Grading our Spam Comments

I have been wanting to write this article for a while. It’s silly really. Our blog gets a lot of spam. I usually browse through it once a week or so, just in case someone we actually know has been flagged as spam. It happened only once, but now I look just in case.

The different trends for spam comments amuse me. I decided to save up 100 spam comments and evaluate them based on type and decide who I believe has the best overall spam comments. I based this on how well they are written, not just on frequency.

I find that I am developing a palette for what I believe is a good spam comment. It should be short, politely vague and slightly complimentary. It should take into account the title of the post it is spamming, or what I call “content matching.” Two months ago I had several that copied the title of the post back into the spam comment. I thought that took a little extra effort and decided that I liked that in my spam comments. I believe that if I’m to receive a falsely complimentary spam comment, that it should be based on at least one tangible quality, i.e. well written, helpful, etc. I also believe that quality spam comments should be original or unique, not just the same copied and pasted content from last month. Good spam comments should also be proofread before the submit button is clicked. But above all, quality spam comments should use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. No “text talk” types of spelling such UR (you are) or IDK (I don’t know). So with my new style guide firmly in mind, I began reviewing my most recent 100 spam comments.

The winner was ClubTickets. They write the most literate comments, each one is different and they are short, vague comments. I appreciate that they are not multiple paragraphs of links to other sites. Here are some of the better comments received from ClubTickets and a couple notables of the 100 reviewed. I graded them . . . because I could.

From Liz: “Hello, just wanted to mention, I loved this blog post. It was helpful. Keep on posting.” [posted to Carcassonne: Oenovideo Film Festival and Terroirs d’Images Photo Exhibition]

Helpful for what Liz? Your comment is a little too vague. You get an A- for your spam comment. Just a few points off for punctuation and content. “Hello, just wanted to mention, I loved this blog post,” is not one sentence.

From Jordan: “Let me know if you are looking for a writer for your blog. I think I have much to offer. Spark off an e-mail if you’re interested.” [posted to: Carcassonne: Oenovideo Film Festival and Terroirs d’Images Photo Exhibition]

Sure thing Jordan, we definitely need a guest writer for posts about events we attend personally. You get a B, didn’t quite nail the content for that comment, dude. An e-mail is sent off, not sparked off. Colloquially you can also “shoot” someone an e-mail, if you must. Congrats on using “you are” instead of making the common you’re/your mistake. I gave extra credit for using it properly.

From Bridgett: “I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later on. Cheers” [posted to Carcassonne: Oenovideo Film Festival and Terroirs d’Images Photo Exhibition]

Oh, please do, Bridgett we so look forward to your spam comments. You get an A-. Your first sentence is clunky but you made a nice effort. “. . . online reader to be honest, but your “blog is” really nice. Keep it up!” Well done though, politely vague and not filled with loads of unwanted spam links. A real pleasure to read. Be sure to watch your punctuation. Remember, commas are our friends.

From Alberto: “Hi, i think that i noticed you visited my site so i came to go back the want?. I’m attempting to find things to improve my web site! I assume its adequate to make use of a few of your concepts!! [posted to Carcassonne: Oenovideo Film Festival and Terroirs d’Images Photo Exhibition]

Sorry Alberto, you get a D. “… go back the want?” is not a question and “I” should always be capitalized. Nice try but you and I both know that I didn’t visit your site. You cannot fool me into thinking that I’m wrong. Remember the name of the game is to get me to “approve” your comment so that you can spam all of our subscribers. You are trying to hard. Relax and try a different approach. 

From tickets: “Heya! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the outstanding work!” [posted to: Carcassonne: La Fête Nationale Fireworks (Bastille Day)]

Nameless ticket dude, thank you very much. We work hard to impress spammers like you. However, you get an F. While I appreciate the comment, you didn’t include your name on your spam comment. You must include a name to be taken seriously as a spam commenter. You have forgotten that capitalization is important, just check out Alberto’s grade. And, worst of all, you are playing with your phone and spamming people while at work, shame on you.

