I picture thousands of owl-eyed desperadoes, closeted in bedrooms, faces lit by the sickly glow of the screen in front of them. I may be right. Certainly the sudden intense rise in spam comments to this blog implies an awful lot of eye-strain and bent backs out there somewhere.
In fact, in the interest of research, I went looking. One site, called ODesk, had this advert:
Here's another from Elance:
Commenting Service: write 100 positive comments (with backlinks if possible) where our English website is mentioned (forum,blog,social networks,website comparison) with different accounts.
Hundreds of commenting jobs are out there.
If you're a blogger, you've almost definitely acted faster than I have. This week, after some time spent naively attempting to cut spam by blocking certain words (I realise that problems I've had posting comments on other people's blogs is probably because my mine has "web" in the title) I gave in and began to screen comments before posting them.
Wouldn't you think this would put them off? Did it work for you? I got just as many comments, and no less work in deleting them from the blog and email notifications in my inbox.
So I gave in and changed my settings to demand that anyone commenting must sign in. I don't like this because I've had problems signing in to blogs and have, at times, had to give up, but I must admit it seems to be working. Like magic, comments praising my "awesome" blog have melted away. Ditto queries about my blog platform (huh?).
Will they creep back? Have you found that they do? I'd love to know how everyone else is getting on with this problem.
In the meantime, if you do have trouble leaving a comment, please email or tweet me and I'll have another think.