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Spam Is Getting Sneakier And Sneakier

Posted by on Mar 2, 2009

Lately I’ve been getting a different kind of spam, and I know I’m not the only one. Y’all know how much I hate spam, but this spam is sneaky. It’s a kinder, gentler spam, messages that seem like they could possibly be legitimate, and they give you pause for a short time because you just don’t know.

I’ve seen these same types of comments on other blogs, and every once in awhile you’re just not sure. What we have to do is figure out just how close the message seems to come to what our topic was about, but even then, it’s hard to tell sometimes. For instance, I received a message saying how much the reader loved my blog, and how he was concerned about diabetes also. Well, of course I’ve written about diabetes, so my first inclination was it could be legitimate. However, it was on a post about CommentLuv, and not the post about the plugin, but the post about the CommentLuv Contest, which made no sense. That’s when I decided it probably had to be spam; when I get a second comment from the same name ten minutes later on the original CommentLuv post, it was confirmed in my mind that it was spam.

And that seems to be the main trick about it all; the email doesn’t only go to one post, but it goes to multiple posts. For instance, I had a post show up on the topic of SEO, which I’ve started writing on here and there, and the writer was for a SEO company; I know because I checked it out. If it had remained only on the one post, I might have left it alone. However, it showed up on a second post about 25 minutes later that had nothing to do with SEO, and once again, confirmation that it was spam.

These guys are really getting good at writing their generic message, such that we believe it’s the real thing. It’s probably why Dennis and Sire decided to write comment policies, even though I’m still fighting the urge to write one. My only gripe, as you know, is people not using their real names at least once, so I know who I’m writing back. What some folks may not have noticed, those I figure are “drive-by” posters, is that I’ve gone in and reduced their fake names to initials, so that I can respond to something that at least makes some kind of sense to me. I haven’t had one of those folks ask me why their names were changed, which is why I figure they probably won’t ever be coming back. For tht matter, I don’t know if they ever check the box to receive comments back; it’s easy to do, something that Blogger doesn’t allow you to do if you don’t have a Blogger account (did I go there again?).

I hope y’all are at least trying to be vigilant when looking at these relatively short, yet courteous messages, and trying to verify whether or not they’re legitimate comments or not. If you don’t believe they are, don’t just delete them; if you have the choice, mark it as spam, and let Akismet, if you’re using it, learn the pattern. Man, I hate spam!

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I try to be vigilant, but at the same time, I still let some slide in there. One was caught by one of my readers, because she had gotten the exact same comment on one of her posts. It’s hard to resist someone who says they love your site and have just subscribed though. 🙂

~ Kristi

Kikolani´s last blog post..Prolonging a Productivity Drought

March 2nd, 2009 | 5:54 PM

It is hard, Kristi, but when it’s coming on an older post that you know wasn’t deserving of it, I just can’t allow it to stay there. Those folks aren’t getting any link juice off me.

March 2nd, 2009 | 9:36 PM

i sometimes allow spam on my site as long as its relevant to the blogs topic

almir´s last blog post..Vital Tips That Can Aid Any Blogger

April 24th, 2009 | 9:39 PM

It’s a bad move, Almir, because once you allow one piece of spam, you might as well allow all of it. Spam is never relevant to the topic; you just lead yourself to believe it is.

April 24th, 2009 | 9:46 PM
The Almost Millionaire:

I think that I’ve gotten hit with a few of those…I’m so excited about some new comments…then I see that crud and it just smacks the smile right off your face. I hate spam too!

March 2nd, 2009 | 8:13 PM

It is insidious and sneaky, isn’t it? I hate it with a passion, and I realy don’t understand its purpose all that often, although this new stuff I figure is to try to get free backlinks to their site. Not from me, they won’t.

March 2nd, 2009 | 9:38 PM

I keep an eye out for them, that’s for sure. I’ve also noticed that some of these ‘sneaky’ spam artists leave the exact same comment, with slight variations, on another blog. Once I have confirmation I have great joy in hitting the DELETE button.

Sire´s last blog post..Chitika The Mark Of A Good Affiliate

March 2nd, 2009 | 9:38 PM

I don’t delete; I call them “spam”, and let Askimet “learn” how to recognize them for the next time.

March 3rd, 2009 | 2:13 AM

Now your being ‘picky’ Mitch, of course that is what I do, as hitting the spam button also deletes the comment.

