All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

Strange Looking Spam

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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Sunday Question – Are Things Getting Better, Worse, Or The Same?

Talk about your tough questions. Or maybe for some people this really isn’t a tough question at all. For me it is because I tend to try to view the entire world and not just what’s happening in my own life. Sometimes that starts to make me more cynical about things, which isn’t always good, but every once in awhile I’m surprised by my thoughts.

Not today. I’m of the overall opinion that things haven’t gotten better. I’m also of the overall opinion that things haven’t gotten worse. This obviously means I think things are pretty much the same. Certain things have shifted so that some are better and some are worse, but that just brings everything back to the middle for me.

What’s broken? Politics is broken. Religion is broken. Race relations are broken. Housing is broken. The economy is broken. The ecology is broken. The ozone is broken. The music industry is broken. Social mores are broken. Natural disasters seem to be happening with more frequency. And people are still finding both old and new ways to kill each other.

What’s working? Some people have finally had enough and are embracing their rights to self determination. Technology is getting better. Science discovers some of the coolest stuff almost on a daily basis. People can talk to each other all over the world, making it a much smaller place and, hopefully, gives us all a chance to open up true lines of communication without having to deal with the middle man, which has always been our governments. And blogging… strange as it may seem to throw it in there while we know about how many people have started and killed their blogs, is actually working. Even if it’s something we don’t want to see or hear, it’s hard to shut most of us up if we decide we really want to get our own version of the message out.

To me, maybe living a “centrist” life is just how things are supposed to go. We don’t get to get too high and stay there, and we’re never down forever; at least most of us. We all still have the opportunity to shoot for our dreams and about half of us actually see improvements in our lives. Even when things are really bad, like the earthquake in Japan, you see and hear so many miraculous stories, and you see people from other countries immediately offering help and shelter, and you’re reminded that at the worst of times we see some of the biggest hearts and minds.

Okay, I’m done; what do you have to say? And while you’re at it, would you consider this post as being controversial?

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Social Media Overwhelm?

A few days ago I was once again the radio guest of our friend Beverly. We talked about the subject of social media overwhelm, as well as social media in general, and it was pretty neat. If you wish, you can listen to the interview through this download. Oh yeah, while I’m at it, I was also interviewed by Karen of Blazing Minds for her blog, so you can check that out as well.

Overall the topic is an interesting one because obviously I do believe some people suffer from this, even people who haven’t started using it yet. It was just under two months ago when I wrote the post titled Social Media Isn’t For Everyone after all. In that post I was talking about the reality that if you don’t have the time or if something can’t help you out if you’re only using it for business purposes don’t even get started.

However, the topic of overwhelm is something different entirely. With the exception of LinkedIn I have gotten obsessed for at least a short time with most of the social media sites I’ve participated on. I was initially obsessed with Twitter, even though I didn’t write all that often, because it was just amazing seeing all those messages and seeing all the information that seemed to be available. I was initially obsessed with Facebook because of all the games and the groups. I was initially obsessed with Ryze for the groups. And I was obsessed with YouTube because, well, all those videos, not only music but the goofy stuff people put up.

At a certain point one calms down and gets back to business; at least we hope so. True, I haven’t given up on blogging, but I have that as more of a purpose thing than an obsession. I do think that the major appeal to Facebook has to do with all the games that people can play, because overall I still don’t think Facebook is all that social. Twitter is much more social if you connect with the right people. I talk to people all the time there, sometimes for upwards of an hour or more, though it’s usually late night. I haven’t had chats like that since the old days of ICQ; who remembers that?

If you start feeling overwhelmed with social media, take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to think of what you feel your needs really are. If you like playing the games, go for it. If you feel the need to be, well, needed, whether it seems that you are or not, that’s something you now have to deal with. If you’re using it to get lost from the real world and find it hard to leave, that’s an even bigger issue to deal with. And if you feel overwhelmed but have never done anything with it… well, just remember these words from President Franklin Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

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Why I’ve Never FF’d On Twitter

If you’re on Twitter for any significant time, you know about FF, or Follow Friday. It wasn’t something that existed when I first joined Twitter, but months later it started up. People saw it as a way to help highlight people they follow, but it also promoted themselves because it was an excuse to put out a lot of posts without really saying anything.

