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Spam Notes

September 14th, 2005

A few things I’ve observed. First of all, about referral spammers (read this post for a definition of that). Recently one firm which figured out how to get past the filters has been hammering the site steadily. But what’s interesting is that they consistently hit two specific entries–both of them about spam. I’ve noticed this before in the past: when spammers hit you, they more often than not target entries in the blog which talk about spam (as they will with this post, no doubt). One can only imagine that this is their sick, twisted way of giving you the virtual finger–complain and we’ll target you. Swell people, these blokes.

My visitor count is going very high so far this month, perhaps 20% higher than usual lately. I thought it was the high-volume spammers, but a closer inspection of my logs shows they’re using a single IP address–not responsible for the increased number of unique IP hits. Strange. Sometimes I have no idea why more people start coming–though I suspect it has to do with breaking thresholds in Google listings somehow (don’t ask me how that works, though I suspect chicken entrails are involved).

And finally, you may have noticed my special note in the side bar and above the comments area mentioning the trouble I’m having with the TypeKey comment system (if you are reading this well after publication, the note is probably long gone). In order to assist in figuring out the problem, I published a temporary email address for people to contact me if they had trouble with the comment system. Well, I got one or two such emails… and now a lot of spam. For those who don’t know, posting your email address on a web page, any web page, is a glaring invitation to get spammed. Spammers have automated programs that continuously read web pages and harvest any and all email addresses from them (which is why I never require commenters to leave an email address).

What’s more interesting is that the scam spammers, and not the ad spammers, seem to be the ones who use this most. As with my experiment a while back, the published email address garners not so much ads to buy things, as it does more emails from Nigerians with millions to route through my bank account, and European lottery officials informing me that I’ve won millions, and so just pay the processing fees and the check will be in the mail. Specifically, after only just a few days of life, the email account has received three Nigerian emails, one European Lottery email, one spammer trying to trick me into putting a “reciprocal” link on my site, and one more trying to get me to advertise for them on my site. So once again: don’t publish your email address on any web site unless you really, really like Nigerians.

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  1. September 15th, 2005 at 08:30 | #1

    The unique IP may be mine but I’m not the spammer. I’ve found your site interesting for a long time now and check in quite often for new postings. I also got my son interested and since the hurricane we’ve probably both been checking your site frequently…same IP.

    Just love your comments and agree with most everything you say…I even like your non-political entries!

  2. Luis
    September 15th, 2005 at 09:36 | #2

    Thanks for everything in the comment there! But I am certain it is not your IP Address, unless you visit the pages thirty or forty times in the span of a few minutes and leave a referral to unseemly graphic sites each time. That’s what the spammers do, several times each day. They don’t even really visit the site, they just have an automated program retrieve those particular pages time and time again, pretending to be following a link (in fact nonexistent) from the spammer’s web sites. That way, they hope they can get to the top of the web site’s referrer’s list (most visits via a link from another page), and that my web site will reward them with an automated link back to their page, enshrined in a place of honor or my site. No chance of that happening, not on my site, but they spam indiscriminately anyway…

  3. September 15th, 2005 at 18:56 | #3

    I don’t think I get half as much comment spam as you do but I am getting a new wave of mindless spam linking to many legitimate blogs. As you said in an earlier post, this seems completely pointless but there must be a point to it somewhere otherwise these people wouldn’t be wasting their time doing this, would they?

  4. Luis
    September 15th, 2005 at 22:50 | #4

    Yeah, I get some of that, too. Not too frequently, however. Seems to me more like that kind of thing is the spammers testing their systems, seeing if the system works, and how much of their stuff gets through if there’s no obvious spam URLs attached.

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