WordPress Smiley Spam Technique

I’m not sure if this technique has been around a while or what, but I’ve just noticed it. Someone just tried to leave a comment on older post here at Theme Lab with the usual “nice post thanks” and a 🙂 smiley as the anchor text (or image in this case).

How It’s Done

These comment spammers prey on unsuspecting WordPress users by linking to their site with a smiley image like this.

Wow! Really awesome post! <a href="http://example.com">:)</a>

The smiley is then parsed into an image, which is then displayed in your WordPress comment moderation panel.

How To Spot It

In the comment moderation panel, under the smiley image you’ll notice a small, barely noticeable, underline.

WordPress Smiley Spam

This indicates the smiley is linking to something, most likely a site you wouldn’t approve of.


I guess spammers will never stop of thinking of new ways to spam, but it’s best to be aware of the new techniques as they come out. Have any of you seen this type of comment spam before?


About the editorial team

Editorial Team at IsItWp is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi.