Comments of this kind are, thankfully enough, easy to spot: they're often gibberish--a piece of code, some Chinese-character text, or a seemingly innocuous remark about a product along with a link to a site at the end. DON'T click the link--you never know what that might activate. Just delete the comment pronto.
Moderating comments at least allows you to review anything that bids to be published on your blog. Growing jurisprudence in the US suggests blog owners are seen as responsible for any comments they allow to appear on their blogs, which opens the gates to possible libel or defamation suits if you carelessly allow commenters to use your site to attack others. So far I still entertain “anonymous” comments, even those expressing opinions contrary to mine, because I do like to listen to varying ideas--as long as these comments don't cross the line into dirty, abusive language or, worse, character assault. Sorry, but this blog will not be a free-for-all forum.
Spam, though, is another matter. Bot-generated comments have nothing to do with the discussion at hand. I notice that most of them target old or archived blog posts. If you don't moderate or revisit your old posts regularly (who does, really?), chances are your blog's archives are studded by now with spam comments. Go check--they're not only an aggravation, they might also be destructive to your blog.
Just today I trashed 17 spam comments. They never saw the light of day here thanks to the moderating function. But having to be at the receiving end of this seemingly endless barrage can be time-consuming and frustrating. Well, the price to pay, I suppose, for safeguarding the integrity of one's blog.
Take it from a recent report:
Cyber crooks are rigging the Internet with booby-trapped blog commentary, chat rooms, email messages and websites, according to a Websense report released Thursday.
Analysis of online threats during the second half of 2009 showed that 81 percent of email was rigged to deliver “malicious” code and 95 percent of comments posted to blog or chat forums were spam or links to nasty payloads.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) poisoning attacks were a favored tactic, piggybacking on hot topics such as celebrity deaths or major disasters to lure people to websites designed to infect computers. [Boldface mine.]
Moderate--and delete! I wonder, though, why Google, which owns Blogger, hasn't developed any new or improved filtering program/widget to address this pesky menace. Or is there one already, and I'm just out of the loop?