Hello webmaster: Coping with clever spam

Most blog spam attempts are pretty lame. LISHost’s server settings trap a lot of them, I think. My refusal to allow pings/linkbacks gets rid of many more. Setting a limit of six months for comments (unless a thread is active) helps–spammers are mostly out to improve their own pageranks, so they try to hide spam comments on very old posts that nobody looks at any more.

For the rest, there’s Spam Karma 2, which continues to do great work. As far as I can tell, no more than about one spamment (spam comment) makes it through to the blog itself every month, maybe not that many–and I rescue legitimate comments from the spam list about as often (maybe once a month–usually for having too many links). That means I do still check the Spam Karma logs, typically 20 to 40 a day.

I’m particularly amused by spam comments that try to disguise themselves as real comments, by referring directly to the topic of the post. That’s pretty transparent with most attempts here, because my post titles are, how shall we say it, not direct subject headings by any means. (“Obscure” and “peculiar” will do equally well.) So you get some, well, really strange comments–most of which get trapped for the usual reasons anyway (blacklist matches, “Flash Gordon was here” [comment completed faster than any human could type], etc.)

I saved a few over the last six days to give you a flavor. I won’t cite the commenter’s “name” (frequently not a name at all) and certainly not the URL… After looking at these, I’m almost pleased to see the blatant ones that start “Your post about X,” where X is the topic of the link URL and has nothing to do with the post. Where it might not be clear, I put the post title (or the portion they quote) in bold, noting that sometimes it’s the last portion of the title–apparently following something like an apostrophe or ampersand–that gets used. Anyway:

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  • You got that right slick – but not sure how useful the comment is.

Whew! That’s! more! exclamation! points! than I’d usually use in a week–and more wholly sincere praise than I can really tolerate. Now, back to preparing uncommon suggestions that will show spectacularly…

And, to be sure, if you see comments! like! these! on other blogs…now you have a clue as to how they got there.

2 Responses to “Hello webmaster: Coping with clever spam”

  1. Clint W Says:

    The spam version of Mad Libs!

    But not sure how useful the comment is, Slick!!

  2. ash966 Says:

    I love “Hi There Guru”. Can I address you that way if we ever meet at a conference?


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