While approving comments for a WordPress blog I came across some comments that were clearly spam, but that were not so easily identified as spam at first glance. These comments almost snookered me, a seasoned WordPress user and comment analyzer, so I thought it might be a good idea to issue a warning. If you are a blogger, check your comments carefully.
The comments in question appeared to be harmless. They were carefully crafted comments that specifically addressed the posts on which they were made. They were completely indistinguishable from bona fide comments – the kind of blog comments I like to get. They were customized just for a specific blog post, unlike most spam which is bot generated and generic.
The problem with these comments, however, was that they would lead my readers to porn sites if I approved them. But not just any old smut city porn shop. I’m talking more subtle than that.
The URLs for these sites were girls’ names. Names like CandySummers.com, ElisaFerris.com, or PamelaReicher.com. You get the drift, I’m sure. By the way, I made those URLs up so if you visit them and see anything you shouldn’t see it’s merely a coincidence.
These URLs look like they could be harmless until you visited them. I only noticed it because I clicked on one and visited the site. It was one long page of photos featuring a young girl standing in front of a mirror with a digital camera; in each photo she takes a different snapshot of herself in various poses – mostly innocent-looking poses.
In most of the photos she is dressed in a swimsuit, but in some of them she is a little more revealing, but in none of them is she unclothed or engaged in anything sexually explicit. However, if you click on one of the photos on the page then you’re taken to another page, or website, where the real porn is waiting for you. Talk about subtle marketing.
At first, on the first comment that I checked, I just thought it was some clever ploy by an entrepreneurial young woman. Then I visited another one – a site with a different girl’s name as the URL – and the photos were the exact duplicates of the photos found on the first URL. That’s when it hit me. This is the latest tactic used by underhanded porn spammers to get people to visit their websites. It’s undoubtedly working because I’m seeing more and more of these types of comments on blogs now.
Before you approve comments on your blog, be sure to visit the website and take a look to see if it is something that you want to endorse. By approving a comment on your blog you are essentially telling all of your readers that you approve of that commentator’s marketing tactics. If you don’t then you are under no obligation to approve their comments.