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Strange Looking Spam

Posted by on Mar 14, 2011

What is it with spam? Truthfully, I get the part about trying to get backlinks by almost any means necessary. But some of it is even confusing to me because it really makes no sense.

Over the past couple of weeks, in high volume no less, I’m getting stuff that looks like this:

Star2Pros – Get off the lower ladders…

[…This trackback notifies you of the usage of…]…

sarcodosis skin problems…

[…]the time to read or visit the content or sites

Effective Weight Loss Programs…

[…]below, are a few not really different sites than this one, but still the sites are absolutely worth checking out[…]…

1.) Home Security…

2.) […]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[…]…

1.) Keys, locks and more…

2.) […]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[…]…

Weight Loss Secrets…

[…]even though the URLs we hyperlink beneath are completely not that similar to ours, we posit that they are worth visiting, so have a look[…]…

If I’m getting stuff like this, almost everyone else has to be getting this type of thing as well. My question is twofold. One, if I’m running the GASP Anti-Spambot program, doesn’t it mean this stuff is getting through because someone is deliberately doing it? And if so, who in their right mind would think that anyone who’s paying attention would look at this stuff and say “yeah, that looks legit, I think I’ll keep it around?

Here’s comment on the first question. I’m at the point now where I’m starting to think someone has come up with software to get around the plugin. I say that because I’ve always been under the impression that if someone didn’t check that box, nothing was getting through. I knew that some stuff would still end up in the Akismet spam filter, but I didn’t think it would get to voluminous so quickly, and it has, across all 4 of my blogs. I know Sire discovered that some nefarious folks are actually paying people to post blog comments, but I can’t believe anyone would pay someone to post junk like above.

Here’s my comment on the second question. I don’t think anyone really cares about the message so much as they care about seeing what they can get away with. With all of the messages above having the same style, it seems more possible that the set up of the message might have something to do with how it all gets through the plugin. I’m not technical enough to know how it could be related, but the proof is in the pudding (another saying I have no idea where it comes from).

The thing is that it gives the impression that it’s trackback spam, but it’s not. I’ve gone to a couple of the websites that end up being shown as the domain name and there’s never any mention of one’s website or blog post, thus it’s not that. Still, I’m trying the option GASP gives you in eliminating the ability of anyone to send trackbacks to your blog, just to test it for a couple of days. I don’t have much faith that it’ll stop, since I don’t think it’s related to trackbacks.

Man, these spam people are just so smart and creative, aren’t they? I guess we should be thankful that they’re not trying to figure out how to take money out of our bank accounts before it even gets there.

But we’re not. 🙁

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Wow, you mean you got that message as a normal comment ?

Because if you did, it’s most probably a manual comment or a piece of software specially designed to target blogs with GASP (which funny enough it’s pretty easy to make).

Oh, and if someone is doing trackback spam, they don’t need to link to you, they can use software to send you the trackbacks. Only the pingbacks have the verification part, where your wp will verify if the link exists.

Also, I presume you know that GASP and no other plugin for that matter (except Akismet – which might not be very effective) can protect you from trackback spam.

This stuff are very nasty, especially because trackbacks are usually used by bloggers to notify other fellow bloggers that they linked to one of their posts.

March 14th, 2011 | 4:00 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Yes Alex, I’ve been getting a lot of those, but luckily all of it goes into the spam folder, or at least has to this point. And I hadn’t thought about whether or not anyone could stop trackback spam before, so this one probably won’t either.

March 14th, 2011 | 8:41 PM

Thanks for the link Mitch. I’ve noticed more and more spam getting through but mine still looks like human spam. Even so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time, if they haven’t already as you suggested, before someone finds a way around GASP. What a pain that we have to put up with this crap.

March 14th, 2011 | 4:56 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Exactly Sire, but there’s really nothing we can do except be happy that we have other protections on our blogs.

March 14th, 2011 | 8:43 PM

I have the same thing just like you have on my other blog. I just delete it. But, I feel tired and disturb on this too.

March 15th, 2011 | 12:21 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

I delete it as well, but since it seems to be so pervasive it got me wondering why it’s coming now.

March 15th, 2011 | 11:20 AM

It isn’t funny, but in the last few days I got the same spam comments on my blog. The problem is the software that spammers are using and lack of knowledge of using it. It is very frustrating that people are getting more and more spam and the spam filters are completely useless, probably will capture a real message or comment.

