Beware Scraped Comments And Fake Trackbacks

Only last week it was brought to my attention that someone had been scraping, as related in Has Your Blog Content Been Stolen, my posts, and although it may well have been happening before it didn’t bother me because I was completely unaware of it, and like they say, ignorance is bliss. I have to admit I think I took it pretty well, I wasn’t all that pissed but even so I knew something had to be done, which brought me to my next post, the Update On Stolen Blog  Content.

Who would have thought that someone would stoop to stealing the very comments on your own blog? It happened to me today, someone left five comments on five different posts. As is my want I always follow the commentator to their blog so that I could repay their kindness by reciprocating with a comment of my own. Imagine my surprise when I found a blog in a foreign language.

So what you say, a lot of non English speaking people have English blogs. True, and you can usually tell when this is the case as their blogs usually have  grammatical errors in it. Anyway I thought it was strange so I checked out those comments again and found that he had actually copied someone else’s comment and posted it as his own. Needless to say I spammed all his comments. So, if you’ve been getting comments lately by a Donanim Haberi, I seriously suggest that you check it against some of the other comments left on that particular post.

In regards to the fake trackbacks, that’s something else I picked up today. These people leave a trackback to your blog in the knowledge that WP will pick it up, if you’ve set it up to accept trackbacks, and record it at the end of the post. Once the trackback is in place they then remove the link on their post. Why would they do that? Simple, to get a one way link to their post. Once again I’ve spammed those trackbacks as well. :guns_tb: :furious_tb: :wallbash_tb:

Honestly guys, if you want to make a name for yourself, you’re going about it the wrong way.

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This Post Has 67 Comments

  1. I don’t allow track backs and pings to show up on my blog. When they do, I just deleted them. I don’t see how they add any real value. I think showing them on the blog makes the blog look more crowded and spammy.

    It must be saying something good about your blog if people are wanting to steal your content.
    .-= Gordie´s last blog ..How To Turn Cooking Into Lifestyle Design Cuisine. =-.

    1. It depends on the theme Gordie. Mine just leaves a nice little link at the end of the comments.

      This time Gordie they’re not stealing my content but that of my commentators.

  2. Wow..that’s really creative. And annoying..

    I question the value of creating content or comments based on theft.
    In the end who would read or purchase anything from them..
    .-= Glen´s last blog ..Putting the Social Back in Social Media =-.

    1. Glen, these guys are morons, all they are worried about is the link juice and they don’t seem to care how they get it. Too bad it’s probably short lived and they’ve shot their chances of doing anything constructive online to pieces.

  3. I get lots of weird trackbacks lately, if the site looks like a “scraper” I spam it.
    .-= Keith @NeedInformation´s last blog ..Why You Should Link Out: =-.

    1. That’s about all you can do Keith, another task a blogger has to do

  4. Sounds pretty dirty. I do the whole trackback thing because I linked to someone. But I have never deleted the link. Ha. Sounds like they should have waited a lot longer to remove in order for their little scheme to work. But now the jig is up and everyone knows what they are doing. See what happens when you get greedy.
    .-= The Real Josh´s last blog ..I’m In the Business of Helping =-.

    1. Not really because I haven’t posted the name of the person who’s done it as he is a regular. Hopefully this post will serve as a warning.

  5. Not only this , because of such spammers my PR has dropped to 1 :( ,its because as my blog is dofollow and there were spam commenters who commented well and i had to accept :( , so Google punished me badly by removing my indexed pages from the search results :( :(
    .-= Sunil Jain@gupshup´s last blog ..How to use different Themes for WordPress posts or pages =-.

    1. I’m not sure they’re related. I’m dofollow and although my PR dropped I don’t think that was the reason. Even if it were I would remain dofollow as it’s important to me to reward my commentators.

    2. Sunil, I wouldn’t approve a comment from a spammy site even if it is a good one, or at least de-link it. Leave the comment and remove the link.
      .-= Ned Carey´s last blog ..1099s Are Due! Have You Sent Yours Out? =-.

      1. Now i am thinking of having a comment policy on my blog , thanks for the replies both Sire and Ned :) :) :) :)
        .-= Sunil Jain@gupshup´s last blog ..How to use different Themes for WordPress posts or pages =-.

        1. Sunil,

          Both Sire and I have comment policies you can check out as examples. Mine is here

          While I have one I don’t think they are much help at stopping spam because most don’t read them. (I didn’t even occur to me at first, to read Sire’s to see if including my link was OK)

          However I did include wording to say I have the right to use or edit the comment.
          .-= Ned Carey´s last blog ..1099s Are Due! Have You Sent Yours Out? =-.

