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Taking the Bait . . . Hook, Line, & Sinker February 20, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Humor, Mindfulness.

In 7 Ways WordPress Rocks, I mentioned one of my favorite features on WordPress . . . the Spam Filter:

6.  Get out!  The SPAM filter catches titillating ads for sexual enhancement products so that readers don’t get . . . um . . . sidetracked from reading and commenting on our posts.    

Of course, the protection afforded by the WordPress Spam Filter applies to more than sexual ads and aids ~ it protects us from “taking the bait.”

In general, spammers preface their advertisements with insincere generic compliments designed to feed our ever-hungry egos.  For example:

* Hello! You have very nice looking site, congrats!

Thank you for noticing.  Tell me MORE!

* Terrific work! This is the type of information that ought to be shared close to the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

Ooh, what an Ego boost!  Higher . . . higher . . .


* Wonderful points altogether, you simply gained a new reader. What would you recommend about your post that you made some days ago? Any positive?

Notice the tricky reference to “your post.”  For someone who posts once or twice a week, this could be a tremendous lure.  For someone who posts every day, it’s an obvious fluke. 

* Hello! I like your site!

Seriously?  That’s all you’ve got?  Who takes that bait?

* Thanks for another informative website. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such an ideal way? I have a project that I am just now working on, and I’ve been on the look out for such info.

Stop it.  You’re embarrassing me. 

* Nice work. You keep working on this blog please.

Will do!  I promise to keep floundering around if you promise to keep tossing compliments my way.

* i love it

“Love . . . Love will keep us together . . .”  

* WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..more wait ..

I’m sorry.  I don’t follow.  Say what?

* Larry King once said, “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” That’s precisely how I feel. I am grateful to have learned something new today.

This one caught my attention and inspired this post.   If it hadn’t been trapped by the Spam Filter, I might have believed that the spammer in question had picked up on my love of quotes and wanted to share one with me.  Our egos want to believe all our “good press.”   

As indicated, comments caught by the WordPress Spam Filter generally have three things in common:

1.  None of them say anything specific about the articles referenced. 

2.  Each is generic enough to post on any site in the blogosphere.

3.  All use insincere comments to lure our greedy egos into taking the bait.

Spammers go fishing with compliments, tossing out generic comments as “bait,” because they know that egos love validation, even insincere validation. 

Spammers who toss out whoppers are not a problem unless we mindlessly swallow the bait . . . hook, line, and sinker.

Having a Spam Filter catch the bait and cut the line BEFORE we notice the compliment allows us to see the alluring lure  for what it is . . . so we can confidently “toss it back.”

No rules.  Just write!

Those alluring lures . . . do you ever take the bait?  What tips you off to the ulterior motives behind Spam flattery?  

Do you have anything stuck in your Spam Filter right now worth sharing?  

Related posts:  Let Go, EGO! * WTF: Watch That Feedback * Pop Goes The Ego * Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies * The 2011 Sexiest Blog Award * I Am Truly Humbled . . . * The Inner Path to Peace * Those Alluring Lures


1. Paula Tohline Calhoun - February 20, 2011

This is great, Nancy! I get so tickled sometimes, because the comments so obviously show that my posts have not been read. Usually they will show up under some of my serious posts (the one about our ghost cat, for example) and make comments like: “So informative and amusing!” Ding-ding-ding!

Occasionally when I see one of those comments and I’m not entirely convinced it is spam, I will e-mail the spammer back with an innocuous question. If I get an intelligent response, then I know it isn’t true spam, just a phisherman trying to make a living. I still don’t take the bait and give the free advertising, but I’m less annoyed by it.

nrhatch - February 20, 2011

Thanks, Paula. I like that approach to phishermen. 🙂

You’re right. Sometimes even generic comments don’t fit with specific posts ~ we’re being serious, and they compliment our humor.

Or we’re being humorous and they respond, “How sobering!” 😀

2. Tammy McLeod - February 20, 2011

Okay Nancy. Now you’re acting like Jim Killeen. I was just ready to prepare a Spam summary but you’ve done it so cleverly and with such wit that I’ll definitely hold off lest my readers be disappointed. Great job.

nrhatch - February 20, 2011

Go fot it!

I expect that your readers are seldom disappointed with any aspect of your posts. I say that with extreme confidence since I have NEVER been disappointed. 🙂

3. Maggie - February 20, 2011

What irritates me is that the spammers I get always use bad grammar and spelling. It’s always something like “I like you’re blog.”

nrhatch - February 20, 2011

I planned to wait to post this until I had a few more examples of “other types” of Spam, but I decided it was long enough already.

One that I always enjoy ~ when they promise that I can make a quick buck from blogging . . . despite the fact that “it has been a long time since your last post.”

Hmm . . . what does “a long time” mean to these folks? I sometimes get these random promises when I’ve posted two posts that day.

4. Piglet in Portugal - February 20, 2011

Looked in my SPAM box yesterday and I had 15!! They obviously thought I needed some love!

