Patrick's Rants



12/4/2004

Blog spam, moderated comments

Filed under: General — site admin @ 2:17 pm

If you run a blog, this little piece of randomized thoughts coupled with what some call ametuer journalism and others bogus armchair journalism, then you might have noticed as I have, this thing called blog spam. In my personal experience blog spam is very similar to email spam, but it has some interesting side effects.
I first started noticing this so called blog spam shortly after bringing this blog online. There were a couple comments for online poker sites, actually there were quite a few comments for online poker sites- as many as ten for each post that I put online. In chatting with my buddy Jake, I learned that he had been link spammed pretty heavily in the past- most of his traffic was for some lesbian sex site- one of the links that was on his older pages with close to 100 links in a single comment, yikes. His ‘fix’ was to shut off comments on older posts, limit the number of urls allowed before moderation and load a spam word list.
That got me poking around on the WordPress site. Sure enough there was a spam word list. I could even limit the number of urls in a post before it became moderated using a simple setting. This has had the effect of limiting some of the spam comments that I have received, but still leaves me with a large number of comments to moderate. Worse, some comments even make it through.
And the spammers continue to just pound away at the machine.
Comments are automated and probably run on compromised computers, you know those people who use Internet Explorer, Outlook/Outlook Express, and click on links and attachments in email without knowing who the email is from or what the attachments might contain. They visit web sites that exploit the holes in Windows- and no matter what Bill Gates says, these are serious security holes that aren’t being fixed any time soon- and Internet Explorer. These are the people with antivirus software on their computer, disabled, never updated or with expired subscriptions.
So, thanks to Jake, I have grabbed the list of spam words and limited the number of urls in a comment.
I recently took one more ‘drastic’ step. I logged into the database backing this site and turned off comments on posts over 60 days. A bit drastic, but will prevent me from having to moderate those older posts. I then set posts over 30 days to require a registered user. Anyone can register so this shouldn’t create an overly great burden and might even keep me from wading through 60 comments for the one valid posting.
So what exactly do these link spammers get for their efforts? Possibly a higher search engine ranking and the possibility that someone will find their site in the millions of sites out there. I suppose there is a monetary benefit to some. The majority of the link spam I have gotten is from an apparently single site for online poker. Well, they aren’t gonna make any money with links from my site if I can help it.
Now, if there was only a plugin for WordPress to automatically shut off comments for older posts…

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