Tag Archives: spam

Russian Spam Heavy Again

Last August, I started noticing that I was getting a lot of Russian spam all of a sudden. I have no idea why, but at that time I had someone register to post on this blog with a Russian email address, which I immediately killed. After about a week, it stopped, and things were quiet for a long time.

In the last two weeks, it’s popping up again, a lot of it, on all 3 of my blogs. It seems like the oddest thing, but there you go. I still can’t figure out what these people think they’re getting out of spam. When I wrote my post on hating spam, I listed a statistic showing how there might be a possibility of some of these guys making upwards of $9,000 a day by sending all that spam out, then followed up less than a week later with another post on an article that showed that some of these spammers were probably getting less than 30 clicks a day, making almost no money at all, even with the volume of email going out.

Of course, we all know that, in general, many of these spammers are only looking for the links on blogs where the bloggers don’t care about their blogs anymore. That’s why I wish someone would pay me to go around the internet and kill all dead blogs, so these spammers won’t get what they’re hoping for.

Oh well; I’ll keep dealing with it, and hoping that it ends pretty soon. Glad I have that Akismet protection.

The Changing Face Of Spam

You know, I don’t understand spam at all, especially when it’s aimed at blogs. Well, I do, but I’ll get back to it.

Those of us with WordPress blogs, by this time, should all know about Akismet, which learns the patterns of spam and moves it into a spam filter. We can then take the time to look at it to see if there’s something good in there that we want to keep, or delete it, or allow Akismet to delete it as a later time.

These days, I’ve noticed that some spam has gotten smarter, and some has gotten longer. Back in March I wrote about spam getting sneakier, and that hasn’t changed at all. But it keeps getting smarter.

These days, I’m noticing three types of spam coming in. The easiest to spot are the one line items that have a link embedded in them. Sometimes the sentence makes absolutely no sense at all; those folks aren’t even trying.

The second thing I’m noticing is the very long spam messages. These are the types that also show up in email images, where there’s all this text that just makes no sense. But they also include lots of links, which Akismet easily picks up and sends to the spam filter. The problem with the long messages is if you’re going through the spam filter to see if there’s a legit message in there, which I do.

The third, though, is the good stuff. These are the messages that look so real that, I’ve noticed, most people totally miss it. They might notice it if they comment on a lot of blogs, and every once in awhile look at the comments on other blogs, but if they don’t, then they don’t have a chance. Earlier this evening I went ahead and approved a comment that almost looked like spam, only it used my name. Now, if someone has come up with something that actually reads names and puts out a lot of this spam, well, I just got had myself. But it won’t continue, because if one person does it and gets away with it, others will try, and then it’ll be easy to pick all of those out.

I know we all hate spam; how are you dealing with it these days?


Spam Is Getting Sneakier And Sneakier

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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“Legitimizing” Spam?

How many times have I talked about spam? Well, let’s see. I talked about dealing with >Russian spam>. I talked about spam that seemed to be coming out of the wood works when I was talking about Compete Rank, and I talked about it a week ago when I talked about hating spam.

SPAM!
Luc De Leeuw via Compfight

I still hate spam, but now I’m seeing a different kind of spam, and if I’m seeing it, I know you’re seeing it also.

I’m talking about a specialized spam that’s advertising software that will send out comment spam. Talk about being bold and upfront about what you are! I even decided to visit a couple of these sites, putting the name of the company into Google first just to make sure they weren’t sites whose purpose was to drop drive-by malware onto my system.

Nope; in their own way, they’re attempting to be “legitimate” businesses by actually having safe domain names, without much contact information of course, and some of them are one page sites where you can click to purchase the software. Most of the sites actually said “send messages to millions of blogs at the same time”; no sir, that can’t be good for anyone.

This left me with many questions that maybe someone else can help me with.

One, uhhh, isn’t spam illegal?

Two, how the heck can the “regular” people who might think to try this stuff actually get away with it more than once, since their ISP would have to catch on? I mean, does the software actually know how to get around that one?

Three, if there’s software that helps explain all the spam we presently get, didn’t anyone deign to teach those who are using it a little bit of proper grammar. I mean, most spam is written quite poorly.

I’m not alone in writing about the topic of spam these days. Most stories are the one surrounding the ISP that got shut down and supposedly reduced the amount of spam by 70%; I didn’t see that. There was even one study that was done by scientists through a seized part of a spammer’s network, where they were able to send out 469 million pieces of spam and only got 28 “attempted sales” (they didn’t actually sell the product since it was a study, so all sales requests were rejected. So, the conclusion was that spammers have to work really hard to make sales, which is why they exist; anyone feeling sympathy for these folks yet?

I like the idea I came up with while talking to someone on Twitter about this yesterday. Let’s find out who they are, and take some sledgehammers, break down the doors, and destroy all of their computers. It might not stop anything, but it would sure feel good for a little while.
 

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Hating Spam

I’m starting to feel like a success with this blog. It’s not the subscribers, although I want to thank all of you. It’s not the money that’s rolling in (said tongue in cheek). It’s not how I’m moving up on Technorati or Alexa.

Spam ... it's what's for dinner!
Wandering Magpie
via Compfight

It’s the spam count. I’ve always felt that the amount of spam one receives is directly related to how much activity and prominence your blog must be gaining. I’m not sure if that’s totally true or not, but I can honestly say that I’ve never had more spam than I’m having lately. And it’s a great test of the Akismet plugin, which has been fantastic.

True, it wasn’t all that good on the Russian spam, but I don’t think that any of the spam filters could have caught that stuff initially. And yesterday, myself and a lot of people throughout the blogosphere started receiving some interesting spam that was making it through. However, what I did was start flagging it as spam, rather than just deleting it, and within a couple of hours Akismet had figured it out and no more of those messages got through to my posts. I’m very impressed by that, I must say.

Now, someone needs to explain some of this spam to me. I actually understand the advertisement spam; those folks are hoping that we’ll stupidly buy their spam program, which actually sends your messages and therefore recreates the spam we’re all trying to hide from. I weirdly understand the spam that comes through with multiple links to pharmaceuticals, porn, etc, because those folks also are hoping that enough of their ads will stay on some of those blogs that are defunct, to help them with perceived link juice; suckers.

But the one line Russian spam, along with the one line “I am happily agree with your post; I will come again” posts, or the posts without any real words,… do people really believe all that nonsensical stuff really gets them links on the back end, or that anyone will possibly click on their ads?

I found it really ironic in the wake of yesterday’s new about the shutdown of an internet hosting site known for sending out tons of spam, and how we should have seen it decrease, when exactly the opposite happened. And, it seems there’s really a big economic impact of spam, and not the way we usually think of it. Bruce Schneier wrote in his blog about the economics of spam, where a study was done that determined that, based on volume, even at 0.00001% a spammer could be making at least between $7,500 and $9,000 a day, because it seems there’s always someone who clicks on, then buys, one of these products; wow!

Well, I refuse to be pushed around by any amount of spam that comes this way. Akismet has been my blogging hero for a long time, and I’ll trust it to continue working on my behalf. For those of you who still don’t see spam as being as big an issue as it is (yeah, like there’s anyone out there who doesn’t get it), here’s a little video for your enjoyment:
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mitch Mitchell