I receive hundreds of comments on my blog posts every day, and many of them are spam which is caught by Akismet. Many times, however, people will use a fake email address to comment. I don’t see any point in accepting comments from fake email addresses, and often the comments are bogus or added simply to create a negative bias. For example, let’s say you have posted a nice review of a certain piece of software and you see a comment such as, “This software is bogus and… (blah blah blah)”. A comment such as this is often posted by a rival company user or by another spammer.
People are entitled to have opinions that differ from ours’, however it is important to verify that the comments are being posted by an actual person with a different opinion, so that you will know whether to accept the comment if it is legitimate and authentic, or to reject the comment as spam from an unverified source.
How to verify email addresses:
There are three ways to verify the existence of an email address :
1. Use My-Addr.com:
This is a website which will allow you to check many free email addresses from services such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail for their authenticity. In most cases, this website gives genuine results. However, there are certain email services which do not allow free reverse email lookups, and you will not be able verify these.
To use My-Addr.com, simply go to the webpage and enter the email address you wish to verify. Click on “Go” and you will see whether or not the email address exists.
Here is a screenshot of a successful free reverse eEmail lookup of a Gmail email address:
In this case I used a Google apps email address, and I also verified the same with Yahoo and Gmail email addresses, and it worked fine. I also entered an email address that does not actually exist, and the result was “unknown – some services will not allow an email check“. Remember, the accuracy of this service can not be determined 100%, as some services do not allow the verification of email addresses.
This is for WordPress blogs only, and if you have Gravatar enabled from Settings > Discussion, and if the user is using Gravatar.com to add an image to his email, you will be most likely to get an image. Again, this is not a perfect way to check an email address, as many users still don’t use Gravatar.com to add images to their email addresses. But in the context of blog commenting, if you see an image associated with an email address, you can be sure that email address is legit.
Check an email address without sending an email:
This is a method for geeks, and it works with command prompt and telnet. You can read the complete procedure here.
Of the three suggestions noted above, the first is the best and easiest method of verifying an email address. For bloggers, the second suggestion is worth considering. The third suggestion is more for programmers, allowing code to be written toward the creation of one’s own email verification script.
At some point you are likely to find My-Addr.com very useful. Do remember that even some temporary email addresses and “disposable” email addresses also give positive results in response to reverse email lookups.
If you have further interest in this subject matter, I recommend that you consider reading about reverse image lookup, which will allow you to see if an image is original or copied.
How do you verify email addresses and images? Let us know using the comments section below.