From Kathleen: “This is the right webpage for anybody who would like to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic which has been written about for a long time. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!” [posted to: Carcassonne: Adam and Liz Exploring la Cité de Carcassonne and Canal du Midi]

Thank you Kathleen, we appreciate your vote of confidence on how much we understand. However, you still get a D. Content is key Kathleen, there wasn’t an argument to be made in our post. The post was about Adam and Liz exploring town, just some photos of the four of us having a good time. Not a topic that has been written about for a long time. Content matching is high on my list for quality spam commenters. Better luck next time.

From Blair: “I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one today.” [posted to: Carcassonne: Adam and Liz Exploring la Cité de Carcassonne and Canal du Midi]

Thank you, Blair. I don’t believe our writing skills are all that impressive, but I appreciate the sentiment. You get an B+. “… writing skills, as well as, the layout” don’t forget about punctuation. “. . . excellent, quality writing” make sure to separate your adverbs with commas!

By the way, the blog’s theme is noted at the bottom of the web page. The theme is Delicious, and it is both a paid theme and modified.

From Gertie: “I believe that is among the such a lot significant information for me. And i am satisfied studying your article. However want to statement on some common things, The web site style is great, the articles is actually excellent :D. Excellent process, cheers” [posted to: Carcassonne: Oenovideo Film Festival and Terroirs d’Images Photo Exhibition]

Thank you so much, Gertie. We work very hard to post significant information, though I doubt it was necessary to study a post about an annual film festival. Nice use of the capital D smiley face. Happy to read that you find our process and articles excellent. However, you get a D. “I believe that is among the such a lot significant information for me” is not a real sentence. Articles (plural) “are” excellent. “I” should always be capitalized. A person can comment on something or can make a statement. Someone does not statement on something. A little focus is needed Gertie. I’m sure you’ll do better next time. Cheers.

From Bradford: “Good blog you have here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours these days. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!” [posted to: Carcassonne: La Fête Nationale Fireworks (Bastille Day)]

I believe that there is plenty of quality writing available online but we appreciate the thought. You get an A-.  A slight punctuation issue: only one period necessary at the end of a sentence. Overall, your comment was nicely written. Polite, but vague as one would expect of a good spam comment. In the future, however, a little proof reading will earn you a better grade.

From Leta: “I’ve learn some excellent stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much attempt you put to create any such magnificent informative site.” [posted to: Carcassonne: La Fête Nationale Fireworks (Bastille Day)]

Leta, Leta, Leta. You “learned” excellent stuff. There is no such thing as “price bookmarking.” And your last sentence makes no sense at all dear. You get an F. I think you should ask Bradford to tutor you.

From Todd Fields: “Fastidious answers in return of this matter with solid arguments and telling everything regarding that.” Todd’s e-mail: nanowrimo.org/participants/toddfieldlosangeles4570 [posted to: Finding our Rhythm | Days 20 to 26]

Todd, epic fail my friend. The blog post you commented on was about our sojourn into Spain for six weeks on the Camino de Santiago de Compostella. There were no fastidious answers or solid arguments. We did tell “everything” regarding our journey; long and drawn-out as it was. I am surprised that you were so off-base with your spam comment considering that your e-mail address suggests that you are an aspiring writer. You get a D. Vague and polite but completely off-topic.

The following two spam commenters received special awards.

Most AP Style Guide aligned: SEO Spam Commenter, Otis From Otis: “Nice blog right here! Additionally your site lots up fast! What web host are you the use of? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink on your host? I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol” [posted to: Camino de Santiago Preparations – Equipment Lists]

Polite, vague and short – the three things I appreciate in good spam comments. It was a solid effort, Otis, but there are still a few issues. A website “loads” up. Someone “uses a web host.” Asking for someone’s affiliate hyperlink is just a bit too personal for a first spam comment.

In addition, you happened to spam comment one of our highest spammed blog posts. I deducted a few points because you are not being innovative with your search technique.

However, I would also like to congratulate you on proper use of “website.” For many years the Associated Press Style Guide gave the option to use “website” as either one word or two, but in 2010 they made a definitive ruling that it is one word. You did receive extra credit for this as none of the others who used the word had used it correctly. And because I have a strong affinity for the AP Style Guide. It was my style guide of choice for 18 years while working in a college marketing and public relations office.

