Comment spam

I get a lot of spam – today’s been relatively quiet so far, but in two hours I’ve still zapped 134 offers of penis pills, fake pharmaceuticals, disturbing sex sites and financial frauds. As you’d expect, I’ve got filters that automatically detect and delete them, but unfortunately every technology is imperfect and I still have to scroll through the spam to make sure I don’t lose any legitimate message. And now, I’m having to do the same with this blog.

There’s an excellent – and free – plugin for WordPress called Akismet, and it does an excellent job of spotting and quarantining the spam. However, as with email filters it isn’t perfect, so for example any legitimate comment with more than one URL gets slapped into the spam dungeon too. Which means, as with email, I have to scroll through the spam to make sure I don’t lose any legit comments. It hasn’t been a major pain, but recently the level of spam’s started to increase. In the first few months of using Akismet it only needed to delete a few dozen spam; this month so far, it’s had to delete hundreds. I cleared the spam about ten minutes ago and already, there’s another crop.

What pisses me off about this is that yet again, ordinary net users end up paying the price for other people’s selfishness. It’s a doddle to flood blogs with spam and it doesn’t cost a thing to do it, but the people on the receiving end are the ones who need to spend time getting shot of the shit. I’m researching an article this morning and I’ve encountered stacks of sites that had similar problems and either made registration compulsory for commenters – something I don’t want to do, because it deters people from joining in – or disabled comments altogether, which removes all the fun from blogging. The level of spam’s not so bad that I’m considering doing either (although I am considering a word verification system – this one looks nice. What do you think?), but I’m hugely pissed off at yet another example of a small group of selfish bastards ruining the internet for everyone else.






0 responses to “Comment spam”

  1. I’m still finding Haloscan brilliant in this respect, I have to say.

  2. Spam in general seems to be getting as bad as it was before heuristic scanning was invented, and this time the good guys may be out of ammo. My Gmail spam scanning was pretty good, but lately it’s been performing abominably, lots of false positives (which never used to happen) and quite a bit getting through now as well.

    Although I did hear tell of an interesting thing called greylisting or something: you set your mailserver to reject all incoming mail once. The theory is that a genuine sender’s MTA will retry, whilst a spammer’s won’t bother, because they’re just trying to zap out as much as possible as quickly as possible. Slight delay obviously.

  3. Gary

    Couldn’t you defeat that by running your mailshot twice?

  4. Yeah, that’ll only work as long as no-one’s doing it.

  5. Gary

    Here’s a worrying development: spammers outsourcing.