Tag Archives: spam

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Blog Comment Spam is Not Solved

With all the comment spam, trackback spam, and pingback spam out there, developers have created some pretty powerful anti-spam tools. So why did I create a small, not-so-powerful anti-spam WordPress plugin like O RLY?

Here’s a screenshot of my pending comments a little while back. Notice the second comment, which slipped past Akismet:

o-rly-spam-comments1

Apparently some dude named Casey Fronczek wanted to let my readers know about his fishing trips. I clicked on the O RLY button, and here’s what Google had to show me:

o-rly-spam-comments2

This spam comment showed up about 17,000 times!

This is an interesting case because it shows that spammers aren’t always looking to place links or pass PageRank. They are always looking for some kind of payoff though, and you can see the roundabout technique here. Hopefully anyone interested in fishing trips in southern Florida will Google this guys relatively unique name and result in a sale. You may also see phone numbers, ICQ or other IM accounts, and similar contact information in some comment spam.

This is a little tougher to automatically delete because a spammy link is a really good signal for an automated filter. Hopefully if people have enough little tools, we bloggers can improve the state of the web as a whole. Get the plugin from WordPress.org, and please let me know of other good anti-spam plugins in the comments.

Watch out for Google Money Scams

I have a post up on the Official Google Blog: How to steer clear of money scams.

These get-rich-quick schemes are all over the place. They take advantage of the Google brand and the large number of people who are out of work now and looking for new opportunities. Read the article for more info but in general, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

The opening paragraph is a true story – so thanks mom, for asking about this an prompting me to look into this further.

Getting the word out about spam profiles and other social network abuse

Just a quick post to point out an article I wrote on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, Spam2.0: Fake user accounts and spam profiles. This is a large and growing problem but a lot of folks I’ve talked to didn’t realize they had fake user accounts on their own sites. Excerpt:

Spammers create fake profiles for a number of nefarious purposes. Sometimes they’re just a way to reach users internally on a social networking site. This is somewhat similar to the way email spam works – the point is to send your users messages or friend invites and trick them into following a link, making a purchase, or downloading malware by sending a fake or low-quality proposition.

Spammers are also using spam profiles as yet another avenue to generate webspam on otherwise good domains. They scour the web for opportunities to get their links, redirects, and malware to users. They use your site because it’s no cost to them and they hope to piggyback off your good reputation.

The article got a write up in Information Week, which is pretty cool. Any way to let more people know about the issue.