Spam comment censor dilemma solutions

Ladies and gentlemen, if you are sitting comfortably, I am proud to present a rather unusual topic for a Thursday which requires a bit of history before you understand the dilemma.

Facts about

  • It is a WordPress Blog
  • It has a Simple Captcha plugin employed to prevent spam commentators (you will see this if you go to make a comment as it will ask some form of mathematical question)
  • It uses Akismet, another plugin, to actively remove spam comments before they even make it for moderation

Occasionally through bad spelling and grammar some of what Akismet classifies as spam is actually not spam. Also through unusual “hair-brained” linking schemes, Akismet throws a fit and tosses out some comments.

Thus I have to vet spam. I do so on a bi-weekly basis because I believe comments are gold dust.

99% of Akismet’s slam dunks are entirely justified. Thumbs up all the way!


Occasionally I get a comment that does make me pause.

Now, before I move on, I strongly urge that this isn’t a character assassination, nor do I see it as a good practice to try to divert negative comment by makingĀ someone out to be a laughing-stock. Negative comment can sometimes teach you a lot. There are some reasons, however, why I will not approve this comment and why Akismet was right. I have omitted the contact details of this individual so that as a collective you don’t go and beat this individual up. The only reason I have left in the URL is to display reasons why this comment appears bogus.


Pittsburgh electric company

Figure 1, the unapproved comment.

So on the basis that this is indeed spam, there is a lot of evidence that points to this being the case.

WTF tally:

  1. “Pittsburgh electric company”
  2. “”
  3. The unusual use of a non standard “h” character on the second line.
  4. The unusual use of a non standard “d” and “h” character on the fourth line along with”you” being spelled incorrectly.
  5. The unusual use of a non standard “b” character on the fifth line.
  6. The unusual use of a non standard “h”, “k” and “o” character, and the incorrect spelling of “see”, “they” and “headlines” on the sixth line.
  7. The unusual use of a non standard “o” on the seventh line.
  8. The unusual use of a non standard “w”, the incorrect spelling of “pic”, the unnecessary use of “‘ve” after everything, and the wrong grammatical use of “too” on the eighth line.
  9. The unusual use of a non standard “a”, an unrecognised character for “o”, and the incorrect spelling of “blog” on the ninth line.

First of all, who the hell calls themselves the Pittsburgh electric company? That’s just weird.

Secondly,, who on Earth would be fool enough to take out a domain name like that and seriously try to run a business?

Then we have the unusual non used ASCII characters that replace normal ASCII characters in the comment. This almost makes me believe that this has somehow been translated from Cyrillic and if I were to reveal the name of the commentator this would make even more sense.

So the primary analysis proves that this is spam.

The second test is normally the acid test.

Something that WordPress have introduced fairly recently is the ability to preview the links attached with the URLs from commentators. All you have to do is hover. This eliminates you having to go to the website.


In this case spamvilla does appear to be a real site rather than something hastily pasted from a Google search. The site however is dodgy. Dodgy with a capital Damn that’s dodgy.

The biggest qualifier of this is the “Bots” element in one of the menu buttons.

All of the “supposed” testimonials are broken at the bottom of the page with no images of people. The contact us page has a poorly written tag line and the assigned contact is a guy called “Kelvin the Champ”. Yes, “Kelvin the Champ”. Okay so maybe I’m just being harsh seeing as I refer to myself as the Headboy. I might as well have titled myself the master and commander. Champ is a bit close to chimp in my book.

Vilification and stern looks to the side, why did I pause?

I paused because the comment had some truth to it. Blog Post Comments: A by the numbers rant was a rather pants title.

Spam comment censor dilemma solutions

You may have a ton of super heroes in your content but it still doesn’t matter if your headline is pants!

Image Source: Flickr courtesy of AngrylambieNo superheros were injured during the taking of this picture


The truth is, with a bit of research I could have found a better title for this article. I had bought an expensive marketing tool that still remains fairly unused, which is capable of keyword research, and which many people trying to sell through affiliation, swear blind over.

The suggestions aren’t that bad on reflection. Videos are always good. I generally see a much warmer response when a post contains a video of one form or another, regardless of what platform it is housed on (YouTube, Vimeo, etcetera).

Some of the content doesn’t suit pics as well as you might think. To be a good article it should stand up without images. Images just add a bit extra. Whilst I have waxed lyrical that images are kick ass, you shouldn’t rely on that.

The mention of Yahoo is a fair one. Yahoo invested a lot of time in understanding the psychology behind how people react to certain headlines. Yahoo are one of the big remaining portals that still pump out plenty of epic content. A lot of prolific bloggers swear blind by one particular Yahoo style guideĀ that has sold umpteen copies. But I have to say that is also a bit of a cookie cutter observation.

I humbly admit that there are a number of posts with poor headlines that fail to convert passers-by to readers. For every blog post I write where I get a minimal take up on day one, is another waste of effort.

What next?

delete permanently

Bin that comment but… take on board the critique and try to improve the end product. Avoid making the same mistakes again.

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