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Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam…

Posted by on Sep 16, 2010

I was alerted to a post written by our friend Holly titled Spammerview. It’s a very witty representation of the problem most of us have with spam, told in a story form that, while you’re reading it, easy captures all the different types of spam we seem to be getting these days.


No Spam by David Hegarty

My mind harkens to last week when I keep thinking I saw a post titled something like “Does More Spam Mean I’m Successful”? I’ve been thinking about this one for awhile, and I’m starting to think that there almost has to be a direct correlation between spam and how well your blog is going. After all, does anyone get all that much spam if no one is visiting your blog?

I still get a few one liners here and there, but today’s spam is definitely getting a bit more sophisticated. As I wrote about spam back in July, some of it actually seems to be on topic sometimes, though if you read it well you can tell, especially when the same message appears on other posts at the same time. Another trick is its copying someone else’s comment on your post and using it as theirs, which might be hard for some people to remember if they have lots of comments on that post. And finally, now some of the spam actually figures out your name via the name of the author of the post, and that might make you think, at least initially, that it’s legitimate.

Days ago I had a review of this blog written by Forum Spotlight, which was very nice, and the first comment was a spam comment. How do I know? It never mentioned my blog, which it supposedly didn’t like, and it talked about all the images, and it said it liked images being transparent. If images are transparent you can’t see them, so it’s spam; by the way, I hope you drop over there to take a look at it.

I just think we’re going to be stuck with spam, but I’ve decided that, as much as I hate it, I’m going to do whatever I can to increase how much of it I’m getting, because that might eventually mean I’m rocking this mug! πŸ™‚

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Cuisipro® Ice Cream Maker – 1 Quart






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27 Comments »

I think the more incoming links you have, the more spam your blog might receive. If you don’t have many links there’s less chance for spambots to find your bots.

But if it’s “human made”-spam and not just automated, then it’s probably a bit more interesting since I doubt they’ll waste time on a small blog.

Also I wonder what we would call SPAM today if it wasn’t for Monty Python in the first place?

September 16th, 2010 | 8:33 AM
Mitch:

That’s a funny thought, Klaus. We’d probably just call it “junk” and not enjoy saying the word as much. Cheers to Month Python!

September 16th, 2010 | 12:06 PM

I just read “Spammerview,” and you’re right — it’s excellent. Very funny and right on the mark.

I agree with your assessment that many of these spam messages may seem legitimate, but there’s a vagueness to them that’s pretty easy to spot. Over the past few months, I’ve been getting emails from Australia. The sender claims to be interested in ordering my “products.” I publish books. He never mentions books. He’s obviously using the word “products” because he’s sending the same message to everyone he can get his filthy little hands on. I just keep hitting DELETE with a force that’s half annoyance and half celebration. (As Timon from “Lion King” would say, “Slimy, yet satisfying!”)

You must be right also about the level of spam being an indicator of level of success. So in a perverse way, this unwanted attention is a positive sign.

September 16th, 2010 | 8:46 AM
Mitch:

Charles, you’ve made the big time; be honored! Thank goodness for spam filters, eh?

September 16th, 2010 | 12:07 PM
Patricia:

Funny you should be doing this post now Mitch. Just this week I have started to get more spam; along with more visitors to my site who are genuine commenters. I just deleted 6 spam comments all written by the same person but on different posts on my site! My anti-spam plugin had flagged it as spam but I always check in case a genuine commenter has fallen in there by mistake.
Patricia Perth Australia

September 16th, 2010 | 10:22 AM
Mitch:

That’s the smart way to go, Patricia, and I knew you’d learn how to spot it pretty quickly. πŸ™‚

September 16th, 2010 | 12:08 PM
Alex@Jocuri:

The spammers now have dedicated software that can read and understand captcha and can produce a comment based on what the post was about. They(the spammers) even make lists with what blogs are good to spam or not, so if you all of a sudden get more spam that means you got on some list.
Does More Spam Mean I’m Successful”?, hmm this is a bit tough to answer, it can mean that you are more successful and spammers have started to notice your site, virtually what that means is that you(your website/blog) rose in SERPs(which could be a sign that you are doing well) but you can get spammed by simply commenting on an other website where other `harvested`(spammers language πŸ˜€ yeah- I am technical) your link and came to spam you too.
P.S. nice ‘spam’ optimization πŸ˜›

September 16th, 2010 | 10:35 AM
Mitch:

I knew you’d like that optimization, Alex. lol As to the rest, I think saying spam means success is somewhat tongue in cheek, but you don’t often see blogs that you know have no traffic with a lot of spam, although I’ve seen some blogs where the writer just gave up one day that seem to draw spam.

September 16th, 2010 | 12:10 PM
Carl:

Every single day, my blog and my mail boxes are bombarded with SPAM. Especially info and sales emails. My web design and SEO company receive tons of Indian request for work or outsourcing. This really make me sick.

September 17th, 2010 | 3:48 AM
Mitch:

Because I use Mailwasher I can handle all of that stuff via email easily enough. I actually handle it fairly well here, but every once in awhile, here I have to think about it.

September 17th, 2010 | 2:15 PM

Its timely you should mention this when I and amny others have been talking about similar issues.

I suppose its a game of percentages and the more traffic the more bad apples there will be amongst that traffic.

I suppose with everything theres an element of risk and ‘undermining’ so you just have to mitigate that risk and be aware of it.

