Wednesday, March 12, 2008

So What's Up With the Comment Spammers?

I've looked around for info but was just curious if anyone knew more than what I've been able to figure out. Less than 5 minutes after I create a new post on my blog, I get a comment from __?__ (most recently it was "Tygogal"), along with the text "Go here or here" with the "here" being a link. The very first time it happened, not knowing any better, I clicked on the link and was taken to a sex-peddling site. I then immediately went back to my blog settings to enable comment moderation, and have been regularly rejecting all the comments like that. As I said, I notice that I get one of those comments within 5 minutes of a new post. I take it that now they (spammers) have a program that looks for new posts and immediately sends the comment?

Are there people within Blogger who can eliminate these fake blogs and bloggers or is it just another thing we have to adjust to?

This Post was written by Cyndi from Cookin' With Cyndi


Joanna said...

I was having the same problem, and turning on the CAPTCHA for comments seemed to fix it- I haven't had any spam comments since the captcha was turned on. I've only had one reader complain :)

cybele said...

Turning CAPTCHA on and off also helps. I turn mine on every once in a while when things slip through. Then I turn it off, that way it doesn't irritate my regular readers and I seem to fall off the spammers hit list.

As for Blogger doing anything, their current business model as part of Google actually encourages this sort of activity. It's kind of sad, but it appears to go against Google's "less evil" policies. They don't do anything about those splogs, even when they're reported unless they're plagiarizing.

Kalyn said...

Cybele, maybe I'm taking this too personally as a Blogger user, but what exactly do you mean by "their current business model as part of Google actually encourages this sort of activity." I can't think of anything Blogger/google has done to encourage spam comments. Blogger has comment moderation, captcha, an option to turn off comments, and a way to reject anonymous comments. What do you think they are doing to encourage spam comments?

Sam said...

I have captcha turned on and no comment moderation. I have very few spam comments. Certainly a small enough amount (2 a week maybe?) to be able to handle easily through deleting by hand.

I am with Kalyn - "Blogger" certainly seems to give the user the tools to prevent spam build up if they so wish. The way I see it, the blogger themselves has the choice of how to control that.

Splogs exist - but how to define them? If google, or any company for that matter, took it upon themselves to erradicate all 'splogs' then undoubtedly innocent blogs could get caught in the sweep and that would open up a whole other can of worms. Who knows? Some people might like splog comments on their blogs? Hard to believe though...

cybele said...

kalyn - sorry, I should have explained, Google/Blogger have done nothing to discourage splogs. Because they actually make money off of them. (Way back when Google Adsense was started they had to approve each and every blogger, not so any longer, and that's where part of the glitch in the system is.)

And by splogs, I mean those sites that are populated with content that is scraped from the internet, that use crazy search bots that simply make up content from popular search strings to keywords to random passages from public domain books just like so much of the spam that we get these days in our email.

Some run Google Adsense ads on them, others are just there for link juice (some of that link juice is generated by going around creating comments on other blogs) to boost their other splogs & dubious business enterprises on Google's page ranking.

Often those blogspot sploggers have blogger IDs and use that sort of authority to go around leaving comments. (Most of them look benign until you click through to whatever they're linking to.) They have programs that can actually check to see what your settings are on your comment page, then put you on a watchlist and get a ping whenever you update. A little bot probably places that comment there using their ID.

Jonathan at Plagiarism Today did a very brief little non-rigorous test of the hosted blogs to see how pervasive it is.

Blogger has done an admirable job of dealing with the spam comments. Most of the dubious stuff these days is not spam, just unwanted marketing. (I figure spam is some sort of program, not real people.)

I had my own issues of a different kind of spam yesterday that brought down my server ... sigh. They're just out to get us and it makes me wanna throw in the towel and just type things up on paper and mail them to my friends.

Alan said...

i also had to turn on the CAPTCHA, my other blogger partner had a bad experience with those links, so i made a post about it too.

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It's kind of sad, but it appears to go against Google's "less evil" policies.

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