Tag Archives: Akismet

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?


The Sense Or Nonsense Of Captcha

I’ve written a lot of posts about commenting on other blogs, so many that at times it seems that’s all I talk about. Luckily, with as many posts as I write, it’s not true, but I still write about it often. My very first post about it was more of a rant, as I asked the question is it easy to comment on your blog? I’ve addressed a good many areas of commenting, but I’ve just noticed that there’s one thing I really haven’t talked about, and I’m surprised by it because it’s one of my big time rants, obviously to myself.

Funny CAPTCHA
Luke Jones via Compfight

I hate dealing with most of the “captcha” that people have on their blogs. For the uninitiated, “captcha” is what it’s called when people set up these special conditions for being able to leave a comment on their blog. I don’t mean registering; I mean having to type in those goofy little characters, or do a math problem, or answer the question ‘what is your mother’s maiden name’ or ‘what are you wearing’.

Okay, I’ve only seen that last one once, and I never went back to that blog (don’t ask which one it was, because I really don’t remember). Heck, for that matter, I’m going to include those few blogs where you leave a comment, then you receive email saying you have to click on a link before your comment will show up; are you kidding me?

I understand why people have captcha. We’re all irritated any time we get spam, and, supposedly, by setting up these captchas, it helps to eliminate almost all of these spam messages from getting through to our comment sections. I’ll also admit they’re pretty effective, but not perfect.

Heck, I advocate Akismet all the time, and I find it to be the most effective spam blocker for WordPress blogs that there is, but it doesn’t get it all because, well, spam is always evolving, and it takes Akismet time to learn how to deal with some of it. Still, it’s pretty good, and I couldn’t, at this juncture, recommend anything better.

It’s strongest suit is that I don’t have to have any kind of captcha on my sites. I don’t have to set up the ones where you have to type in some goofy letters, especially those where letters are either hidden slightly with lines being drawn through them, or with a similar background color as the letters, only slightly lighter so you can supposedly see the darker letters.

You know what? I have difficulty seeing these letters, and, at a certain point, I’m not going to comment on anymore blogs that have these things on them. There was a wonderful blog I read last night and went to leave a comment, and it was red lettering against a bright pink background. I had to try three times before I got it right. I mentioned it to the writer of the blog, who said he’d try something else, and the next colors were green against green; that wasn’t much better. I saw later that he tried blue against blue; ugh!

The Hardest Captcha.
Britt Selvitelle via Compfight

Then there’s the captcha that has the letters with swirly lines between them, and if you can’t see the letters it offers you the opportunity to listen to the letters. I’ve never been able to decipher a single one of those things, so I usually end up hitting the button that will recycle the letters at least once, sometimes multiple times, until I get a letter combination that I can actually interpret. Talk about being comment unfriendly.

I don’t mind the math captcha as much because I can at least see that. And there are some captchas that are easy enough to read that I don’t mind, but others I hate. For instance, I hate when you’ve written your comment, hit “send”, then you get another window with a captcha in it that you now have to fill out before you’re done. Why not have it already there so we all know it’s there beforehand?

Yeah, it’s only another few seconds, but quite often I’ve hit “send” and moved on to the next thing, only to come back to that window later on and find that my comment hasn’t gone through because I hadn’t completed their captcha thing yet; ugh!

Folks, for as many posts as I write and as long as some of them are, I also consume a high number of blogs and blog posts from other people. This means that when I leave a comment, I’m ready to move on (btw, most of the time I’ve perused the other comments before I write mine, unless there’s a lot of them, just to see if I’m going to be in agreement with many of them or taking a different avenue).

We all talk about wanting more visitors and subscribers. But when you make it hard on your visitors in any way whatsoever to interact with you, you risk alienating a lot of people, almost as many as when you have those subscription popups (yeah, y’all know I find those things irritating also).

I do understand that some blogging platforms, like Blogger, don’t have access to something like Akismet to protect them. At least, for the most part, I can read the letters on the traditional Blogger captcha. For the rest of you, please, find an easier, more inviting way to protect yourselves, and encourage your visitors to participate in the process.
 

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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

The Spam Comes Out At Night

Oddly enough, I think this blog is starting to get more and more popular. Actually, the numbers from Google Analytics say that things are fairly steady, but I’m not buying it. After all, it seems the spam has grown by leaps and bounds.

Things were actually going along pretty well for me as it pertained to spam. I didn’t have much at all, maybe 4 or 5 a week, and life was looking pretty good. Then suddenly, I wrote that post on Compete Rank and the spam came out of the wood works. It’s not the Russians anymore; it’s someone else, seemingly sending it all from one IP address on a consistent basis, and in large numbers; what the hey?

Initially, some of it was making it through the Akismet filter, and I thought that was odd. However, after deleting it a couple of time, Askimet got its act together and is sending it all to the moderation area, so I don’t have to deal with deleting it from my posts. Frankly, I find the relationship between the post, which was not positive, and the spam, interesting, and if I were a conspiracy theorist type of person, I might think I was being deliberately attacked; nah.

So, some “thing” is giving me attention. Reminds me of something my friend Sue said once about not wanting to attract the wrong kind of attention while still wanting to dress nice. I guess I’ll just have to deal with it, but at least I hope this blog is dressed nicely.


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