How Spam Comments Affect Your YouTube Channel & What to Do About It?
We have all come across those annoying spam comments while scrolling through YouTube. Spamming is a characteristic feature of all such platforms where creators and viewers engage. Hate it as much as you want to, spam and spammers won’t be going away anytime soon.
Today we will discuss different aspects of spam: why people spam, the misconceptions people have about spam messages, how it harms your YouTube channel, and how you can deal with it.
Let’s begin with a clear definition of spam.
What is spam?
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘spam’? All of us might have different definitions, but there are some universally accepted pointers.
The word ‘spam’ has no positive connotation. At best, it is fun and banter. At worst, it is a virtual attack on your comment box. Spam can indeed be targeted. Spammers can eye a few specific channels, and decide to spam on those.
Oxford Languages defines spam as ‘irrelevant or unsolicited messages sent over the internet’. In many ways, this definition is all-encompassing and inclusive of all the different meanings of the word. Spam is characterized by its degree of irrelevance. That’s the reason abusive and hateful comments do not qualify as spam. If someone targets your profile and speaks negatively about you in all your videos, that person would still technically not be a spammer. A spammer is someone who posts irrelevant comments on your videos. Let’s understand the difference between negative comments and spam with an example.
If you run a cooking channel, it is common for people to tell you in the comments that your recipes did not turn out as expected. They may even point out a few flaws in your technique. For a large part, these comments are not malicious or harmful. If you take them as constructive criticism, they can actually do you good.
However, you might be a target of trolls and start getting hateful comments. These comments can range from being mildly insulting to downright offensive. YouTube’s community guidelines have a strict policy against such hateful comments. You can easily remove these comments by reporting them. If they appear to be violating community guidelines, the comments will be taken down.
Spam is not the same as the last two examples. In the context of a cooking channel, spam comments would talk about something totally irrelevant, like motorcycle services. YouTube spam comments almost always come in bulk. Spammers would generally not leave a single comment. They use either the same texts or links for every comment or change them in small ways. Sometimes fake YouTube followers are used for spamming comment boxes. If you buy YouTube comments, you can use them in different ways to improve your channel.
You know spam when you see it.
How spam affects your YouTube channel
The biggest effect of spam on your YouTube channel is viewers’ inconvenience. As viewers and followers, we do not like seeing our favorite content creator’s YouTube comments sections flooded with spam.
If your comment box is overflowing with spam comments, the first impression of your channel would be very bad. If you are just starting out with your YouTube channel, spammers will give you a hard time gaining credibility.
Another harmful effect of spam relates directly to your viewers’ safety and security. Spam comments are overwhelmingly malicious in nature. When people spam with links to different websites, many of those links contain malicious viruses that can affect your whole system. Some of these malicious programs are linked to money laundering, phishing, and other cybercrimes. If someone ends up being a victim of these attacks from a spam comment under your video, your channel will lose credibility.
If you have too many spam comments under all your videos, your audience would lose out on having a real, meaningful conversation in the comments section. As most YouTube content creators know, the success of your brand depends to a large extent on how well you create a community of followers. The comment sections are where most of these interactions take place.
We have all come across the familiar scenario of people debating and discussing in the comment sections. While some threads are more friendly, others get heated. Friendly or not, these comments play a very crucial role in the long-term success of your YouTube channel. Once you have a supportive community of fans and followers valuing your content, it will help a lot with increasing reach and generating leads.
Spam comments can ruin the community feeling among your followers. If all you have in your comment section is spam, your followers will lose the most convenient platform to interact with each other.
How to deal with spam comments
None of us want spam flooding our YouTube comment boxes. But how do we deal with it? There are many approaches to dealing with spam comments. Want the simplest solution? Turn off comments under your videos. If that does not work for you, keep reading for more options.
Build an active community
A few months back when England lost to France in the FIFA World Cup final, the official Instagram page of England Football was attacked by spammers. The comments were mostly racial slurs targeted at African origin players of England. The way England Football and fans health with the situation gives us a lesson on the importance of an active and supportive community.
As the hateful comments were growing in number, fans took on it on themselves to report each and every spam comment. As soon as any fan spotted a hateful comment, they would report it. In no time, the comment section of England Football was full of positive and supportive comments instead of racial slurs. All this happened without any direct intervention from the managers of England Football’s Instagram page.
It is just one example of how a cooperative community of followers can deal with spammers. It is more effective than it seems to be.
If your community of followers is still not at a level where they can deal with spammers themselves, you have to do the hard work. Reporting is the most obvious way of dealing with spam messages and comments. While you report the comments, make sure to mark them as spam and not something else. It helps YouTube identify new types of spam messages and innovative spamming techniques.
Hold comments for review
YouTube gives you the option of holding comments for review. To do it, you simply need to log in to YouTube Studio from your channel. Under Settings, you get a Community menu. From the Community menu, you can choose to ‘Hold potentially inappropriate comments for review’, or ‘Hold all comments for review’.
Once you hold comments for review, you have to go back to the list periodically and approve non-spam comments. You must be very careful when using this option. If you forget to approve comments, your comment box will remain empty. A blank comment section will have an adverse impact on your total reach.
However, this method indeed works very well in filtering potential spam comments. Spammers are always coming up with new ideas. That makes identifying all spam comments difficult for YouTube’s algorithm, Once you hold these comments for review, you are assisting the algorithm with your human sense.
If you are using the automated filter option, you should proceed with caution as it has the potential to severely restrict followers’ ability to comment on your videos. Automated filters work by filtering out certain users, words, or links. You can have separate lists of users who are allowed to comment on your videos. Similarly, you can have a list of users not allowed to comment on your videos.
It is wiser to start with a list of people who cannot comment on your videos. If you have identified certain real or fake YouTube profiles regularly posting irrelevant or malicious links, you can prevent them from commenting. With a list of trusted accounts that can comment on your video, you will have to dedicate a lot of time identifying legit viewers and commenters. You might also unknowingly prevent new followers from commenting. The process needs to be under contract review and scrutiny. It is effective only when you can actively manage the list.
The feature of blocking words and links is a much better option in terms of management and efficiency. If you can identify the common words spammers generally use in your comment section, you can block those. Similarly, you can block all links that you know to be malicious.
You can find the automated filters option in YouTube Studio under the Community menu.
Dealing with spam is one of the many things you have to learn to succeed on YouTube. Doing it all without professional assistance is often very difficult. You are leaving a lot to guesswork and luck without taking calculated steps. If you want to grow your channel with valuable input from leading experts, head over to SubPals. With SubPals, you get all you need to grow your channel in one place. Your YouTube journey just became easier with SubPals.
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