michelle@Carpet Fitters

    Hi all, I can totally understand why you want to filter out the spam, why wouldn’t you?? it must be so frustrating for you to receive sooo many comments especially from the guy you mentioned in your post having a conversation with himself using 6 different domains!! I use my keywords in my name when I post on blogs but my site isn’t a blog I just blog for fun and also promote my other half’s business, do you see that as a problem for you?

  26. olly@Semi Acoustic guitars

    This is pretty interesting – I guess ultimately, quality content is what you want to provide your readers, so, if the conversation he was having with himself was valuable then I guess it’s not different to having comments from different people?

    Interesting technique though -

  27. atreyyu@free software downloads

    To make money you need organic traffic, I am not sure that people visiting these sites click on ads, they just go for commenting.

  28. diseño web

    should be great to have connected akimet detection tool so if a IP, email or keyword is used and reported as spam from some blogs moderators that comment (ip, email, so on) shall be removed from every blog using akismet.

  29. David@irish gift

    I think that as long as someone is leaving a sensible comment they should be allowed.

    Obviously spammers have a bad reputation. But there are people who look for links who would not consider themselves as spammers. You can learn a lot from reading a wide variety of blogs and I don’t think that people who genuinely want to enjoy a blog and comment on it should not be allowed a link as a thank you.

    Its people like the guy who had a conversation with himself who annoy me. He has obviously looking for the maximum amount of links with the least possible effort. But I would point out that there are some other [what some would call] spammers who spend a good bit of time reading many blog posts before deciding which ones to comment on.

    1. Chris@opsec training

      I like the way you phrased that, David, and you’re absolutely correct.
      I’m in a niche, myself, and I’m not going for a huge, faceless market. I talk one on one with most of my members, and we develop a pretty good relationship. In this niche, though, they’re also pretty tech savvy. I feel like I would be betraying their trust somehow if I were using unscrupulous methods to get eyeballs or ranking. Someone just might google your URL, and it makes you look bad if you’ve been spamming boards. Like you said, David, that’s why I only reply to messages that I would reply to without a link.
      On a similar note, out of respect for the people that post “real” messages, I try to check out their links as well.

  30. Josh@Cheap Flights

    Hi i came onto your blog to drop my link on a relevant post so i could reap the rewards. But then my morals kicked in when i read this post and i must say it touched me haha!

    Your idea of allowing people to do this is quite visionary. I mean you have attracted a visitor here, no offense here, would probably not have visited your blog. But i must admit i will be visiting again. I share your idealistic views and now plan to make my blog do follow!

    Thank you very much for the very engaging read!

    Josh

  31. Jesse @ Digital Converters

    I think that your keyword luv plugin is great and it makes perfect sense. People want to leave a comment to contribute but at the same time why not get a little link luv right? I think that is what alot of people do and spammers have made things so bad that often people will delete any comment if it uses a keyword.

    You get the benefit of good, keyword rich comments that can help your blog and others get a little link juice and keyword authority for their sites.

    Thank you so much, I love the idea.

  32. Rome@WoW Bot

    I think I know who you are referring to though I’m not really sure. A Make Money Online blogger that was a blackhatter and has a decent following. I also check out his blog if I’m right :)

  33. Rado Hand@Pizza ovens building

    Someone actually did similar thing to me, but used my domain in their comment :) The comments on one of the blogs looked perfectly legitimate though and, it was sort of somebody’s self created conversation on the post page.

    Anyway referring to your article; I don’t know why, however I always had a thought that the owners of the large and busy blogs do not really need to go out there (any more) to post their comments in other blogs. I thought they already have heaps of incoming links with their preferred anchor text as other webmasters talk about their blogs. Well. This is interesting learning for me too. Also I, at times I notice comments with links to diff. sites but the IP is same. You just gave me the idea to check the websites out and perhaps learn from them too, or at least to me informed better :) Thanks.

  34. Shaun Carter

    I recently added the dofollow feature to my blog and will wait and see what happens. I don’t get much commenting, and I’m hoping going dofollow will help bring more readers and commentators, but hopefully not much spamming.

  35. Andrew@ Nike SB

    I actually really like what you’re doing with the YourName@YourKeywords idea. I don’t see many other sites doing that and while it may encourage keyword loading, it’s small steps like that that will cut down on spam in the long run.

  36. Naruto

    Just don’t allow anyone to do multiple comments on one post as will really be a spam comment and alwayz approve the comments if they are relevant. Dofollow blogs really give good traffic so if anyone do spam commenting just delete his comment once and he will never some back

    _________________
    Naruto Ninja

  37. Kev@Auction Deals Blog

    I’d opt for letting him/her having a conversation with themselves if it’s adding something to the thread. I get spam on my blog with nonsense posts, it’s not even dofollow, I wonder why they waste their time.

  38. Marc@Watch Naruto Online

    Spammers don’t seem to be getting any smarter to me. I get around 5-10 spam comments a day and my blog is relatively low traffic. Of course all my comments are moderated but it is annoying. Apparently they take their spam operations as a numbers game figuring atleast some of their spam will get through lol.

