Minor mysteries of spam

Information overload has been one of my recent concerns. Spam certainly exacerbates the situation! I am spared the worst of spam, due to the minimal traffic on my websites, although I was treated to a glut of spam from around the world immediately after I posted that skateboard video a few months ago.

Spam incidence grew over time, exceeded real content

Spam versus content over time

Spam is diverse. It manifests as spam email, spam comments, spam blogs (known as splogs) and all-unoriginal websites of reposted content.

Spam deterrence

Akismet, an Automattic site, provides excellent, free of charge anti-spam services to WordPress.com blog sites such as mine. Akismet maintains a daily Stats Page including a graph of ham versus spam, for the past five years. Ham is Akismet’s term for a non-spam message. I was pleased to see this post Do you appreciate Akismet?

If so, please take a moment to leave a short comment on this post letting us know! We’re working on a new site design and would love to include some new testimonials.

Ironically, I was unable to complement Akismet, as commenting was disabled.

In addition to Akismet, WordPress suggests using a word list filter of one’s own. As a utility, WordPress will match your list against incoming comments. If any matches are found, that comment is flagged and immediately redirected into the spam bin, for the blog admin to review or just auto-delete. I’ve honed my word list for several months. I enjoy reading through the file every time I make any additions. It is such an odd and illicit list of words and phrases!

Use cases

I regret that I deleted all the skateboard video spam comments that slipped past both Akismet and my keyword filtering system, as they were the most spectacular of all. These are selected excerpts and replies from another blog’s spam comments:

“I see you own a good blog.”
Fool! I’ve seen my content!
“Thanks! This post helps me with a school assignment.”
Fool! You’re gonna fail that one!

A recent spammer tactic is to meaningfully respond to the content of a blog post but also link to a solely commercial and often tacky webpage:

One was an XML editor and the other was a video on “how to be a hacker” (of the LulzSec variety as opposed to kernel patcher type).

Published in: on August 5, 2010 at 3:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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