While working on my previous blog post I noticed I had a large number of comments (over 500) waiting for approval. When I looked a bit closer, the comments were all on one blog post. That either meant my blog post had suddenly become very popular and everyone wanted to join in and leave their opinions, or it was all spam. No prizes for guessing (it was all spam).
So why had this post received so many spam comments? What are the spammers hoping to achieve? Do I need to worry about it? How can I stop it happening again?
As to why this post received so many spam comments, I don’t know. It’s not a particularly popular post. My guess is it happened quite by chance – a spambot found a post it could leave comments on and it did (a lot of them).
Most of the comments contain lots of links to various drug websites. So it is clear the spammers want to create lots of links to websites (may be they are being paid to create a certain number of links?). But it is so obvious that these comments are spam that no one who looks at them will approve them, so surely they will never be published? That is, unless people approve comments without reading them, or WordPress is setup to publish comments without them being approved (is that even possible?) I’m certain it doesn’t happen by default, but I’ve just had a look at my WordPress settings and it looks like it would be possible.
Do I need to worry about these comments? As long as these spam comments don’t get approved and are never published, I don’t think there is a reason to worry about them. I guess you could argue they are taking space on the server and may be slowing down WordPress a tiny bit, but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about, just a bit annoying having to delete them.
There are various approaches to preventing spam, you could use a plugin, or review your settings in WordPress for a more organic approach (see You Don’t Need Any Plugins to Stop Comment Spam)
So, in summary, I guess there must be some sites that publish comments automatically without approval and it must be these sites that drive the posting of spam comments. If all sites had an approval process surely spam comments (or at least obvious spam comments) would be a thing of the past? So, should the automatic approval of comments by WordPress be made impossible? Let me know in the comments (no spam please!)