Hi, SE Readers. Joan here today. This is a short post, but the subject is something that could happen to any of us. No, I really didn’t go to jail. At least not a physical place with bars. It’s what we SE authors call Spam Jail.
Here at Story Empire, we are inundated with hundreds of spam comments each week. It takes six of us monitoring the site daily to filter and delete them. Incidentally, the problem worsened with the onset of GDPR, but I won’t open that can of worms today.
Most of the comments caught by the spam filter are actualy spam, but on occasion, a legitimate comment is marked as such. Akismet requires a two-step process to “free” someone from spam jail. And you’d think it would recognize that we have approved some commenters countless times, but often that same person will go back into spam with their next comment.
I never imagined it would happen to me.
Last month, I released a new book. Three weeks before the release date, I did a cover reveal. I had guest posts scheduled with several authors. All but one post went live on the same day. As is my custom, I read and respond to each comment. Many people made the rounds, commenting on each post. After a while, I began to reply with a simple, “Thank you, John,” or “Thanks, Lucy.”
Akismet didn’t like that. Mid-afternoon my comments were filtered as spam on multiple sites. Fortunately, a quick email to each website owner asking them to check spam and approve the comments fixed the problem. I was able to continue with my replies and have since been able to leave comments on other posts.
In checking the Akismet site, I was unable to determine what I’d done wrong. I suspect it was the short “thank you” comments were responsible.
In short, (no pun intended), there are a few things we can do to prevent going to jail.
1) Make sure your comments are more than two or three words. Don’t leave the same comment on multiple sites on the same day.
2) Take care not to post links in your comments. One may get through, but two or more is a big no-no. Of note, most real spam is filled with links and click bait.
3) If you have a book promo or cover reveal, try to stagger the days of your guest posts. Not only will it lessen the chances of your comments going to spam but will also give you greater exposure over a longer period.