Write, geek! gets a fair amount of spam replies. This surprised me at first, when it began happening almost immediately after the blog was set up and content was posted. I should have known better; there’s almost no cost to spammers in spamming even unpopular blogs, so why would they make an exception for mine?
I’m using the Akismet plugin for WordPress, so it’s not like any of these comments actually make it to my blog. In fact, I’d never even have to see them, if not for the fact that I regularly clean these comments out of my spam folder by hand. I do this partly to ensure that nothing legitimate gets filtered incorrectly (which happens sometimes) and partly because I like to sort of keep tabs on the current ‘state of the art’ in spamming.
The current state of the art in spamming is this: the comments are getting better. No longer are comments jam-packed with dozens of links commonplace (one particular default WordPress setting probably made those almost 100% ineffective), but they’ve been largely replaced with comments that masquerade as… actual comments!
The idea of noise disguised as signal is nothing new if you’ve used e‑mail in the last 15 years, but that the noise is getting better (read: more difficult for humans to detect) is somewhat surprising. Of course, these comments are no match for a large, distributed system like Akismet, which all-knowingly sees what’s being posted to probably millions of blogs, but the well-disguised, largely pseudo-flattering comments are probably now designed to get human blog authors to click the “Not Spam” button, freeing them the comments the spam box so that they can do their SEO-based dirty work.
Of course, gentle readers, I’m far too smart to fall for that, but not so blinded by my hatred for spam to be unable to appreciate a well-crafted work of authorship, like this one I just found:
Sure, it’s not perfect, but someone out there put some modicum of thought into it, which is the least you could ask of the author of a work that’s going to be distributed on a massive scale.
Plus, it’s a lot better than this anti-gem I also just found:
Can you get more unintentionally self-referential than that? (No, you cannot… and yes, that was a challenge.)
One thought on “The current state of the art in comment spam”
While the content (or lack-thereof) in my spam comments is not that interesting, some of the stuff they are trying to advertise makes me laugh. Just today I got one about “how to get neighbors in farmville.”