Sire´s last blog post..Chitika The Mark Of A Good Affiliate

March 3rd, 2009 | 2:27 AM

No, not being picky at all. One does have the option of just deleting or sending it to spam, and I’m betting the majority of people just delete without thinking about it.

March 3rd, 2009 | 2:32 AM

Once again you are right, man I hate that 😀

Sire´s last blog post..Chitika The Mark Of A Good Affiliate

March 3rd, 2009 | 3:05 AM

Sorry Sire, but only one of us can be “the man” at a time. 😉

March 3rd, 2009 | 8:47 AM

Hey, who let the peanut gallery in here?

March 3rd, 2009 | 8:06 PM

what do you mean sire like what do they say do they say i like your blog and that i subscribed to your feed in various ways or what clarify because i have come across many people that say that in their comment

almir´s last blog post..Vital Tips That Can Aid Any Blogger

April 24th, 2009 | 9:41 PM

Almir, every one of those is spam, plain and simple. Don’t get fooled by any of it.

April 24th, 2009 | 9:47 PM

thanks for clarifying Mitch you have always been so insightful not only on your posts but your responses as well

almir´s last blog post..Vital Tips That Can Aid Any Blogger

April 24th, 2009 | 11:14 PM

I try to be in everything I do, Almir. Good luck with it all.

April 24th, 2009 | 11:22 PM

I’ve noticed some generic comments that are identical on different posts, as if they just paste it in to save time.

Sire´s last blog post..The 10 Stages Of A Twitterer

April 24th, 2009 | 11:58 PM

That’s when I think it’s software doing it, Sire. And that’s why it ends up being easy to spot; they just can’t help posting to more than one article.

April 25th, 2009 | 12:18 AM

Yep, that makes sense, damn scripts ;(

Sire´s last blog post..The 10 Stages Of A Twitterer

April 25th, 2009 | 12:40 AM

True that, Sire, which is why we need to stay diligent in getting rid of the stuff. I’m so glad Askimet is here to help.

April 25th, 2009 | 1:10 AM

>I’ve noticed some generic comments that are identical . . .

Yea I notice some identical comments on different blogs. That is one thing that clues me in to the fact they are a true spammer.

Ned Carey´s last blog post..A New Club in Northern Virginia

April 25th, 2009 | 12:50 AM

Same here, Ned. And it’s funny because you’d think they would know better than to just jump between blogs that actually already seem to have some kind of relationship with each other.

April 25th, 2009 | 1:11 AM

Anyway,I reckon some of these spammers don’t actually come up with the script, that they pay for it and then use it to promote themselves.

Sire´s last blog post..The 10 Stages Of A Twitterer

April 25th, 2009 | 7:28 PM

Oh yeah Sire, that’s exactly what I think it is. However, they get to try to come up with some of their own words here and there.

April 25th, 2009 | 7:53 PM

Based on the poor English of many of these, if they are paying for a script, they are wasting their money.

Here is my favorite spam that I have received. This is almost funny.

I kno it has nothing to do with what you wrote, but have you ever heard of (link removed). They seems to promise free ringtones

PS. Dont be an ass, this is NOT spam ;)<

I love the last part, Like I’m going to think OK your right I won’t delete this.

Ned Carey´s last blog post..A New Club in Northern Virginia

April 25th, 2009 | 10:33 PM

That’s good stuff, Ned, and I think I’ve seen one like that myself. The moron who bought that one most certainly doesn’t understand English well, or else is mroe than a moron. lol

April 26th, 2009 | 2:04 PM

Ah….. Spam! I hate it as much as you do, Mitch, but it has become a fact of life.

Every now and again, though, Spam artists get their come-uppance.

A little background: Realtors use the services of third parties to blast new listings to other Realtors. We can get 10 – 15 Spammed e-mails of new listings or price reductions a day. It gets a bit much, despite the fact that we really should be reading them to stay abreast of changes…. isn’t that what the MLS is for? I mean, we pay over $800 a year for our subscription to the MLS, why not just use that?

Anyway, I digress……

I don’t know what made me read this particular Spammed listing – it wasn’t in a city where I have buyers, nor was it in my buyers price range, still, I speed-read the content and WHAT? …. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I read “Masturbate with 2 sinks!”

Rolling on the floor with laughter, after overcoming my original shock, I realized that this agent had created her content in Word and done a spell check. Obviously having typed ‘MASTBATH’ as we often do, spell check had changed the word to MASTURBATE!