March 15th, 2011 | 5:19 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

That’s true Carl. These people are just so lazy in what they’re trying to do that it’s ridiculous.

March 15th, 2011 | 11:21 AM

I don’t want to point fingers, but that what happened in modern world and outsourcing. We have ruin our economy this way, paying to people to do lazy job with low quality.

March 15th, 2011 | 10:07 PM

I have the same exact messages too Mitch, and I find them too in my spam folder. It’s not much of an annoyance ’cause they are very easily recognizable and it rarely happens that legit trackbacks end up as spam, but still it worries me to see how much it increased, all of a sudden, just a couple of weeks ago onward.

March 15th, 2011 | 6:47 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

That’s why I wrote about it, Gabriele. It’s stuff like this that suddenly pops up, then it’s gone. Thing is, I hadn’t been receiving any of this type of junk since I’d installed the GASP plugin, which is why I decided to mention it.

March 15th, 2011 | 11:22 AM

Hey Mitch,

I know what you’re talking about. I get spam similar to yours all the time too, especially the trackbacks. I think the post Sire did on people getting payed like $70 for 700 blog comments sums it all up for me.

I don’t think it’s a software getting around your plugin, I strongly believe it is less meritorious people leaving this spam all over the web.

You’re right though, these spam people are very creative, it’s a shame they can’t use this creativity and do things the right way.

March 15th, 2011 | 9:18 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

John, I’d have thought it was people as well except for the format and how much of it there is. Then again, trying to make spam look like a trackback might be an intriguing possibility…

March 15th, 2011 | 11:26 AM

I’ve pretty much solved my spam issues because every time I get a message like this I block the address. Now, I only receive about 10 spams / week. Is that good or bad?

March 15th, 2011 | 10:43 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

PS, I don’t know how to block IP addresses specifically, so it’s not an option for me right now. But your number sounds really good.

March 15th, 2011 | 11:27 AM

I’ve been getting that stuff too, and it’s darn difficult to block because it comes in as a trackback not as a comment. And, if you check out the link they give as the location for their link to you, you’ll find no such link.

I’ve turned off trackbacks (no help so far) and have begun blocking the numeric DNS addresses of the repeat offenders.

I can not imagine that these people actually think we’ll allow this, um, excrement, to get through and plaster itself all over our blogs.

It’s a waste of their time and ours.

March 15th, 2011 | 8:56 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

You know Allan, it seems that most of it has stopped after I changed the setting in GASP telling it not to allow trackbacks. Maybe it was trackback spam after all.

March 15th, 2011 | 11:44 PM

Oh, and you block DNS ir IP addresses by going to Settings / Discussion, and at the bottom of the page is a “black list” (nothing personal Mitch) where you can put addresses, names or keywords to block.

March 15th, 2011 | 8:58 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I never even paid attention to that before Allan; thanks for the heads up. I think I’m going to start popping those IP addresses in there that are trying to break through my firewall and trying to figure out my passwords.

March 15th, 2011 | 11:46 PM
Allan Douglas:

This morning I discovered that Any Bailey recommends Simple Trackback Validation 2.1 as a way to validate track-backs (compares IP address being posted to that of the source of the submission – spammers rarely use their own IP. He says it works quite well with his GASP.

I’m giving it a whirl. I do not know whether there is any value in displaying track-backs, but as a newbie I hate to discourage (legitimate) traffic in any way.

March 17th, 2011 | 6:47 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Let us know how it works out for you, Allan. For now I’ve got so many other things going on, plus I’m adding in that thing you taught me about IPs, and we’ll see if that takes care of things some.

March 17th, 2011 | 11:19 AM

While I don’t know the source of this stuff, I have been suspicious of it myself lately and have even started getting it submitted to my email address through my contact form. As for who could even consider for a second I would read a message like this in an email… we’ll there are some weirdos out there.

March 17th, 2011 | 11:23 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I’m with you on that one, James; people will do some strange stuff.

March 18th, 2011 | 12:30 AM
Jessica Sieghart:

In the last week or so, I’ve gotten quite a few of those. Somehow, they’re getting through on mine. Easily deleted and marked as spam, but it’s annoying. When there’s a will, there’s a way, I suppose. I just can’t imagine that anybody clicks on that stuff. Hard to believe it’s really worth anyone’s while to figure out ways to post this stuff.

March 18th, 2011 | 6:18 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Jess, it seems that telling GASP to not allow trackbacks is working against that stuff; I haven’t had one on this blog all week.

March 18th, 2011 | 11:00 AM