Tag Archives: blogging

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Comment Spam Article on the Google Webmaster Central Blog

I hate comment spam. I think it’s safe to say we all do. So how do you keep it off your blog or forum? Check out this article I wrote on the Google Webmaster Central Blog with some ways to prevent comment spam.

It’s interesting that one of the commenters brings up compliment spam – I just wrote about it on this blog a little while ago.

This was pretty cool for me, because I can’t really share much about my work at Google. It’s also fun to see my text translated into German.

Next up I’ll post an update on the baby name poll with more fun charts and graphs.

Quick Tip: Keeping Comment Compliment Spam off your Blog

Blogs are great because they give you a creative outlet and let your readers comment on you posts, making it a much more social experience.  But spammers take advantage of comment forms, using scripts and bots to fill the web with links back to their site.

What can you do about it?  Even with captchas, systems like Akismet, and other automatic techniques (you can read more about these here), some spam will slip through.  Specifically, compliment spam.

What is compliment spam? Spammers know you and I like to be told what great writers we are, how helpful our posts are, and that we are brilliant geniuses.  So they set their bots to spam you with complimentary comments that just so happen to link back to their crappy blog, online casino, or fake viagra store.  Here’s an example:

http://www.typolight-blog.de | info@typolight-blog.de |

Thanks, you nice post that helped me alot.

From Keep your WordPress site from being hacked with automatic upgrades, 2008/09/06 at 9:27 AM

So, at first glance this looks like a legit comment.  The post in question was a “how-to”, so it would be nice to hear that someone found my instructions helpful.  But, do a Google search with the comment in quotes (an exact phrase search) and you’ll see the problem:


At the time of this writing, we see 168 instances of this exact comment.  By this same Typolight person.

So that’s my tip – if a comment seems a bit too randomly complimentary, throw it in quotes and do a Google search. Then, if it’s spam, make sure to spam it – systems like Akismet only work because we’re all reporting spam.

If you really want to go after the spam poster, you can also give their site a bad rating on Web of Trust, StumbleUpon, and other reporting systems.

Maybe if I get some time I’ll throw together a WordPress plugin to make this easy to do.  If you’d like a plugin like this (or have other tips), drop me a comment and it will help motivate me.

Doing my small part to preserve digital history

High cirrus clouds and low fog over the Pacific Ocean Years ago, in an undergrad course, one the of the school’s librarians gave a talk about the big risk of the move to digital publishing – historical preservation.  We know what the ancient Greeks thought in part because their words were carved into stone – would we be so lucky if they had used floppy disks?

I wasn’t completely convinced that the situation was so dire then, and I’m still not really worried.  The production and storage of information continues to grow exponentially, and I think the real problem for future archeologists will be dealing with information overload rather than some hypothetical gap in the written record.  But I have been thinking a lot about my own digital history lately so I spent part of this weekend looking at old papers from college and publishing them on my site.

I don’t think my meager efforts will be much help to future historians (much less reverse the entropy of the universe), but I did find some interesting stuff that I probably should have posted for the world to see a long time ago.

For example:

The more I dig up and paste into my WordPress archives the more I realize a few things.  First, a distinct lack of content between undergrad and grad school – I’m doing a much better job of writing without assignments now than I did then.  Second, a hard drive crash in 2003 resulted in a gap in my saved emails – this hurts more now that I’m looking back through things.  Finally, I need to make a point, for the rest of my life, to just put things out there. It seems like such a shame that I put work into these docs just to have them rot on my hard drive.

I know some of my co-workers, Reid and Wysz, have gone through the process of resurrecting old content to their current website.  Anyone else thinking about doing something similar?  What prompted you to do so?  Or, what prevented you?