Friday, August 8, 2014

Spam


One of the downsides of having an "online presence" (i.e. - having a facebook, twitter, or blog account) is that you become a higher-profile target for spam. And it's a weird kind of spam, too, not just Nigerian scams, and ads for cheap meds or cheating sites. It's spam designed to look like something written by a real person in the comments section of the account. Things like, "I really like what you wrote" and "This article made good points and got me to thinking". Obviously stuff that has nothing to do with the article itself. It gets funny when the bot shipping out these spam messages breaks and you get 30 or 40 random sentences all in the same comment ("I really loved what you wrote. This is absolute crap and I hate it"). The point of the spam comments is to have a link to the advertiser's site in the commenter's return address.

The blog software I use, for both Blogspot and Wordpress, both have spam filters that can catch 99% of this garbage, so it's just a matter of making sure that something legitimate doesn't get filtered by mistake, and then clicking the "Empty Spam" button. What makes me curious is why spammers think that this kind of spam is going to attract customers. At least with my blogs, ALL of it gets caught and deleted. And even if one got through, it's on a post that's so old that no one's going to go back to read it to see that there are comments on it. A complete waste of server time.

Anyway, I'd just uploaded the entry for the "Virginia's Story" video, and gone to bed. The next morning, I wake up to 11 mails in my email inbox. I was really hoping that someone on facebook had "liked" the video. Instead, when I opened the inbox, all 11 messages were comments on the Poptropica game review, and all from the same person. Because I'd already gotten chastised by a Poptropica fan for some inaccuracies in the review, I was wondering if a different fan wanted to complain to me and just didn't know when to stop pressing the Submit button.

So, I go to the Poptropica review to look, and ALL 11 comments were this "blog-type" spam. All from the same account, and all linking back to an online meds page. Disappointing, but more laughably incompetent than anything else.

Sigh. "Select all comments." "Mark as Spam." "Empty Spam Box."
Took less than 10 seconds to eliminate what probably took the spammers days to code up.

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