The mind boggles! No wonder she is such a successful Realtor! One wonders at the free gifts she hands out at Open House! LOL

Well, wouldn’t you know it? Real estate Spam is SO much more enjoyable to read now! We keep looking for those spell check faux pas! (Or is that FUBARS?)


March 3rd, 2009 | 12:46 AM

Althea, that one got me to laugh out loud, and that just doesn’t happen all that often while sitting at the computer, so I applaud you for it. I got caught like that many years ago when I wasn’t familiar with Outlook, and allowed it to change the name of the person I was sending an email to from Garrick to “garlic”; that went over well. LOL

By the way, thanks for following me on Twitter, but you’ve protected your updates so I guess I won’t get to follow you.

March 3rd, 2009 | 2:16 AM

Well, speaking of garlic (and I realize that this is hopelessly off-topic, but…)

A couple of years ago, I went to the grocery store (back in the days when my husband still allowed me to shop!) with my trusty shopping list. When I got into the store, I realized I had forgotten to add garlic to the list, but I was at the other end of the store, without a pen to add it.

I kept saying to myself over and over: “Don’t forget the garlic” … “Hmmm.. steak – don’t forget the garlic”, etc. Over and over, I recited this to myself.

I was so focused on not forgetting the garlic that when I came to pay for my purchases, I signed my check with a flourish ~~~ A. Garlic (instead of A. Garner!)

Is there such a thing as being TOO focused?


March 3rd, 2009 | 2:22 AM

Yeah, one can be too focused, but forgetting one’s own name,… that’s a classic!

March 3rd, 2009 | 2:31 AM

I love those great comments that are right on the edge of legit.

My daughter has been getting some on the dogs blog. I told her if they look iffy then just stick the email address into Google and see what comes up. Low & behold – the same comment was posted on 33 blogs so, it was a bummer that the spammer ‘really loved all the great information & would be checking back in soon’ on so many blogs. But, they must be very smart, they posted it on everything from SEO, Avon, dogs… To bad we are smarter! LOL!

After reading Althea’s comments, I am not sending this comment through spell check just in case.

Sheryl Loch´s last blog post..Chart Building Sites

March 3rd, 2009 | 3:14 AM

Smart move, Sheryl. lol Anyway, it seems that many bloggers are getting around this by requiring real names on comments, otherwise they’re deleting them. I like to think I’m smart enough to discern what’s legit and what’s not, and if it’s bothering me then I’ll remove it and see if the person comes back, which they have yet to do.

March 3rd, 2009 | 8:50 AM

Hey Shery, Cait’s a gem. You tell her she can comment on my blog anytime.

Sire´s last blog post..The 10 Stages Of A Twitterer

April 25th, 2009 | 7:30 PM

Have you tried the bad behaviour plugin, it gets rid of most spam comments and can be used in conjunction with Akismet. What’s the plugin called that you use for replying to peoples comments? makes the blog more personal.

March 3rd, 2009 | 7:13 AM

Khaled, I do use Bad Behavior also, and it does its part of the job quite well. As for comments, I use the WP Threaded Comments plugin, and it works wonders. It even allowed me to change a couple of the background colors, which suits my fancy.

March 3rd, 2009 | 8:52 AM

Spam is absolutely getting sneaker. I run several blogs and got a message on one about how the commenter liked my domain name and how it fit with my content. (The comment mentioned my domain). It seemed like a genuine message . . . until I got the exact same comment on another blog I run that’s totally unrelated to the first.

However, I do have some sympathy for people using their blog/website name instead of their real name in their comments. (I do NOT have sympathy for people using keywords). My real name is William. And if I’m commenting on some one’s personal blog, especially some one I know, that’s the name I use.

But I also run a blog called Spot Cool Stuff and when I’m surfing in “Spot Cool Stuff mode: that’s the name I’ll use (or just “Spot” sometimes) in my comments. On your blog, for example, I’m here learning about SEO and other web issues specifically as it relates to Spot Cool Stuff. And so when I comment I am, in essence, doing it as an extension of my blog. So it seems reasonable to use “Spot Cool Stuff” as my comment name instead of William, in the same way that SpotCoolStuff is my Twitter name and StumbleUpon name, etc. etc. Does that make any sense?

William´s last blog post..The Best Hosting Companies For A WordPress Blog

March 3rd, 2009 | 1:07 PM

It make sense, William, but see it from the perspective of the blog owner. One, I will acquiesce that some blogs, such as Blogger blogs, might not give a link back to your site, even if you pop in your domain name. However, the rest of them do, and if people like your comment, they’ll follow the link back to see what you’re all about. Second, as you see on my blog, I have the CommentLuv logo, which means if you have a blog it’ll automatically pick up your last post, as it’s done for you, and therefore, once again, you wouldn’t need to use a different name because it’s got you covered.

