Every website should implement a series of measures to protect itself from spam. Spam is the unsolicited messaging of communications systems and websites commonly understood as junk mail. There is a large industry and extensive culture of using the internet to manipulatively advertise products or messages.
Instating spam filtering services on your website will ensure that spam is removed from your comments section or your contact form automatically. WordPress has special features set up to filter blog comment and pingback spam which uses algorithms to identify unsolicited interactions from known databases of spam offenders.
The algorithms which are used to protect websites uses information drawn from networked websites that, as soon as it has identified a new form of spam content, it will be filtered across the network. This service is invaluable and is one of the core security features of a website keeping it from being abused by spam tactics.
Blog comment spam and pingback spam are two contributors to website spam. As a practice it amounts to using other websites to illegitimately advertise another website. Spamming is so prevalent because the advertisers have low operating costs beyond managing mailing lists, the servers they use, and domain names and the fact that it is typically impractical to hold spammers accountable for their uninvited mass mailings.
Anti-spam laws have been formulated in various jurisdictions of the world and organisations such as The Spamhaus https://www.spamhaus.org/ have long been involved in targeting “verified spam sources (including spammers, spam gangs and spam support services)”. An example of legislation brought in to counteract such practices is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which regulates in the European Union on data protection and the rights of privacy for all individuals.
Comment spam is done by posting comments which add no value to the blog or website and adding links that point back to the spammer’s website. This is often done by bots which rove the internet automatically attempting to perform this task on any website which accepts and displays hyperlinks.
A common reason is that the spammers are hired by unsuspecting website owners to improve the standing of their website in Search Engine Rankings. The extensive industry of selling ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ is overlaid with these illegitimate (blackhat) techniques of artificially boosting the Search Engine Profile of a given website.
The lure of having a website listed ahead of other competing sites should be avoided. This kind of ‘backlinking’ strategy will ultimately get the website penalised by the search engines as it is looked badly on by the legitimate providers of services and the infrastructure of the internet. Google Penguin algorithm was specially designed and implemented to decrease the Search Engine Ranking of websites which violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines involved in increasing the ranking of a page by manipulating the number of links pointing to it.
On high traffic websites the proportion of spam comments can be over 80% where only one in five comments is legitimate. Anti spam measures are not just time saving but also preserve the Search Engine Profile of the website because having lots of hyperlinks leading from your website to unrelated websites reflects negatively in terms of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Anti spam measures can be configured in various ways to suit the context. Each website will have a different requirement according to its function. For example, a website which is opinion sharing amongst a community may require features which a display website for a shop may not. Whatever your needs they can be met with well tested, established technologies.
Topics and Features which this intersects with include:
Search Engine Optimisation
Trackback and pingback spam
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