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Here We Go Again

March 6th, 2006

For what must be the third or fourth time, this site is being barraged by tons of spam, about 30-50 a day all this week, in the form of fake glowing reviews of the site with three or more links to generic news, movie, and educational web sites that are of course unconnected to the spammer. These weird spam messages are of no use to the spammer, as they don’t link back to the spammer’s site–they just link to news sites like The Dallas News, The Globe and Mail, the BBC, to web sites for major movie releases, or for universities. So you’ve got to wonder what the spammer is up to. They get nothing from it–with the possible exception of massively annoying the blogger. I suppose it could be a form of test to see what kind of spam will get through the filters–generate huge amounts of spam and then check to see if any of it sticks. Stupid, but then it’s an automated program and likely costs the spammer next to nothing.

The spam is also hard on unprotected bloggers, because it can’t be easily filtered. Each email has a different (faked) IP address, a different (fake) email address, a differently-worded message, and different links to different legitimate sites. Nothing for some filters to grab onto. But not a problem here–I use SpamLookup, which has a great deal of flexibility in blocking blog comments that fit a number of different profiles. In this case, I adjusted the number of allowable links down to two per comment (it had been set at 3, which is why I noticed the spam attack in the first place). Presto, all the spam is blocked and I don’t even see it. In a week, I’ll check the spam logs to see if it’s still coming in, and if it has stopped, I’ll reset the filters to the higher limit in consideration of my guests.

If you use a Moveable Type blog, use SpamLookup. A very nice tool. I still use MT-Blacklist–but will probably upgrade to MT 3.2 soon, which Jay Allen claims will do a far better job of eliminating comment and trackback spam.

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  1. Paul
    March 6th, 2006 at 13:18 | #1

    I use WordPress for my blog, and when I set it up I had comments turned off. But then some of the developers of WP released an anti-spam solution called Akismet, which I’ve gone ahead and loaded up.

    No spams at all. It basically holds comments for a bit while checking the Akismet server system to see if it’s a spam, and then if it’s okay it puts the comment out there for viewing. Or that’s my understanding of it, anyway.

    The best part is that it’s free for small time users, which I definitely am. Damned if I know how they can make that work out economically, but for now it’s good.

    They don’t have a version for MT yet, but they probably will before too much longer if it keeps working as well as it seems to for WP. Check it out- http://www.akismet.com. (Sorry, there’s a link in my comment!)

    Seattle, WA

  2. ykw
    March 7th, 2006 at 07:25 | #2

    Perhaps this is politically motivated by the anti-abortion people.

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