Though not as well written as some of the others, you get a B+ for being the first to use “website” correctly. Good job, Otis!

Most Incredibly Vague: Mary Ellen Flemming From Mary Ellen Flemming: “This piece of writing gives clear idea designed for the new people of blogging, that really how to do running a blog.” [posted to: Camino de Santiago Preparations – Equipment Lists]

Thank you for the feedback, Mary Ellen. I am giving you a nice, solid D. Polite and vague are appreciated in spam comments, but I’m afraid I can’t just let you off on some problematic language issues. A piece of writing doesn’t “give,” the writer “gives,” a clear idea.

Additionally, your comment was completely off-topic, the post was about our preparation and equipment for the Camino de Santiago. It was not designed for “the new people of blogging.” Nor was it “intended” for “people new to blogging,” which would have been a better way to make that statement.

I also need to add here, Mary Ellen, that the product with which you were trying to spam me was completely vague. I could not discern what you were trying to sell me, not even in general terms. The idea is to bait me into approving your comment so that you can spam all of our subscribers. 

I fear that you will not do well as a spam commenter if you are not a little more focused on selling the product. Perhaps you are too nice to be a spam commenter. Whatever future career choice you make, I’ll be cheering for you!

 Spam Breakdown

Top commenter: ClubTickets 12 spam comments in a three-week period. ClubTickets’ spam comments are also the most well written of all those received. They are short, vague and easy to delete, no scrolling for long minutes to find the bottom where the Delete Permanently button lives. I appreciate that there is some minimal effort put into making their spam comments the least annoying.

The following comments are listed by volume and category.

SEO – 10, one of which was obviously typed on a Cyrillic keyboard (SEO stands for Search Engine Optimizer, key words that a search engine uses to find your site)

Shoes – 9, Christian Louboutin spammers were first with 5 spam comments

Women’s Clothing – 8, Karen Millen spammers were first with 4 spam comments

Vegas Show Tickets – 6

Purses – 5, Louis Vuitton spammers were first with 2 spam comments

Cosmetics – 4, Mac and Sephora spammes were tied with 2 spam comments each

Sunglasses – 3, Oakley spammers were first with 2 spam comments

Payday loans – 2

Jewelry – 2, both spam comments from Tiffany

Weight Loss – 2

We received only one spam comment for each of the following (in no particular order)

Woodworking Plans – at least it’s a new idea

Carpet Cleaning in the LA/Santa Monica area – guess they didn’t read the post they were spamming!

Clarisonic Ideals – don’t even know what this is really

Reverse Phone Lookup – blah, blah, blah

Payday Loans/Pizza – yep actually received this mash up spam comment. My personal favorite and Winner of the Best Mash-Up Award!

Multiple links – 19 paragraphs of text that barely resembled the English language; a total of 28 different links. Winner of the Multitasking Award!

Escorts – old school, was surprised they weren’t selling viagra with it as a mash-up marketing ploy

French Porn – thanks to my new neighbors, you’re getting to know me so well . . . not!

Chocolate – has potential, was even French chocolate

Cellulite – been done before

Detroit Lions Jerseys – didn’t realize the Lions were so hard up for fans

Cosmopolitan Magazine – tacky, especially for a fashion magazine

Body Power Express – never heard of it

Maps – yes, just generic paper maps, interesting marketing idea but doesn’t everyone have Google Maps on their smartphones?

Internet Marketing – Really! A vague, broad spectrum spam comment with a link to an even more vague website. And they want to sell marketing to me . . . hehehe! Winner of the Most Ironic Award!

Online Gaming – lovely idea, selling online gaming to a former Nevadan. Brilliant marketing ploy! Winner of the Mapes Award! For those who are not from the Reno area, the Mapes was the Grand Dame of Virginia Street Casinos. She closed in the 90s and was demolished to clear the way for development in the downtown corridor. 

In the too vague to realize what they were selling category – 5 I was unable to decipher 12 comments as they were not in English nor did the e-mail address give me any identifying information for their content.

We received 4 in German, 4 in French and 2 in a logographic (i.e. pictographic/ideographic) language – 2

Hope you enjoyed reading my review of the last 100 spam comments we’ve received. Cheers!

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