Today a new one!
Famous Consist,before should troop tape slightly carry couple image shut teaching whole violence objective financial southern properly bed prison word seem game hide introduction priority issue purpose decide strike either light paper division play release justice in help him potential benefit pair month improve policy notice skill eye treaty wine opinion cause elsewhere switch guide scheme photograph egg definition now hole against future edge expensive unable race violence official pound field kid size commission institution traditional transport attach employee never office love mountain ear eat capacity flat objective fee consider living

Errr… It did make me smile because I DID stop and read it as I wondered if it had been written in code 🙂

nrhatch - February 20, 2011

That type of Spam does make me scan through the seemingly unconnected words . . . in case the meaning of life is hidden there, right under my nose. 🙂

Thanks, PiP!

5. Carol Ann Hoel - February 20, 2011

Thank you for an enlightening spam folder review. New bloggers don’t know until it’s too late that we’re being schmoozed by schemers constantly.

I think it was my very first comment in the spam folder that fooled me. I thought for sure it was a legitimate comment. I decided to click the link and see where it went. I quickly deleted it. From then on I have deleted them all. I’ve read enough of them to see that they are generic.

How stupid can we get? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

nrhatch - February 20, 2011

On occasion, there is something trapped in the Spam Filter from an actual reader, but it’s rare. Usually, it happens if they’ve included several links with a short comment, like “Here they are” or “As you requested.”

Like you, I’ve clicked on a Spam URL to see if it’s really Spam . . . it can be an eye opening (and eye popping) experience. 😀

6. Rosa - February 20, 2011

What a great post! You totally had me laughing! I never get the fake compliment ones, but I have gotten a few that just don’t make any sense… Thanks for the laugh!

nrhatch - February 20, 2011

Thanks, Rosa.

I read through Spam before deleting, just in case, but sometimes it’s in a language that does not compute. 😉

7. Debra - February 20, 2011

Yes thank goodness for spam filters. 🙂

Otherwise…my comments area would be very strange! 🙂

nrhatch - February 20, 2011

When I first started blogging, Rik told me that getting Spam is a good sign . . . it means that the search engines know that we are out there. 🙂

8. eof737 - February 20, 2011

The spammers are everywhere and sometimes a comment with links ends up in the spam box. I delete them. 🙂
Funny entry this one…

nrhatch - February 20, 2011

Sometimes my comments end up in Spam Filters ~ too many links. 😉

9. viewfromtheside - February 21, 2011

I can only agree. Luckily the other place I blog doesn’t get the spammers at the comment level very much, we get spam posts that block up te lists of recent posts. The poor admin spend a lot of time identifying the sources and blocking them.

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

That’s sounds more problematic.

If not for looking for any real comments caught in the Spam Filter, I might only check it once a week. Easy Peasy.

Have a Marvelous Monday!

10. jannatwrites - February 21, 2011

Oh sure, you get the ego-stroking spam messages…I get the generic ones, or worse: I got one once said they were just getting into reading blogs. They read several, including mine, and were disappointed by the boring content in all of them. Then, they wrote that they were off to find a ‘sexy blog’ – whatever that is.

I almost approved it because it was hilarious. Anyway, no worries about this ego popping 😉

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

I remember reading a time or two about the boring content! Funny spammers! 🙂

These messages arrived this week. I deleted the ones in languages I didn’t understand and the ones with 142 identical links, and posted the rest verbatim. Maybe they are turning a new leaf. 🙂

11. granny1947 - February 21, 2011

Morning NR…some of the spam is funny but most of it is just downright annoying!!!

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

Spam doesn’t bother me much ~ I check my filter once a day with a quick glance and delete everything in a few seconds. Sayonara!

Hope your week is off to a good start! Soon you’ll be saying sayonara to those pills.

12. Naomi - February 21, 2011

Well said, Nancy 🙂 Nothing noteworthy amongst my spam today, but I rather like the reminder about listening in yours!

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

I agree . . . that’s the most intelligent Spam comment I’ve ever received. If the Spam Filter hadn’t caught it, I might have viewed it as legit. 🙂

13. oldancestor - February 21, 2011

I confess to occasionally approving spam messages that are particularly weird, simply for my own amusement. That’s probably a bad idea, but I’ve had tons of bad ideas in my life and I’m not about go straight now.

nrhatch - February 21, 2011

The biggest risk of approving Spam is that the Spammer is then a recognized reader on your blog.

Depending on your settings, recognized readers may be allowed to post without oversight once you let them get their foot in the door.

But you can always delete any offensive comments. It’s a negligible risk.

Must safer than playing on train tracks when a train is coming.

14. I said “What???” « Reflections From a Cloudy Mirror - February 21, 2011

[…] comment was left on Nancy Hatch’s blog, “Spirit Lights the Way,” in response to her post about […]

15. linda - February 22, 2011

Nancy this has been very enlightening. I didn’t know enough about the subject. I am sure that I have mistakenly let a few in. Some of my comments might often be mistaken for spam, sometimes I don’t say much. Thanks for the lesson.

nrhatch - February 22, 2011

For the most part, I let WP decide whether a comment is spam. I only second guess that decision if I “know” the person from previous comments.

Even if a comment sounds legit . . . WP may have marked it as spam because it’s been sprinkled all over the internet.

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