this blog is

09 August 2006

Meta Provocation



Spammers 1 Me 0

If you are subscribed to the comments feed I apologise for the recent influx of spam. I upgraded to the latest Typo last night and something has obviously gone wrong. Could be due to PEBKAC, admittedly. I’ll try to keep control of it manually until I find out what’s going on. Thanks to Aristotle for the heads up.

In related news, spam continues to get more sophisticated, or at least desperate. I’ve just seen some comments from “Nik” which are on topic. Not exactly Noel Coward, but at least relevant to the post. Check it:

  • On Must. See. Movies., Nik writes: “long lis, but we’ll try :)”.

  • Regarding Creative, Uncommon, Nik says: “I’ll listen that, thanks”.

  • Nik agrees “Nice phone! :)” on the subject of the Nokia N70.

  • He even responds to a comment of mine confirming that “alastair, yep, preview is working now”.

But in all of these he gives a URL for an AOL-hosted site for (presumably) buying pharmaceuticals. In one instance he even gives his name as “Buy (whatever)”. Definitely a spammer.

So my theory is that this is either a very sophisticated spammer with some kind of algorithm to generate a relevant comment based on keyword matching on the article, or the spammers have resorted to manual entry. Given the subtle variations in capitalisation of his name (eg “NIk” versus “Nik”), I’m leaning towards the latter.

Manual entry of spam! They must be desperate. Does this mean that we’re, well, winning?


Posted by
Aristotle Pagaltzis
2006-08-09 19:33:39 -0500

Here’s another clue to the puzzle: the comment feed did not contain any of the spam on the old entries I pointed out to you.

As for manually entered spam, that has always existed. The WLUG Wiki has always had a tiny amount of that, f.ex. (It’s also pretty much the only spam that’s ever come through there.)

Posted by
2006-08-09 19:33:39 -0500

While it definitely could be manually entered spam, there’s a chance that the spam software is grepping the subject/summary for common brands and/or words, then attaching an appropriate pithy response to it.

E.g. for a list, add the “so many entries! I’ve no idea where you find the time.” kind of response. for a phone, add the “actually I quite liked it” comment. for a music track, add the “they’re not as good as Damn Arms, and they really suck” comment.

I could go on, but I’ll leave that to our new spammy friends.