Monday, November 26, 2018

Spam blog comments!

For some reason, one of my recent blog posts (not even a good one, really) has garnered quite a lot of attention lately, but not in a good way.

Since 11/22, there have been 301 spam blog comments on that post (and none on any other post)! That's THREE HUNDRED AND ONE spam comments AND COUNTING -- I have no idea when they will let up.

Fortunately (?), I have comment moderation turned on, so these comments aren't actually being published on that post. However, it means I get about 60 emails a day from the system telling me that some robot has left me a comment.

Amusingly, the vast majority of the spam is highly complimentary, telling me how great my post is, how nice my site looks, or how much I seem to know what I'm talking about on the topic. Then every once in a while there's a negative one, telling me they USED to find useful info n my blog, or saying

"Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not disappoint me just as much as this one... I actually thought you'd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you can fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention."
It's easy to tell when a comment is from a robot. They're all completely generic, never referring to any specific content. The formatting is often wonky, with double periods after a sentence, or random line breaks. They use words like "weblog," and they're always posted by "Anonymous." But none of these spam comments have any links to other sites, or advertisements for watches, drugs, or gambling.

I've gotten many spam comments like this before, often in small bursts, and often on old, irrelevant posts. This is the first time I've gotten such a deluge, and all on the same post. To be honest, I don't really understand the goal of these robo-comments. I guess the point is to trick me into whitelisting the sender, who might then lie in wait for a few weeks before suddenly posting more comments with spam links? I recall spambots doing something similar when I ran the Board Game Designers Forum -- they would create an account, lie dormant for 2 or 3 weeks, then suddenly make a handful of spam posts (before promptly getting banned by me).

It sucks that spam is even a thing, really. It sucks to get spam blog comments, spam emails, and even physical spam in the mail. But what sucks the most is the thought that if they're doing it, it must work. The whole point of spam is that you cast a bazillion hooks, and you only need to catch 1 fish to make it worthwhile.

If only the entire population would just not click, then maybe over time the phenomenon would fade away. But with how easy and inexpensive virtual spam is to produce and send, I think we'll be stuck with it forever. Though I do still wonder how physical spam is really worth the actual cost of printing and sending out all of that mail...


If you leave me a legitimate blog comment, please make sure you're logged in, because if it comes from "Anonymous" then it's probably going straight into the spam bin with the hundreds of other robo-comments!