  39. Legal Docs

    It is true any one can create a passive income at home,

    its no big deal no a days.
    You can also start off ,getting forms and all kinds of

    legal documents. Its no big deal
    there are a lot opportunities out there and all kinds of

    other affiliate marketing programs out there, so what

    are you waiting for get started.

    LINK REMOVED: because of failure to use KeywordLuv syntax (name@keywords)

  40. artpricejr@art blog

    Perfect! I came to this site through google. I appreciate your plugins and will check the other links in your article. I find keywordluv qiute interesting.

  41. Kiren@Webmaster Blog

    Do follow blogs are catching up and yes there is the risk of spam but I think this technique that you have adopted will make it very effective and also it is more viable.

  42. Peter@latterkonsulent

    I have both a couple of do follow blogs and site that I am trying to promote. So getting some insight on the codes of commenting dofollow blogs is very helpfull. I think that a lot of dofoolow bloggers have very tight restriction on what is spam. I think that by letting peole use their keywords you do get more comment. And also some that people make n effort to write.

    I will definately instal keywordluv on my blogs with teh next round of plugins, good idea

  43. Mark@Irish Gifts

    Sorry that you;ve had a rough time with comment spam. You are using the right tools that “should” keep the true spammers to a minimum. Hopefully others will add enough to the discussion to make it worthwhile.

    Hey – keywordsluv looks like a cool plugin!

  44. Matthew @ Franchise Opportunities

    Comment spam, and all spam is a nightmare but at the same time, leaving keyword rich links shouldn’t really be penalised in my opinion. My site has several areas where people may leave links and so long as they add something of value I am more than happy for them to gain a little bit of link juice from me and of course utilise anchor texts to improve their key phrase rankings. Generally it is fairly easy to sort the wheat from the chaff though. “Nice Blog, Mate” left with a keyword rich link, is obviously comment/link spam and the problem comes when your comments are full of these little niceties which devalue the comment section.

    Perhaps a good plugin could be made to filter out comments with low word counts that contain particular phrases, “Nice Bog” included.

  45. tulsa recording studieos - Tom

    I’ve just started reading your summary for 2008, and was drawn to the article on make money online (spammed by a master) and by the article on problems with the old KeywordLuv.
    I’m glad these problems are being fixed and am setting up the new one for my first blog.
    I’m still stumbling my way through yet, but am avoiding many problems with setting up a blog due to your kind and thoughtful help.
    Thanks for your post, reading your blog is like going to school for bloggers.
    For someone like me, (very new to the industry) you are a GODSEND.
    TOM

    LINK REMOVED: because of failure to use KeywordLuv syntax (name@keywords)

  46. Ariyes

    Hi,

    Its good to read this article about spam!
    From last few days,i kept my days only for reading blogs to gain knowledge!
    Soi hope i have gained some good info about spam!

    thank you!

  47. Jenn@Alpharetta Real Estate

    Stephen the funny thing about spam is that people will spam your site no matter what you do. My real estate blog gets a few spam email a day. I remove the ones to “bad neighborhood sites”, such as gambling, blue pills, etc. I keep mine “do-follow”, due to the fact that I don’t want to penalize the good commenters who desrve a linkd. Thanks for the great articles, I enjoy your blog immensley!

  48. Dinheiro Ja

    Hi,

    I think all dofollow blogs are atacked by spammers … ones more then others, but they all do.

    My blog, for instance, does not have a nofollow atribute on the comments, and i`ve made a post talking about that, and gess wath? The number of comments in my blog get sky rocket.

    Meanwille, i`ve another blog about hardware/software that gets a 100 to 200 comments in each post.

    Keep on going with the good work.
    Cumps,

  49. James @Portsmouth Movers

    I really like the KeywordLuv plugin and think it is the best so far out of the nofollow/dofollow-related plugins. I think people should realize that if they are getting a free backlink in the comments, it is a favor to them from the blog owner and they should not abuse it the way that guy did. It was a good touch on your part to mention the things you learned from this experience – it’s important to always be learning from both the positive and the negative experiences.

  50. Bob@Carpets Aylesbury

    KeywordLUV is great, however not always is there a dofollow. A lot of people do this for SEO efforts and just because it says it is a keywordluv site does not mean that it is a dofollow website!

  51. Mikeal@Page Rank

    Lol, too bad you don’t name the “Master”, I would be curious to know who it is. But yes, I admit myself that I sometimes let comment in some posts I don’t even care, just to get backlinks, but maybe this famous backlinks system is wrong, and it’s maybe also time to find something else. Something who would not encourage Spam. But the question is “What ?”

  52. Hanna @ Secret Cash Blueprint Review

    My experience in life tells me that there will always be cheaters who will outsmart any measures taken against them.
    My experience as a blogger tells me that spammers (cheaters of the Internet) will continue to flock into system.
    Such is life!

  53. John Anderson

    Hmmm yes. Just so fantastically awesome that Stephen is going to get cracking and push out this wonderful little plugin in the next couple of months.

    Oh is it really January 2013 already? oops. where did the time disappear too?

    quite likely someone else has gotten around to this by now.

    LOL.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Anti-Spam Quiz: