Thursday, June 05, 2008

Random Rant on Links In Comments

You can tell if it's a real link or not without clicking on it. All you have to do is hover your curser over it, and the URL displays on the bottom panel of your screen (providing you are using WindowsXP... if you have something other than WindowsXP, than I don't think that'll work). If the URL is a blog site such as Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal, etc. than it's most likely a real blogger and a real link. Also, Squidoo, MySpace, FaceBook, and FreeWebs, URLs are likely to be real links as well. If you hover over it and it is a random mess (looking something like this: XFDSJMRT4CV KHL5ttyDCK&B66T0F), than you know right away it's going to head to either Porn or medication. Sites not ending in .com, .org, or .ca are all warning signs too.

It's very rare that you'll ever get a REAL comment from a REAL blogger (as opposed to a spambot) which contains a link though. Usually when you do it'll read something like this:

    I loved your blog, especially your post about your views of dog leash laws. I've written a post about my own views on my blog as well (here is the URL if you want to check it out: www,url,com). I've added your blog to my blog roll. Keep up the good work!

Usually posts like that one are the only ones you'll ever get with a link, that actually go to a real link and not spam. Another one that is common would read like this:

    I was just reading your post about Japanese Embroidery and noticed you added several links to sites for more resources on this subject. Here is one that I thought you might want to add to your list: www,url,com. It includes some really great photos of antique embroideries, and your readers should find it really helpful.

In both of the examples above the reader, is a genuine reader of the blog and they are genuinely trying to help you out. However, blog readers who leave comments like this are rather rare, so while you may get 2 or 3 comments like these each year, you are more likely to get bogged down with spam link comments instead, which is sad really.

On my WordPress blogs, link comments are a nightmare. My biggest blog had 51,000 of them sent to it in 2007 alone. Of those 51,000 comments, I approved less than 40 of them, because all the rest were spam, filled with nothing but lots of links, mostly to porn or medication sites.

The problem occurs occasionally on my MySpace blogs, but not too often.

On my Blogger blogs, however I have yet to ever have a spam comment sent to me. Not a single one since 2004, and I have 7 blogs with Blogger, two of which are pretty big.

I like Blogger best because they clearly have the best spam filters in place. I wonder though, how many non-spam comments does Blogger filter out along with the spam ones?

Another concern is that the site that the link is pointing to can be changed at any time. So it might look legit, and then the owner changes it. That usually only happens on paid blogs with a domain name rather than a free hosted blog. It happens when the owner doesn't make payment on their domain name, say, they paid for 6 months, but than 7 months go by and they don't pay for any more time, so the domain name goes up for sale and next thing you know some spammer has bought it, and the person who bought it (not the original owner who sent you the link) is the one who changes it to a porn site. It is for this reason that on my blogs, I'll approve a link ending in or, but deny one ending in somebody' The free hosted blogs are likely to still be there 5 years down the road, but the domain name one, it'll be gone in 6 months.

What's your take on this? I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post. Leave a comment and share your views!

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