I have to say that it’s nice being recognized on Fridays by a lot of people. However, at this point it’s lost its effectiveness. I have some people I’m connected to that do the FF thing every single day, forgetting it was originally only for Fridays. I have some people I really don’t know who do it all the time, and some of those folks aren’t even following me. And what also happens is that people will see their name on one of these lists, and they forward it as their own FF, and now you’re getting messages with your name on the same list over and over.

I never got into participating in the FF when it started. At first I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t a part of it. In retrospect, I think I saw what was coming and I didn’t want to start it and then have to decide it was time to stop.

I also think that it’s a strange thing to recommend that someone follow another person on Twitter without those people actually saying something that’s worth following. Whereas I think it’s nice that some people will send out my Twitter handle as someone to follow, the truth of the matter is that I don’t think I’m putting out ground breaking tweets that really deserve the kudos. I mean, all my blog posts go out, and I’ll share news links of stories that I like. And every once in awhile I will retweet blog posts that I like.

Ground breaking? Nope, not me. And not many people either. For instance, just what has Charlie Sheen said that deserves over 2 million people suddenly following him on Twitter? How are some of these individuals ending up with more followers than news services, which really do put out some pretty good information?

There are some thought leaders worth following, none of which I’m going to mention here because everyone has their own thought leaders that they like. I only follow a few of them, and only one of those people follows me. And I’m okay with that because in this case I want to be aware of what they’re saying enough to not worry that they may never engage me on Twitter. Strangely enough, every one of them has engaged me at least once on their blogs, so it’s all good.

Think about this concept of FF to see if it’s really in your best interest, or in the best interest of the people you’re recommending. Instead of a blanket FF, why not recommend one person at a time that you like and say why? Trust me, that will go a long way, and be much better, because it will stand out and really look more like a personal recommendation from you to your friends and followers. Of course, still check out everyone to see if what they have to offer works for you.

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Hyperbole And A Half

What the heck does that mean? I have absolutely no idea. Luckily, I don’t have to have any idea. I just have to highlight this new blog I’ve discovered through someone on Twitter, and has jumped into my top 5 favorite blogs of all time.

Of course it’s called Hyperbole And A Half, and I’m sorry to say that looking at the About page doesn’t tell us anything new. But it doesn’t have to because it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in, well, probably years on a blog.

What makes it so funny? We start with this post titled Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts. The blog is a mixture of macabre funny story and pictures drawn by the author. I haven’t quite figured it all out yet except to know that it’s produced by a female, and I think she’s married.

It doesn’t matter; it’s funny as sin! I was laughing out loud, and brought tears to my eyes. The images are so great and flow with the story perfectly. The posts are long, but mainly because of the images; I was going to print it out for my wife and it would have been 24 pages long; that wasn’t happening. So I popped the link on her computer and I could hear her laughing pretty early into the story, as she’s not a speed reader, even though the images help move things along.

This lady has violated everything I said I didn’t like with Blogger blogs. She has it ranked well because of, well, her instead of Google. The post I’m highlighting above has more than 2,000 comments; are you kidding me? Almost all of her posts have more than 1,000 comments. And so far, they’ve all been funny, and that’s enough for me. I don’t know if any of them are true or not; I figure the latest one about Wolves probably isn’t true, but the dog story… that sounds about right.

She’s definitely an artist, and she has a “store” page where she shows a couple of her items, then has a link to her actual sales page where, if you hover over any of the images, they kind of come to life; try it out. I’d never heard of Zazzle, but it looks like a neat way to sell your stuff.

Trust me; go check out this story, and try to tell me you didn’t laugh out loud; if you didn’t, you’re not a dog person.

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