          1. Ya this is also true Ned :(
            But i think , now i need to find some best antispam plugins
            to prevent from spam ;)

            When coming to commenting policy , i would try to make the
            commenter read it fisrt then comment on the posts , what say?? :)

            Thanks for your valuable feedback Ned :), it would be my pleasure to know more about you :) :) :)
            .-= Sunil Jain@blogging´s last blog ..How to effectively write a blog post =-.

  6. Gotta love the spammers…

    I haven’t had the fake trackback thing happening to me, but here’s an interesting tidbit from my blog: Akismet has caught 2,583 spam comments, to date. That’s on a three months old site, by the way.

    Out of those 2,583 spam comments, not a single one ever got past the filter. I never had to manually remove or even unapprove a comment.
    Really makes me wonder what on earth the spammers could be getting out of this.
    .-= Shane´s last blog ..Web2Mayhem Videos (Massive Video Post) =-.

    1. Just had a look Shane and it’s caught over 23,000 for me. Admittedly I had to save a few here and there but it was worth it.

      1. Holy cow! Okay, I’ll not brag about my measly two-and-a-half thousand spam comments ever again… :P

        1. I don’t know, I think you’ve done well for yourself considering the age of your blog.

            1. Count yourself lucky Ned. Hey, you wanna see my scars? :laugh_tb:

  7. Wow, so comments also is hijacked now days. :lol:

    For trackback, i only allow the trackback from blog/site that i know.
    .-= Dana @ Blogging Update´s last blog ..Adding Social Networking Links to Blog =-.

  8. I can understand that people may steal content because they are to stupid to write their own article but, how freakin hard is it to write a comment?

    That’s kind of like the idiots that think they can copy & paste a few phrases from your post & then say “I agree”. Oh now that’s a useful comment. But, I think that comes from people who delete comments that are only a few words so the spammer elongates his comment.

    I would not allow trackbacks. If someone is giving you a link & sending their readers to your post, they should not expect a link back via trackback. They should link to you because they feel your article is useful.
    .-= Sheryl Loch´s last blog ..How To Put a Picture on a Forum using BBCode =-.

    1. I’m not fussed with trackbacks one way or the other, although I do believe so people have them just so they can show off how many people are linking to them.

      Actually, I think that’s a good reason for me to disable it. I don’t want people to come here because there is a perception that I know what I’m talking about, I want them to come here because they like what they see.

      Then again, I’ll think I’ll leave it as it does notify me when someone is linking to a post so that I can go over there and give them a cyber hug in a comment.

  9. Donanim Haberi commented on my blog too. He actually copied Keith’s comment. I never thought anything of it, because I get all kinds of spam.

    I don’t allow track backs and pings to show up on my blog.
    .-= Rose´s last blog ..Social Media Backlink Checking =-.

    1. That’s why I included his name as it’s obviously something he does all the time and I wanted others to be aware of him.

      1. What would you know he’s on Twitter. @donanimhaberi
        .-= Rose´s last blog ..Check Your Akismet Spam Folder Often =-.

        1. Cool, that’s one moron I won’t have to follow.

  10. Great reminders and goes to enhance why I moderate all new commentators the first two times. If you comment twice and don’t prove yourself spamworthy, your third comment is approved automatically. All trackbacks are similarly moderated.
    .-= Ari Herzog@Onlinemedia Strategies´s last blog ..Showcase Sunday: The Google on Video Edition =-.

    1. Even though I don’t hold comments in moderation, I still give them the once over and delete or spam any I don’t approve of.

  11. I’m surprised by the amount of generic looking spam comments I get on my humble poetry blog. I don’t mind if someone leaves a decent comment even if they don’t use a person’s name. If they took the time to read my poems and comment on them it seems worth it to me.

    I’m just glad my uncle, who’s a programmer, helped me setup everything.
    .-= Julianne´s last blog i chat =-.

    1. Cool, although I don’t consider myself a poet I do write one every now and again. I’ll have to check your blog out.

  12. I moderate all comments as well. I’ve seen a ton of trackbacks hitting the akismet filter lately. It seems to be getting popular, but still a useless linking tactic.

    As for scrapped content I’m pretty sure every post I put up gets scrapped. It’s just a part of living on the web. Trying to get it removed it very difficult too.

