Like many organisations, we appreciate the huge impact social media is having on the way people communicate and do business and feel its influence is only set to widen in the future. We feel that a long term strategy of engaging with people directly and forging relationships with them will be the most effective way of building our brand, discovering the needs of the marketplace and ultimately doing great business with lots of different people and organisations.

As a result of this strategy we have put a lot of effort into our blog to make it the centre of our social interactions. All the directors have contributed towards it by writing posts on news, information, technical explanations and the occasional rant for good measure! The blog has helped us to connect with people across various social media and has led to some great e-mails and telephone calls from people all over the world. We have also had some excellent comments from our blog readers who have added expert analysis, info and opinions to our posts.

All these interactions are, of course, great news to us and exactly what we are looking to achieve from the blog. We always welcome comments, discussions and opinions on anything to do with our business and love to hear from as many people as possible…

Actually, that’s just not true, I am lying. There is a certain group who I don’t ever want to hear from. Their opinions will never be important to us and only cause irritation. In fact I hate hearing from them so much that any of their comments get deleted (no matter what the content) before ever hitting our blog. These people are, of course, Spammers.

(Spam: Irritating)

The term “Spamming” is thought to be derived from a Monthy Python sketch in the 70’s where a group of Vikings order from a menu in a café by continually demanding Spam (canned meat variety) and not allowing the waiter to get a word in. They kept repeating and repeating it much to the annoyance of the waiter and the term “Spamming” was born. (All true and too odd to be made up! Thanks for the info)

In its electronic form “Spam” covers a huge range of items and includes unsolicited bulk e-mails, unsolicited social networking posts and the most irritating for me, blog comment spam.

Every week we receive around 75 junk blog comments from a wide variety of robot sources commenting on an even wider variety of topics. We have it all from Viagra sales to African lotteries and then back to cruder methods of penis enlargement. I have held back from adding content moderating software as I think it might discourage “real people” to post on our blog, but after deleting 23 spam posts this morning I have decided enough is enough!

I think there are a number of options available that could save our blog from the onslaught of global Spammers but each comes with pros and cons.

Add CAPATCHA software

Adding this software to our blog posts would mean users wanting to add a comment would have to re type a series of distorted letters and numbers to prove that they are a human and not an automated visitor. This is great as it stops Spammers but I find these things really irritating as they are often so complex and hard to read that I (a human being!) can’t read them!

("Simply enter the following CAPATCHA code...")

Getting people to “Log-In” to our site before they can add a comment

Asking people to register manually before allowing them access to posting would definitely route out any robot controlled Spam machine. However, it may well stop genuine people posting comments as it’s another barrier and e-mail and password combination to remember (and then forget for next time) before they can interact with us.

Use specialist software such as “Akismet”

Akismet is a blog comment software that comes highly recommended on a number of blogs. It identifies comments that look like Spam and stops them being posted to the blog while also allowing what it deems to be legitimate comments through the net and onto your posts. The pro side of this is that users don’t have to jump through any hoops to add comments but the con is that not all Spam can ever be removed.

In conclusion it is pretty clear that our manual comment moderation method is not working. It is working in the sense no Spam comments ever get on our blog but not working because it is driving me slowly insane as I have to go through 75 emails of Spam comments per week! Having looked at the various options, it seems the speciality software route led by Akismet looks like the best option.

I am keen to experiment with this in the coming weeks in my quest to defeat the Spammers! I know many of you will have blogs of your own and I would love to hear the methods you are using to combat comment Spam. If you have any tips or tricks please give me a call or an e-mail, or better still, comment below (but keep the news of my African lottery win for another time!).

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Simon Malone