Friday, April 8, 2005

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I didn't think this was possible...

John Holbo posts an amusing paean to... comment spam.

Here's how it starts:

Do you know what’s interesting about comment spam? Nothing, of course. But consider this. No piece of comment spam has ever been able to mimic a human convincingly. It tries, but comment spam is like the aliens among us. They look like us, dress like us … but they also eat the houseplants. In obedience to the iron genre trope that there must be some obvious failure of mimicry that gives away this sinister presence. To read comment spam is to come to awareness that these creatures have travelled a long way to get to our little blue marble floating in space (whether they come in peace, or to breed with the ladies, or because their home planet is tragically polluted.)

Read the whole thing.

Refreshingly, after repeated waves of comment spam last fall, I've had to deal with far fewer attempts since the election. The most clever spam effort I've seen simply copied a prior comment from the thread, with the desired URL replacing commenter's e-mail and URL. This is dangerous, because unless the blogger is paying attention it just looks like a random double comment.

posted by Dan on 04.08.05 at 02:47 PM


This may be useful:

posted by: S on 04.08.05 at 02:47 PM [permalink]

"No piece of comment spam has ever been able to mimic a human convincingly."

This is just a form of the Turing test.

posted by: Dave on 04.08.05 at 02:47 PM [permalink]

I also have read some of the best articles I’ve ever read after coming into the blogoshpere. I check the indices such as Daypop for what are the most linked news stories and blogs. I used to go to the library and look through publications but I would never find the articles and stories I’m finding on the internet.

posted by: Nobody Home on 04.08.05 at 02:47 PM [permalink]

I've seen a couple comments that somewhat fitted the post but linked to spammy sites, and I had trouble deciding whether they were real or not.

Many of the spams I receive come from an email with a variation on "huy" which is a most bad word in Russian. So, I'd imagine that English is not the first language for many spammers.

The comment spammers also give some indication of current thoughts in SEO. Most put stuff into h1 tags, and the fact that they consider this a worthwhile endeavor indicates that G isn't punishing blog comments as free-for-all links, or at least given enough ffa links they're worth something.

I just wrote an article for my new tech blog about bulk deleting MT spam comments. That requires MT, MySQL, and shell access, but if you get hundreds of spams at one time it might save you time.

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 04.08.05 at 02:47 PM [permalink]

They're not trying to fool humans. They're trying to fool the Google spider.

posted by: fling93 on 04.08.05 at 02:47 PM [permalink]

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