A look at our spammer friends

Posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2012 in Editorial, site by DP


The Akismet spam filter service we use on blog comments seems to be letting lots of spam through lately. We’re moderating all comments with links, as well as first time posters. That requires human interaction and increases lag between posting and seeing a comment, so we’ll continue to look for better options. Thanks to everyone with keys to the blog who helped moderate comments.

For fun, here’s a few common examples of the spam received this week. All were moderated, none actually went live on the blog.

Ahaa, its pleasant dialogue regarding this paragraph here at this blog, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.

Ego spam – How nice, thanks! They hope us lonely bloggers will be so vain we don’t notice the link to uggs boots used as a home page. Since the product is not related to the search terms it’s a very low quality link from Google’s perspective. Difficult to spot because everything they say is so true! This linked to clothing store.

I adore Lady Gaga!!!?????????? ??????????? ?????? ???? ??? ?????!

Can you spare an interrobang‽ –  An exuberant fan of Lady Gaga stopped by with Swiss replica watches.

…best product personality usually working at a multi functional big carton electronics storeDid John kick the bucket however chock – full relating to doubts,or did the response this individual received from Jesus satisfy him,all of these that your puppy famous eight in your peace? We should just do not Understaffed, overflowing hospitals,minus power,have been unable for more information on allow you to have either quite possibly the most minimal treatment Then they began for more information about do you know around us momentum and started losing weightA by the hand approach bright white papers can take a pick (and already has),but take heart in the following paragraphs an all in one a tiny amount of tips thatll provide you with you 90% of what all your family really need…

The prolific poster – This word salad is a mix of key search terms that probably come out of an article ‘spinning’ program. This linked to the same clothing store as the Ego spam above.

 [url=http://URL]Beats By Dre[/url] jvnu http://URL doko yros [url=URL]Cheap Beats By Dre[/url] rdmo hURL fmlj qzxz [url=URL]Beats By Dre UK[/url] mbjf URL jlre pcap [URLCheap Beats Dr Dre[/url] xgdp URL yhvp azky [url=URL]Beats By Dre[/url] jald URL xdlx

The lazy linker – Direct and to the point. A list of links hoping for search ratings and clicks from readers.  Here we can score some knock off (?) Beats by Dre headphones. We experienced the real-life version of Beats spam in China recently – dozens of touts tried to unload them on us in every market. These are easy to catch and filter.

Image by kg: Public Domain

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13 Responses to “A look at our spammer friends”

  1. Bob Alexander says:

    I get similar spam on my blog (which I won’t link to in honor of the topic). But what puzzles me is the spam I get with no intelligible URL. I’m talking a real random stream of letters for the URL. And just to be sure, I’ve verified that the URL is not registered to anyone. What’s the point of posting spam like that? Who would pay for a spammer to post it? I just don’t get it.

  2. the word salad is wonderful. Talking about Jesus and weight reductio in the same sentence clearly requires some conversational skills.

    I also get some comments that “seems legit”, but the URL is always dubious, so all in all these spams are quite easy to spot.

  3. kevin says:

    I remember first seeing some of this type of spam many years ago – I think the first time quoted Moby-Dick. I was really confused with the paragraph and then realized it was an automated posting. Now it is everywhere.

    I love it ( not really ) when a forum gets totally taken over by bots. If you go back in the history of the forum it will have legitimate posts, and then at some point everything turns into meds, clothing and poker spam.

  4. asdf says:

    The spambots we see at another forum I’m moderating have evolved to be pretty good at generating “filler” posts – posts that are not spam, but help generate a false legitimacy for the user account. In the past they’ve been nonsense, consisting of sentence fragments culled from forums all over the net, but the newest generation can produce posts that are both coherent and grammatically correct. If they’re automatically generated it sounds like a major feat, but paying people to write the text doesn’t sound economical to me (especially considering the coherent and grammatically correct part).

    The filler posts are still easily identified, as they’re very generic and about nothing in particular, which is very unusual for a first post on forums with a very specific focus – people don’t register on tech forums just to tell everyone how lovely people they are. I fear for the day when the bots become context-sensitive.

    If you have access to the user database of a forum, you can also see pretty much exactly when the captcha mechanism used gets broken. The rate of new user registrations will suddenly shoot up, only to back down to normal levels once the algorithms are tweaked. Even though it can be a pain to clean up, I find this whole process of spambot evolution fascinating to watch.

  5. Bajdi says:

    I also have a little blog that gets lots of spam comments. November was the worst month ever, akismet filtered almost 2000 spam comments. Maybe the holiday season has something to do with it? I use the “math anti spam” plugin on my blog, but I’m not really sure if it’s of much help.

  6. Chuckt says:

    Would anything be gained by listing which countries the spammers are from by percentage vs which countries the legitimate posters are by country?

    • asdf says:

      In my experience, a lot of spam comes via virus-infected home computers from all over the world. I would expect the distribution to follow the maps of botnet infections that anti-virus companies sometimes publish.

  7. Grapsus says:

    If you check the IPs (you can use the RIPE whois service for example), 80% of them are from China, 10% eastern Europe and 10% of hacked computers with broadband all around the world.

  8. Drone says:


    You said, “I have also seen a lot of spam that dosent even HAVE a URL in it. Seriously, what is the point of that?”

    Spam without an embedded URL is a “probe”. If the plain-text gets through, the next step is to attempt another post with one or more embedded URLs, typically from another source. Obviously the spammers are scraping the results automatically in each step of this tierd attack and prioritizing their next steps.


    You said, “In my experience, a lot of spam comes via virus-infected home computers from all over the world.”

    Microsoft is the major cause of this. There are a huge number of machines, mainly in Asia, that run pirated copies of Windows XP. But Microsoft has blocked access to Windows Updates for these machines – so they are easily hacked by mal-ware. IMO, Microsoft blocking even basic security updates to Windows XP is probably the largest source of “bot-net” controlled machines in the World. I live in Asia; I see this on a regular basis.

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