    Anyway keep leaving comments other sites, that’s how I found your site :)

    .-= Steve@ Weight Loss Weapons´s last blog ..New Years Resolutions 2010 =-.

    1. No worries Steve, and I must have been lucky with my first scraping incident as I got the guy’s domain banned within the week.

  13. Hi Sire. Wow, thats pretty horrible. I know some people are desperate out there to get noticed, but that never was what the blogging world was about. Its about making connections, and attitudes like that do exactly the opposite. Good luck with everything in the future
    .-= Justin @ saskatoon photographer´s last blog ..Saskatoon Photographer =-.

    1. Yeah people will try to get ahead by doing all the wrong things, unfortunately it usually doesn’t pay off.

  14. Wow, icky thing for them to do. How can you tell if it’s a fake trackback? I’m curious as I’ve been noticing a lot of trackbacks to different posts of mine. I always go out and look at the site that’s linked back but how would I know if it’s a spammer or not?

    Does your PR actually drop from being a DoFollow blog? I have mine as DoFollow but like you I will continue as well. Just curious on how/why PR would drop as being a DoFollow.

    .-= Michelle @ Your Virtual Assistant´s last blog ..WordPress Plugin Review: Section Widget =-.

    1. Normally if the trackback is legit you will find it, the link to your post, in their post somewhere. If it’s not there they’ve removed it.

      Some says it does others that it doesn’t. This blog has been dofollow since it’s conception and at one stage it was a PR4, at the moment it’s a PR3. I’ve a feeling it doesn’t.

      1. Thanks so much for the addt deets on that…then the ones I’ve gotten are legit as they do have my link within the post (at least when I have stopped by to check it).
        .-= Michelle @ Your Virtual Assistant´s last blog ..2010 Goals for Your Virtual Assitant =-.

        1. No worries Michelle, glad to be of help.

  15. I think I first noticed scraped comments back in May of last year. It was after my honeymoon, and I had a lot of moderated comments to approve. The first thing I did was read my already approved comments, then read through my moderated ones, and one jumped out because it was a piece of several other previous comments all in one. Then on another post, the same thing, where it was a sentence out of a longer approved comment. You may miss some at first, but it will start to be more noticeable, especially if you pay close attention to your comments.
    .-= Kikolani@Blogging´s last blog ..Reasons to Love CommentLuv Blogs =-.

    1. Thanks Kristi, which just goes to show how important it is to actually read the comments people leave on your blog.

  16. Twitter:
    You know, Sire, you can go ahead and tell everyone it was me who alerted you to the guy stealing your stuff; I’ll just take a bow and move on. :clap_tb:

    And folks, I’m going to add that it’s a very good thing if you have your names or websites or something you want to track on something like Google Alerts. I got one the other day that led me to a forum where some guy took credit for a list that I have on one of my posts. Lucky for me, someone else knew he’d stolen it and gave me credit for it on that same forum, something I’d never heard of. I thought how nice that was, but how sneaky it was for this other guy to try to steal from me to begin with.

    They’re everywhere, and we probably need to know to protect ourselves when necessary. :guns_tb:
    .-= Mitch´s last blog ..Dragon 10 Software Review =-.

    1. I just wrote a post the other day about using Google Alerts for blog post ideas, I didn’t even think about tracking myself :) Thanks for the tip!
      .-= Ms. Freeman´s last blog ..Ode to Akismet =-.

    2. Hey Mitch, I know I may be getting senile but I’m pretty sure I mentioned in the original post how you alerted me to the scraper. I found this guy all on my own. :thumbup_tb:

  17. Yup I have had several instances such as this. At first I was sort of flattered that someone that I never even visited linked to one of my post and so I went off to visit them the thank them and discovered it was nothing more than a Splog :( I was so mad!!!

    Anyhow I quickly got over it and deleted the trackback and continue to do so going forward. These characters clearly don’t care about building a rep its nothing more that a numbers game and they will continue to try and try in hopes that enough folks fall for it or don’t discover it.

    .-= Ms. Freeman´s last blog ..Ode to Akismet =-.

    1. Which is exactly what I would have done. Actually that’s what I did do. :laugh_tb:

  18. Oh crap, I approved like 8 from him today.
    .-= Dennis Edell´s last blog ..Updates – Latest $10 Domain Winner, Latest Move News, and more. =-.