September 17th, 2010 | 4:18 AM
Mitch:

Good stuff Peter. I know it’s things like this that get some people to use things like Captcha and Disqus, which I refuse to do, and it’s just a shame that some unknown and faceless entities get to ruin our good time. πŸ™

September 17th, 2010 | 2:16 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

Mitch, try Conditional CAPTCHA. It will only present the CAPTCHA codes to people Akismet thinks are leaving spam comments. IF they can do a simple, random math problem (and it’s simple, clear, not difficult or visually annoying), they pass. If not, they’re not human. It has saved me having to cull through nearly 200 spam comments in the past week, since I installed it!

October 2nd, 2010 | 9:55 AM

Hey, I must be doing ok! I had about 8 spammy comments between 2 of my blogs when I checked them yesterday.

There’s a few bad apples in every crowd.

September 17th, 2010 | 7:38 AM
Mitch:

Shoot for that spam, Carolee! lol

September 17th, 2010 | 2:18 PM
Val:

For a change I won’t add a link to my name as I don’t want to risk a backflow of luncheon meat…! (Doesn’t that sound tasteless?!)

My blog’s not ‘big’and I don’t have a huge number of people viewing it (and I like it like that) but I’ve found that whenever I visit sites that have a lot of commercial sponsors, and particularly if I comment on any with a link on my name back to my blog, I receive more of the stuff Ess-pee-ay-am) than at any other time. For instance, if I visit a medical blog then for days afterwards I get stuff from sites about medical conditions. So I don’t think that’s its just links in ones blog that grabs their attention… it’s commenting in other blogs (ones where the little oinky-meatbots hide out)that does it too… they surf in one’s own link.

I quite like the term ‘ oinky-meatbots’ but I hope it doesn’t attract worse to your inbox!

Val (absurd, etc)

September 17th, 2010 | 12:06 PM
Mitch:

Val, you’re so funny! lol You know, I hadn’t thought much about it, but I’m sure there are some blogs that will drop a cookie on your computer and then find ways to send you stuff. Hmmm, now I might have to do some research on that one.

September 17th, 2010 | 2:24 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

Val, that’s wonderful – may I borrow and use your term “oinky-meatbots”? I always feel a tad guilty for maligning potted piggy parts (well, just a TAD) by lumping them together with nefarious, inedible creatures that lurk along the byways of the Internet.

October 2nd, 2010 | 9:52 AM
Val:

Hello Holly, yes you’re welcome to use it!
πŸ™‚

October 3rd, 2010 | 3:32 PM
Alex:

The spam these days is just insane. For one of my blogs I have to delete hundreds of spam comments daily. The past few days I’ve been getting a ton of spam that are all messages like:

-“fdnajcikdjuna [anchor+link] fdkjsfakj”
-“Added to RSS feeder” (repeat for every blog post)
-“[random quote] – Benjamin Franklin [date of quote]”
-“You are quite distinguished in write skills may return”

And they just keep coming like that. All comments on that blog are set to be moderated before they’re published and the people doing those posts just don’t learn.

September 17th, 2010 | 12:46 PM
Mitch:

I’ve written on that type of thing before, Alex, and I just don’t understand the purpose of that kind of spam, especially when there are no links in it. Maybe those are the test posts; who knows.

September 17th, 2010 | 2:27 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

Wow, Mitch! I’ve been nose-to-the-grindstone at work, and not making the rounds like I should, lately. I come up for air and find this – I’m honored. As a result of your post, I’ve actually had more REAL people and fewer spammers, lately. Paradoxically, spammers like blogs that rank well in Google and Alexa, but aren’t keen to be spotted by REAL people. They tend to leave their insidious mark on older, neglected posts. They multiply like plot bunnies if the whole blog seems to be neglected for a bit.

Thanks to Sushant Risodkar, the rather brilliant (and very courteous) young man who runs SmartBloggerz, I’ve now installed a wonderful plug-in that has swept the back allies of my blog clean of unsavory creatures! It’s called Conditional CAPTCHA and it works with Akismet – it only presents the annoying CAPTCHA code (and it’s a very simple one – I know, having hit it myself, once) if Akismet thinks you’re looking shady today. Most REAL people won’t see it when they leave comments; if in doubt, though, the plug-in sends the Bouncer to the door and makes you do simple math problems to ensure you’re not under the influence of SPAM. Love it. It’s almost eliminated my need to do moderation! Yay!

October 2nd, 2010 | 9:49 AM
Mitch:

Sounds interesting Holly. If I start getting tired of it all I’ll definitely check it out. However, based on the fact that I just got my first pair of bifocals and I’m having problems seeing my computer to begin with, I’m hesitant to add something that some visitors might get and might have problems seeing.

And I’m glad to send people your way; didn’t know I had that kind of influence. πŸ™‚

October 2nd, 2010 | 11:39 AM
Holly Jahangiri:

Try leaving a spammy sounding comment at my site and see if you have trouble with Conditional CAPTCHA. It’s a plain text thing – no harder to read than this comment.

October 3rd, 2010 | 3:19 PM
Mitch:

Holly, now you have to remove the comment I left on your blog because it accepted it; ouch! lol

October 3rd, 2010 | 3:52 PM

If spam = success, then I have a blog that’s doing great. Within the first 3 months it was online it managed 13,000 spam comments. Unfortunately spammers aren’t the sort to go clicking on ads (or whatever your revenue source is) so spam is pretty worthless. In my opinion, I’d rather have less viewers and less spam. I’d take 100 daily visitors and no spam over my current 1,200 daily visitors and tons of spam >.<

December 22nd, 2010 | 9:35 PM
Mitch:

I’m surprised you’re getting that volume of spam, Ryan. I get between 200 and 300 pieces a day, but it’s easy enough to keep up with. I’m not sure what type of blog you have, but if it’s WP have you tried any of the new plugins that can help reduce the amount?

December 22nd, 2010 | 9:59 PM