Editting Spam comments, Is there any benefit ,is it Ethical.

25 replies
I just realized that on wordpress one can edit Spam comments and make them say what ever you want.

I have not done this, but on one of the Blogs that I set up I have recently received over 20 spam comments a day.

It got me thinking if I changed these to something relevant and using Keywords that help my end goal, may that would deter spammers.

I just wanted to know your thoughts anyone doing this, does it add any benefit, and what are your thoughts on the ethics?

I was always told two wrongs do not make a right,but there are often times that my gut feel is, it is the only way to make things right.
#benefit #comments #editting #ethical #spam
  • Profile picture of the author Roland Hop
    Well, alot of the time those spammy comments are also linked to spammy sites. So even if you do edit the spam comment to make it say something else, it would still be linking to their site from yours. At this point I would say, what exactly is the point of spending my time to make their comments look legit only to give them the upper hand and still link to them from my site. On the other hand, if you would remove the link from their spam coment, what would be the point in editing their comment in the first place?
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    • Profile picture of the author Alfred Shelver
      Roland that is part of my point, not only can you edit the comments but also change their links.... The only thing that stays is their names. Often these spammers use legitimate sounding names hoping to get through, so It would look really good if you have your own links great content and your site looks like it is a hub of activity.

      Originally Posted by Roland Hop View Post

      Well, alot of the time those spammy comments are also linked to spammy sites. So even if you do edit the spam comment to make it say something else, it would still be linking to their site from yours. At this point I would say, what exactly is the point of spending my time to make their comments look legit only to give them the upper hand and still link to them from my site. On the other hand, if you would remove the link from their spam comment, what would be the point in editing their comment in the first place?
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      • Profile picture of the author Roland Hop
        Originally Posted by Cathy Shelver View Post

        Roland that is part of my point, not only can you edit the comments but also change their links.... The only thing that stays is their names. Often these spammers use legitimate sounding names hoping to get through, so It would look really good if you have your own links great content and your site looks like it is a hub of activity.
        Hmm, I can see what you mean by creating activity. But why not make it more of a social media by adding the Facebook Comments for wordpress plugin? It seems like editing those comments would take a lot more work than i'm willing to put in.:p Also that way they already have to be signed into facebook in order to comment on your blog. Plus it will create extra publicity.
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      • Profile picture of the author sanssecret
        Cathy, I have changed comments on a few of my sites. I figured the commenters (spammers) don't care about my site, so why should I care about their spam.

        The only problem is that your spam blocker then figures that spam is ok and so more and more of the stuff gets through. It became a constant battle that I had no chance of winning so I gave it up.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alfred Shelver
          Thank you,

          That is exactly the type of info I was wanting before I make all the same mistakes. I have to approve all comments right now so I won't have the same problem, but it still may not be worth it in the long run.


          Originally Posted by sanssecret View Post

          Cathy, I have changed comments on a few of my sites. I figured the commenters (spammers) don't care about my site, so why should I care about their spam.

          The only problem is that your spam blocker then figures that spam is ok and so more and more of the stuff gets through. It became a constant battle that I had no chance of winning so I gave it up.
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          • Profile picture of the author sanssecret
            Originally Posted by Cathy Shelver View Post

            Thank you,

            That is exactly the type of info I was wanting before I make all the same mistakes. I have to approve all comments right now so I won't have the same problem, but it still may not be worth it in the long run.
            I have mine set to approve too. Trouble is, once you start approving spam, they bypass the filter and end up in the 'pending' instead of the spam box.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Cathy, it's your site. You're under no obligation to leave their spam intact. Many, if not most of those spam comments, came from people who didn't even visit your site. Their bot did.
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  • Profile picture of the author rickfrazier1
    I personally don't see any real benefit to modifying spam comments to provide keywords and such, it is usually pretty obvious when a blog owner is doing this. If one were gonna do this, they might just as well create fake comments that promote the product too (not that I think anyone actually has done this.... nor ever created their own reccomendations... nah, wouldn't happen)

    If a site has decent SEO to begin with, I wouldn't expect the additional keywords to help all that much.

    I look at seeing these spam comments coming in as positive evidence that I'm getting someone's attention. Now the problem is to convert the spammers into customers or newsletter opt-ins...

    I've found that just deleting the links and leaving any relevant content in place works, I'll leave their name in place but put [Spam link deleted] or some such where the link was. After a few of these, I find the number of new spam attempts drops off considerably.

    I've set my blogs to require approval of the comments. Yes it is a bit more work, but gives me the option to approve or delete as is appropriate. By setting them to approve-only, if you aren't looking at your site every few hours, you don't have to worry someone is gonna slip something nasty in.
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    • Profile picture of the author AnitaCross
      Originally Posted by rickfrazier1 View Post

      I've found that just deleting the links and leaving any relevant content in place works, I'll leave their name in place but put [Spam link deleted] or some such where the link was. After a few of these, I find the number of new spam attempts drops off considerably.
      I've got mine set up to moderate all comments, then just delete the spam. I like your idea, though Rick. Although I don't think I've gotten even one spam comment that had any relevant content!

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  • Profile picture of the author YoichiSpeaks
    Thats a pretty good idea to counter act spammers and spam comments
    but
    I would just delete those spam comments. I will not encourage spammers to keep spamming peoples blog.
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  • Profile picture of the author Summer1
    I edited mine, if the spammer is clearly not a spam bot.

    To see the difference between real commenters and spambots, you can try gasp (growmap plugin)

    You will see 0 spam bot comments.
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    I have done it on one site as a test.