Of course, my only requirement is that, at some point, I’m given a real name somewhere, even if it’s just in the post at the end of a message, so that when I respond, I’m responding to a real name, not a fake name. I tend to be somewhat social; now, if I get really big and start ignoring my readers and commenters, then all bets are off! 🙂

March 3rd, 2009 | 5:19 PM

Good point, Dennis, and I’ve seen the same thing when I visit certain blogs, and every once in awhile I “out” those comments.

March 3rd, 2009 | 8:05 PM

@ Dennis – there can only be one ‘man’ and as this is Mitch’s blog, I let him be it.

Sire´s last blog post..Chitika The Mark Of A Good Affiliate

March 4th, 2009 | 12:13 AM

As of just now we have received 43, 582 spam comments caught. That does not include those few that sneak through. I get a bunch of comment from this link building spam site that look like the real deal but they don’t match the topic but appear as a trackback!

gwen´s last blog post..The 109 Day Link Building Explosion Day 61

March 4th, 2009 | 12:48 AM

Wow, that’s a lot of spam, Gwen! Is that recent, or accumulative? Either way, that’s, well, phenomenal; those spam weasels!

March 4th, 2009 | 2:28 AM

You know Mitch I’m having this problem too. I’m getting very clever spam comments and many a times, I resisted to delete them until I’m absolutely sure. These comments were so well crafted. Some like you said gave way when the topic was way off. But some really was close. I guess they picked popular topics like SEO or traffic building to deceive us. They all appeared in my spam folder but that didn’t help as I still check my spam folder because many of my good comments sometimes appear there too.I’m also starting to delete short sentences too and I may have to write my comment policy soon. Thanks for prompting me to think about this.

Peter Lee

Work At Home Blog´s last blog post..Make Clickbank Your Alternative To Google Adsense

March 5th, 2009 | 9:03 AM

Thanks Peter. The software is just getting so good. I just had a message that even used my name, and was very well written, and I had to wonder initially whether it was spam or not. Then I noticed there were two other comments from the same place, saying different things, and that was my confirmation that it was spam. But it’s sneaky; the theme seems to continue.

March 5th, 2009 | 10:24 AM

Mitch I have seen the same thing. I tend to be more lenient because I have gone back and seen some of the comments I left when I was new, before I knew any better.

By the way, I have seen you comments for a long time. Tonight I said to myself “he has a big happy smile, I just have to check out his blog.”

Ned Carey´s last blog post..1099s Are Due! Have You Sent Yours Out?

March 5th, 2009 | 10:43 PM

I thank you for the kind words, Ned, as well as for visiting. I hope you come often, and of course share it with others. These comments are irritating, and it’s amazing how people decide to use spam programs, risking their domain names and the like. A part of me wants to go after them, but my better mind just says to leave them alone, since they obviously don’t know we even exist.

March 5th, 2009 | 11:08 PM

Oops I forgot to mention. . .

>It’s probably why Dennis and Sire decided to write comment policies, even though I’m still fighting the urge to write one.

I Just went back and forth with Dennis about this. I have a comment policy too and you are welcome to copy it, (though if you do I’d appreciate a link back.)

It may give you some ideas.

Ned Carey´s last blog post..1099s Are Due! Have You Sent Yours Out?

March 5th, 2009 | 11:02 PM

Thanks for the offer on the comment policy. I read it; pretty neat, but tough also, just like Dennis’. I think I’m fine without one, as I figure that I have the right to change anything I want to since I pay for this blog. But thus far, the only thing I’ve ever changed is the name, if it’s not a real name.

March 5th, 2009 | 11:15 PM

>Bloggers visit bloggers,

I had a guy leave 3 comments on my blog. Just the type Mitch mentions. I let one through but didn’t do anything with the other two. I was over at Yan’s Thou shall blog, and he called out the same guy. Yan gets around and said he been doing it all over the net.

I went straight to my blog and sent him to Akismet spam filter.

Ned Carey´s last blog post..Two New Area Real Estate Investing Groups

March 5th, 2009 | 10:36 PM

You’ve monitored it well, and handled those who haven’t followed it with kid gloves, so that’s pretty okay.

March 6th, 2009 | 6:01 PM