    1. And I bet every one of them was copied from a existing comment. I’d be interested to know if that’s true Dennis.

  19. I can’t believe the lenghts that people go to to gain links … scraping comments ?
    Thought we reached the bottom of the barrelö a while back, but obviously not.
    .-= Paul H´s last blog ..China / Germany … trading places =-.

    1. There’s seems to always be new lows when it comes to blogging Paul. Actually there’s always new lows in the real world so it shouldn’t come as too big a surprise.

  20. Hi Sire,

    Good for you that you caught it. I got 3 spam comments from one person today. All 3 comments were different but kind of generic and had a dead feeling.

    Several months ago another blogger noticed a comment on my blog which was verbatim of what he got on his.

    Later we found that comment on many other blogs. That comment was asking for help, to visit that guy’s blog. It was very flattering and some people were gushing over it until they found it was a copy and paste. He included his twitter name at the end of the comment too.

    Thankfully most bloggers are still honest and the crooks can’t succeed with their thievery for too long.

    Thanks for sharing the info.

    .-= Vance@Increase Blog Traffic´s last blog ..Get Blog Traffic Increase With Blog Comments =-.

    1. Nope, sooner or later they will get caught, too bad that they don’t learn from their mistakes.

      Vance, I noticed that I get emails from a post I subscribed to on your blog but there is never a link so I don’t know which post it was. Is the plugin working properly?

      I’ll head on over now to see if it’s still happening after I leave a comment there.

  21. I suggest you install Lucia Linky Love Dofollow plug-in. That way you can be rest assured that your comments are dofollow and all trackbacks are nofollow and you can relax in peace and not worry about spammy sites/fake trackbacks. Wp- Spam Free helps

    too ;).
    .-= Udegbunam Chukwudi´s last blog ..Four Ways Of Getting Banned From StrictlyOnlineBiz =-.

    1. I’ve already have a dofollow plugin, and I don’t think even Lucia Linky Love can prevent people from fake trackbacks, sure it may make it nofollow but they’re still getting some link juice that they don’t deserve.

      1. Correct me if I’m wrong, I thought link juice wasn’t been passed on to nofollow links? Since when has this changed?
        .-= Udegbunam Chukwudi´s last blog ..Eight Small Steps To Being A Great Nigerian Web Host =-.

        1. I’m not sure it has changed, but I don’t mind having a dofollow trackback as long as it’s legitimate. To me it’s the same as have a dofollow blog in regards to comments.

          What I do mind is when they remove the link on their blog linking to mine once they noticed the trackback is in place.

          1. Oh well, so far so good the trackbacks left on my blog are still intact (well most of the ones I’ve bothered checking) ;).

            Nofollowing my trackbacks has reduced trackbacks to 10% on my blog and so the dofollow comments and nofollow trackbacks policy on my blog shall remain. ;)
            .-= Udegbunam Chukwudi´s last blog ..StrictlyOnlineBiz’s Top Blog Posts Of The Week =-.

            1. That’s cool, I’m not here to change your mind just as you’re not here to change mine.

  22. I’ve been having some serious blonde moments of late. lol
    What was thinking WP-Spamfree can’t protect you from the kind of trackbacks you mention above.
    .-= Udegbunam Chukwudi´s last blog ..StrictlyOnlineBiz’s Top Blog Posts Of The Week =-.

  23. I’ve been looking for a list of either IPs or domains or email addresses or something that identifies sources of common trackback spam. I’ve been getting a ton lately, and Akismet doesn’t seem to catch them as well as comment spam. I was hoping if I had a list of common spam sources, I could blacklist them somehow.

    Do you happen to know if something like this exists?

    1. Sorry Brian I’m not aware of any such list but that is not to say that one doesn’t exist. I don’t get all that many track back so I never bothered to look.
      Sire recently posted…Is It Ethical For Bloggers To Do Paid PostsMy Profile

  24. Sire,

    Isn’t he so dull? Why can’t he just place good quality comments rather than copying comments? Can’t he not understand English even if he’s not from English speaking country? Good thing you were able to caught him Sire.

    1. I had a bunch of these on my blog too, which is how I ended up here. It’s amazing what people will do to get some nofollow links back. I guess they’re looking for the commentLuv, but there just has to be a better way.

  25. Hey,

    I realise this is an old post but wanted to add, We have noticed a massive increase in the number of trackback – or more Fake trackback trying to get onto our site. As I write this post another one just popped in.

    Thanks for your help because as a new webmaster I didn’t know what to do about them – Spam the comment seems like the answer.

    Simon – Innovation Consultant

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