What is “whois” and How Can You Tell if a Comment is Spam?

When someone leaves a comment I receive a “please moderate” email from WP. In the email it shows the person’s email, URL and “Whois”. What exactly is “whois”? And what’s the best way to tell if the comment is spam? It can be tricky when they say “I love your post” or “this looks really interesting”!!

Hi Kathy!

What is “whois”?

“Whois” is a way to find out where a person came from. When someone leaves a comment on your blog, it logs their IP address. You can use someone’s IP address to find out where they’re located. So, given an IP, I could find out that the person published that comment from “New York, United States” (as an example).

Just Google “ip whois” to find a variety of lookup tools. Here are a few:

How to tell if a comment is spam

Ah, those spammers. Sometimes they try really hard to leave comments that look legit, but really they’re not. I find the easiest way to tell if it’s a spammy comment is to look at the URL for the comment. Is the site they’re “advertising” (by putting in the URL box) spam? Is it completely random? If the answer is yes, it’s probably spam. So someone might comment on my post saying:

Great article! I found this really helpful.

It sounds innocent enough. It’s vague, but doesn’t immediately scream spam..

But then I look at their URL and it’s to some weird Xbox sales page. That’s the red flag that tells me it’s a spam comment.

Do you ever get spam comments that could almost pass for real comments?

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  1. I got a lot of that subtle spam. But I know it’s spam because the comment doesn’t really relate to the post they commented on. A lot like your example. And then of course the IP and website. I’m using a plugin now where you get the little checkbox you need to check before you can submit your comment to confirm you’re not spam. My spam has reduced A LOT. =)

    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted: Bookish Babble: Bee’s LGBT+ Top 5!
  2. I have actually gotten spam comments on reviews which mention the book I’m reviewing AND something specific about the book/series! Those comments scare me, because they look so real at first glance, but then there’s weird links in it. I’ve only gotten maybe three of those, but they surprise me each time.

    Angie F. recently posted: Chick Flick Friday: Dirty Dancing
  3. Yes!! I get a comment that sounds exactly like a normal comment like it talks about what I”m saying and it relates almost perfectly to the post, but their name is always something really weird and they finish their comment with “Cheap and Affordable Couches!!” or something like that which then tips me off that while the comment was nice it was actually just another spam comment.

    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted: How to Meet Boys by Catherine Clark
  4. Thank you Ashley for answering my question! This really helps. There have been some comments I don’t approve for posting because it didn’t feel right. I do have Akismet installed but occasionally a spam comment sneaks in. Now I’ll know what to look for.

    Kathy A. recently posted: ARC Book Review – I See London
  5. I got a really detailed one on one of my reviews, and I’m STILL not sure if it’s spam or not. The commenter has left some really in-depth thoughts on the book, but the URL is to some cookery class thing (I think). It just seems too detailed to be spam (and it doesn’t sound like the sort of spam comment where they’re just copying another review, because it kind of talks about the points I made myself), but that link seems weird.

    1. That happened to me the other day!! The comment was SO normal and pretty lengthy/genuine, but the URL was to something that would normally scream spam to me. I didn’t know what to do LOL. Like, if that comment is real, why is that person even reading my blog when their own site has nothing to do with books, web development, or just general “life” stuff?

      Sometimes it’s really hard lol.

  6. I get more and more of these lately and sometimes I worry that I’m marking someone as spam when they are real – but you’re right, those websites that they are coming from tend to be the dead giveaways. Though I’m pretty sure I’ve wasted my time replying to a spam comment from time to time. What I don’t get is what they think they get out of it. I mean, just because they commented doesn’t mean I’m buying from their site!

    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted: Clean Sweep ARC Challenge | I’m in!
  7. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic
    but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha
    plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same
    blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

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