Trackback Or “Trickback” A New Breed Of Comment Spam

As technologies and techniques evolve, so to do the annoyances. Running a blog can be great fun with the people you meet and learn from. It can also be a tremendous headache when you are dealing with comment spammers.


It’s great when you have a new blog and you see that magic word you've been waiting for, Trackback. Whoa, easy there Trigger! Don’t hit the approve button just yet. Do some investigating and see what kind of site is linking to you. If it doesn't look legit, nix it. Trash or mark it as spam for now and I'll tell you how to get even later.


Here’s an example of what I've been seeing lately in the comments.

I get a whole lot of trackbacks from various sites that all say,

“[…]here you will find the link to a couple websites we think you should visit[…]”

These sites have nothing to do with my topics, and when I go look at the site to see how they are linking to me, there is no link there! Basically these are phony, non-existent trackbacks sent for the purpose of getting a backlink from me, not linking to me.


In addition to trickbacks, there's comment spam. I get this in several variations. The word helpful has been handy, useful, practical, valuable, constructive, etc.

I hope other people think your post listed here as helpful as I have. I manage a blog site myself and would be happy for you or the readers on your web site to check out. Please feel free to search through my site like I have with your own and leave a remark or two if you discover anything interesting. Thanks again.


If these people actually spent a little time doing it right instead of trying to game the system, they'd be way ahead making real money and the world would be a better place. It's too bad idiots are too busy ever chasing that elusive get rich now tool, scheme, technique, etc. to get it.


Dealing with comment spammers

Disclaimer: This works for WordPress and I suppose any blogging application that allows you to edit comments. You'll have to try it to see. And since spammers' tactics evolve with our response to them, there’s no guaranty this will work forever.


Remember earlier I said I was going to show you what to do with those spam comments? Here goes. This is how you turn those lemons into, well you know. My solution might be radical to some and an aha! for others.


Commenting (or any participation for that matter) is a catch 22. People won't comment unless they see others comment first. You can’t get comments unless you have comments. So in the beginning you have to “prime the pump.” Wouldn't be great if you could just put a couple comments there to start? The only problem is if somebody looks and sees all the comments are from the same (your) IP,  you’re busted. What to do, what to do? Use those spam comments you have saved up.


The spammer has taken the time and creative mental energy to make up a name. That saves me the trouble. The spammers have different IP addresses so if somebody would actually look, they would seem legitimate. Start by removing their spam link and replace it with an affiliate link of your own or just leave it blank. By replacing the link, you actually have the opportunity to send traffic where you want it or build links to your pages. I don't necessarily recommend you place links here that go to pages on the same domain the comment is on. That is unless you are using a link cloaking plugin like the one I use.


The only work involved is looking for good points in your article and adding a relevant comment. I have no problem writing more on a subject, it can be tough to stop sometimes. You can take this opportunity to add a point you didn't think fit well in the flow of the article. There should be no problem posting a good comment as commenting on other blogs in your niche should be part of your link building strategy. Even if you haven’t started commenting on other blogs yet, this is good practice.


Now that you've removed their link and replaced their BS with a good comment, you need to hit approve and reply. Yes, you’ll have to talk to yourself and answer yourself. This blogging thing will drive you crazy if you're not there already. You want to show potential commenters you actually respect them and their comments. Why should they bother commenting if they get nothing out of it? A little recognition goes a long way and if people see you treat commenters well, they will want to leave their input.


And one last tip for handling comments: If you have a genuine comment from a genuine commenter who took the time to read your post and add something thoughtful, return the courtesy. It can be tough with time being a premium but you should take a little bit to for a response that is better than “Thanks, I truly appreciate your input.” Just like you don't want to see one size fits all comments, your commenters don't want to see one size fits all responses.


Be sure to leave your thoughtful and relevant comment below. I'd like to hear your thoughts and perhaps how this has helped you.

Increase the chances of getting your comment approved, get a gravatar.

Go to sign up using an email just for commenting and you're golden. Whenever you comment on a blog that uses gravatar and you use that email address, it automatically pulls your gravatar.

About The Author

Rob Calhoun

+ Rob Calhoun Helps small to medium businesses succeed by building systems for them that help them get new customers, retain customers, and re-energize past customers. Rob helps clients and marketers maximize the return they get from their online marketing efforts.


  • Ana Hoffman

    Reply Reply January 25, 2012

    I’ve seen those trackbacks come from some reputable blogs, Rob, with unfortunately black-hat link building techniques.

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply January 26, 2012

      It depends on how you define reputable. Is it by PR built by good or questionable tactics or built by content, white-hat SEO, and just recently dabbled in the black arts? The dark side is tempting for its promises of quick results for little work.

      It’s time consuming to weed through the junk, but it can be done and you can have some fun with it. It becomes a little uncomfortable when that junk is also coming from what were considered good sites.

  • Daniel

    Reply Reply May 11, 2012

    I liked the link cloaking plugin so much, I bought it for myself. It’s really easy to set up and use. Thanks.

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply May 11, 2012

      Thanks Daniele for the purchase, and more importantly, for the endorsement! I could have hardly said it better myself.

  • Jamie Northrup

    Reply Reply May 13, 2012

    Hey Rob, I have thought of adding “ghost” comments in the past, but never thought of using the spam ones, can readers see the IPs of the other commenters?

    I’ve been seeing about a dozen or more trackbacks in the last couple days on all my blogs saying stuff like “Ugh I just tried leaving a mega long comment and it got deleted…” So annoying…

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply May 16, 2012

      “Can readers see the IP’s..”

      The average ones, no. If you have the skills and desire though, absolutely. It would be the latter who would want to call you out for it. I say you gotta start somewhere and a blog can be a ghost town for no other reason than nobody was first to put a comment on a post. It’s the same with likes, tweets, shares, etc. Nobody wants to be first but most just naturally follow the leader.

      Oh and thanks for stopping by and commenting. I enjoyed your article on blog comments as well.

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply May 16, 2012

      I have not seen the “mega long comment” types. It does sound a bit more creative and vague enough to possibly get a few bites before blog owners see it a few dozen times.

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