Spam comments

I am sure that most blogs that invite comments are inundated with Spam. My anti-spam software does pretty well at blocking them, although I moderate all comments anyway. It has a disadvantage in that I would hate to miss a genuine comment so I always check through the spam before I obliterate them.

Two types of Spam

First we have the automated bot. Part one is where a bot trawls the web looking for the “add comment” links on blogs. Once a list is compiled, the spamming bot takes over. They don’t even have to use the blogs comment form, they just send the appropriate http POST information. The bot has to assume the comment form uses standard POST fields which makes it easier for us to block. Just change your form IDs to something random like “banana” and this assures that any comments have been made via your form. Unfortunately, you have to be a programmer to do this.

Captcha, where the commenter has to enter a hard to read code, is also pretty good against bots, but has the disadvantage of blocking humans who have trouble reading or just cannot be bothered with the captcha image.

Human spammers

This is where humans are paid to spend all day adding comments to web sites, overcoming the anti bot techniques described above.

Most come in with a generic comment like “I don’t even know what to say, this made things so much easier!“. I suppose some people may be fooled if it appears on a post where coincidentally it makes sense.

Why spam

Blog spammers are not expecting people to click the links, they are attempting to build up backlinks. For a search engine, a link to your website from another unconnected website is a good thing. It improves your ranking and gets your website higher in the list.

Sometimes, I get a generic spam comment with no links attached. It took a while to work out what was happening here. The idea is to get that comment approved, and once your Email address is accepted as an authorised commenter, you can start spamming.

Lately, I have been getting a load of spam comments pointing to Facebook profiles. I have not quite got my head around those and what do they achieve.

Conclusion

Spammers exist, live with them. Anyone who publishes on the web wants to increase their readership. Spamming is cheap, annoys 99% of the people but the 1% that gets through makes it all worthwhile for the spammer. It is not going to go away.

Having been amused by some of the latest spams, I have decided to allow my favourites to appear as comments (marked as such) after removing the spam links of course 😛

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