The Problem With Comment Spam :: A Screenshot Tour

by M. David Peterson

Spam on O'Reilly Weblogs - O'Reilly Linux DevCenter Blog

Yo bloggers- you can delete the spam comments to your blogs. Just go to the same place you create your blog and visit the 'Comments' section. You have mighty delete powers over your own blog comments. Please don't give spammers free hosting.


Just to give you all an idea of just how bad of a problem this is, The following five screen shots taken at a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024 (trimmed to accomodate toolbars) represent each and every "comment" received in my inbox from 17:35 to 21:50 MDT this evening...

Enjoy!

20 Comments

Josh Peters
2006-10-02 08:46:34
Thank goodness for Wordpress' Akismet plugin :)
M. David Peterson
2006-10-02 08:58:13
Amen to that! This is ludicrous to have to deal with this kind of crap on a regular basis!
Jeremy Jones
2006-10-02 13:58:36
I had a swarm of them come in last night which *didn't* get marked as spam. Thank goodness for the Selenium plugin for Firefox.
M. David Peterson
2006-10-02 14:04:16
@Jeremy,


Selenium plugin? Sounds like I need to dig deeper... Thanks for the tip!

M. David Peterson
2006-10-02 16:28:45
http://www.openqa.org/selenium-ide/


SWEET! I didn't know this existed. This definitely provides the necessary mechanism to help minimize the comment-spam "management" issue, though obiously does *MUCH MORE* than that!


Thanks Jeremy!

bill
2006-10-03 07:09:37
Comment spam is so annoying, and it's pretty easy to delete en masse, over and over and over and over... Or, you could take the time to reply to them. I will say this about comment spam, "they happy comment best i see."


http://techrageo.us/2006/06/22/mass-comment-reply/

Carla Schroder
2006-10-03 08:35:26
Justin Watt, ace O'Reilly Wordpress guru, used to handle most of the comment spam. But he left some time ago, so we're on our own.


Most forum spam is completely pointless anyway, it's just vandalism. Too bad we still can't reach out over the Internet and stab spammers between the head.

M. David Peterson
2006-10-03 11:30:13
@bill,


I'm in tears (the good kind) after reading your post :D Thanks for the laugh! :D

M. David Peterson
2006-10-03 11:40:24
@Carla,


>>Justin Watt, ace O'Reilly Wordpress guru, used to handle most of the comment spam. But he left some time ago, so we're on our own.


I miss Justin! I realize its been a while since he was around, and when he left, he left the site in good shape for sure! But for whatever reason, it seems that the last month or so has just been comment spam hell on roller skates!


Not sure if the efforts are just increasing, or if the O'Reilly blogging community has simply ramped up the production of content to the point that the increase in comment spam is proportionate to the number of blog entries and overall activity to the site because of this (I would assume that the comment spammers target sites with higher levels of traffic for obvious reasons)?


>> Most forum spam is completely pointless anyway,


Yeah, why is that? I swear that a good 1/4 of all comment spam entries don't have a website linked to in the website field, and the body is just random non-standard-blogspam-keyword text that doesn't make even the least amount of sense.


>> it's just vandalism.


Exactly! LAME!


>> Too bad we still can't reach out over the Internet and stab spammers between the head.


Could we before? Cuz' if yes, I vote that we seek after the reinstatement of such capabilities! ;) :D


Thanks for the in-site/laugh, Carla! :D

Sarah Kim
2006-10-03 11:52:52
Hi all,


Thanks for your patience with all the spam! We rolled out Akismet this morning and I'm hoping that will make a big difference in the amount of spam that you deal with.


Kind regards,
Sarah
O'Reilly Senior Web Producer

M. David Peterson
2006-10-03 12:01:24
@Kim,


Oh, sweet! You ROCK!!! :D


Update,


err, I mean...


@Sarah, (sometimes my fingers don't leave enough time for my brain to get its act together and stop them before they make a complete fool out of me (at least thats what I keep having to tell myself ;))


(and regardless of my inability to read from left-to-right and type at the same time, You still ROCK!!! ;)

era
2006-10-04 10:25:26
I don't know about comment spam, but the regular, original e-mail kind (which I stare at 8 hours a day at work, and they pay me for it) is usually "operator error". There are valid hypotheses for other scenarios -- "just testing", "is this thing on", "is yours a live address?", "how much can I pump out per hour?" -- but there are several kinds which are quite clearly just a combination of bad user interface and inept users. You know, the kind where they paste the full copy into the Subject: header and it breaks the whole message horribly, or when they put the Subject in the To: header and vice versa. Couple this with the fact that they rarely see the end result themselves, and you have a recipe for, well, an even more pointless waste of Internet resources than even the spammers normally plan for.
M. David Peterson
2006-10-05 16:46:02
@era,


Ahhh... now that makes quite a bit more sense! Thanks for bringing this to light, as it has always driven me crazy in trying to understand why there is so much random junk being tossed around.


Thanks!

Justin Watt
2006-10-09 22:15:45
I'm still around, just not at O'Reilly any longer. Working over at John Battelle's Federated Media, on... you probably guessed it. Blogs. :)
Steven Burda, MBA
2006-10-10 00:21:17
wow - Thanks for the good read!


- Steven Burda -
e-mail: steven.burda.mba @gmail.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/burda

M. David Peterson
2006-10-10 00:32:54
@Justin,


Hey, good to hear from you! How are things going with things over there?

M. David Peterson
2006-10-10 00:34:02
@Steven,


Ummm... I can't tell for sure if you are being sarcastic, but either way, you're welcome? ;)

Carla Schroder
2006-10-10 12:04:16
My dear fellow blogger, that Steven Burda post is spam. That's right, it's a fake compliment!! Evil sod!


But I still love you.

M. David Peterson
2006-10-10 18:55:29
@Carla,


>> My dear fellow blogger, that Steven Burda post is spam. That's right, it's a fake compliment!! Evil sod!


Ohhhh.... Bluhhhck... I feel so dirty and used!


Then again, I felt dirty and used before I found this out, so for what its worth, there ya have it ;)


>> But I still love you.


You do???!!!


WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! :D :D :D


(NOTE: "Love" and "you" are two words I rarely here used together in the same sentence unless separated by "to hate", so this is a *BIG* day for me! ;)

Purdy
2008-01-28 09:13:41
I hate that Steven Burda guy. He spams every site that he visits. He just spammed my site a few days ago. As if anyone cares that he's an MBA. What a tool.