We see them all the time, in the comment sections of Youtube videos, on Facebook posts and in our emails, comment spam. But exactly how effective are these comment spams and would people actually click on the obviously fake links?
In the past spam was pretty much limited to only emails, and we found ways block and ignore them. But then social media grew larger, and the spammers got smarter and now just by watching videos or looking at Facebook posts we’re bombarded by spam comments.
I’d say there are two main forms of comment spam, The Chain Comment Spam and The Link Comment Spam. The first is just annoying and mostly harmless, it makes you groan and wonder who could possibly fall for that, or why people even bother copy and pasting it. The second is potentially more harmful, while more aware people would roll their eyes, the links in these comments can lead to either harmful viruses or scams.
So how effective is comment spam?
Like with email spam, we all presume ourselves to be smart and aware enough to not press those links. However, not everyone is aware, such as children, elderly folk or those more naïve, and this is where most of their activity comes from. Spam has such a low cost thus needing less money than other forms marketing, allowing more to spread at a faster rate. These factors make spam scarily effective and comment spam is much more effective.
The advent of social media means that more people can see one spam comment on a popular YouTube Video or Facebook thread. These spam comments can be spread much further and more efficiently than email spam. Rather than spam companies buying a list of consumer emails and spending an email to everyone, spam bots can write on pre-determined message on hundreds of thousands of emails in a second and far expanding their reach and damage.
This article from Adweek shows, exactly how much more effective Facebook spam is in comparison to regular email spam. And as our lives become more and more connected and integrated to the internet, the danger of spam becomes more and more evident.
So what are businesses and brands doing about the comment spam?
Well, not much.
Many places have algorithms or plug-ins to help deal with spam, like Youtube, Facebook and even WordPress. Click one each website name to see their spam prevention methods, the general gist is that they have an algorithm that can detect spam and remove it from our view. But it’s clearly not enough, every Facebook post and every Youtube video still has those annoying spam comments and they never seem to stop. In fact, spammers have found ways to bypass these algorithms as detailed in this post.
In fact, while they do have some spam preventative measures, it seems that their main form of spam detection and prevention is through us the users reporting them. But how many people do mark and report spam? The fact that it’s the users job to prevent themselves from spam feels wrong, the website host should be the one that stops all spam comments before it reaches the users eyes. After all, just one person seeing it can mean a click for the spam businesses.
Here’s an article that shows how we should be using Facebook to market rather than just comment spamming.
Additionally, while the ACMA spam act is quite harsh against emails, MMS and text messages, the laws against comment spamming is a lot less detailed or harsh, which makes it all the more dangerous and necessary to stop comment spam.
So how do you all deal with spam comments, do you just ignore them and hope someone else will take care of it? And what can websites do to prevent these spam comments more effectively than we currently do?
As always comment below and I’ll see you all next week.
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