    It was recommended to me recently. The site where I did it does not sell a product, but is now an inactive domain that I am thinking about repurposing.

    I changed their comments to reflect the content in the post, and changed the links to a page where I would like to see links pointing.

    It is too early for me to comment on the value of the technique.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alfred Shelver
      I would be interested to see you findings Bill.

      I thought you out of anyone would have used every SEO trick in the book so it would be great to know if you can see any benefit.


      Originally Posted by tpw View Post

      I have done it on one site as a test.

      It was recommended to me recently. The site where I did it does not sell a product, but is now an inactive domain that I am thinking about repurposing.

      I changed their comments to reflect the content in the post, and changed the links to a page where I would like to see links pointing.

      It is too early for me to comment on the value of the technique.
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      • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
        Hi Cathy,

        I tend to do this on newer blogs where the legendary Akismet still lets a load of spam through.

        From an SEO perspective when I change the comments, I haven't seen any benefits but the comments look much nicer.

        Link wise I've pointed them to similar sites I own. One blog I own pointing to another site I own on the same subject isn't going to have a negative affect.

        The point is on a young blog it looks like I'm getting a nice amount of activity so you could say it's immoral in the sense genuine visitors think there is more activity than there is.

        From my point of view though the spammer is immoral anyway and a waste of my time and it's for this reason do it, you see the one effect I have noticed is spam comments actually dropping. The robots and automated spam continue but the individuals soon realise they get nothing out of it. I don't do it to all of the comments and don't waste a great deal of time over it but I do like the thought that a spammer is sitting there, somewhere, realising he/she's just done me a favour.
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    • Profile picture of the author wtatlas
      Originally Posted by tpw View Post

      I have done it on one site as a test.

      It was recommended to me recently. The site where I did it does not sell a product, but is now an inactive domain that I am thinking about repurposing.

      I changed their comments to reflect the content in the post, and changed the links to a page where I would like to see links pointing.

      It is too early for me to comment on the value of the technique.
      I have done exactly the same as Bill and am monitoring the results, if any.
      It doesn't take very long to do and you don't have to edit every spam comment if you receive a lot of them. Just change as many as you have the time or inclination for.

      As far as the ethics are concerned, the way I see it is that someone has inconvenienced me by putting a spam comment on my blog and I am turning that inconvenience into a benefit.
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  • Profile picture of the author Billy Rey
    just change it. Its your blog. Doesnt really matter

    The important one to change it the email.
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  • Profile picture of the author hastla
    Very good interesting spot - converting spam comments to real ones. Hmmm.... Changing to your own fit would be time consuming as well. Maybe some intelligent bloggers will make an plugin for wp what mixes the sentences with synonyms and prepare it for own predefined projects (keywords, links, randomized names, ....) - so in my opinion it can be very usefull when having an auto method, that only need small edits or just publish it as OK.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alfred Shelver
    The one thing I am taking from this is that many experineced guys are trying it, but have not had time to fully test it and Pauls comments above make me realize that URL's might have some future benefit.

    I am glad that no one thinks it is a massive Ethical dilema if done properly.
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  • Profile picture of the author paul wolfe
    Cathy

    I did it once - someone left me a reasonable comment, but with a horrible spammy link (some kind of viagra type site). So I approved the comment - and answered it - but I deleted their link.


    Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author Alfred Shelver
    Just thought I would do one last bump during American hours see if I can see anyone with more definitive results
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      It's faster to delete than to edit. So, delete them.

      In my opinion, the time you'd spend editing them is better spent creating content or generating traffic. If you create content and get traffic, you're going to get real users leaving real comments that are relevant and helpful.

      Wasting time trying to figure out what to do with spam besides delete it is counterproductive in my view.
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  • Profile picture of the author TelexTape
    I have changed some of mine.

    Check to make sure that your theme does not show the ip address in your source code. I've have seen a few that do. Those IP's might be considered from a bad neighborhood and could reflect poorly on your site if there are many of them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim Franklin
    I would say that yes, if someone comes along and posts on my webmaster technology website, and links to a mortgage, or refi site, I do not feel a bit of guilt, in fact I have done it before, and believe it or not one time this guy posted another message complaining that I changed his spammy links, it was sort of funny,

    But all jokes aside for a second, comments, can be edited and done with as you please, most of the time I just delete them if they do not fit in more so with drug type stuff, but there are a few that I will let in then just delete it right away, (you get a ping back that way) but no lasting association, and there are a few that I let stand, if the link and post fit in, with the website content, I dont mind it, its just those that do stuff like,

    ( I am verily impressed with the posting upon your website) with a link to a viagra site, that stuff is just trashed, from the get go.

    Interesting post,

    Originally Posted by Cathy Shelver View Post

    I just realized that on wordpress one can edit Spam comments and make them say what ever you want.

    I have not done this, but on one of the Blogs that I set up I have recently received over 20 spam comments a day.

    It got me thinking if I changed these to something relevant and using Keywords that help my end goal, may that would deter spammers.

    I just wanted to know your thoughts anyone doing this, does it add any benefit, and what are your thoughts on the ethics?

    I was always told two wrongs do not make a right,but there are often times that my gut feel is, it is the only way to make things right.
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    • Profile picture of the author sonic74
      Recently I got hundreds of spam comments (viagra related) on one of my blogs.....

      Too much time consuming to edit all links I just deleted !

      But I noticed that the traffic was rapidly increased due to spam comments.... !
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